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Survey on non-standard ICQ clients

Since ICQ is so widely used, the necessity of running a client on almost any working environment has been around for quite some time now. Since had been providing (at least at its first days) only one version for a single environment (Microsoft Windows 95), many unofficial and non-standard clients have been written, each with advantages and disadvantages relative to the official client and to our solution.

ICQ clients for Unices.
5 These are usually written in C or C++ and provide ICQ clients for Unix based systems (especially Linux). They provide the same functionality as the official client so we just mention them here for integrity of this section. We should also comment that such clients are the source of code libraries that provide open source implementation of the ICQ protocol.

Java ICQ.
This client is an official release of We put it in the ``non-standard'' section because unlike the regular client (written in MFC), it is written in Java. The main advantage of this is being able to run the application on any Java enabled environment. However, running a Java application is no different from running a regular application in terms of CPU consumption, security and anonymity of the user and needing to install the application on every machine that needs to use it.
This is an implementation of ICQ in the form of a Java Applet that implements the ICQ functionality itself (i.e. contacts other users and the ICQ server independently). The advantage here is very clear -- you can run ICQ anywhere without installing any further software. The main disadvantage is security. This applet violates the applet security permissions by contacting servers other than the one it has been sent from. Some Java machines will thus refuse to run this applet or display a warning for the user. In addition, the applet supplies the whole ICQ functionality by itself (unlike our implementation where the majority of the implementation is done by the server) which causes the applet to be very heavy.

Important note: We have been writing this document since December 2000. In the meantime, and its partner have stopped providing service. We suspect these companies have gone bankrupt, making a client like csicq even more necessary.

This Java Applet based application is aimed at enabling users to manage a joint contact list for both ICQ and AOL IM.6 The basic concept is very similar to our idea but the implementation is very weak: it is not fully operational, it uses some version of the ICQ protocol we are unaware of and it makes a very bad use of its database.

next up previous contents
Next: Advantages of our approach Up: Competitive analysis Previous: Competitive analysis   Contents
Zvika Brakerski 2001-05-09