Sciurus IM

What is Sciurus?

Sciurus is an instant messenger chat client developed in Java 1.5. It was created to showcase our JOSTL library. It didn't have a lot of bells and whistles as it was designed to be lightweight and offer a simple method of communication across the Internet.

Some of the features include customizable themes and built-in theme manager, HTML support inside the chat window, tabs to keep multiple chats contained inside a single window, and the ability to set custom friendly names.

Friendly names were customized names associated with the actual usernames on the chat list. In other words, you could set your friend vader7469 to appear as John H instead. When development started in 2006, tabbed conversation windows and custom user names were still uncommon among many chat clients.


The buddy list, or client window, after login.
The chat window.

What is JOSTL?

JOSTL stands for "Java Open-Source TOC2 Library" and is the backbone of Sciurus. The library is an implementation of AOL's TOC2 IM protocol, an event-driven ASCII-based protocol that acts as a wrapper for their proprietary OSCAR protocol. While it didn't support 100% of the abilities that OSCAR had, TOC2 was by far easier to implement.

While some documentation was available on the specifications of the protocol, some of it had to be figured out the hard way through monitoring data packets from the original client and other features through plain old guess and check. Most of the protocol has been implemented with full support for chatrooms, managing the buddy list, the sending/receiving of typing notifications, and login methods using either your AOL or ICQ account. A few features that were never implemented was the ability to sign on as invisible and direct connections to other clients for image/file sharing. While support for buddy icons was under development, a lack of documentation made it difficult to support and was never implemented into the release of JOSTL.

* In late 2005, AOL had dropped support for TOC2 but the servers remained active until July of 2012. Because of this, JOSTL is no longer being developed but you may download the library and source under the LGPL.

** As of March 28, 2017 AOL will no longer allow 3rd party software to connect to their AIM network using the OSCAR protocol. I believe this is a sign that AOL plans to retire the OSCAR servers in the future.

What is CTL?

CTL is the C# equivalent JOSTL and was ported over in 2007. It uses .NET 1.1 and supports all the same features as JOSTL. It too is no longer under development. The Visual Studio project is also available for download.