thousands of other other Jabber providers, and you’re on a single open unified instant messaging network. It’s like e-mail—you can use your choice of client, your choice of network, and still talk to anyone.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies trying to entice people into “walled gardens”, proprietary chat networks that force your friends to use their service if you want to communicate. The three big proprietary closed networks are those of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.
Apple have iMessage—which only has clients for iOS and the latest Mac OS X, making it pretty spectacularly useless unless you disown all your disloyal friends.
Facebook have a messaging service that supports XMPP, but unfortunately they refuse to connect to any other XMPP provider, so they can strongarm your friends into keeping an active Facebook account.
Microsoft’s closed proprietary network is Skype. They used to have another which went by various names including MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, but they’re shutting that one down next year, so if you use it you might as well make your migration plans now.
Then there’s Kik, which basically clones the iPhone chat UI and makes it cross-platform. Unfortunately they have no web, Mac or Linux clients, as well as being a closed network.
The final proprietary offering I’ll mention is WhatsApp. It’s phone-only, unlike XMPP, and closed and proprietary, but it does at least support reliable delivery notifications. It has clients for all the major mobile platforms. I have it installed, purely because everyone in my family does. Apparently it’s the current market leader in the “replacements for SMS” space.
So, I’ve given up on SMS. It’s a waste of time unless you arrange with your friends that they will always send acknowledgements to your messages—and who wants to have to do that? While I wait for everyone to get on the XMPP train, I’m reluctantly using WhatsApp. So please don’t text me. © mathew 2017
© mathew 2017