Jabber / XMPPget help

What is Jabber?

Jabber is the common name for an instant messaging (IM) service based on an open source standard for instant messaging known as XMPP.

SFU runs its own Jabber server. Anybody with an SFU Computing Account can use the SFU Jabber server as an alternative or in addition to commercial IM servers such as MSN Messanger, AIM and other proprietary services, as well as interact with XMPP-based services such as Google's Chat or other public Jabber servers such as Jabber.org.

Benefits of using the SFU Jabber server


If you use the SFU Jabber server to talk to other SFU users, both using your SFU Computing Accounts, your conversation will not be sent to any third-party, commercial and/or foreign-owned servers. This may be of interest to you for personal privacy reasons, or as an aid to help comply with British Columbia's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) when communicating with others for institutional purposes.

Trusted Identities

The only people with accounts on the jabber.sfu.ca server are people with an active SFU Computing Account. An individual cannot change their identity on the jabber.sfu.ca server. Generally this means that the person with access to the account you see in jabber is likely to be the person you expect: kipling@jabber.sfu.ca should only be accessible by the same person who has access to the identity kiping@sfu.ca via email, or can log in as kipling on WebCT or other services.

Using the SFU Jabber Server

To use the SFU Jabber server you generally only need two things:

  1. Your jabber account
  2. Instant messaging software that supports the jabber or XMPP standard

Getting a Jabber account

If you have an SFU Computing Account (all students, faculty and staff do), you already have the account that you need in order to access the SFU Jabber server.  Your account on the Jabber server will be yourid@jabber.sfu.ca . For example, if your SFU Computing Account is kipling, your Jabber account is kipling@jabber.sfu.ca. Your password is the same password you'd use to log in to other SFU services such as SFU Connect, WebCT, etc.

Jabber-compatible IM software

There are a number of clients that support the Jabber/XMPP protocols, a few are listed below and are not necessarily recommended for any particular purpose, but are known to work with the SFU Jabber service: there are many others, this list is nowhere near a complete list. There is no centrally supported, official Jabber XMPP client.

Adium (Mac OS X)
iChat.app or Messages.app (Mac OS X, included with standard installation, no need to download)
Pidgin (Linux, Mac, Windows)
Psi (Linux, Mac, Windows)
Spark ( Linux, Mac, Windows)
Trillian (Mac, Windows, plus mobile and web-based versions)

Configuring your IM Client to use the SFU Jabber Server

Most jabber clients will only need a few pieces of information to get you connected. Generally, these are set when you create a new account within your IM client software.

  1. "Jabber ID" or "username" or "XMPP Address" (or something similar): if your SFU Computing Account is kipling, you'd enter kipling@jabber.sfu.ca . Replace 'kipling' with your SFU Computing Account.
  2. "Password": the same password you use with your SFU Computing Account for other services such as SFU Connect, WebCT, the Student Information System, etc.
  3. "Connect server", "server",  or "jabber hostname" or "XMPP domain" (may be something close to one of these phrases): you can often leave this blank, but you can enter jabber.sfu.ca if your client requires it.
  4. "port number": 5222 (this is usually the default, not that the older SFU jabber server required this to be a non-standard number: 5223. Some clients may work with the old port number, others may not. It is best to use the standard 5222 port)
  5. We recommend setting "Require SSL/TLS" (or the equivalent in your client) to encrypt your information, including your username and password, as it passes through the network. Any dialog that asks for encryption should otherwise be enabled.
  6. Do NOT select/enable "Force old-style SSL" or "Ping old-style SSL port" unless you know you have a reason to do so.
  7. Some clients (like Psi) may ask to accept a certificate when first run. You should accept the certificate issued by the SFU Jabber server.