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    jabber.mdwn

    Features and Privacy

    Jabber (or XMPP) is an instant messaging protocol. It also supports groups, public chatrooms, file transfers and more.

    Jabber servers can federate, i.e. connect to each other, so you can talk to people whose account is managed on another server. Not all Jabber servers support federation.

    Jabber helps you protect your right to privacy in two ways, which provide different things, and you should use both.

    The first is [[!wikipedia TLS]], commonly referred to as SSL. It is a security layer which makes your connection to the Jabber server encrypted. When you use it, your messages are carried in encrypted form to/from the server, but the server decrypts them. So you, the other person you talk to, your Jabber server and the other person’s Jabber server (if not the same as yours) can see the messages in plain-text decrypted form.

    The second one is [[!wikipedia “Off the Record Messaging” desc=OTR]]. It does end-to-end encryption of the messages, so only the participants can read them. Not even the server can. It doesn’t encrypt the whole connection, which is why you still need TLS too. OTR also makes it (almost) impossible to prove that the conversation ever happened and identify the participants - hence the name “off the record”.

    All modern Jabber clients support TLS. Not all of them support OTR, but enough do and you can choose one that does. The OTR website maintains a list. Some of them support it built-in, while others require a plugin.

    From the author’s personal knowledge/experience, mcabber is a nice text-based Jabber client with built-in OTR support. For a GUI client, see Pidgin. For a slightly more creative but powerful solution, try BitlBee.

    Prepare

    In order to safely use TLS with Rel4tion’s Jabber server, and other services provided here, you should install its CA certificate. [[This|/access/tls]] explains how. When you’re done there, come back here and proceed to the next step.

    Another option is to instruct your Jabber client to specifically trust the this Jabber server’s certificate, and not system-wide trust the whole CA.

    Install

    The first step is to install your chosen Jabber client. For example:

    # apt-get install pidgin

    Text-based clients sometimes require writing a configuration file. Consult you Jabber client’s documentation.

    Register

    There are two ways to register to Rel4tion’s Jabber server:

    1. Use a Jabber command, through the Jabber client
    2. Ask the admin to register you

    If you don’t have a GUI option for registration, your Jabber client may support it as a special command, e.g. /register or /account. Check your client’s documentation or try /help.

    The server is rel4tion.org and usernames (Jabber IDs) look like joe@rel4tion.org. Alternatively you can use the domain partager.null. If it doesn’t work, please report the problem.

    If there’s neither GUI nor a command for registration, you’re left with the other way - ask the admin. Some servers have a web interface for registration - this server doesn’t. It’s a friendly small community server, so you just talk to the admin.

    Even if your Jabber client seems to support registration, you can take this path, for example if there’s a technical issue.

    You need to choose a username, in lowercase. For example, “joe”. Then you append the Jabber server domain name and get your Jabber ID. In this case, “joe@rel4tion.org”. Then you need a password. Use a good one as usual - I’ll leave it to you. Then, send [[fr33domlover]] these details. Either using encrypted e-mail or using IRC with OTR.

    If your Jabber client account/server options, make sure it’s set to always use SSL/TLS. Some clients set it to “optional” or just “off by default”. So make sure it’s “required”. If your client separately offers SSL and TLS, set SSL to off and TLS to on.

    Chat

    Once registered, you can add contacts and start chatting. Make sure to read about OTR and understand how to use it in your Jabber client. In particular, before you do anything else, set the OTR policy, so that OTR is used by default. Some clients also support per-user policies, automatic initiation of OTR and avoiding sending non-OTR messages in case you didn’t enable OTR by mistake.

    There is a public chatroom community@muc.rel4tion.org to which you’re encouraged to join. There is also rel4tion@muc.rel4tion.org, for discussion about the Rel4tion project. It should probably be relayed to the #rel4tion Freenode channel, but it isn’t yet.

    Users from other Jabber servers can participate in chatrooms too, but users of the Rel4tion server can also create and configure rooms on the server. You can create a room simply by joining it. Some clients allow configuring rooms using a command, e.g. /config, or using GUI.

    [See repo JSON]