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Lucid Chat: Pricy Discourse? - page 3

An Unobtrusive Chat Server

  • November 1, 1999
  • By Kevin Reichard

The interface presented to the end user isn't the most sophisticated chat interface I've seen, but it's functional. A control panel lets users change text colors, access help functions, customize preferences and move between chat rooms. The conversation window displays the actual chat discussion. A text-input box is used to enter the user's scintillating contribution to the discussion--either as a public message or within a private conversation with other users. Finally, the userlist window contains a listing of all the users; two checkboxes allow users to send private messages to or ignore a specific user.

Installing Lucid Chat is fairly easy; we tested it on a Slackware Linux 7.0 server with the Apache Web server. After copying the Linux distribution file to a new chat-specific directory (Lucid Chat is distributed as OS-specific binaries), you uncompress the file, run the Install command, make some well-documented changes to your Apache httpd.conf file and perform the rest of the configuration process via a Web browser.

User information--in the form of a username, password, and e-mail address--is stored in a Lucid Chat database, and users must be registered in this database before participating in a chat. In addition, other databases can be used to authenticate users: password files, SQL databases or LDAP directories.

The only thing really wrong with Lucid Chat has nothing to do with technology--it's the pricing. If the pricing isn't an issue for you, then you should consider Lucid Chat as a way to add chat capabilities to your ISP or corporate customers--just don't expect the hardcore IRC devotees to join in.

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