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Russian Google Competitor Embraces Open Source Messaging 127

Posted by timothy
from the bilingual-pun-says-wikipedia dept.
rm writes "Internet search and mail provider Yandex, which many view to be Google's main competitor in Russia, has recently added an instant messaging capability to its mail notifier application Ya.Online. As it turns out, the IM service is based on the open XMPP protocol, with connectivity to all other public Jabber servers available from day one. MacOS X and GNU/Linux versions of the app were also released (complete with sources under the GPL) and are determined to be based on the Psi IM client. Yandex looks to be a firm believer in open-source, also running a mirror site for FOSS and actively promoting its branded version of Firefox. Here's hoping that its affair with XMPP will help eliminate ICQ's enormous foothold in Russia."
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Russian Google Competitor Embraces Open Source Messaging

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They're communists! Duh.

  • Missing info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:33PM (#24907053)

    As it turns out, the IM service is based on the open XMPP protocol

    The summary makes it sound like this is some major advantage over Google. GTalk is also based on XMPP.

    But hey, Slashdot needs to pay the bills, and this makes a great Slashvertisment for Yandex.

    • Re:Missing info (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z80xxc! (1111479) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:43PM (#24907111)

      True. Also, Facebook claims that it will be implementing XMPP eventually. That would bring millions of users an open standard chat protocol. And hopefully make currently-buggy facebook chat actually work.

      One reason I like Gtalk over Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, etc. is that it can talk to others not using Gtalk as long as they have some sort of XMPP-compatible chat client and an XMPP account with someone somewhere.

      • Re:Missing info (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:50PM (#24907143) Homepage

        Yeah because you can't talk with people using MSN, ICQ, so on so on as long as they have an MSN, ICQ-compatible client and an account for that ..

        Atleast ICQ is better than MSN, and russian (?) QIP supports both ICQ and Jabber so that makes it easier for the russians which want both.

        I'd like to try to convince people to use XMPP but as long as it don't support voice and webcam there is no reason to even try. There must be a couple of clients which does it in the same way first.

        I'd prefer if people used SIP I guess if it wasn't because people have a hard time getting it to work behind firewalls.

        I was given a link to http://www.eyeballchat.com/ [eyeballchat.com] from a GIRL a day or so ago and that seems to be a SIP + XMPP client in one package, and also got past firewalls, but sadly it's Windows only so I haven't tried it :(

        • Re:Missing info (Score:5, Informative)

          by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:11PM (#24907245)
          Well when we say "an XMPP account with someone somewhere" we mean an XMPP account with any federated XMPP server; any domain. Can you set up your own AIM server and add it to the network? Also, Jabber is extensible and has voice chat through Jingle [wikipedia.org], which is what gtalk uses.
        • Re:Missing info (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:13PM (#24907267)

          Yeah because you can't talk with people using MSN, ICQ, so on so on as long as they have an MSN, ICQ-compatible client and an account for that ..

          An account for that... on MSN. Accounts on those networks are tied to the operator of the network. XMPP is decentralised, like email, so ISPs can provide their own servers, or you can use your own server.

          I'd like to try to convince people to use XMPP but as long as it don't support voice and webcam there is no reason to even try.

          XMPP supports voice and video through the Jingle extension [xmpp.org], which originally came from and is supported by GTalk, if I recall correctly.

          • Re:Missing info (Score:4, Interesting)

            by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @01:07AM (#24907805) Homepage

            Gtalk don't do video, it does audio, however there are only a very limited amount of clients which supports the audio part. For instance Pidgin and Adium don't*.

            I appologise if I missread/missunderstood if you where talking about running a server by oneself.

            * Sure it was nice to see atleast miranda there, but well, until most / enough clients support it it won't help much and voice isn't enough, most people use skype/teamspeak/ventrilo for voice only anyway

            But webcam/voip have always been of very low priority by the developers of pidgin/libpurple and therefor adium is lacking to (since it use their libs.)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              This summer there was a Summer of Code project for Voice/Video and I think the guy made pretty good progress, but I think right now if you grab the VV branch from monotone and are able to compile it you will only be able to talk to people who are also using Pidgin. But at least it's a start, and maybe next summer someone will finish the job, if the developers aren't able to finish it or don't want to (I suspect more of the latter, but I'm OK with it since the only person I would talk to on google talk is my
            • by Cyberax (705495)

              Empathy on GNOME works fine with audio AND video over the XMPP.

              Jingle is extensible, it can support just about any payload type you can think of :)

              • by aliquis (678370)

                Cool, I wonder if the adium people think it's to much work to use their implementation, I guess it may be as much changes as writing it yourself =P

        • by wertigon (1204486)

          There are some XMPP clients out there that supports both voice and video. GTalk supports voice for instance. However there are currently no standard way to do it, which kinda sucks.

          Thing is, there's this newfangled stream technology for XMPP called Jingle that has been in the pipeline for atleast two-three years now. It's in last call and has been for ages. Once that standard go draft, clients will implement it about a year after that. But Jingle is taking so long I'm beginning to suspect Duke Nukem Forever

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          from a GIRL a day or so ago

          LIES!

          • by aliquis (678370)

            heh, actually she even told me to install it so we could use it for webcam! Though she's made it pretty clear that, uhm, I don't remember, in some way she didn't liked me (obviously..) in the mail before so I told her I thought we was done talking to each other and how I didn't see the purpose in that (and that I couldn't use the application but how cool it was with a girl using SIP and Jabber instead of MSN ...)

            I know it sounds way weird, both sip and jabber and then webcam as well? Maybe it was a transves

        • http://www.eyeball.com/products/messenger.html [eyeball.com]

          I don't know if there is any difference since I've not used the apps. But eventually there are so I better mention it.

        • Yeah because you can't talk with people using MSN, ICQ, so on so on as long as they have an MSN, ICQ-compatible [so on so on] client and an account for that ..

          Emphasis added, as well as the second so-on-so-on.

          And that's the key part: I have to have an MSN account, and an ICQ account, and a Yahoo account, and a Zephyr account, and a Gadu-Gadu account, and a QQ account, and a $PROTO account.

          Then I need an MSN client, and a ..., and a $PROTO client. If I'm really lucky, I can find one universal IM client that doesn't completely suck ass through a very thin straw when I want to IRC with it. If I'm really lucky, it supports all the protocols I want to use.

          [If you ca

          • by aliquis (678370)

            I'm well aware of the benefits of Jabber, but regular people don't care if I'm the only one using jabber but all their friends use MSN and everything works with it.

            An eventual future where everyone use XMPP would be nice, but that's not the case for now and will probably not be for the next 3-4 years at least, and probably 5+ if at any time.

            So for most people it would probably be more like they can use microsofts messenger now, and everything works, or install an additional one to add me on jabber, which th

        • I'd prefer if people used SIP I guess if it wasn't because people have a hard time getting it to work behind firewalls.

          SIP itself is typically just as simple to get working from behind a firewall as most any other chat protocol. It normally uses a single TCP stream for text chat and as a control channel, and firewalls have been able to adequately forward TCP streams forever.

          The problems start when you want to establish voice or video chat, since those require end-to-end UDP packet delivery. The only (semi-)

        • I was given a link to http://www.eyeballchat.com/ [eyeballchat.com] from a GIRL a day or so ago and that seems to be a SIP + XMPP client in one package, and also got past firewalls, but sadly it's Windows only so I haven't tried it :(

          What a novel idea- get GIRLs to give out links. That's how to get /.ers to download software from companies they've never heard of.

          By the way, if the software Windows-only, then write to the devs and let them know that there is demand for their software on Linux || Mac || your OS of choice. If you don't ask for it then the devs will never know.

          • by aliquis (678370)

            The link may be for an older version, the one I wanted to link to was eyeball messenger, but I only searched for eyeball and took the first hit from google.

            Anyway if I remember correctly I did mail them and asked about technologies used (since they claim MSN support and such as well, I guess only thru transports though) and told them I couldn't run it because I used OS X.

            • Very cool that you stand up for your OS. I'm not fanboi but if we are not vocal about our _existence_ then nobody will ever write software for our platform.

      • Re:Missing info (Score:5, Interesting)

        by t0tAl_mElTd0wN (905880) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:55PM (#24907167) Homepage
        I've worked with XMPP, and despite having it's own organization devoted to developing the standard, it suffers from a lot of issues regarding actual standardization. Most of these issues are in the form of deprecated extensions. I think that will be the biggest hurdle for XMPP - yay standardization and open source and all that, but when old clients do things in a deprecated way and new clients do things the right way and don't bother with the deprecated features (because they're deprecated) then you start having some issues. Just look at all the extensions and tell me that this is a viable protocol for interoperability: http://www.xmpp.org/extensions/ [xmpp.org]
        • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:38AM (#24908129)

          Thats not really fair.

          Show me a public/open protocol used on the internet that has a peice of software that supports ALL of its features.

          I don't suspect you'll even be able to find a FULLY compliant SMTP or HTTP client or server. Possibly something on the FTP client list.

          HTTP is extensible, once you take that into account its practically impossible to have 100% interoperability. My web browser for instance could give a damn about the fact that IIS says its running ASP.NET crap.

          Even my browser doesn't know what to do with the ASP.NET header, it still works. Actually, it does know what to do with it, which is nothing, but thats coincidence in this case. Some other web server could possibly send me a header that DOES require action of some sort, and my browser may not know what to do with it. But I'm not really worried about not viewing pages.

          I've been using Openfire as an XMPP server for a few years, a good year within the current company I work for, I've yet to have a problem with connecting between clients for sending IMs, internal or external. I communicate with several people on googles service, and many scattered across the Internet with their own servers, god knows how many clients shared between Linux, OS X, Windows and even an OpenSolaris machine or two.

          If you think the xmpp extensions are bad, you should take a look at specs like HTML and CSS. They are certainly 100% doable, but NO ONE does. You do what you need to do to work with most clients/targets the rest is gravy.

          • by WWWWolf (2428)

            I don't suspect you'll even be able to find a FULLY compliant SMTP or HTTP client or server.

            Oh, SMTP and HTTP protocols are easy as pie. But you'll need to make difference between the communications protocols and the data that they move around.

            It's the presentation and interpretation of data that's spotty - and there's a good reason for that. It's not feasible to support all of those features in all situations. The protocols are designed that way, just to move the data: even if your client doesn't support, say, displaying images in the web, you can still damn well download them.

            In other words, the

          • I don't suspect you'll even be able to find a FULLY compliant SMTP or HTTP client or server. Possibly something on the FTP client list.

            HTTP is extensible, once you take that into account its practically impossible to have 100% interoperability. My web browser for instance could give a damn about the fact that IIS says its running ASP.NET crap.

            Even my browser doesn't know what to do with the ASP.NET header, it still works. Actually, it does know what to do with it, which is nothing, but thats coincidence in

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dotancohen (1015143)

            You really should take a look at the /. headers, they are full of X-* jokes and puns.

        • by am 2k (217885)

          despite having it's own organization devoted to developing the standard [...] Most of these issues are in the form of deprecated extensions.

          "despite" is the wrong word here. If you have a bunch of people that are paid for developing a standard, that standard will constantly evolve.

          I think the real reason for all those changes all the time is that the standard is relatively new. This will settle in the next few years, when the optimal solution for every feature has been found.

          However, even now it's not that bad, because implementing most of those extensions is relatively easy, and supporting both the new and old variant of features can be done (

      • by winphreak (915766)

        Also, Facebook claims that it will be implementing XMPP eventually. That would bring millions of users an open standard chat protocol. And hopefully make currently-buggy facebook chat actually work.

        OT, but I was wondering if you had a source on the facebook chat XMPP thing or if it was just a rumor.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Z80xxc! (1111479)

          OT, but I was wondering if you had a source on the facebook chat XMPP thing or if it was just a rumor.

          Yes — I originally read about it in the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]; it cited a facebook developers blog post [facebook.com] as the source.

      • True. Also, Facebook claims that it will be implementing XMPP eventually. That would bring millions of users an open standard chat protocol.

        Sure, but note that nowhere in that post does it say they are connecting to the other XMPP networks, they only mention logging into your facebook chat with another client. Too bad they haven't committed to taking down any part of the walls around their garden.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        I believe livejournal also supports XMPP...

        Incidentally, ICQ by using numeric identifiers is incredibly prone to spam, i still maintain an ICQ number and i get flooded with spam, most of which is russian.

        • by am 2k (217885)

          In my experience, you only get ICQ spam when you enable the web indicator, because those spamming bots only send their messages to online account.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yandex doesn't really need any advertising. It has a well-established market presence in the Russian-speaking world, and no services for other languages. Not every sketchily-written summary involving two corporations is a Slashvertisement, captain.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      I agree. The summary is bunk. I setup an XMPP federation for the company I work for, and about 5 minutes after the first server was up and running, my client was communicating with a Google employee via xmpp to their GTalk client.

      Its worked great and I encourage anyone who wants to communicate with me via IM to use GTalk if they do not have any other XMPP alternative.

      This IS the way to go (currently) for instant messaging. Its like SMTP for ANY type of message, not just text, with some state and status i

      • Google doesn't support S2S (server to server) part of XMPP protocol. With Google Talk you are limited to talk only to other Google Talk users.

        Description implies that Yandex simply made its clone of existing XMPP client which supports S2S out of box.

        P.S.

        Here's hoping that its affair with XMPP will help eliminate ICQ's enormous foothold in Russia.

        Knowing conservatism of Russians, I wouldn't hold my breath. ICQ is popular because there are lots of different clients for it with tons of features. XMPP would take some time to catch up.

        Also, due to age of ICQ protocols, many firewalls support i

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As it turns out, the IM service is based on the open XMPP protocol

      The summary makes it sound like this is some major advantage over Google. GTalk is also based on XMPP.

      But hey, Slashdot needs to pay the bills, and this makes a great Slashvertisment for Yandex.

      And THAT was the part you found odd in the summary? I was personally boggled by the "Many view Yandex as Google's main competitor in russia" part.

      Oh really? Do they? Maybe that has something to do with the fact that in Russia, Yandex beats Google by a large margin. Yandex has about 40% share while google.ru about 20% share. Google isn't the worst competitor to Yandex, there.

      Technically, it is still correct to say that, just like it would be correct to say "Many view google to be Yahoo's main competitor" but

    • The summary makes it sound like this is some major advantage over Google.

      That is not the point. The post is not to imply that Yandex is somehow better than Google now. In fact, Google is mentioned more as a way to answer the inevitable "Yandex-who?", and as an eyecatch. :)

      The real news here is that a company with 50%+ market (and mind-) share in a sizeable part of Internet, which serves as a success story for all other Internet-based companies in the region, decides to throw its weight behind FOSS and op

  • "Here's hoping that its affair with XMPP will help eliminate ICQ's enormous foothold in Russia."

    Why?

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by willyhill (965620) <{pr8wak} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:36PM (#24907077) Homepage Journal

    Looking at that disaster of a front page, I'd say these guys are competing with Yahoo, not Google.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jerf (17166) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:57PM (#24907179) Journal

      Cultures vary surprisingly widely on what constitutes "good design". Many Asian cultures, for instance, all but require you to have a very busy page.

      In a way, I'm surprised at how some of it turns out. If you came up to me and asked me which of the "East" or "West" would prefer Google to Yahoo, I'd have picked East to prefer the Google aesthetic and West to prefer the Yahoo approach, but I would be wrong. (Very, very broadly speaking. I am aware I am generalizing, this is a Slashdot comment, not a sociology PhD thesis. Please don't cite "a counterexample" at me and think it proves anything.)

    • Have another look at both pages. Yahoo is cluttered and about three screens deep.

      Yandex's home page is just one simple screen and easy to look at. Much closer to Google than Yahoo's unreadable mess.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by sulfur (1008327) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:36PM (#24907407)
      Yandex has a light [ya.ru] version of their website (even more minimalistic than Google), just like Yahoo [yahoo.com]. The reason why Yandex is still more popular than Google in Russia is because it handles language-specific morphological variations of words better.
      • by willyhill (965620)

        Ah, yes. Very good, thanks. I wonder why the submitter linked to the other one.

        And boy, that is minimalistic. Nice and clean.

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by wumpus188 (657540)
      You're looking at the wrong page. Try this one [ya.ru].
    • On Russian (or quite possibly ex-USSR/CIS) market, Yandex is a #1 search provider regardless. And I'm not aware of any plans of theirs to compete on search on foreign markets.
  • ... a thousand Soviet Russia jokes.
  • Gchat (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lost Engineer (459920) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:59PM (#24907185)

    Gchat also uses XMPP, and you can use any client that supports the protocol, like say Pidgin.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Right, but GoogleTalk is not Open Source, see: http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS?hl=en [google.com]

      And GoogleTalk isn't available for GNU/Linux.

      And Google doesn't host a mirror of OSS projects (except GoogleCode, which is different).

      Anything else?

      • Re:Gchat (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:13PM (#24907269) Journal

        That's the beauty of it: GoogleTalk doesn't need to be open source. Because it uses an open protocol, we can make our own tools to communicate with it, rather being stuck with Google's.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          That is of course true, but that doesn't mean that Google's implementation is anywhere near as open as Yandex.

          Google: Open Protocol, Closed Client
          Yandex: Open Protocol, Open Client

          Looks like Yandex wins.

          • by speedtux (1307149)

            Seems to me Google is better, since they are actually encouraging the use of other clients.

            • They are "encouraging the use of other clients" by not providing an option for Linux. I think you should have said they are "requiring the use of other clients if you want an Open Source solution."

              So, they are better because they're offering is closed source and thus encouraging people to use another client?

              • by speedtux (1307149)

                by not providing an option for Linux

                Why should they? There are several excellent options for Linux as well, and they are pre-installed. How could they possibly do better than that?

                So, they are better because they're offering is closed source and thus encouraging people to use another client?

                No, they are better because they rely on existing solutions where they exist. Linux ships with XMPP clients, Windows does not. Hence, they need to do something for Windows. Windows is the exception here that require

          • Nothing is stopping you from using any open client with gtalk.

  • Google Searches You!!!

    Well my karma is in the way down, might as well encourage it!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't it be just joined, takes up.. emm .. anything else?

    I always wondered why different people from every part of the world came to "embrace" open source?

    This open source guy must be a very cosy man .. or a very good kisser ;)

  • I was wondering about the status of open source in Russia. I knew they had recently invaded the neighboring country of Georgia and had been involved in some atrocities against civilians and journalists, but in the midst of all that I was like, "hey, where is this country with the whole open source thing?" Thank you for your efforts to clear this up.
  • Even if Yandex wishes to believe this, it's no competitor even to Yahoo or MSN etc, because it is first a directory with results being ranked based on who paid more. Simply search for 'russkey' in yandex vs any other search engine. First few dozens of pages from yandex will be results of a Russian firm while results from other search engines will be ranked based on the popularity of FF add on.

  • by mzs (595629) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:35AM (#24908315)

    I wish something open standards would come along that could kill Gadu Gadu in Poland.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadu_gadu [wikipedia.org]

    The Gadu Gadu client for Windows used to be a lot like the original versions of ICQ, now it is a bloated and ad supported POS. Good luck with it if you want to use it on a Mac or Unix-alike there used to be official clients that worked, but for about two years now using clients other than the official ones has been forbidden with the network. The open source projects have varying degrees of working but it seems that the protocol is tweaked every now and then so it is hard to keep-up.

  • But at least I now know a good mirror where I can download Linux distros :-)

  • See ejabberd home page [process-one.net].
    This is a flexible and powerful XMPP server written in Erlang.
  • The largest ISP in Portugal who detains the largest portal (SAPO [www.sapo.pt]) developped (along with the Psi team, like Justin Karneges, one of Psi creators) the SAPO Messenger [messenger.sapo.pt] it's own IM back in 2004 with the same features plus, SMS and VOIP to land lines and mobiles, gateway to MSN,ICQ etc ... so I don't the understand where from came the idea the Russia is such an enterpreneur country.

  • Holy shit, their firefox version is way at 3.5.2.

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