Gale is instant messaging software distributed under the terms of the
General Public License.
Instant messaging software allows users to communicate with each other
in "near real time"; what you type shows up on someone else's screen
in a matter of seconds. Examples of other instant messaging systems
MIT Zephyr system,
Internet Relay Chat,
AOL's Instant Messenger,
Several features set Gale apart from other instant messaging systems.
Gale is open source software.
The GPL ensures that you and others retain the freedom to modify
and distribute the Gale source code. Gale will never lock
into any one vendor's proprietary, closed system.
Gale isn't just about poking "private" messages to someone sitting at
another computer. Gale does support secure private messaging, but
Gale also has a well-developed infrastructure for public (and
semi-public) chat. Advanced categorization and filtering
features mean that you can precisely control your level of participation
and distraction. We've been at this for years, we've tried
everything else out there, and we have a lot of experience with the
usability of real-time messaging systems. The result of our experience
is something like IRC, something like Zephyr, and something like
commercial "instant messaging" systems, but with many features you
won't find in any of these.
Most other systems depend on the security of a
central bank of servers, and provide no protection against network
eavesdroppers. Gale uses strong cryptography for both privacy
and authentication, and is designed to work in an environment
of mutual distrust between users and administrators.
Gale's architecture uses a loosely-connected set of servers
which locate each other via DNS only when they need to talk to each
other. Multicast is accomplished by the dynamic creation of self-healing
spanning trees of interconnected servers. The network is robust;
servers and clients detect and route around failure.
This means Gale is fast and stable.
Gale will not suffer the kind of performance and reliability problems
USENET, IRC, and centralized commercial message systems do.
Gale has been in active development for over three years. Both
clients and servers have been well tested by daily use in an active user
community. Both simple command-line and sophisticated graphical
clients are available, and there are platform solutions for the POSIX,
Microsoft Windows, and Java platforms.
Gale is largely self-maintaining, but in this section we help you install
and configure Gale in the first place, manage encryption keys, set system
policy and troubleshoot when things go wrong. (Not that they ever go
wrong, because Gale is perfect in every regard.)
Now you're on a system with Gale installed, but you're wondering how
to use it? This documentation will describe the concepts of Gale,
introduce and document the command-line client programs with copious
People who want to modify the Gale source code, understand the Gale
network protocol, write software using the Gale libraries, or just have
a better understanding of how the system works should find these
This FAQ is maintained, via Wiki, by anyone who feels like