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Lucid Chat: Pricy Discourse? - page 2

An Unobtrusive Chat Server

  • November 1, 1999
  • By Kevin Reichard

Lucid Chat features streaming text from a Web interface, made possible with a proprietary socket daemon that oversees all chat traffic.

Administration is done remotely from a Web browser; Lucid Chat isn't bloatware that relies on the weight of an X-based graphical interface, but rather provides a low-overhead Web-based administration interface. For administrators lacking an intimate knowledge of their Linux setup--such as many who didn't set up their own servers--it means that administration doesn't require mucking around in text-based configuration files; make changes from anywhere on the network with a Web browser.

One can also edit the configuration files directly; they're rather easy to decipher and they're well-documented. However, as these files are generated from the graphical front end, beginners or casual users would be well-advised to avoid messing with them.

The look and feel of Lucid Chat can also be changed from this administrative module by implementing different layout schemes, and users can change their Lucid Chat interfaces. They can change the supported language (Lucid Chat supports a wide range of languages, including Spanish, German, and Chinese), change client text colors or enable and edit all chat commands. Also, the administrator can set up an introductory login page, a registration page, a message of the day (MOTD) for chat rooms and the inclusion of banner advertising in a chat room.

The look and feel of Lucid Chat is defined by themes. A theme consists of a dozen or more images, combining to form the entire interface. The Lucid Chat designers included just two alternate themes on their Web site, certainly not enough for someone planning to implement multiple chat sites.

Lucid Chat 1.4, which should be released soon, features plug-ins extending the product's capabilities, including Avatars, advertising, language filtering, alternative authentication modules and more extensive user-registration capabilities. In the future, Lucid Chat 2.0 (which is promised for release in winter 2000) will be a multithreaded, single-socket-based server designed to eat even fewer system resources.

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