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Conducting Virtual Meetings with Linux, Part I - page 4

Online Conferencing on the Cheap

  • May 14, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

XMMS lets you listen to the meeting via an audio stream over the Internet. Xchat lets you interact with the LUG meeting via a chat session. In other words, you can type in messages (at the bottom of the Xchat window) and also read what other people (that are in the session with you) type from their end.

As with Xmms, Xchat is available with most Linux distributions. If you want the latest version you can download the source or an RPM from www.xchat.org.

Using Xchat is also a dream. To give you an example of how a client would connect to an online meeting, here are the steps to get connected to the Melbourne LUG meeting.

  1. Start up Xchat. You should see the Xchat:Server List window.
  2. At the top of the server list window fill in your nickname(s), real name and user name, so people know who you are.
  3. Click the New Server button at the bottom. You should see the Xchat:Edit entry window appear.
  4. Enter Melbourne LUG in the Name field.
  5. Enter mlinux.ixct.net into the Server field.
  6. The Port field should have 6667 by default, if not, enter it.
  7. Enter #MLUG in the Channel field (include the # sign).
  8. Click the OK button to go back to the Xchat:Server List window.

That's it for setting up an Xchat session. You will, of course, use the settings provided for you by the meeting coordinator. Now, on the Xchat:Server List window, just highlight the Melbourne LUG server and click the Connect button at the bottom of the window.

The Xchat dialog window should appear with your text input box at the bottom. The text input box is where you can enter your comments. On the right you'll see a list of all the people that are logged into the session. At the top left you'll see the scrolling messages and person's name as people add their comments to the session.

Xchat is cool because you become part of the virtual meeting. Usually the meeting host has an assistant that handles the chat session. Xchat also allows you to carry on side conversations with other virual members. Sometimes the chat session gets pretty active and you may have to keep it "virtually" down. Its just like any other meeting. You can also project the chat session on the wall for the "live" meeting members to see and respond verbally to comments.

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