The Jabber Test server

The College of Engineering has set up a Jabber server for testing purposes. We encourage others to evaluate it. If it proves useful, we may encourage broadening its use to a wider audience on campus.

IMPORTANT! If you do not feel comfortable using your ISU Net ID to authenticate to this server, then do not use this server. Though the authentication process utilizes widely scrutinized open source implementations of SSL encryption, Kerberos, and PAM, and your password is never recorded anywhere on the jabber-test server, this server is NOT part of the official campus infrastructure.

What Is Jabber?

Jabber is an open standard for personal communications including instant messaging based on the XMPP protocol. This standard is becoming popular as instant messaging is becoming a vital part of enterprise communications. There are several implementations of Jabber server software, some as commercial products and some as open source projects. Most of the known implementations are described at Jabber.org. We are using the Jabberd2 open source server.

The use of the College of Engineering Jabber test server is bound by the Iowa State Code of Ethics. The server is intended for use by Iowa State University faculty, staff, and students for non-commercial, University-related educational, research, and outreach activities only.

What Do I Need to Use Jabber?

To access the Jabber server, you will need a Jabber client program. There are many Jabber clients available. We recommend PSI for Windows and UNIX.

You get can RPMs for Red Hat Linux 9 or RHEL from the Dag Psi RPM packages.

If PSI is not already installed on your PC, download PSI for Windows from the link at the top of this page. There are also ports of PSI for Linux and Mac OS X which can be downloaded from here. Make sure you also download the SSL encryption module.

Configuring the PSI Jabber Client

After installing PSI, start the PSI program. You will be greeted with the screen below. You will need to configure a PSI profile and then set up the account information: who you are and the server you'll be connecting to.

Creating a Profile

Click on Profiles, then click New in the "Manage Profiles" window, enter a name for this profile, such as "JabberTest". Check "Enable emoticons" if you like.


Specifying an Account

Next, you need to tell PSI a bit about the account you'll be using.

The main PSI window should list the profile you just created. Click "Open". The "Add Account" window will appear. In the Name field, enter a name that PSI will use to refer to this account. Your ISU NetID is a good choice. This name will be used to announce your presence when you connect to the Jabber server, and identify you when you send direct private messages. (However you are free to use any nickname in a group chat session).

Leave the "Register new account" box unchecked. All Iowa State users with an ISU NetID automatically have an account. After you press the Add button the account properties window will appear.

Next, you need to configure the properties of the account you created. In the Jabber ID, enter your ISU NetID followed by "@jabber-test.eng.iastate.edu". You must enter your ISU Net ID in this field because the College of Engineering Jabber test server uses your ISU Net ID to authenticate your connection.

Then select the Connection pane. Check the "Use SSL encryption" box and the "Allow Plaintext Login" box as well (This refers to the style of authentication, all communication with the Jabber server is encrypted). We do not recommend putting your password in the "save password" field, but that is up to you.

Since we are using a self-signed certificate, you may want to tell PSI to ignore the SSL warnings under the Preferences pane:

After you save your account settings, the main Psi control window will appear:

Logging In

If the configuration of your account is successful, the PSI control window will appear as shown below. The account you created is shown as "Offline". Pull the drop down menu to select "Online" from the available actions. You will be prompted for a password. Enter your ISU Net ID password.


Connecting to Group Chat

One of the most important uses for Jabber is to create groupchat discussions where people can share discussions on-line. The jabber-test server allows you to create any group you would like. To join groupchat, you use the main PSI window. Open the drop-down tab on the botton of this screen and you will see a "Join Groupchat" selection. After selecting this you will open the Join Groupchat window.

In this example, I have indicated that I would like to join the rhel group discussion on gc.jabber-test.eng.iastate.edu. [NOTE: each service on a Jabber server requires a separate domain name. gc.jabber-test.eng.iastate.edu is the group chat service domain name].

Finally, if everything is working as it should, you should have in front of you the groupchat window:

You are now online with the College of Engineering Jabber test server. You can add other Jabber users by click on the PSI menu, and then select "add a contact". Under "Jabber ID" enter their ISU NetID followed by @jabber-test.eng.iastate.edu.

Reserved Group Chat Rooms

The following names have been reserved for group chat discussions on gc.jabber-test.eng.iastate.edu:

Room Name Description

rhel

Discussions about Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on campus.

winadmin

Discussions about Windows Adminstration on campus.

oss

Discussions about open source software.