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There is a Linux client for AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) from America On Line. I've managed to install and use it -- turned out to be very simple, almost don't need any notes, but here are some anyway. (And, the client looks good -- it is apparently not based on Motif or lesstif (that's just my guess).)

Note: In my installation, I did not have to worry about things like proxies and firewalls -- I use a NAT gateway. (I'm sure that's not a full substitute for security, but it provides some -- the Gibson site seems to be reasonably satisfied.)

See AboutThesePages.


Links and Notes

  • Download -- start here -- you must register to establish an AOL user ID and password -- it's free, and not too many requirements (don't recall exactly -- think you need an email address and agree to the T&C).
  • Installation Instructions -- I installed the RPM (advertised for RedHat, Suse, and Mandrake (7.0 seems to work fine on Mandrake 8.1) -- they also have tgz (source??) and a Debian package (DPKG). Quoting:

  1. Download AIM onto your system.
  2. Log in as root.
  3. On the command line, type the rpm command as shown in the example: rpm -i aim-1.5.234-1.i386.rpm where 1.5.234-1 represents the AIM version and release numbers.
  4. To install a higher version of AIM, use the rpm upgrade option, for example: rpm -U aim-1.5.234-1.i386.rpm ."
  5. To run AIM, log in as a regular user, and type "/usr/local/bin/aim" on the command line. I recommend appending "<space;&" to the command line.

Usage Notes

  • One thing surprised me at first, but seems very intuitive in retrospect -- when you want to temporarily block access you click My AIM --> Away Message and select a message. A window pops up displaying your away message and stays on the screen. When you want to re-enable access, you click on the "I'm Back" command button on that window. Thus, whenever you view AIM, you know whether you have access enabled or not.

  • One thing that can be good or bad depending on the circumstances is that, if you have AIM on one desktop and have switched to another desktop, receipt of an incoming message (and maybe some other events) will make it pop up on top of your current desktop. I haven't looked at the options to see if there is an option to disable this behavior. Nope, don't see any options that seem to address this (there aren't many options).

  • I wonder if there is an option to save a log of a session -- oftentimes not required or appropriate, but if I'm having a technical discussion with someone, I may want to keep a record so I can review it after the conversation is over. At a quick glance, without a session open, I don't see such an option. I'll look again next time I'm online with somebody.

Other Linux AIM Clients

There is a client called GAIM (open source (at least), I believe) that attempts to work for almost all IM services (IRC, AIM, MSN, jabber, ICQ, ...). I found the homepage via a Google search (don't recall the URL -- believe it was on SourceForge). It was at a release around 0.55 when I looked at it (didn't download or try it). Also, I don't know if this is a victim (or potential victim) of the Microsoft / AOL wars where, IIRC, AOL was trying to prevent Microsoft client software from working with AIM.

Church Server Project

Looks like GAIM might be the useful client for the ChurchServerProject assuming we can run it on Windows -- then (hopefully) we could run it against a local IRC or jabber server and give students a taste of what using some variety of IM is like.


  • RandyKramer - 24 Apr 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

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Topic revision: r1 - 2002-04-24 - RandyKramer
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