Up and Running with Jabber

PCQ Bureau
New Update

Public IMs (instant messengers) have become so popular that even a novice computer user would know how to use one. But you have no control over the use of a public IM, including who all are added as buddies from where and what all data is transferred. That said, the power of a messaging client as a productivity tool cannot be understated. And what adds even more power to the IM client is the fact that it can be used as a powerful collaboration tool too.


The answer to the problem is to use enterprise-grade messengers, where you own and operate the server component, and can have a control on the users as well as usage of the system. Domino Sametime, for example is one such software. Jabber is another. In this article, we will see how you can implement a Jabber server and clients.

Jabber is available on many platforms, including Windows and Linux. (For the latest version on Windows, you will have to compile the code yourself.) Here we use the Linux version, installing it on


Direct Hit!

IT managers

Enterprise-wide chat and collaboration

On PCQ Xtreme



The IM server is called Jabberd. It is an open-source IM, which works on XML standards. Theoretically this means any device that supports XML can get connected with this IM server. There are lots of clients available for Jabber. The one that we will be talking about in this article is Coccinella, which is a TCL/Tk based application and has versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Installing and configuring Jabberd 

There are two ways of installing jabber. One is by compiling it from its source tar ball and the other is by using the pre-compiled application. In this article, we talk about installing the pre-compiled jabberd. To do so, first of all you have to copy the file, jabberd-quickstart.tar.tar, from this month's PCQ Xtreme DVD and unpack it like this.

#cp jabberd-quickstart.tar.tar ~


#tar -zxvf jabber-quickstart.tar.tar


With this done, your jabber server is installed and ready to be configured. But before you start the configuration, ensure that your machine has an FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) and MySQL installed and running. To give your machine an FQDN, open the file 'network' in /etc/sysconfig directory and for the 'HOSTNAME=' variable give the desired domain name.

In our case we used the name 'jabber_srv.local'. We used '.local' as the suffix to make sure that while connecting to the jabber server, the client mustn't confuse it as an Internet domain name and that the searching takes place only inside your intranet. Now, if you don't have a DNS server running on your network then open the file, /etc/hosts and add an entry like this.

Machine's_ip_address jabber_srv.local


A coccinella client in a white board session. At the back you can see the chat window runnig in parallel

Here replace Machine's_ip_address with the IP address of your jabber server machine. You can get its IP address by running the ifconfig command. 

After this, check whether MySQL is running in your machine or not. For this run the following



#service mysqld status

If the output says, 'mysqld is stopped' then you have to start it by running the following command.

#service mysqld start


Now you are ready to configure jabberd. First go to the jabberd-quickstart folder and run the following:

#cd ~/jaberd-quickstart


This will open a window with four options: Gen, Users, Start and Quit. Select Gen and follow the instructions. Here, it will ask you to provide the FQDN of the machine, a nickname for the jabber server and finally ask you to create a user who will act as the jabber administrator. Supply all relevant answers and it will come out to the first window. You can add new users to this jabber server in two ways. One is where any client machine is capable to register and create a new user, and the other option says that you can only add new users from the server. By default it is set that only the server will be able to add new users. You can add new users from the same window, by selecting the Users menu and then selecting the Add menu. If you want your jabber client be able to add users remotely, then go to the Users menu and select the 'Reg' sub-menu. It will ask, "Do you wish to allow public registration?" if you say yes here, all the clients will be able to add users.


With all this done, you can now start your jabber server by selecting the Start menu in As the server starts, the 'Start option' will change to Stop, indicating that the server has started and will stop if you select this 'Stop' option.

Installing and using the client

As you have seen, installing the jabber server is not at all difficult. Neither is its client installation. For both Windows and Linux, the only thing you have to do is unzip the Coccinella package from this month's PCQ Xtreme DVD (for both Windows and Linux) and run coccinella.exe in case of Windows or Coccinella.tcl in case of a Linux machine. In some Linux machines, which are not properly updated, you can get an error of older TCL/Tk package. If so, install the following two rpms from this month's PCQ Xtreme CD like this.

#rpm --ivh tcl-8.4.7-1.i386.rpm --force

#rpm --ivh tk-8.4.7-1.i386.rpm --force

And then run the Coccinella.tcl file like this.


To connect the Coccinella client to the Jabber server (if you are trying to create a new user), click on the Jabber menu and select the New Account option. It will open up a dialogue box. Here, enter the desired username and password and click on register. To login with it, select the Jabber menu and click on the Login option. It will open up a new window. Here enter the username and password, and press the login button. You will be online now. If you want to add someone in your buddy list, go to the Jabber menu and click on "Add New User". It will open up a dialogue box where you have to supply the JID (Jabber ID) of the person you want to add. Please note that you must know the JID of the user you want to talk to. If both users are logged in, then they will be able to see each other in their respective Coccinella clients. 

Coccinella looks like an ordinary IM client, but you can do much more with it than mere chatting. Right click on a user who's online, and you'll see various

options such as chat, e-mail, whiteboarding and file sharing. 

Anindya Roy

Jabber Vs Jabber

If you do an online search for Jabber, you will come across two sites, and What is the difference? is the Web presence of the Jabber Software Foundation, while is that of Jabber Inc. Most likely, you have already guessed that is the home of the open-source jabber project. creates commercial products around the jabber protocol, drawing on the opensource jabber


Their products include commercial versions of the products as well as the Jabber Extensible Communications Platform, which developers can incorporate into their products.