Book Excerpt: JDS Instant Messenger (IM)

This excerpt from Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop teaches you how to instant message friends and colleagues from your desktop system.
Privacy Control

Instant Messenger offers fine-grained control over whom you permit to contact you. This is a very important feature, because instant messaging can seriously disrupt your attention on the desktop. Without Privacy Control, instant messaging is useful only in personal or social contexts and can scarcely be used in business settings. It also allows users to maintain large Buddy Lists, while permitting only a few chosen individuals to make incoming contact.

To control privacy, go from your Buddy List to Tools > Privacy, where the window offers a variety of choices via a drop-down list. (Figure 10.) Among Privacy settings, the following choices are available:

  • Allow all users to contact me

  • Allow only the users on my buddy list

  • Allow only the users below

  • Block all users

  • Block the users below

Figure 10. Privacy Window, in Default Mode

In the Privacy window, you can establish different privacy settings for each of your different instant messaging accounts, using the "Set privacy for" drop-down in the Privacy window. Figure 11 illustrates a restrictive privacy policy setting, in which the user has permitted instant messaging access to only two colleagues.

Figure 11. Adjusting Privacy Settings

Transferring files

JDS Instant Messenger is in the beginning stages of offering the ability to transfer files over an instant messaging session. File transfer is supported to varying degrees by the different instant messaging services and protocols.

Generally, you can send and receive files that are less than 1 MB in size; however, protocol support must exist at both ends of a file transfer for success. Trial-and-error is a good way to see whether file transfer works for you with certain colleagues. Support may sometimes be present but undocumented.

Tom Adelstein lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Yvonne, and works as a Linux and open-source software consultant with Hiser+Adelstein, headquartered in New York City. He's the co-author of the book Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop and the upcoming book Essential Linux System Administration, to be published by O'Reilly and Associates. Tom has been writing articles and books on Linux since early 1999.

Sam Hiser is a GNU/Linux consultant and migration specialist based in New York City. He was volunteer Marketing Project Lead and consultant to Sun Microsystems for the development project through its 20-millionth download. Along with Adelstein, Hiser founded, a community site providing support and resources to users of the Java Desktop System around the world.



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JDS now supports all protocols

tadelste's picture

In the download section of you will find the most current updates to gaim which supports protocols originally missed in the first versions of JDS, when the product was release in 2003.

You can also find 200 or so updates and additional software in that repository.

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