Archive:Jabber with Gaim

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If you have not already done so, install Gaim now. Once you have Gaim installed creating a jabber accounts takes only a few seconds.

Registering for a Jabber account

Start using Jabber IM today! Get your friends to join up!

So here's what you do from within Gaim:

  • Tools > Accounts > Add > (User, Name, Pass) > Register > Connect
  1. Go to Tools -> Accounts
  2. "Add" an account
  3. Choose the Jabber Protocol
  4. Enter in the requested information
  5. When you're done, hit "Register", NOT "save"

(More detailed instructions can be found at, under section 5, titled "Registering An Account")

What is Jabber?

So what is Jabber? It's an open source IM protocol which anybody can run a server for, unlike AIM, where AOL owns all of the servers and has complete control over you. The open source community is trying to make Jabber the standard for the industry actually, but Microsoft is pushing for an implementation of the SIMPLE protocol (which itself is not yet a ratified Internet standard) that is not consistent with published specifications [1] [2].

So it's really important to get people to use Jabber right now!

It's really easy to make an account for Jabber, it should take literally a minute. If you don't have your own Jabber server, you can just use the public server at You can set this up from within Gaim, an open source, cross-platform IM program that works in both Windows and Linux, and very similar programs work in MacOSX, such as Adium [3]. Download Gaim here:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: So you don't even have to go to any website?

A: Nope.

Q: Should I make a different screenname? Or use the same one?

A: Just use the same one as your normal AIM name. It's easier to remember, and chances are it won't be taken.

Q: What's the alias for?

A: The alias on your account only changes how your own screenname appears to you in IMs. So if you don't like seeing "" when you type to people, you can make it say just "mylongname" or "@#$Q@#$%#" or whatever.

Q: How do I sign on with the Jabber name and add Jabber buddies to my buddy list?

  • Go to Tools -> Accounts
  • Check the "online" box
  • If you want it to login automatically when you open Gaim, check the auto-login box. It doesn't hurt to check this option, since Gaim won't run any slower if you're using more than one IM network at once.
  • To add Jabber names to your buddy list, select Buddies -> Add Buddy, making sure to select your Jabber account as the account type.

Nelson Pavlosky's name is skyfaller "at" jabber 'dot' org

Now, in Gaim you can use the Jabber protocol and the AIM protocol both at once. You can IM your AIM friends with AIM and your Jabber friends with Jabber. They show up in the same buddy list, with the only difference being in how they look -- the Jabber icon is a lightbulb instead of the AIM running man.

Q: Why does my name say /GAIM at the end?

A: That's so if you have more than one copy of Jabber running, say one at school and one at home, messages can be directed to the right place. The same applies if you're running more than one instance of Gaim on the same machine for some reason. To prevent confusion, or for convenience, you can give each Jabber screenname an alias (such as "Nelson Pavlosky") by right-clicking on the screenname, selecting "Alias", and writing in whatever you want to call the user.

Q: How do I set my user info?

A: If you want to set your user info, go to Tools -> Protocol Actions -> -> Set user info. The user info will be the profile that other people see.

Q: How do I group two different screennames (belonging to the same person) together?

A: You probably don't want to see both the AIM name and Jabber name of the same person on your buddy list. There's a way that you can bundle the two together. Right click on a Jabber screenname and select "Expand". The screenname should look like it's in a little folder by the same name. Now drag and drop AIM screennames belonging to that person into the little folder.

If you click on the little arrow to collapse the folder, it will now appear as if you only have the person's Jabber name on your buddy list. However, if you right click on it and Expand it again, you can see both names. If you IM the person, it will default to sending to the Jabber name, unless the Jabber name is disconnected or away, in which case it will send to the AIM name instead.

And that's the tutorial! Voila! Courtesy of Free Culture Swarthmore.