AtarICQ - an ICQ-clone for Atari and compatibles
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Online iconAtarICQ - ICQ for Atari GEM

What is it? This program is made in an attempt to provide an ICQ clone with a decent GUI for all Atari users out there. AtarICQ is a shell that relies on the presence of an overlay (AICQ.OVL) developed by Dan Ackerman.

What does it look like? Here you will find some screenshots.
Notice the new one from 2005-10-25 which has the new colour icons and the TABs on display.

Old screenshots:

Download No MiNTnet ovl is at this time available, so please be patient! Meanwhile, use glueSTiK. Using old MiNTnet ovl with newer versions of aICQ will definately cause trouble.

Distribution notice: AtarICQ is freeware and as such you are free to download and use it without any restrictions. You can share AtarICQ with your friends or upload it to FTP-servers as long as the archive contents is left unchanged. You can *NOT* add AtarICQ to any kind of distribution of bundled shareware/freeware in any form without the explicit permission from the authors. Please respect these simple rules. Thank you.


System message iconAtarICQ development news

2008-06-28 -AtarICQ 0.173 released as freeware at NAS2008

Recent changes:

  • Program license changed to freeware (read more in HYP)
    NOTE: Naggings and registration procedure are completely removed.
  • A bug that caused RSC objects to be positioned wrongly under MagiC (only when the 3d-rendering of objects disabled), has been fixed.
  • There was a bug in the popup menu for opening TABs (CTRL+T), which would result in offline AIM users being listed as offline ICQ users in this popup.
  • If the width of contact window was set lower than 100 pixels, the width would be adjusted to 100 at next relaunch of the program. (NOTE: Smallest allowed width is now set to 40 pixels!)
  • A number of visual and functional glitches regarding the contact list behaviour, redraws and its sliders has been fixed.
  • Several stability issues have been resolved, especially involving the log on procedure as well as contacts going online/offline.
  • A bug in the text buffer management has been fixed. The bug would prevent the text buffer from being limited to the value specified in "scrollback".
  • AtarICQ now remembers the path of the texture files next time you call the file selector to specify a new background image for contact list.
  • AtarICQ will keep track of which TABs were open upon the time of termination, and make sure they are there on next launch of the program.

2008-04-16 -AtarICQ 0.172 released
The biggest noticeable addition this time is the ability to view GIF images as background in the contact list. This was made possible through a cooperation with PeP, who has been kind enough to supply a very, very nice OVL that decodes and processes the GIF data. Cheers for that!

Recent changes:

  • Implemented support for loading graphics via external load modules in form of dedicated overlays. (Look into the preferences dialog to set this feature up properly)
  • Caching of background images implemented. By default AtarICQ will use a subdir (/cache) in its own workdirectory for storing the data. To change this, you need to tweak the cache dir within preferences dialog.
  • After loading the GFXGIF.OVL the CPU cache will now be flushed before the client calls any functions within the OVL. Applies also to aicq.ovl!
  • When put in compact mode (F10) the contact list will now use the native sliders of the AES, including a SIZER widget.
  • Clicking the CLOSER widget on contact list while holding ALT-key, will trigger aICQ to remove the window TITLE.
  • More optimised redraws of the TABs, resulting in much less flickering when toggling between open TABs.
  • Cookie jar is now read utilizing Ssystem() under MiNT. Under TOS/MagiC, the old method is still used.
  • Under large gfx resolutions the scrollback setting could easily be defaulting to a much too small value, in case the message window height was increased. A check for this is now added after reading the config file. This problem could be noticed as a very serious scrolling problem, causing aICQ to lock up pretty good.
  • In case COLOR_SELECT is not specified in the environment, AtarICQ looks if COLSEL.PRG is present in its workdir. (This prg is included in the zip file as of the 0.172 release)

2007-10-06 -AtarICQ 0.171 released
Roughly 3 months has passed since the 0.170 release and it's time to update aICQ again!
You can expect the following changes/additions compared to the last official release:

  • Removed debug msg which was seen when scrolling with mouse wheel
  • In some popup menus it was not possible to select an entry in case either contact list or msg window was also open. Fixed now.
  • Fetching of contacts from the server side list had accidently been disabled in 0.170. It works now, but this needs to be reimplemented in the future.
  • A small redraw glitch only seen under MagiC has been fixed.
  • In the contact list popup menu (right click on a nick) the option to "Open TAB" for a contact is disabled (greyed out) if a TAB exist already.
  • Found and fixed a small bug that would result in form_wbutton() not being used under MagiC for handling of mouse clicks in background.
  • A right click on an empty place in contact list will open up the popup menu with a listing of contacts, allowing you to "Create TAB for ". (Same behaviour as with CTRL+T)
  • All popup menus that have window titles will now also have a CLOSER widget. Also, these popups can now also be moved like any other GEM window.
  • In the popup menu "More->" (preferences/messages and preferences/connection) the same keyboard shortcut had been assigned twice. This has been fixed now.
  • Using TAB or UP/DOWN-ARROW to jump to next text edit field in a dialog now works better under MagiC. SHIFT+TAB will now move focus backwards. Also, when we hit the last (or first, depending on TAB-direction) editable object of the dialog, focus will not wrap back to the first (or last) editable object. (This is in fact a workaround for MagiC's limited implementation of FORM_KEYBD)
  • Last AtarICQ release had a bug in the keyboard evaluation code that prevented user to type chars that required ALT-combinations. Should be OK now.
  • The ICQ server seems to have stopped sending multipackets when sending info about which contacts are online when we log in. Furthermore, it has started to send info also about which contacts are OFFLINE, which seems a bit like overkill to me. In any case, aICQ will now check that a contact is listed as online in contact list, before addressing a change of the list due to an incoming message about a contact being/coming offline. This makes the updating of the contact list a bit faster and less flickering upon logging in. Also, aICQ now polls the OVL more frequently until we received all data that was sitting on the server.
  • In recent releases, aICQ had a bug that caused it to always use the "Busy" poll timer (as configured in Prefs/Connection), never returning to "Idle". Fixed now! :)
  • AtarICQ now use AV_STARTPROG instead of VA_START when:
    1. Asking AV-SERVER to launch the Colour Selector (In Prefs./Contact list)
    2. Asking AV-SERVER to replay sound sample files
    3. Asking AV-SERVER to display history file (CTRL+H)
    4. Asking AV-SERVER to display the help file (HELP)
      (This should be good news to people who use other desktops than Thing)
Previous changes >>

Chat iconAbout the project

Background Coordinated development of the shell and overlay was started in March 2000.

What started all this was the fact that I got tired that noone bothered to do something about the fact that atari users were lacking a decent icq-client. Sure, we got mICQ (which is a great port by Dan), but I think there are many that would prefer to get rid of that command line. Problem was I didn´t know enough to fix the communication part on my own and since I cannot code in C the mICQ sources was of no help. Then Dan suggested we could turn the client into a shell + an overlay and the rest is history. :)
I am proud to be part of this project and I have learned incredibly much along the way.

Special thanks Finally I just want to thank some people that has been helping out since day one. Thanks goes to Dan for patience with my at times slow progress, and Lonny Pursell for excellent help on GFA-matters.

Feedback We would of course appreciate if people ending up using this shareware program would also register it. (only 10 US dollars for ovl+shell) Also consider giving us suggestions or feedback by signing the guestbook or sending an email or icq message.

STiK iconCompatibility

What do I need? The overlay that is used by AtarICQ is written to work with STiK or compatible stack.

  • TOS 1.04, 1.62
  • Geneva
  • MiNT + N.AES/XaAES
  • MagiC, MagiC-Mac, MagiC-PC

What about iFusion? Since 0.153 you will be able to connect also with iFusion. (Since new protocol uses TCP/IP whereas old protocol used UDP)

Tool iconTechnical

Shell & overlay? AtarICQ is a shell that combined with the overlay by Dan Ackerman becomes a GEM-client that is capable of exchanging info over the ICQ-protocol. The overlay is working with v8 of the ICQ protocol which actually is a subprotocol of OSCAR (Protocol for AOL Instant Messenger).

Sound AtarICQ can playback samples for some ICQ-events, like a user coming online/offline or an instant message coming in. You can either have AtarICQ playback the sample by DMA or XBIOS, send it to GEMJing with a pexex (works with single-TOS even), send sample path to AV-SERVER or just have the system bell pinging.

Colour In recent versions of AtarICQ it is possible to set up colours for both contact list and message window with ease. You can select the 16 standard colours via a built-in popup menu but you can also select colours from the 256 colour palette if you use COLORS, a colour selector by Holger Weets. If you don´t have that program you can try downloading COLSEL which is compatible with the protocol used by COLORS.

What is aICQLoad? aICQLoad is a tiny program that should be run from either your dialer script or by Spawner. If you use STinG you must run it from Spawner! This program will then check if AtarICQ is running or not. If already started, it will be trigged to connect and otherwise it will be started as usual. You can also use it to setup your dialer to terminate aICQ upon disconnection. See docs for all setup details!

The shell is written with GFA BASIC (with some important assembler inlines) and the overlays are coded in C.

Software used to create AtarICQ:
XRef (Great GFA utility by lp)
SpiritED (text editor ran as ACC)
Resource Master
Atari Resource Editor
STiK2 (Internet connection)
AtarIRC (for IRC-discussions)
AntMail (emails)
mICQ (early tests)
ICQ (for reference)
Capture (PC snapshots)
Paintshop Pro (Fixing snaps)
STiK2 -Now with PPP-support

Program license AtarICQ is as of the 0.173-release during NAS2008 availble as freeware. If you still feel you wish to show your appreciation by donating a small fee, you would be most welcome to do so. For this purpose you can use the PayPal link below. Thanks.

For your convenience, there is now a possibility to submit the registration fee via PayPal.

Chat iconLinks

[XaAES]XaAES is a free AES for MiNT that is used in AtarICQ development
[AtarIRC]AtarIRC is the most popular IRC client for the Atari and has some special support for AtarICQ
[AssemSoft]AssemSoft is the home of StringServer, which is supported by AtarICQ as of aICQ 0.153
[QED]QED is one of the most popular text editors for the Atari, released into public domain along with sources.
[HighWire]HighWire is an open source project aiming to create a new web browser for the Atari
[Atari Users Network]Atari Users Network is a community site with news, forums and more. They are also hosting this site


Dan Ackerman, author of AICQ.OVL and its API
Joakim Högberg, author of the GUI, AtarICQ
Lonny Pursell, provided GFA code/support/advice
Odd Skancke, asm-inline for overlay startup

aICQ icon
AtarICQ © 2000-2003 GokMasE / Baldrick