ICQ as an Internet instant-messaging application requires no introduction. We download and use the ICQ program, technically a client, which communicates with a server (ICQ server) sitting at icq.com. The ICQ groupware package allows you to run an ICQ server on your local network and also comprises the client. The server runs on NT 4 (service pack 3 or higher) or Win 2k. You also need an ODBC compliant database running on the server machine. By default the server uses MS Access database. The client can run on Windows 9x, NT or 2000. Since the package is not distributable, we could not carry it on the CD. You can download this package for free from www.icq.com/groupware. Install the server (icqgwserver) on a central machine and the client (icqgwclient) on all the client machines on you network.
Set up server
On the server machine after a reboot, the ICQ server runs as a service in the background. To configure it, click Start>Programs> ICQ Groupware Server> ICQ Groupware Server. A configuration window will pop up. Click on Admin Settings and fill in the information about your company and add the departments in your company. When the users on the network connect to the server using their ICQ client then this information will be automatically filled in their personal details in the client. Click on the communication tab and fill in the IP address or hostname of your company’s SMTP mail server. This will be used to send the ICQ UIN and password to the users connecting to the server for the first time (see below). ICQ UIN is a unique number used to identify the clients connecting to the server. For Administrator Email, fill in the e-mail address of the person who will be responsible for administering the ICQ server. Using the ODBC tab you can setup the ICQ server to use any ODBC database (besides MS Access) residing on the same machine or a remote machine.
As a user, run the ICQ Groupware client through Start>Programs>ICQ Groupware Client> ICQ Corp on your machine. Fill in the IP address or hostname of the machine running the ICQ server. Click on Request Access.
Fill in your Personal Details. Make sure that you fill in a valid e-mail address so that a new ICQ UIN and password can be mailed to you. Enter a reason for the request and finally click on the Send Registration Request. A new account request will be sent to the ICQ server.
Now on the server machine someone (may be your network administrator) must add the new user and send him (through e-mail) or tell him his new ICQ UIN and password. Bring up the configuration window and click on the User Registration tab. In the Incoming Registration Requests section, the requesting client’s information will be shown.
Select it and click on Add User. The password by default is ICQ. You may change this or click on the option “User must change password at Next Log-on”. Alternatively the administrator can add new users through the User Management tab and subsequently mail it to the corresponding users.
Connect to ICQ server
As a user, check your e-mail for the UIN and password. Start the client and fill in the mailed ICQ UIN and the password and click on login.
If you have used ICQ on the Internet you will feel right at home. You can send instant messages, files, URL and chat in IRC style window. To add users to your list, click on the ICQ button>Search /Add Users. You can search users using their UIN, nickname, first name, last name, email, designation, department etc.
This was just a getting started article. The ICQ groupware package has many more features like access control, logging, redirection of messages etc. Use the Help button on the server configuration window to explore about them.