AIM Protocol

Mark Doliner mark at
Wed Mar 5 17:46:24 EST 2008

On Wed, 5 Mar 2008 14:37:40 -0500, Etan Reisner wrote
> On Wed, Mar 05, 2008 at 02:32:48PM -0500, Justin Rodriguez wrote:
> > Hey,
> >     I don't know if its of any use to anybody, but I just wanted to mention
> > that AOL released a copy of the OSCAR Protocol used in aim. You can find it
> > at
> > - Justin
> Those documents are under the rather unfortunate Open AIM license 
> and are thus more-or-less unusable. At least given my reading of things.

We should probably talk about this, since their protocol documentation could
potentially be useful to us.  The referenced documentation is listed as being
released under the requirements of these two documents:

I'm not a lawyer, but I've read through both of those and I don't see anything
that would be problematic.  A large part of the requirements apply to the
following four things:

1. Presence Tools
2. Plugin Tools
3. Custom Client Tools
4. Web AIM Tools

These all have special meaning with the AIM license.  More importantly
Pidgin/libpurple/Finch do not fall under any of these categories, which means
the requirements don't apply to us. (The requirements are things like, "show
buddy info," "show buddy icons," "if you have over 100,000 concurrent users
then use our ads.")

Another large chunk of requirements applies only to the developer and not to
the products he creates.  The requirements are reasonable things like, "don't
break the law," "don't abuse your api key," "don't claim that your product is
created or endorsed by AOL."

The only requirements that seem borderline questionable to me are those in
section V. D. 2: "Restrictions on Functionality of Developer Applications." 
These are things like, "don't send SPIM," "don't abuse our servers," "don't
distribute viruses."

I think it is reasonable for any developer who wishes to read their oscar
protocol documentation to adhere to these requirements.


More information about the Devel mailing list