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New free MSN client available for all

Published: 19th Sep 2007, 04:25:02 | Permalink | Printable

Smile and say cheese

Parmesan 1.00 screenshotThe new freeware MSN client for RISC OS, Parmesan, was officially released over the weekend. A beta version was distributed to a lucky few punters earlier this month, and after a round of bug fixing, author Christian Ludlam was able to turn out a stable release.

The software, pictured, allows people to chat to each other in real-time over the Internet - ideally enabling RISC OS punters to converse with buddies using Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and other computer platforms. It's believed that by supporting features such as nudges, Christian's software is the most up-to-date MSN client available for RISC OS.

Chris said: "Some features aren't finished yet, and the whole thing needs a good polish, but it's still pretty good. Parmesan is far from finished, and I'm working on it all the time"

He now hopes to finish file transfer support, improve the configuration user interface, add alerts for when friends appear and disappear from the MSN service, and develop other features.

Click here for previous news on Parmesan or hit the link below to download it.

Links

Parmesan website

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Discussion

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I downloaded it the other day and think its really good. The lack of a free client was for me, up to this point, one of the drawbacks to using my ROS machine... thanks to all involved for producing it

 is a RISC OS Userpolas on 19/9/07 10:26AM
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Grapevine has had the honour of being the sole working MSN client for RISC OS for perhaps two years. In that time, despite being a commercial application, it has received no support for the more 'modern' features of MSN. I'm not talking about Audio or Video chat support, which I think is particularly tricky to implement from a closed protocol like MSN. Rather, I'm talking about fairly common stuff like display pictures, that have been in (free) MSN clients for years now. Together with an arguably 'unattractive' user interface, Grapevine wasn't really a great MSN client for RISC OS users. The fact that it's a commercial app makes it even less attractive, which is perhaps why R-Comp didn't sell as much copies as they might have hoped for.

So I'm very glad someone has gone ahead and implemented a remarkably decent and modern client for Microsoft's MSN / .NET Messenger protocol. The really terrific part being Christian is giving this gem away for free. Pretty amazing.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 19/9/07 11:58AM
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Parmesan is great. It looks and feels so polished that you only realize it's an early version by the lack of certain features.

hEngelia: MSN audio is similar to SIP. There is a service called gtalk2voip that redirects MSN calls to VOIP accounts. I wonder if there is any scope for doing that that in a client. i.e client advertises it is available for chat, and when it receives a request forwards it to a SIP account. And if the chat button is pressed it initiates a call to the sip account and when answered it connects it to the MSN account.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 19/9/07 12:58PM
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I too always relied on GV and did extend my donations for the upgrades and future development. But this free client is so much nicer to look at and use, how was Christian able to do these things when the general tone regarding development for GV was quite an expense ? I like the size of the emoticons and the fact its window stays open so you can keep clicking and use them. On GV you had to keep opening them up :( I did make a suggestion regarding that to Alan Wrigley and he seemed interested but nothing came of it. Though I would like to say thank you to Alan as when there was a known issue with some versions of GV he gave alot of help in solving the problem. Still be intersting what happens to GV now as there is another alternative and its free :)

 is a RISC OS UserHairy on 19/9/07 5:06PM
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Out of curiosity, why does the copyright in the info window of the first release say 2005?

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 20/9/07 2:56AM
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That's when I wrote it :$

 is a RISC OS UserChristian on 20/9/07 12:13PM
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Is it your own program or your front end on a port of something else?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 20/9/07 2:58PM
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It's aaaaaaall my own work, except as outlined in the Thanks page on the website.

 is a RISC OS UserChristian on 20/9/07 5:02PM
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Out of interest Chris, in order to perform the shtml required for logging on, did you use a third party thing such as curl or did you write the code directly into it? From what I understood at the time (and I might be completely off) having to authenticate via shtml was a major problem for the existing clients when MS changed the protocol.

 is a RISC OS Userpolas on 20/9/07 5:17PM
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That is impressive. It certainly connects well.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 20/9/07 5:26PM
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The authentication is done by HTTP over SSL - I use the OpenSSL library ported by the NetSurf developers (thanks!) to do that part, then I talk HTTP myself (it only needs a relatively small part of HTTP to do the job).

In fact the OpenSSL library is so big, and it's only used briefly while signing in, that authentication is handled by a separate program which quits once it's done its job.

Incidentally, Parmesan is also capable of talking the MSN protocol proper over HTTP, in case the normal port is blocked by a firewall or proxy.

 is a RISC OS UserChristian on 21/9/07 2:07AM
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Is MSN to yahoo interoperability dependent on a different protocol and therefore unlikely to be added?

I assume audio is far to complex to be hoped for, but would something like gtalk2voip do be possible? (Redirecting the audio chat to a sip account.)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 21/9/07 10:42AM
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Yahoo - MSN interworking is done entirely by the MSN server's side, but it requires me to use a later MSN protocol which is a lot of work. I can do it, but I got to the stage where I thought if I keep making large changes like that I'd never release it!

My understanding of audio support is that it's not doable because it uses a patented codec. Surprisingly though, video (webcam) support IS possible, I have a library to do it, I just don't know of any RISC OS webcam protocols to handle the local side of things.

 is a RISC OS UserChristian on 21/9/07 12:58PM
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Y!, thanks for the clarification on that. (About an hour after I installed Paresan I got told of a way to do other IMs, that works on RO Firefox. www.meebo.com very slow though).

Audio. It can't be only a patented codec because I have talked to people on MSN with my SIP using G.711 using GTalk2VOIP.com as far as I can tell they just negotiate the connections. I didn't think they actually proxy and convert. But what I was wondering would be if it were a realistic proposition to do something similar with a client (it either establishes a connection and hands over or forwards the data.)

Video. Just incoming would be a nice start. I would think that just sending a sprite or a slide show of sprites would be useful in the absence of a webcam. There were video capture podules, I have one if it would be any use to you.

File transfer. Will the interface be drop the file in the message field to send and drag the icon from the message window to save incoming, perhaps with a preview of pictures?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 21/9/07 1:32PM
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