Many companies consider instant messaging to be a distraction, but IM can be an effective communication tool if used properly. OpenFire is an open source enterprise IM server that has lots of features to streamline communication within an enterprise. The server is written in Java and uses Jabber, which is one of the most popular open protocols for real-time communication. In addition to being cross-platform, OpenFire is easy to set up and administer.
While the basic version of the OpenFire server is available free of cost, an enterprise version, which costs $15 per user per year, adds features suitable for a large multi-office corporation.
To install OpenFire, head over to the download page and choose the platform you wish to run OpenFire on. Linux users can download either a precompiled binary for RPM-based distros or a source tarball, which will work on most distros. For this article I compiled OpenFire 3.4.2, the latest version, from the tarball on Ubuntu Linux.