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Full Version: A server free Instant Messenger for wifi pda's.
OESF Forums > Distros, Development, and Model Specific Forums > Everything Development > User Request for Applications
al
I would like to see a instant messenger application that would enable WiFi pda users to chat directly without the use of a public server.

The app would have to:
- detect other pda's running the app or have to ability to add the ip address of other pdas
- have a secure option
- possibly have a group chat option

The only way I can do something similar to this at present is to install apache, and run a php chat script with the other wifi pda browsing to my ip address.

Any takers?

Cheers,

Al.
Zazz
Install an irc server tongue.gif. Has all the requested features (and many more). Proven technology. Compatible with existing clients. Much smaller footprint than apache.
al
Is there such a think already compiled and in an ipk for the Zaurus?

Preferablty on OZ3.2, or can somebody take me through compiling one?

Cheers,

Al.
lardman
QUOTE
Install an irc server


Surely this defeats the point of the exercise?

In any case if everyone has an IRC server running, will this work?

What you need first off is an ip address. Look at ZeroConf which can nogotiate amongst devices to assign IP addresses. Another part of the ZeroConf 'system' is service advertising. You could use this to advertise some kind of chat service I suppose. What about something like UNIX 'write' (is that the name?).

I also agree that something like this would be pretty cool, especially if it were cross-platform (lots of people have PocketPCs, Palms, etc.) and could also use bluetooth.


Si
Zazz
I haven't looked at zeroconf, but a plain standard setup with dhcpd giving out ip-addresses for an ad-hoc wifi network works very well and can commicuate with all sorts of client platforms. If you feel the need to advertise your services, why not go the standard way again and serve a web page (bozohttpd with all features enabled makes a 39k binary)?
grey_moon
something like netsend in windoze?
al
Just something like Gaim, but like I said, without the server.

You know how blue tooth devices, or netbios machines detect each other? Just like that, so if the service/application is active, then a connection can be made. I suppose there could be a similar detection over wifi.

Good idea,shame I don't have the development skills!

Al.
lardman
Once again, if both devices are running a dhcp server, how will this work?

This is not a very fault tolerant way of achieving the desired end. Even if everyone has a dhcp server ready to start up if it can't obtain an IP address from another (already running) server, what happens when the guy whose device is hosting the dhcp server decides he wants to go, anyone who was having a conversation will be left in the lurch until a new dhcp server starts up. Not a big thing, but there are other issues to do with two dhcp groups joining together.

Take a look at http://www.zeroconf.org/

I've actually got some Rendezvous (The Mac implementation of ZeroConf) binaries compiled for the Z. I'll dig them out and post a link. If you can't be bothered to wait, do a google for 'howl and ZeroConf' for the source.

However, even after everyone has an IP address, you'll need to come up with a ubiqitous chat protocol, etc. Don't misinterpret my slightly negative comments, I'm keen to get something up and running but if we do this it ought to make a decent go of it.

On a related note, you can use smbclient to 'net send' to Windows XP computers (which also just happen to 'support' - in the Microsoft makes it slightly different kind of way - ZeroConf out of the box). This is good in that lots of people have this inbuilt functionality and won't need to install anything, but it's not ideal.


Si
lardman
http://sgp.zaurii.net/binaries/howl-0.7.2b.zip

This is not the latest version (I compiled it a while ago), I'll compile the latest version and post that too.

Some more links which may be of interest:
http://www.midipig.com/sketch/index.html
http://zeroconf.sourceforge.net/zeroconf-l...lca2003/t1.html

Si
lardman
More links..... :-)

This would be a good thing to get working (or rather something like this): http://www.buzzone.net/eng/keyfeatures.html

Another random link which is for another similar product: http://www.inventop.com/what.html

The real issue I still have is that unless you just want to talk to other Zaurus users (which isn't in itself a bad thing, but we're few and far between compared with PocketPC users) we need a solution which works on pretty much all platforms.


Si
RichS
I'd just like to place my vote for this! Great idea and I'd even be happy to buy it!

I'd like something like the old windows winpopup. No server, no IP address, just a name. And you can broadcast to a group or to everyone, a great way to let people know you're there.

I can't help with linux development right now (lost yet another computer), but I'd be happy to help with win development and any testing!
Zazz
QUOTE
... we need a solution which works on pretty much all platforms.

Install an IRC server.


Seriously, I understand the problems of IP address negotiation (although I haven't yet met too many PDAs running DHCP servers wink.gif) and just installed zeroconf's zcip on my Z (with no opportunity to test it yet).

But a non-stardard proprietary application is certainly not the solution to the problem (and the chances of the mentioned commercial applications become standards are infinitesimal). And under no circumstances whatsoever would I have windows/wince users in the vicinity pop up annoying message-boxes on my Z, the mere thought of it is just gross. :twisted:
RichS
Why "non-standard"? Winpopup uses _standard_ samba message send/receive! And it's already built-in both the win and linux machines. Al we'd need is a user interface. Although I haven't figured out how to receieve on the Z yet and that may need some help with a full samba server. But, we already have that too!

The problem of running any kind of server has already been addressed, and it won't work!
al
Lardman,

The two applications you mention above seem exactly what we're after. This with the zeroconf would be ideal.

Another thought I had was to do with wifi connections - the use of either reserved or user defined SSiDs (using some sort of format - Wellenreiter detection?) would get the devices on the same network, then after that, zeroconf can determin ip. The likes of Wellenreiter could even be used to scan for such networks.

Zazz

I know that people have their own opinions about the Microsoft and Open Source battle, but I don't see the point of restricting the systems from talking to each other. If feelings are that strong, then some sort of machine identification could be broadcast so the app could have an option to refuse connections from said machines.

Al.
lardman
QUOTE
But a non-stardard proprietary application is certainly not the solution to the problem


I quite agree, I was simply commenting on the abilities which the BuzZone application has (and all in a nice looking package too).

If the developers would release some info on the protocols then at least we could make a similar (open source) app which would be compatible. There are lots of cool things which one could do, but unless there's someone else out there (or prefereably lots of people) with the same software then you'll not be having much use for it just on your own.

QUOTE
although I haven't yet met too many PDAs running DHCP servers


Yep, but if this becomes a commonly used app (and it needs to be to be useful, etc.) then there will be lots. I still stand by the issues of using multiple dhcp servers. It think that ZeroConf handles these issues well and that it is the logical way to go (not least because it also handles service discovery too).

I'm still anti the IRC idea, simply because I don't think that having to have one person acting as the server is a good idea. I just don't think that it's robust enough for general purpose use (though it would be if you were careful, but I'm thinking big here ;-)). I do like the interface though. The truth is that if you use ZeroConf and grab an IP address, you could then advertise an http server or some other chat type program (like UNIX's write, link to something similar: http://unixpapa.com/write.html) on a random port and have people talk to you, but perhaps we should aim higher....? (more like an MS messenger sort of thing)

Samba/winpopup is fair enough, it'd mean we could communicate with other Windows users (not sure about PocketPCs though... anyone?), but I'd personally like to have some more integration to my service discovery and messaging (and if it's integrated then it would be relatively easy to skip using samba - which is a large install - and use a separate and simpler protocol). That said I'd still keep smbclient so I could send random abuse (the bible, word by word for example :twisted: ) to Windows users.

To tell the truth I'm surprised that there's not already an app like this in existance.


Si
lardman
QUOTE
just installed zeroconf's zcip on my Z (with no opportunity to test it yet).


Do you have an up to date Linux distro (Mandrake 9.2+ I know works) or WinXP? If so then both support ZeroConf so you could test (assuming you have some way of connecting to them). For Mandrake you'll need to start the ZeroConf service, XP should just work (if you cross your fingers).


Si
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