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Jabber XCP 5.0

Implementing a groupware-based IM product like IBM's Lotus Sametime can be expensive and difficult if you're not already using Lotus Notes. Jabber XCP 5.0 offers an alternative--it's not expensive compared with other non-groupware-based IM servers and because it uses an open standard for IM communication you aren't locked in to a single vendor solution.

Jabber has improved the usability of its product since we last tested it, when we dinged the software for a complex administration interface and for having fewer features than competitive products from IBM, Microsoft, Sun and WiredRed. To gauge the changes, I tested a shipping copy of Jabber XCP 5.0 in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. The product needs some more work, but Jabber now seems well-suited for midsize enterprises with a technical IT staff, and for developers writing extensions.

Updates, Downsides

The UI has been refined slightly, though it's still needlessly complex at points, and the bundled client doesn't have many advanced collaboration features. XCP can run on Linux, Sun Solaris and Windows, and requires a database for features such as message archiving and persistent chat rooms, like many other IM servers. New to this release is support for Microsoft SQL Server, though you can also use PostgreSQL or Oracle. I decided to use Windows 2000 Release 3 with SQL 2000. Installing XCP was relatively painless and straightforward, with the exception of the database and LDAP setup.

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