Setting expectations, Voice and Video

Hi folks,

So I think we need to clarify things on the Voice/Video front. We (the Adium team) get asked a lot, sometimes daily, when Voice/Video are going to be implemented. I will answer this for you, right here, right now:

We do not know. It may never happen, it may be next year, it may be five years from now.

Now, take a deep breath. Let it out. Yes, I know it sucks, but it’s the honest truth. Voice/Video is probably one of the hardest parts of IM. Especially in a multiprotocol IM client such as Adium. Now let me explain the requirements and why, and maybe that will shed some light on why you won’t see this for a while.

  • The first part to all of this is locating a library (or creating one) that sends and receives the information required. For multiple protocols this could be multiple libraries, or a single library that does them all. For those who don’t know what a library is, think of it as the engine in a car, taking care of a lot of things that most people don’t know about.

    There are a few libraries, but as of right now we don’t have anyone implementing them in a way that we can use them, with the exception of our Summer of Code student working on Google Voice support.

  • After we get a library, we have to hook it up. This was mentioned a bit above, but basically this would be like hooking up libgaim to talk to Adium, or Joscar. It depends on the library for how difficult it will be, along with the experience of the developer implementing it.

  • QuickTime. Simply put, we need something to process the images, and QuickTime is it. QuickTime is also a pretty big API that none of us know much about as of yet (except Peter, who does not know IM protocols, and is therefore not suited to hook QuickTime up to anything).

  • Someone to do all of this. Hooking up a library to talk to Adium, and then hooking that into QuickTime, and making sure it works with at least an iSight if not USB/Firewire cameras is a big task. One that nobody has really stepped up and said they wanted to do as of yet.

If you know someone who you think would be able to do all of this, and would like to work on Adium to get all of this going, please have them contact us. We’ll eventually get to it otherwise, but it could be a long time.

PS: That blog post about the Voice/Video and Adium replacing iChat was an April Fools joke.


  1. Hi,

    We want just a Video service for MSN.
    aMSN, Mercury, SightSpeed do it.
    Why not Adium?


  2. Uh… Read the post. It explains in full why not (at least, why not yet).

  3. One point Tick made in the Cocoaradio interview that I think could also stand to be restated here is that finding one person who has knowledge of all these disparate subjects is kind of hard to do; these are the kinds of people who in the commercial world tend to fetch top dollar. If someone who can do all these things is willing to spend time on Adium, that’s great, but it isn’t something we should be holding our breath for.

  4. Why don’t you talk to the aMSN people? they have video-chat in MSN, that could be the first step?

  5. The aMSN is still buggy, has no voice and is done in java.
    I think most of the protocol is known, but it’s implementing it.
    I don’t think that the people of aMSN who make a cross platform IM would be interested in making a mac-only one.

    People who are desperate for voice/video can learn to program.
    The devs have done a great job, and they know people want it. Keeping bugging them about it will only make them stop enjoying programming.

  6. I think video/voice aren’t very important…

    I’d like a new Adium version with personal message and personal smileys. Is it really hard to create ?

    (Sorry for my very bad english ; I speak french)

  7. All fair enough points, but it’s worth keeping in mind that with so many Macs now being sold with built-in iSights, the demand’s only going to grow. It’s good that the Adium team has explored what issues face them, let’s just hope some people with the needed experience are found!

  8. aMSN isn’t based on Java, if it was based on java.
    It would probably be someone alredy trying to hook it up to Adium. Like joscar.

    aMSN is based on TCL, some script based command language. Just look it up on Wikipedia. (And C, but i’m not sure)

    On the other hand, if we look at Mercury that is based on Java. If we could get that guy to work with Adium, instead of having his closed source. Now that would be a success, atleast on the MSN side. As no one is really using it in the Adium dev team(yeah, but not as main protocol).

    But the guy behind Mercury doesn’t want to open up Mercury, as he wants to learn how to make everything by himself. Although, he released his Video API thing for the public, I believe it would be to much to even try and hook it up to libgaim.

  9. And for the personal messages thing for MSN.

    The gaim team is currently updating their MSN part, to the new MSNP12 or what ever it is. Which will contain loads of goodies.

    Someone just needs to jump on it, or prioritize it within the adium team 😛

    I’ll have start reading my cocoa book more, so I can try and help some O.o

    Anyway, for me it feels like the majority of the users are using Adium with MSN? Someone really needs to start a poll on this.

  10. Is google talk standard sip?

    If so could this be made generic rather than tied to google?

    An other option, could you work with the writers of xlite to make it able to function as a plug-in?

  11. since Yahoo is not updating their messenger for macs while they have a (more or less working) video support, could they be interested in letting adium hook to a “library only” version of their messenger? i’m sure they get lot of support demand from mac users (actually the new yahoo windows messenger has file transfer, photo share, avatars and other features not working on with the mac side). Is the way of contacting them already done? how many adium installations are there around? how many using yahoo? I think you should include in adium a handy way for users to send you back these numbers, so you could use them as a point of contract with big messenger companies.

  12. Just for the record aMSN isn’t in Java (thats’s Mercury), it’s written in Tcl/Tk. Also most of the issues with webcam are to do with routers, not the encoding or decoding of webcam, which seems to be stable. Farsight is your best bet for getting webcam into Adium.

  13. I think AdiumX is great. It would be greater if it did video/voice, but I think Christopher explained very well why it won’t happen in the forseeable future. I also think that he (or any of the AdiumX developers) should not have to appologize for this. Remember that AdiumX is free software. Developing free software is very, very hard (especially high-quality software like AdiumX). It takes blood, sweat, tears, and most importantly: time. It’s pretty obvious that these guys do what they do (read: give sooo much time to the project) because they’re passionate about it. And that’s awesome.

    So, please — stop whining. Say “thank you!” to the Duck. Repeat several times a day.

    If you want to see voice/video in AdiumX, I suggest one of these two alternatives:

    – volunteer to help do it in whatever capacity you can
    – send some cash to the developers (See the “Donations” link on the “Contact Us” page:

    (hint: I wouldn’t say this if I hadn’t already done one of these two)

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  15. i think video is really important.. voice is not as. it’s really anoying because all macs come with a built in camera. =/ what really bugs me is that aduim doesn’t have personal messege. i would really love to be able to see people’s personal messeges and to create one of my own.

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