Messaging/Chat Project Started

Monday April 19th, 1999

Asa Dotzler and Andrew Wooldridge have for us news of a new project that has gotten underway at It's called the Instant Messaging project, but it's not confined to work on AOL's messaging tool. In fact, the project plans to develop an open API that allows people to install support for various chat and messaging protocols. These protocols would be installed as necessary, thus wouldn't bloat the initial install. In addition, Mozilla will be able to be built without the core chat functionality if you so desire.

I think it's important to note that Tim Berners-Lee envisioned the browser to be a front end to many different protocols (not just HTTP). I say more power to 'em. They're going about it in the right way (making it optional), and it could end up being a very useful addition to the browser.

#1 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by jmissig

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 2:13 PM

Sounds great! Just hurry along and look at AIM and ICQ as examples. ICQ's features plus AIM's speed and reliability would make a good combination.

And please write it in something that it actually works mostly the same in all platforms. ICQ is shit in Java, and most of the linux ports that I've tried just suck.

AIM doesn't have many features, and you can't send someone a message when they aren't there. I personally like the Unix/Linux version better than the windows version.

#2 Critical path?

by Jim Kingdon

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 3:13 PM

If this is off the critical path for a release of a web browser (a la Grendel, or what NGLayout was going to be before the standards issue came up), then it is a Good Thing. If it will delay a release, then I'm afraid I'm less enthusiastic (see comments on slashdot for more sentiments like this).

#3 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Dan!

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 3:37 PM

In response to AIM vs. ICQ, AIM offers many security enhancements. If this is going to be server based, which it most likely is, then there would be no need to know other users' IP addresses. However, this is not the case with ICQ, as when you go into a chat, you connect to everyone else (or to the best of my knowledge). Of course this is better for the server, but there arises many more problems such as some users which do not see other users, and Mac users which are nearly left out altogether in ICQ98...99 does add minor improvements, however. Whoops, I guess I vented my anger of ICQ too much through this MOZILLA thread...oh well :) Couldn't come soon enough, I was starting to hallucinate about what that 'chat' button in Apprunner was...(well, not really)

#4 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by jeremie

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 3:46 PM

What they are doing in this project is *not* creating another instant messaging clone, they are simply creating a pluggable API so that other protocols can be supported via modules easily.

I don't believe that this is one of the critical features for release, but more of a side project.

#5 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Jason Shindler

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 6:22 PM

I guess I agree with this one,4,35410,00.html What's the point? The major competitors to this Mozilla initiative would be AOL/Mirabillis . . . which is all part of the same AOL owned company. It seems as though one arm doesn't know what the other arm is doing! Don't get me wrong..the idea is great, it just doesn't make any businesses sense from Mozilla/AOL perspective. Additionally, imagine the security bugs introduced with a IRC implementation in a web browser. Early versions of MIRC were plagued with them, does Mozilla really want to delve into that???

#6 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by arielb

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 6:49 PM you see that mozilla can work without worrying about AOL

#7 Re: this messaging thingo

by Daniel Hill

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 8:13 PM

i think it's a damn good idea, having everything accessible form the one program. Like AOL, but standards compliant. Good for the newbies. But will AOL promote and support it for, maybe AOL5.0? That is the $4.2 billion question ...

#8 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Geoff Elliott

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 8:29 PM

The document is gone now. Pending review by Netscape the space says.


#9 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by ERICmurphy

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 9:30 PM

Please take a look at No need to invent the wheel twice.

Really, a new AOL could just be Communicator 5 with enhanced, AOL specific dial-up and AOL network access.

#10 Re: Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Gregory

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 11:05 PM

Netscape (Mozilla) can work with out woring about about AOL? Well can they realy, now the project seems to bo on its way out.

#11 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by arielb

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 11:16 PM

uh oh...well taking off the link doesn't look like a great sign

#12 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by arielb

Tuesday April 20th, 1999 11:30 PM

the new AOL means more than just switching browsers. It means switching their proprietary rainmaker for java. That's a big deal

#13 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Quelish

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 12:04 AM

I've always wondered why AOL hasn't shown any initiative to make their 2 chat/messaging systems (ie IM and ICQ) compatible after they bought up Mirabilis. Could this be the first sign that they're working towards it? What we really need to see is some kind of messaging standard in order for it to happen. Then users of ALL chat systems could talk with each other...perhaps Mozilla is leading the charge in that direction with this new projct.

#14 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Stopped

by CPT

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 12:20 AM

I just saw this: "Netscape, the contributor of the Instant Messaging API document, has requested that remove this page pending further review by Netscape."

Makes you wonder how separate Mozilla is from AOL. So much for those Mozilla != Netscape speeches :(

#15 Re:Messaging/Chat Project Started

by Ben G.

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 12:34 AM

I agree with this sort of functionality being optional. There are all sorts of suggestions of integrating x, y and z into Mozilla, but the programs that do these functions are already quite capable (e.g. ICQ, CuteFTP etc). Yes Moz' needs to add some eye candy to compete with IE in the Clueless User stakes, but it should avoid the mistakes that IE4 made by forcing people to install certain things (I'll admit IE5 is better at this).

Can someone explain how this functionality will affect instant messeger clients like ICQ? Will a Mozilla compliant ICQ crashing crash Mozilla itself?

Integration is fine up to a point..

#16 Oh damn...

by Dust Puppy

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 2:02 AM

How can they let netscape blow the project, or even just remove the page???. I meen, is mozilla a separate product or is it just plain old netscape in a semi-opensource "dress"?. I relly thought mozilla was a free product but this relly proves that wrong!

All the aricles about mozillas failiure are beginning to make sense now, even thougt none of them had a clue they maybe got one thing right, nobody outside netscape contibutes so it's practicly netscapes product despite the lisense.

/oh hell

#17 Public Documents

by mattyT

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 4:50 AM

This raises a question about the web pages - are they open? If not, anyone would have the right to pull from them Mozilla, whether they were Netscape or an independent developer.

Even if they were Netscape could still ask Mozilla to remove them. This is a bit fishy, but I wouldn't say it's a serious problem. If Mozilla pulled a page on chat/messaging that was written by an independent developer then it would be serious.

A fork in the source tree would likely kill mozilla now, but once the first release occurs, the developers of the world are free to rip development away from if they are perceived to be catering to AOL's whims.

#18 What's the fuss?

by -=Yusuf=-

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 12:27 PM

Referring to some previous things said about competing with IM and/or ICQ:

I really don't see this argument as going anywhere. So far as _I_ understand it, they're merely building in SUPPORT for these protocols - they're not starting a new protocol or standard or something. And that would mean a hell of a lot less hassle for lots of people -- me included.

Imagine the benefits of being able to communicate via ICQ, IM, IRC, and any other chat protocol using the same interface, the same program! This sounds like it will be the next "coolest thing" after the chrome =)

Nobody's competing; with support for all protocols, everyone wins.


#19 Netscape Removing the page

by jawbone

Wednesday April 21st, 1999 1:58 PM

Well, Netscape contributed the module. If you contributed code and then changed your mind, wouldn't you want to be able to remove it? did not create the API, Netscape did. This was not Netscape killing's work, but Netscape retracting its own.