Ejabberd (Chat Server)
- What is ejabberd?
- What is XMPP?
- Setting the Domain Name
- Registering FreedomBox users to use XMPP
- Port Forwarding
- Compatible clients
- External links
Ejabberd (Chat Server)
Available since: version 0.3
What is ejabberd?
Ejabberd is a chat server which uses the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP).
What is XMPP?
XMPP is a federated server-client protocol for Instant Messaging. This means that users who have accounts on one server, can talk to users that are on another server.
XMPP can also be used for voice and video calls, if supported by the clients.
Currently FreedomBox offers both, a server (ejabberd) and a web client (JSXC) from its web interface.
With XMPP, there are two ways that conversations can be secured:
- TLS: This secures the connection between the client and server, or between two servers. This should be supported by all clients and is highly recommended.
- End-to-end: This secures the messages sent from one client to another, so that even the server cannot see the contents. The latest and most convenient protocol is called OMEMO, but it is only supported by a few clients. There is another protocol called OTR that may be supported by some clients that lack OMEMO support. Both clients must support the same protocol for it to work.
Setting the Domain Name
For XMPP to work, your FreedomBox needs to have a Domain Name that can be accessed over the network.
If you only need the local network (LAN) users to chat with each other you can invent your domain name, but if you want users from the internet to join your rooms you need a public domain name. You can read more about obtaining a Domain Name in the Dynamic DNS section of this manual.
Once you have a Domain Name, you can tell your FreedomBox to use it by setting the Domain Name in the System Configuration.
Note: After changing your Domain Name, the Chat Server (XMPP) page may show that the service is not running. After a minute or so, it should be up and running again.
Please note that PageKite does not support the XMPP protocol at this time.
Registering FreedomBox users to use XMPP
Currently, all users created through FreedomBox will be able to login to the XMPP server. You can add new users through the System module Users and Groups. It does not matter which Groups are selected for the new user.
If your FreedomBox is behind a router, you will need to set up port forwarding on your router. You should forward the following ports for XMPP:
- TCP 5222 (client-to-server)
- TCP 5269 (server-to-server)
FreedomBox provides a web client: JSXC.
XMPP clients are available for various desktop and mobile platforms. FreedomBox links to the download sources of some of them. Feel free to include more here (needs free registration). We'll notice and might list them in FreedomBox.
For maximum simplicity FreedomBox provides a web client: JSXC. No need for your users to install additional software on their side. They'll be able to just use their browser. This is usually the first choice for new and eventual users.
You can download an XMPP client for your smartphone or tablet among the ones listed below.
From left to right: (1) First screen - (2) Login screen - (3) Add contacts.
When first starting the Conversations app, you will be asked whether you want to create a new account or if you want to use an existing account. Choose "I already have an account" (1)
With ejabberd installed, the FreedomBox provides an XMPP account for every FreedomBox user. Additional (non-admin) FreedomBox user accounts can be created under System > Users and Groups.
Once logged into a FreedomBox/XMPP account (2), the Conversation app provides a + button that brings up a few choices to contact other people (3).
Gajim (Windows, MacOS, Linux)
Gajim is a XMPP open-source client for the desktop, available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. This application is available in Debian, and for other operating systems you can download it from this page and find instructions about installation.
From left to right: (1) First screen - (2) Login screen - (3) Main window
A popup shows up right after you start Gajim for the first time (1), asking you to either login to your XMPP (FreedomBox) account or to register for a new account. When you choose to login, after clicking "Forward", you will be asked a Jabber ID and a password (2): you have to enter your FreedomBox account and password here.
Finally, after logging in successfully, you will see the main Gajim screen (3). From there, you can add a contact (Account > Add contact...) then you can start a conversation (Gajim > Start chat).
Dino is another XMPP free software client for the desktop. It is available for https://github.com/dino/dino/wiki/Distribution-Packages.
From left to right: (1) First screen - (2) Login screen - (3) Start conversation
When first starting Dino after installation, click on the Setup account button. You will be then asked your JID: this is your FreedomBox account. Enter it then click Next (2). Alternatively, you can click on Create account if you don't have a FreedomBox account.
Once you have logged in, you will be able to either start a conversation with one of your XMPP contacts or to join a channel (3).
Movim is a free software XMPP client with videochat support for Linux. The project provides an unofficial Debian package.
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