I have two computers connected via an ethernet LAN switcher. The switcher then connects to an ADSL modem and out to my ISP (Bell Sympatico). The two computers are roughly 80 feet apart (multi-floor townhouse. One in basement, one in upstairs bedroom).
I'm looking for some sort of LAN chat program. Something small and preferably free that works similar to hotmail instant messaging, but without having the need for both computers to connect to my ISP or to a server. Mainly it'll be used for chats or short messages like "going out for a smoke, back in five". It won't be used for file-sharing or printer-sharing.
I am not looking to set up one my two computers as a server, nor am I looking to install a third computer to be a server for the other two.
Whatever the program is should run on both winXP and win98se (because one computer is running XP and the other is running 98se).
Get rid of the crappy computers and get two macs and fire up ichat it will let you see eacther on the network with out an isp also if you really need to keep the crappy computers that you love so much you can get Trillian pro but it cost money. found at http://www.ceruleanstudios.com/ it also supports what you call a serverless im solution both use Rendezvous Protocol.
Trillian will probably be the best way to go if you dont want to install a server on either of your computers. It would be $25 well spent, lol.
If you dont mind installing a server on one of the comps (to avoid any cost) then you might want to give teamspeak a try. It is mainly for voice but it has a simple text chat built into it as well. The server is tiny and non intrusive, it could operate completely in the background.