office live communications server 2007 and public IM connectivity

Office LCS 2007 (Live Communications Server 2007) has a feature that’s referred to as PIC, or Public IM Connectivity. It looks like a feature that was in LCS 2005 as well, perhaps only after a service pack. It’s federation support to connect to MSN, AOL and Yahoo. I’m on Google Talk (jabber) and AOL IM (AIM) daily, so I use Pidgin (formerly GAIM) which is so much cleaner than the other IM clients, supports most IM protocols and supports a really nice tabbed messaging window.

I needed to contact a consultant that uses MSN today, and rather than install MSN Messenger and try to remember my password for it, I figured I’d setup the IM stuff.


It’s not that they reverse engineered the protocols or got a license to use the protocols or anything like that, they actually federate right into those companies networks, into the mess of it.

See Microsoft’s article about enabling PIC. Man. At the very least can’t everything support jabber? Vendor lock in for the lose.

5 thoughts on “office live communications server 2007 and public IM connectivity

  1. conalw

    OCS federates directly to the PIC providers so that the link is secured by TLS. Various providers have various kinds of servers on the other end, all of which somehow look like an OCS edge server. The provisioning process involves each PIC provider adding your organization’s domain and edge server FQDN to their list of federated partners (they don’t use DNS SRV to locate your edge server, though yours will use it to locate theirs). All this involves setup and maintenance costs, which is the primary reason why it isn’t free.

  2. btm

    Sure, I get it. But normally most IM isn’t over TLS anyways, so that’s a poor selling point for having to buy in.

    At the very least, XMPP federation should be available and free, being open and everything.

  3. conalw

    Well, if you want your IM to be secure then it had better be running over TLS. Ditto for media. Alternatives such as E2E encryption schemes are difficult to orchestrate. Let’s not make the same mistakes as email. Naturally, there is a limit to how much sensitive data you’d pass into a giant provider network like AOL, but for federation with other companies it’s a reasonably trustworthy mechanism. IMHO with PKI it comes down to how much you trust the public CAs to do their job properly.

  4. btm

    Sure. I mean I get the super corporate point of view. So I run Communicator, Pidgin and an IRC client at work. I wouldn’t run Communicator except that I do like it (except note #1). It’d be sweet if communicator was more like pidgin. I’m not just a nerd too, i’d say the majority of my employees run at least one other IM client.

    note #1: I run communicator and communicator mobile. I’d prefer that mobile always be “away”, but all this “presence” hackery makes it so my mobile status updates my desktop status and vice versa. Everytime I leave my desk I need to set myself as away, and everytime I come back I have to set myself available.

    that’s actually my biggest UI complaint, but again I get why it does it.

  5. ShadowMobo

    What is great about the PIC feature in OCS is for companies like the one I run OCS for who are getting forced into keeping an archive of all IMs sent, but cannot take the Public IM services away from their customer. PIC lets us allow the customers in our network to chat with AOL, Yahoo, and MSN users while at the same time allowing the IT Divisin to keep a record of all chats to ensure compliancy in case someone wants to try and sue us.

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