Sunday, January 4, 2009

GTalk And Protocol Transports

My preferred IM system is Jabber and the open XMPP standard so I was very happy when Google choose XMPP as the platform for the GTalk service. But what about the all the other IM services? There are several solutions. The simplest is to run separate clients for each service. This works best on Windows where you can use the official clients but on Linux official clients are not always available. On Linux, there are a few multi-protocol clients and many people prefer that solution. I prefer to use a XMPP only client with a protocol transport on a remote server.

XMPP protocol transports are proxies which translate the between XMPP and the proprietary protocol. It works well most of the time. There are two big problems with it. You have to find a reliable transport server and your jabber service has to talk to the server properly. For a long time now in Australia and GTalk have worked perfectly for me. Until a couple of days ago, that is.

First problem is appear to have closed the server to non-members. That's disappointing since it was very reliable but the choice is understandable. When I tried other transport servers, I found that GTalk no longer talks to any of them properly. When I connect to the protocol server via my account at, everything works perfectly, so the failure is definitely GTalk. Its a free service so I can't really complain, but it is annoying. Bug reports have been filed so we just have to wait for a fix.

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