LAN messenger

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A LAN Messenger is a instant messaging program for computers designed for use within a single local area network (LAN).

Instant messaging form of communication over the Internet

Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.

Local area network computer network that connects devices over a small area

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building. By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) not only covers a larger geographic distance, but also generally involves leased telecommunication circuits.


Many LAN Messengers offer basics functionality for sending private messages, file transfer, chatrooms and graphical smileys. The advantage of using a simple LAN messenger over a normal instant messenger is that no active Internet connection or central server is required, and only people inside the firewall will have access to the system.

File transfer is the transmission of a computer file through a communication channel from one computer system to another. Typically, file transfer is mediated by a communications protocol. In the history of computing, numerous file transfer protocols have been designed for different contexts.

Smiley Stylized representation of a smiling humanoid face

A smiley is a stylized representation of a smiling humanoid face that is a part of popular culture worldwide. The classic form designed by Harvey Ball in 1963 comprises a yellow circle with two black dots representing eyes and a black arc representing the mouth On the Internet and in other plain text communication channels, the emoticon form has traditionally been most popular, typically employing a colon and a right parenthesis to form sequences such as :-), :), =), or (: that resemble a smiling face when viewed after rotation through 90 degrees. "Smiley" is also sometimes used as a generic term for any emoticon The smiley has been referenced in nearly all areas of Western culture including music, movies, and art. The smiley has also been associated with late 1980s and early 1990s rave culture.

Server (computing) Computer to access a central resource or service on a network

In computing, a server is a computer program or a device that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model, and a single overall computation is distributed across multiple processes or devices. Servers can provide various functionalities, often called "services", such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers. A client process may run on the same device or may connect over a network to a server on a different device. Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers, web servers, game servers, and application servers.


A precursor of LAN Messengers is the Unix talk command, and similar facilities on earlier systems, [1] which enabled multiple users on one host system to directly talk with each other.

Unix family of computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix

Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, development starting in the 1970s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others.

talk (software) standard UNIX utility

talk is a Unix text chat program, originally allowing messaging only between the users logged on to one multi-user computer—but later extended to allow chat to users on other systems.

Novell NetWare featured a trivial person-to-person chat program for DOS, which used the [IPX/SPX] protocol suite. NetWare for Windows also included broadcast and targeted messages similar to WinPopup and the Windows Messenger service.

NetWare is a discontinued computer network operating system developed by Novell, Inc. It initially used cooperative multitasking to run various services on a personal computer, using the IPX network protocol.

On Windows, WinPopup was a small utility included with Windows 3.11. WinPopup uses SMB/NetBIOS protocol and was intended to receive and send short text messages.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

In computer networking, Server Message Block (SMB), one version of which was also known as Common Internet File System, is a network communication protocol for providing shared access to files, printers, and serial ports between nodes on a network. It also provides an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism. Most usage of SMB involves computers running Microsoft Windows, where it was known as "Microsoft Windows Network" before the introduction of Active Directory. Corresponding Windows services are LAN Manager Server for the server component, and LAN Manager Workstation for the client component.

NetBIOS is an acronym for Network Basic Input/Output System. It provides services related to the session layer of the OSI model allowing applications on separate computers to communicate over a local area network. As strictly an API, NetBIOS is not a networking protocol. Older operating systems ran NetBIOS over IEEE 802.2 and IPX/SPX using the NetBIOS Frames (NBF) and NetBIOS over IPX/SPX (NBX) protocols, respectively. In modern networks, NetBIOS normally runs over TCP/IP via the NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT) protocol. This results in each computer in the network having both an IP address and a NetBIOS name corresponding to a host name.

Windows NT/2000/XP improves upon this with Windows Messenger service, a Windows service compatible to WinPopup. [2] On systems where this service is running, the received messages "pop up" as simple message boxes. Any software compatible with WinPopup, like the console utility NET SEND, can send such messages. However, due to security concerns, [3] by default, the messenger service is off in Windows XP SP2 and blocked by Windows XP's firewall.

Windows Messenger service networking component of earlier versions of Microsoft Windows

Messenger service is a network-based system notification Windows service by Microsoft that was included in some earlier versions of Microsoft Windows.

On Apple's Mac OS X -based computers, the iChat program has allowed LAN messaging over the Bonjour protocol since 2005. [4] The multi-protocol messenger Pidgin has support for the Bonjour protocol, [5] including on Windows. [6] [7]

See also

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ICQ instant messaging service

ICQ is a cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP client. The name ICQ derives from the English phrase "I Seek You". Originally developed by the Israeli company Mirabilis in 1996, the client was bought by AOL in 1998, and then by Mail.Ru Group in 2010.

Messenger was an instant messaging and presence system developed by Microsoft in 1999 for use with its MSN Messenger software. It was used by instant messaging clients including Windows 8, Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft Messenger for Mac, and Xbox Live. Third-party clients also connected to the service. It communicated using the Microsoft Notification Protocol, a proprietary instant messaging protocol. The service allowed anyone with a Microsoft account to sign in and communicate in real time with other people who were signed in as well.

Pidgin (software) Open-source multi-platform instant messaging client

Pidgin is a free and open-source multi-platform instant messaging client, based on a library named libpurple that has support for many instant messaging protocols, allowing the user to simultaneously log into various services from one application.

Kopete free multiprotokoll messanger

Kopete is a multi-protocol, free software instant messaging client released as part of the KDE Software Compilation. Although it can run in numerous environments, it was designed for and integrates with the KDE Plasma Workspaces. Kopete was started because ICQ blocked Licq from their network in 2001. According to the original author, Duncan Mac-Vicar Prett, the name comes from the Chilean Spanish word copete, meaning "a drink with your friends". Kopete has been nominated for multiple awards. The designated successor is KDE Telepathy from the KDE RTCC Initiative.

iChat built-in instant messaging software application for Mac OS X

iChat is a discontinued instant messaging software application developed by Apple Inc. for use on its Mac OS X operating system. It supported instant text messaging over XMPP/Jingle or OSCAR (AIM) protocol, audio and video calling, and screen-sharing capabilities. It also allowed for local network discussion with users discovered through Bonjour protocols.

Miranda IM Free instant messenger for Microsoft Windows

Miranda IM is an open-source multiprotocol instant messaging application, designed for Microsoft Windows. Miranda is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License.

Adium instant messaging client

Adium is a free and open source instant messaging client for macOS that supports multiple IM networks, including Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ and XMPP. It is written using macOS's Cocoa API, and it is released under the GNU General Public License and many other licenses for components that are distributed with Adium.

NetBIOS Frames or NBF protocol is a non-routable network- and transport-level data protocol most commonly used as one of the layers of Microsoft Windows networking in the 1990s. NBF protocol or NetBIOS over IEEE 802.2 LLC is used by a number of network operating systems released in the 1990s, such as LAN Manager, LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95 and Windows NT. Other protocols, such as NBT, and NetBIOS-over-IPX/SPX also implement the NetBIOS/NetBEUI services over other protocol suites.

Windows Chat is a simple LAN-based text chatting program included in Windows for Workgroups and, later, the Windows NT-line of operating systems, including Windows NT 3.x, 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. In later Windows versions, the Network DDE service may need to be enabled to receive calls. It utilizes the NetBIOS session service and NetDDE. Users can chat with each other over an IPX LAN. The shortcut to the executable is not present in the Start Menu in newer versions of Windows; it must instead be run by using Start > Run... > WinChat.exe.

The current landscape for instant messaging involves cross-platform instant messaging clients that can handle one or multiple protocols, so that internet users can communicate with multiple users at the same time. The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of instant messaging clients. See the individual products' articles for further information. External links may lead to extensions that add a feature to a client.

A Mailslot is a one-way interprocess communication mechanism, available on the Microsoft Windows operating system, that allows communication between processes both locally and over a network. The use of Mailslots is generally simpler than named pipes or sockets when a relatively small number of relatively short messages are expected to be transmitted, such as for example infrequent state-change messages, or as part of a peer-discovery protocol. The Mailslot mechanism allows for short message broadcasts ("datagrams") to all listening computers across a given network domain.

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of LAN messengers.

Empathy (software) open source instant messaging and VoIP client

Empathy is an instant messaging (IM) and voice over IP (VoIP) client which supports text, voice, video, file transfers, and inter-application communication over various IM communication protocols.

Windows Live Messenger deprecated instant messaging client

MSN Messenger, later rebranded as Windows Live Messenger, is a discontinued cross-platform instant messaging client developed by Microsoft. It connected to the Microsoft Messenger service while also having compatibility with Yahoo! Messenger and Facebook Messenger. The client was first released as MSN Messenger Service on July 22, 1999, and was marketed under the MSN branding until 2005 when it was rebranded under Windows Live and has since been officially known by its present name, although its previous name was still used colloquially by most of its users. In June 2009, Microsoft reported the service attracted over 330 million active users each month, placing Messenger among the most widely used instant messaging clients in the world.

Quiet Internet Pager

QIP is a multiprotocol instant messaging client. It is a closed source freeware program originally developed by Ilgam Zyulkorneev. In 2008 it was bought by RosBusinessConsulting media group and named most popular RBC service in 2009.

Eyeball Chat

Eyeball Chat is a proprietary freeware VoIP, video telephony soft phone with multiple-protocol instant messaging for Windows PCs, developed by Chris Piche and Eyeball Networks in Vancouver, and first released in 2000. The software is free for personal use.

Instantbird Cross-platform instant messaging client

Instantbird is a cross-platform instant messaging client based on Mozilla's XULRunner and the open-source library libpurple used in Pidgin. Instantbird is free software available under the GNU General Public License. Over 250 add-ons allow user customization of, and addition of, features. On October 18, 2017 Florian Quèze announced that "... we are stopping development of Instantbird as a standalone product."


  1. Origin of 'talk' command
  2. WinPopup Utility Not Supported In Windows NT
  3. "Messenger Service window that contains an Internet advertisement appears",
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2006-10-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Rendezvous is changing to...
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-07-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Pidgin 2.0.2 Release Notes and Changelog
  6. "Can I use Windows Pidgin for Bonjour?", FAQ,
  7. Mahmudin Ashar. "Use Pidgin for Chatting And Transferring Files on Local Network Without Internet Connection" . Retrieved 8 February 2016.