Dumb question, but what is Openfire exactly ...?

I am trying to figure this all out. I use Dreamhost for my web hosting needs and have my own jabber account on one of dreamhost’‘s servers, and I would love to be able to use Spark for that Jabber account as well as my regular Yahoo, Gmail and such right along side it. I keep reading about the use of Openfire with the correct gateways to do so. From what I am gathering is Openfire for installing on the web server and not the local machine, right? I accidentally downloaded and installed Openfire on my PowerMac OS X 10.4.10 (not a server) before I realized what it really was. Stupid right? Anyways, I would just like someone to explain exactly what Openfire is for (ie. it is just if you control your own web server for chatting, or can be used on your local machine to add functionality to your IM’‘ing experience and gateways, or … ?). Do I need Openfire to connect to the other IM’‘ing outfits? Can I install Openfire on a local machine, or is it not designed for it? Or, am I just really lost in this whole IM’'ing world? Please help!


Hi Justin. If you really should involve Openfire in the equation you could do something like this:

In Spark you could now add all your gmail- (jabber) and yahoo buddies to your blog4brains@yourserver.com contact list.

However, if Dreamhost supports yahoo gateway on their jabberserver you could just as well keep using your dreamhost account (not installing any Openfire server) and add Yahoo users through that gateway using Spark or any other Jabber client…

Hope it helps,


You do not need openfire for what you want to do. You just need to get a chat client that support multiple server protocols. For the mac the big players are Adium and Fire. Both are really good. If you only need Jabber and AIM you can get by with iChat, as it can do both at the same time.

Thanks guys for all your help. I am sorry for not getting back with you all sooner. I am still a little confused with all of this stuff, but I will check out Adium as I have heard quite a bit about it. Thanks guys.