Over the past few days Skype has had a major outage.

Now, I realize that Skype is incredibly popular, most notably because their video/voice chat service has an incredible knack for getting around pesky firewalls and routers that routinely block other services. But this simply underscores the need for decentralized networks. Instant messaging is at a crisis in this world. Right now if AIM goes down millions of people, most of the Internet, will be without IM service. But if AOL e-mail went down, only AOL users would be affected.

There is already a fully internetworked IM protocol. It's called XMPP, or more commonly Jabber. Wouldn't it be nice if you could e-mail anybody regardless of who your provider was? Oh wait, you can. Wouldn't it be nice if you could telephone anybody regardless of who your carrier was? Oh wait, you can. Wouldn't it be nice if people could communicate regardless of who their IM provider was? Yes, that would be very nice.

If you own a domain and have e-mail you should be doing something about this. Get OpenFire or piggyback off of Google until you can stand on your own. Setting up OpenFire is easy. Give it a try.