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I wonder how I could send short information (like a URL or a small text) between a PC with Windows XP and a Mac with OS X 10.6, which are both in our LAN at home.

Up to now I sent in such a case an e-mail (via a provider outside) which is quite like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer.

Are there other alternatives like instant messaging which can be used to communicate within the LAN without using any external services or external servers in the web=

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have a similar setup in my small office and we use a server less cross-platform program to handle the communication between Mac OS X and Windows peers; it is appropriately named LAN Messenger. It is open source too.

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thank you, namesake :-) This looks very promising. I'll try the Bonjour solution first, as it uses things which are already built-in, but LAN Messenger seems to be also very interesting. –  Martin Oct 3 '12 at 20:33

Bonjour can be used for this. Just make sure its installed on the Windows client. You can use Pidgin as the IM client for Windows and iChat for OSX.

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thanks, this looks very interesting as most of it seems to be already built-in. Is there a tutorial, how to set this up? I tried to start iChat and it directly asks me for account data at AIM etc. which I do not have. Do I need to create such an account at a service, even if I only want to use inst. messaging within my LAN? –  Martin Oct 3 '12 at 20:31
in the prefs panel under "Accounts > Bonjour" the option "Use Bonjour Instant Messaging" –  BroScience Oct 4 '12 at 13:26

If you were completely using Windows machines using the legacy network NetBIOS protocol you could use the message service to issue commands like 'net send' (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/168893) which would pop up messages on the remote machines. But in a modern mixed OS network you would need to setup and host your own messaging service. My company like others use the Microsoft Lync messaging service which internally provides IM services but it most likely overkill for the home user.

I guess it just depends on your use. For security items like passwords just sneakernet them (ie write down and walk them over). For other items use AIM or a shared doc service (like Evernote or Google Docs) open on both computers.

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