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How to: Instant Messaging on Mac OS9

If you're like me, you appreciate the fact that there are no push-notification and social media messages while using Mac OS. It puts you back in control of things.

However, every once in a while it is nice to chat with friends or family. While Mac OS isn't able to fight the JavaScript battles on, it certainly is ready for Instant Messenging.

All you need is a Jabber client and an account with the service of your choice. The official Macintosh Garden IM Gateway will bring both worlds together.

How do I get there?

  1. As of now, you need another computer once to get going. I'd advise using the open-source client Psi. If using OSX Tiger download v 0.12.1 (0.13 & 0.14 have a critical bug). 0.15 is ok too if you're using Leopard.

  2. Start Psi & create an account. Choose a name, check "Register new account". Enter "" for the server name.

  3. If using a PowerPC OSX choose "never" in encrypt connection. You'll "always" want to allow plaintext authentication. (it's an OpenSSL problem really. Your PPC Mac can't deal with the too new TLS version of the server. A fix for that is sought after)

  4. If you're using a more modern OS go ahead and leave the settings using encryption.

    window showing server setup details
    click to enlarge

  5. You'll be presented with your roster. Login. Then choose "Service Discovery" from the Menu or by right-clicking on your username in the roster.

  6. You'll be presented a list of services you can connect to. Click on the desired ones, enter your credentials and have your contacts added to your roster.

    Window showing all available transports
    click to enlarge

  7. Once you're done importing, switch to Mac OS. We won't need Psi anymore.

  8. When on Mac OS, Download TVJab. Unfortunately, for our purpose it is the only usable Jabber client on Mac OS. Unless someone codes a newer one. (Note: The other Jabber client for Mac OS, Jabbernaut, does not work due to a bug in the handling of remote rosters)

  9. Install & open TVJab. Add your existing account to the client. Once you login, all your previously added contacts in Psi should show up.

    TVJab on MacOS in action
    click to enlarge
Note: Your chat about last week's Football game is not encrypted. If you feel the urge to mindlessly encrypt just about everything, do not use this service. It'll make you sad. If you can refrain from sharing your online banking creditials with everyone on your contact list, give it a spin.

Happy Instant Messaging on your obsolete Mac hardware!

Last edited: June 21th, 2020

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