Dump AIM

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 15 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

If I had a category to switch to Open Source Software, this would be in it: Boycott AIM is a project to descibe the harms of AOL Instant Messenger and promote free, opensource alternatives. Personally, I used GAIM for a while (and I would highly recomend it). I then switched to Trillian (Basic version is free).

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4 thoughts on “Dump AIM”

  1. Been using gaim for a while. You can use it with many messanger programs. I think firefox is also open source. The problem with too many people using free, open source is then AOL, etc. will start losing money and stop providing AIM and such. Right now enough people are paying (and reading popups) so that people like us can use freebies.

  2. I would argue that companies like AOL and MSN need us more than we need them. IRC does not have any advertising and was around long before peer-to-peer instant messaging.

    Let’s assume, for now, that every year, 10% of the original IM users switch from proprietary program (such a AOL Instant Messenger) to an open source program (such as GAIM) and no new users are registered (yes, this is unlikely, but it makes for easier math). After 10 years, everyone should now be using something like GAIM.

    What will happen? Well, if AOL isn’t gone by then, they will be hella pissed. However, AOL would never let the situation get that bad. I would like to defer to my previous post, Why I Am The Future. In many ways, AOL is what Microsoft should look to not become. For the better part of a decade, AOL dominated the Internet connection community. They made is easy for people to get online and use the Internet. Actually, AOL allowed their users to get on to AOL and use software that interfaced with the AOL’s remote servers. They also allowed users to access the Internet, but that’s not what AOL was investing in. In short, they wanted to create their own Internet. I digress, as high speed access started to permeate AOL failed to adapt. AOL is still failing to adapt and if they continue their adaption failure, they will wither away and die. So how does AOL adapt? They listen to their g**d***ed f****** customers or rather, the customers that left AOL, myself included many many eons ago. There is a reason people hate the living crap out of AOL. AOL NEEDS to identify with their future customers NOW. So, if AOL hired me, what would I do. Consolidate and sell. AOL is too big for its britches. They need to scale back their operation and figure out what the hell they want to provide. They also need to redesign their software interface because it’s so 1995 (with XP styling). In fact, I would completely dump the current version of their software and rebuild it from scratch, firing any employee who dared to include ANY code from the original AOL software. The new AOL, or NAOL as I will call it, should be divided into two sections, Internet Access and InterNetwork. Internet Access should allow users to setup an account with a NAOL username and screenname that they love sooo much and that’s it. The InterNetworking side should be a web-based version of everything they offer now. I bet NAOL could make oodles and oodles on redeveloping everything in Web 2.0 with AJAX and whatnot.

    In short, what I think I’m trying to say is that people don’t necessarily use open source software because it’s open source. I think they use it because it has the stuff they want and doesn’t have the stuff they don’t want. AOL and MSN need to start competing with the GAIMs and Trillians of the world. But don’t shut them out, that would domination (which is against the “rules”).

  3. good answer.

    IRC does not support “everyone at once” but only individuals in channels. Thus, IRC is a whole different example.

    As for, AOL and MSN, redesigning their colors, code, etc. to compete with open source….i agree with most everything you said, to and to add my historical economic point of view: If a corporation makes more profit than it knows what to do with, and then competetion comes up, it tries to eliminate the competition, not create a new, better product. See, RIAA, Oil, microsoft (somewhat), etc. or the company continues to suck and go bankrupt (techtv, a few airlines…)

    To the point, I don’t think you should help redesign AOL, but start a new company with new code, which would overwhelm AOL and force them to buy you out….and they would do this until enough people were bought out….

  4. The main point of IRC was that it is A) a real time messaging platform; and B) has been around for a long time without the need for advertising.

    I would with your view on competition. A really good example is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. During the Browser wars of the 90’s, Microsoft released, on average, a new version of IE every single year. In the last 5 years or so, Microsoft has released one, count it, ONE, new version. They weren’t going to release version 7 until Longhorn Vista came out, but when Firefox popped up, Microsoft just about crapped their pants.

    As for redesign vs. competition. The barrier to entry in AOL’s market s WAAAAY to high for really anyone to enter. Between AOL, MSN, Juno, NetZero, PeoplePC, and whatever companies are already out there, any new company would end up dead in just months. Instead, why not just have AOL pay be directly to make their product better?

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