There are many people promoting XMPP on the web and some users try to follow their recommendations and end up in a bad experience, having the impression that nothing works as it should and that they rather should stay with X. When using XMPP there are some things to keep in mind: 1. The server should be well configured. XMPP, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, is a basic protocol. It’s extensions, XEPs, are what makes it really usable. Thus it’s key to use a server which enables the right XEPs. Make sure the your server of choice offers the features you need. 2. You need a good client. Having a good server means the possibillity of a nice experience is given. But you also need to take care when choosing a client. It needs to be able to understand the extensions and make use of them. I will try to give you an analogy: There are different mediums to transfer information, radio waves, morse code, post. Let’s say XMPP is radio waves. And we have two extensions: transmitting voice and transmitting video. Your client can either receive the basic XMPP (static noise) or even supports the XEPs (voice, video). So you have a client “radio” and “TV”. XMPP is federated, it is like Email. If you use WhatsApp (for example) you need to
- have a phone(number)
- install their Client (WhatsApp App)
- use their server
And you can only communicate with people on their server. If you use Email, and use Google as your provider, you can write Emails to people who are at Yahoo, GMX or run their own servers. It’s just like that with XMPP. Furthermore you can encrypt your conversations with PGP, OTR or OMEMO. With all those benefits, why would you want to use a service which can read your conversations, knows all the phone numbers of your friends and forces you to install their closed source app on your computer?
A note about sending and receiving of files: As long as both contacts are online this is not problem at all, the Jingle File gets used to send the files directly from one client to the other. You even can Voice chat if your clients support it. However you can not yet upload a file like on some other services. On the server I could enable httpupload so this would work perfectly fine, but right now I have not the file space to do it and I would like to inform myself further on how to configure file limits. In the end I probably will enable it but will only store the files a certain amount of days. If a user has any objections to this you should let me know
For german speakers I recommend reading this article. XMPP has been around for ages. I already advertised to use it when most of my friends where using ICQ, MSN or AOL Messenger. Already then you could use OTR or PGP encryption and choose your client, the protocol was open, everything was good about it. Now that the protocol majors and gets some good extensions which make it work very good also in mobile environments it is my goal to use XMPP exclusively for instant messaging. Thus I can have privacy and the best control over my data. And still comfortable chat on my computer or mobile phone.
You are not sure why it’s important that a protocol is open? Learn why.
This is some nice news about mobile clients which raises my hopes to get non-tech-interested users to switch to XMPP for good.
And this talks a little about why XMPP is good for your privacy.
The article The State of Mobile XMPP in 2016, which is an answer to the post The (Sad) State of Mobile XMPP in 2014 is well worth reading. Particularly if you think Signal and WhatsApp are safe enough.
On some servers creating an account just means to log in with a account that it not already taken. It will then be created automatically. On others you need to fill in some information. On iodoru I create them by hand.
But I don’t want to install another messenger
That’s what I have been saying since ages. We could have all switched (and stayed) with XMPP ages ago. This article explains calmer than I could why XMPP is the solution. Actually yeah, the early mobile days with XMPP where annoying but now that the good XEPs are out it’s becoming better and better.
It might even be possible that you already own a XMPP account but don’t know about it. openmailbox users get one with their email account. Facebook, GMAIL, FastMail, GMX, Web.de all offered XMPP services for their users. Facebook and GMAIL made their services then incompatible with the protocol or disabled communication outside of their network. Other providers like FastMail closed stopped their services as a result of too few users. I think many users didn’t even know that they had the opportunity to use this service. HipChat also uses XMPP
But Telegram is cool
Telegram runs its own crypto, their Desktop client uses a hacked version of Qt and it is also not federated but has a single point of failure. Furthermore, again you need a phone(number) and has to scan your phone book to add your friends.