I have been hunting for a robust LAN (Intranet) Messenger software for quite sometime. I even tried few messengers, bought a better one (Outlook Messenger) for 25 users but I was still not happy with the performance.

Recently, I came across open source messenger server called OpenFire. It’s basically based on Jabber (XMPP) server and provides web interface to handle the server and various settings. (Incl. users and groups obviously). OpenFire made my life easier because, it can directly interface with Active Directory (LDAP) and import all the users and groups automatically. The installation is pretty simple too. I installed it on my Windows 2008 R2 just by running an exe file and going to few configuration steps. (OpenFire is available for Windows, Linux and Mac)

Yes, I did face some issues while connecting Openfire with LDAP but I think that was more or less due to my lack of knowledge in Active Directory management.

Once the server is setup,  you can use free messengers like Pidgin (Windows, Linux, Mac), Adium (Mac), iChat (Mac). Select XMPP or Jabber from the list of servers and login.

I am not going to write a guide for installation and setup as there is plenty of good material available online. I will simply share some important links here:

OpenFire Installation Guide
– OpenFire LDAP Guide
Connecting to OpenFire Server using iChat
– Connecting to OpenFire Server using Pidgin

I guess that’s it. I hope this helps you to save few dollars. 🙂