Originally, Escargot was a simple MSN server that supported version 7.0 of the MSN Messenger client, and up until now it supports MSN Messenger versions 1.0 all the way up to 8.5. For a while now, @valtron has had plans to make Escargot host more frontends, or implementations of messaging networks, old and new, but with a twist. All of the frontends will have a “compatibility” layer. More specifically, the frontends he’ll host will integrate all user accounts and their associated data, like contacts, display names/pictures, and personal settings, alongside allowing the frontends to talk to each other, effectively federating them. Although features specific to certain frontends will most likely not be supported by other frontends, this shouldn’t deter from your messaging experience overall. Also there won’t be any settings to apply to access certain frontends once this plan is achieved. They will be open for all, granted they don’t use insecure login methods, in which you’ll have to manually enable those options.
Right now, Escargot just gives MSN Messenger clients new life, but after valtron’s new plans go live, which should be by the time WLM 2009 and Yahoo! Messenger support go live, Escargot will aim to standardize messaging by offering users multiple frontends, including MSN Messenger, that operate on one backend, with each frontend being updated for bug fixes or support for newer features in the protocols they use. Think of it as an apartment complex, with each floor being a frontend, and users, or tenants, residing on those floors can talk to people on the other floors without having to move to their floor. valtron’s ultimate goal for Escargot is to support most messaging networks to give people a choice in what frontend they want to use while being able to talk to their contacts on other networks without hassle. It’ll be a win/win for everyone.
At its current state, Escargot is experimental, meaning that even with live releases, there might be bugs lingering around on the server. These bugs will usually get tacked sooner, but there’s no guarantee that your Escargot experience will be smooth sailing.
Escargot is also open-source, and has a GitLab repository for the main server along with a page with all the repositories for the other stuff that powers Escargot. You can join these repositories and help develop for them. The more developers, the more efficient updates and fixes can be rolled out.