So XMPP is the closest thing to an IM protocol that doesn’t suck. I’ve never read the protocol or tried to implement it, nor do I really want to, but it’s better than all the others. It is better because it’s a real, open standard, and not controlled by any one group, organization, or (most importantly) company. I don’t have to worry about a massive media conglomerate (which shall remain nameless for this paragraph) breaking the protocol my IM client uses so I have to use their client — which is proprietary, and only available in binary form, which makes it simultaneously buggier than most anything else on my system, difficult to find a version for my particular flavor of Linux, and impossible to fix if I find problems in it.
Unfortunately for me, my whole family has gone the evil corporate route of AOL/TW for their IM’ing, including my brother in El Salvador and parents in North Carolina. Since the political party curently in charge of El Salvador these days is the same one that was running death squads and murdering missionaries in the 1980s, and the president of El Salvador said today that if CAFTA (single file) doesn’t pass the U.S. Congress when it comes up for a vote this month, “Central America could return to the instability of the 1980s,” keeping up with the fam is pretty important to me. Important enough to be forced to use an IM client that supports AIM, even though I much prefer Gossip‘s simple, HIG-compliant interface.
(Naturally, I spotted the comments by El Salvador’s President on the CNN crawl while taking a break from cramming for a final in one of my classes later tonight. I almost believe that God has a problem with me getting a degree.)