For the last two years, AOL has been promoting its OpenAIM
initiative as a vehicle to enable developers to build their own AIM (AOL
Instant Messenger)-based clients. But there were issues with documentation that got in the way of some projects.
With the release of Open AIM 2.0 Wednesday, AOL is aiming AIM at open source developers with more ease-of-use tools.
Among the major changes in Open AIM 2.0 is the fact that AOL is now
providing open documentation on its core OSCAR protocol (Open System for
CommunicAtion in Realtime), which powers AIM. Previously, open source instant
messaging client implementations of OSCAR had to reverse-engineer the protocol instead
of simply using a documented protocol.
“Our protocols continue to evolve
over time and reverse engineering is a hard way to stay up to date with all
the changes,” Greg Cypes, principal software engineer on AOL AIM, told
There is, however, a catch.
Although Open AIM 2.0 provides open access to the OSCAR protocols, developers
need to do something for AOL in return. AOL requires that developers choose
two options from a list of five items that must be added to an Open AIM-based client.