September 18, 2010

Are Kopete's Days Numbered?

Most KDE users use Kopete for their IM needs. There's a reason why it's the default IM client in Linux Mint KDE as well as nearly every other KDE-based distro out there. It works, it's stable, supports plug-ins, and incorporates just about every major protocol out there. I've used it for years, and still do.

However, there are times when I feel inferior when chatting with follow MSN, AIM, and Yahoo users. These fall mainly in the areas of webcams and enjoying a complete A/V experience similarly to our Windows counterparts. It can often be observed how many times the IRC Kopete channel is pinged with requests and inquiries as to when there will be proper webcam support in Kopete and other IM projects currently out there, such as aMSN. As an aside, aMSN DOES support webcams and is an excellent application - However, most people's contact lists have contacts that use a multitude of different protocols (GTalk, Yahoo, Gwibber, etc. etc).

As one might guess in the open source world, in addition to the aforementioned aMSN, there are no shortage of Kopete alternatives out there. Add to the list a new initiative called Realtime Communication and Collaboration.

The goals of the project are pretty straightforward, as outlined on the website:
1) Build components equivalent to a traditional IM application, using Kopete code as much as possible, and integrating with other Pillars of KDE where appropriate.
2) Add advanced Telepathy features such as voice/video.
3) Build components and Convenience classes to enable real-time communication and collaboration features in any KDE SC app that wants them.
This seems highly do-able to me, and would bring about a much needed update to the communication infrastructure within KDE. As it turns out, there is a Sprint going on right now in the UK to get much of the groundwork done regarding the RCC project. One can also observe that some of the work has already been done!

We're going to keep an eye on this project, and will let you know how it comes along. As usual, the KDE Community looks to evolve and grow and adapt to the changes in the computing landscape. Isn't it a great time to be a Linux Mint KDE user?

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