You'll need an XMPP-compatible instant messaging client to use our Prosody instant messaging server. There are several good clients out there, but since most people use lots of different IM services at the same time, I recommend either Adium on Mac or Pidgin on Windows & Linux. Another popular multi-service client is Digsby, which is currently Windows-only, though their site indicates that Mac & Linux clients are coming soon. There are also a few mobile clients, but I'm happy with ChatSecure, which works on iOS and Android.
You're of course free to use whatever works for you on your platform of choice, but I'm only supplying instructions for those specific applications. You want to use something else, you're on your own.
You'll also need an account on the XMPP server, since I have public account creation disabled because I'm not insane. The sever isn't for public use, but e-mail me if I know you IRL and I'll create you an account.
Fast instructions for smart people
Point your client at bigdinosaur.org:5222, ensure you're using SSL/TLS encryption, and you're good to go.
Detailed instructions for the slow set
- After installation, open the preferences sheet by slecting Adium > Preferences
- Click the plus button in the lower-left and select "Jabber" to add a new Jabber account
- On the Account tab, enter your ID & password
- On the Personal tab, enter whatever you'd like
- On the Options tab, enter the following:
- Connect Server – bigdinosaur.org
- Resource – Your computer's hostname
- Port – 5222
- Require SSL/TLS – checked
- Do strict certificate checks – checked
- All other settings at default
- On the Privacy tab, enter whatever you'd like
- On the Proxy tab, enter your local proxy information—if you don't know what this is, you probably don't need to worry about it
- Click "OK" to add the account, and then connect!
Pidgin (Windows and Linux)
- Hit the "add" button to add an account
- Under "Login Options", change the protocol drop-down to "XMPP"
- Put your username in the username field
- Put "bigdinosaur.org" in the domain field
- Put your computer name in the resource field (this can probably be left blank if you don't know your computer name)
- Put your password in the password field and check "Remember password" if you'd like
- Under "User Options", set whatever you'd like
- Change to the Advanced tab
- Make sure "Require SSL/TLS is checked
- Set the connect port field to "5222"
- Set the connect server field to "bigdinosaur.org"
- Set the file transfer proxies field to "bigdinosaur.org"
- Click "Add" to add the account
- Click Digsby > My Accounts to open the account window
- Click the Jabber button to add a generic Jabber account
- The Jabber Account dialog box will appear—click the "Advanced" drop-down arrow
- Put "[youraccount]@bigdinosaur.org" in the Jabber ID field, obviously substituting your account name for the [youraccount] part.
- Enter your password in the "Password" field
- Put "bigdinosaur.org" in the "IM Server" field
- Leave port 5222 in the "Port" field
- Leave the default string in the "Resource" field
- Select "Require TLS" from the security options at the bottom
- Un-check "Allow Plaintext Login"
- Hit "Save" to add the account
All instructions are tested and known to work from multiple locations. If they don't work for you, it's probably something you're doing wrong. Just sayin'.
- Change your password away from the initial one as soon as possible. The process for doing this varies by client, but is generally pretty easy to figure out.
- Adding other people to your buddy list is easy, but user search is disabled. You should all know each other—exchange IM handles offline.
- To chat with more than one person at the same time, create a conference room. It's pretty easy to figure out.
- I highly recommend you use OTR (Off-The-Record) encryption for your instant messaging—Adium comes with this built in, and for Pidgin it's a quick plugin download from here. Using OTR encryption ensures that no one else is reading your IMs. Digsby does not yet support OTR encryption, though it is a wishlisted feature.
- There are no connection logs or conversation logs. If you don't trust me and want to ensure that your conversations are 100% unloggable, use OTR encryption.