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An Architect's View

MSN / Yahoo! on iChat

May 13, 2009 ·

Update: some folks didn't like the idea of providing their MSN / Yahoo! credentials to a Czech server so here's a nice secure way to handle iChat connecting to MSN and Yahoo! Multi-protocol iChat using OpenFire
I discovered this today (September 2008) through a colleague so I figured I'd blog it for any other iChat users. Did you know you can use MSN and Yahoo! through iChat? You have to setup a Jabber account with a server that supports the MSN / Yahoo! Transports but it's fairly straightforward. Full instructions here and the recommended Jabber server is (after searching Google for a while). This means I can finally transition off Adium X and use iChat as my one and only IM client! Yay!

Tags: oss · osx

10 responses

  • 1 Stewart // Sep 12, 2008 at 2:26 PM

    You are trusting a server in the Czech Republic the handle the authentication and transport of messages for your yahoo and msn accounts, and spamming these poor security practices the otherwise unknowing users who praise you. wow is all i can say about that.
  • 2 Sean Corfield // Sep 12, 2008 at 2:47 PM

    @Stewart, I would hope that people aren't using the same password for MSN and Yahoo! that they're using for anything important...

    Lots of applications capture people's IM username / password these days. If you don't trust the .cz server, find another Jabber server that offers these bridges. There's a fairly reliable one in Germany I believe. Or you can always set up your own Jabber server.
  • 3 Stewart // Sep 12, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    @Sean You would hope, but unfortunately not everyone is so security minded. Lot's of people use their yahoo and msn accounts to sign up for websites and making online purchases. In some cases people run their entire business with a msn account. While that is not smart for many reasons, for some people having their im account usernames and passwords stolen can lead to fraudulent charges or identity theft. It should not be encouraged.

    I have banned all external IM protocols at the office and set up an internal IM server. Unfortunately, we must collaborate with dev teams in Australia and Germany using MSN, so gateway transport plugins are a godsend and can be very useful in such a scenario. Every user who must use the protocol has an assigned account. While that does allow them to give the account to friends and family and chat to their hearts content it's done in the most secure and controlled environment possible and file transfers are disabled.
  • 4 Sean Corfield // Sep 12, 2008 at 3:56 PM

    @Stewart, there you go - different people have different approaches to security and different needs. Some companies ban IM, some allow them all. Some people don't trust Google, some people do.
  • 5 Dan Skaggs // Sep 13, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    This is actually fairly easy to do on your own server if you have one available. The open-source version of OpenFire ( is fall-down easy to get set up on your own server. It comes with Jetty built in and a very easy to use web-based administration console.

    Once you have that, you simply substitute your server name for the one in the instructions and you're off and running completely on a server that you control.

    I set this up on my Fedora VPS in about 30 minutes this afternoon. I most likely will not continue to use it however. The gateways only allow you to have one account of each type. I have more than one account that connects through Google Talk (via Google Apps accounts) and Adium lets me connect to all of them within the one directly. However, if you only use have one of each of these accounts, it would work great.
  • 6 Tink // Sep 13, 2008 at 12:58 PM

    having never been an iChat user, what is it I'd want from iChat that you dont get with Adium, the video?

    Also what about Skype, and GTalk, you don't have friends colleagues on those?
  • 7 Henry Ho // Sep 13, 2008 at 10:44 PM

    Does it receive offline messages left by your friends? Does it support video conferencing?
  • 8 Sean Corfield // Sep 14, 2008 at 11:10 AM

    @Dan, good to know.

    @Tink, iChat provides audio and video chatting and screen sharing (all of which my team use a fair bit). iChat already does Jabber / Gtalk. I had previously been running Adium X just for MSN and Yahoo! so now I just have iChat running.

    Skype is a different beast since it uses a proprietary protocol anyway.

    @Henry, iChat seems to do that for AIM and Jabber/Gtalk but not over the MSN/Yahoo! Transport it seems.
  • 9 Belle // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM

    Are you saying you were able to set up iChat with jabber and still use the video chat?
  • 10 Sean Corfield // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    @Belle, yes, we use iChat's screen sharing and audio / video chat with our Jabber accounts all the time.