Microsoft has had a long tradition of wanting to be cool and edgy, and copying what is popular to make themselves a metwo company. And it’s really random, some things become wildly popular, while others crash and burn so hard that almost all existence of it happening is destroyed. Back before the commercialization of the internet, if you wanted to do real-time conversations you used IRC, and before then it was just talk/ytalk on any UNIX host.
However once the internet opened up, companies were free to invent their own protocols, and let the users choose if they wanted something more rich than a simple text based protocol, it may seem obvious today, but users wanted to do things like share files, and more importantly be able to minimize the program and only get an alert if someone was actually messaging them. Out of the gates of commercialization the big hit was ICQ. And Microsoft being Microsoft, first created Comic Chat, a simplified IRC client back in 1996 as part of it’s push with Internet Explorer 3, which brought many internet programs to Windows, including a NNTP client, and a simple SMTP/POP email client. Then in 1999 the MSN group brought out their MSN messenger.
With the later massive misstep of buying Skype from Ebay, Microsoft shuttered the MSN messaging product, and has been trying very hard to shoehorn Skype as not only a communication tool for users, but also for businesses. Apparently they are going to try to copy slack now for us business users.
Back around 2002, when MSN was integrated in with things like ME and XP, I found some server implementation on one of our internal servers. I think it was written in either Perl or python, and I just recall it definitely ran on one of our Linux boxes with a MySQL back end. At the time we wanted a private server to keep internal communications internal, and MSN was convenient as everyone had it, and all they needed was a registry change to tell MSN to use the internal server. Oh how times have changed.
Over on Escargot, it’s even easier to download a pre-patched client, then create your account and login!
And just like that I’m logged in using MSN 7.5.0324 English on Windows 10.
Even better is that the source to Escargot is available!
If anyone feels the need to find me, you’ll know where, naturally you’ll have to type in that crazy long domain name….