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SoFurry releases new IM platform amid site overhauls

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Project Nexus

SoFurry recently took a further step towards its goal of creating a complete furry community with the release of its own instant messaging service. The announcement was originally made on Twitter but then followed up on the main site itself with further details. Codenamed Project Nexus, the messaging system is using the Jabber/XMPP protocol allowing users to communicate with users on other servers, including Google Talk.

In time, the IM service will become integrated with SoFurry's friend list and should offer users a private way to communicate, without requiring creators to give their personal chat details to discuss commissions. The service is encrypted to increase privacy and security.

We want to offer a fully encrypted experience so you know you have full privacy. Not to mention give writers/artists a way to communicate with their fan-base while not giving out their standard contact information. Users can also create their own user controlled rooms and invite other SoFurry members.

Although the messaging system is currently in beta, it's open to all users and can be accessed using sofurryusername@sofurry.com and your SoFurry password. If your username contains a space, the space should be replaced with a hyphen.

New Servers

Some users have been encountering some issues with loading SoFurry lately. These disruptions were due to the movement of data to new servers. Currently SoFurry has upgraded from four servers to six (with plans to soon double the number to 12 servers) as well as strengthening their firewall protections.

SoFurry 3.0

The past week has also seen the release of a preview of how art submissions will look in the upcoming SoFurry 3.0, a user page preview having been released a couple of months earlier. The new version of the site will be adding a frequently requested dark theme as well as dynamic scaling to work on all screen sizes, including smart phones. Comments and suggestions on the previews are encouraged and offer the opportunity for the whole community to influence the future look of the site.

The upgrades bode well for the future of the site and there is much activity by users themselves. Recently, the first Golden Typewriter competition winners were announced in 17 categories. The award is intended to recognise good writing over the past year on SoFurry and was started by user Moa. The forum thread for entries grew to over 200 posts in just two months! Unsurprising then that Fergus Wyrm named SoFurry the "best place for furry writers.”

The author is a SoFurry Ambassador.

Comments

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I was under the impression that Google Talk has turned off the capability for users of other networks to message their users (so-called XMPP federation) since May 2013. (Which means SoFurry IM users will not be able to message Google Talk - now replaced by Google Hangout - users.) Has that changed since then?

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I'm not sure. I haven't tried mixing the two so it could be that people can't connect to Google Talk. Or maybe that's only the case with the official apps but you can still work around it if you're using third party messengers.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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To clarify: You can still use third-party messengers that support XMPP to connect to Google Talk.

However, using an account from other networks running XMPP, for example, SoFurry or LiveJournal, you cannot chat with Google Talk users.

To chat with Google Talk users, you now need a Google account.

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Actually, you still can talk to Google Talk users from XMPP, /unless/ they chose to "upgrade" to Google Hangouts.

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You can use a third-party XMPP client such as Gajim, Swift, Pidgin or Jitsi. Some XMPP servers require TLS, which breaks GTalk federation, because Google refuses to encrypt XMPP federation, and always has.

SoFurry XMPP federation does not yet work, with any XMPP server. http://is-a-furry.org/ is a good example of an XMPP server that does work with other XMPP servers, including GTalk.

Please note that messages over XMPP federation links are almost never encrypted. It is highly recommended that if you have any reason to believe your family or workplace may find furriness questionable that you use OTR and a privacy VPN. Most XMPP servers support client-to-server cryptography, but not server-to-server cryptography.

The state of affairs regarding XMPP federation TLS support is a mess. Part of the problem is that valid SSL certificates are costly, because the CA oligopoly agrees to charge a ridiculous amount. Somewhat cheaper SSL certs can be had from Gandi.net and others, but server-to-server TLS relies on valid certificates.

An experimental feature that supports DANE, TLS certificate validation that relies on the DNS infrastructure instead of CAs is supported in some XMPP servers, but is only experimental at this point. DANE would allow a far less expensive certificate validation service that would make XMPP federation cryptography easier, but in the mean time, the solution is end-to-end cryptography with OTR.

For Pidgin, OTR is a plugin provided by http://otr.cypherpunks.ca/ . Some clients have built-in support for OTR, but these are not common.

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

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Coyo,

Is-a-furry.org does NOT Support gtalk. Is-a-furry.org forces and requires Server-to-server encryption and since Google doesn't allow encrypted connections, its not working yet. But Google "promised" to change that.

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a student and Growlithe (Pokemon) from South Africa, interested in science, anime and power metal

I'm a fur from South Africa who got into the fandom through my interest in pokemon, still a major part of my involvement, and writing fanfiction, though now I also try my hand at art from time to time. Outside of furry and the aforementioned subjects I'm interested in science, anime (and am learning Japanese) and power metal.

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