Email is a great tool for communication and that is why even in the age of social networks, it persists. However, if you work in an office environment that requires constant and real-time communication between users, email may not cut it. Sometimes you just want to send a quick message without clogging your users Inboxes. What you need is an instant messaging system.

There are quite a number of open source based IM messaging servers; however, I like and have used jabberd over the years. Jabberd2 is an open source implementation of the jabber/XMPP protocol used by popular IM clients.

Installation of jabberd2 on Linux is fairly easy, although you need to know your way around the command line interface and how to edit configuration files.

To start with, install jabberd2. On Fedora/CentOs/RedHat systems:

yum install jabberd

After installation, you will find all configuration files located under /etc/jabberd

You will need to edit the files sm.xml s2s.xml c2s.xml, router.xml; and templates/roster.xml to suit your environment. Then setup your user accounts in your preferred driver backend. Detailed configuration instructions can be found here.

Now all you need to do is install an IM client on your users PCs. There are several of these for all platforms. On Linux; favorites include pidgin and empathy

One cool thing with jabberd2, is that it is very extensible and you can add chat rooms functionality; a sort of ‘circles’ – old school style