[JDEV] Does IBM chooses XMPP or SIMPLE?

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Fri May 16 11:24:54 CDT 2003

OK, here is my understanding. :)

On Thu, May 15, 2003 at 12:43:12PM -0400, Federico Lucifredi wrote:

>     As I understand the IBM situation, they have adopted SIP/SIMPLE for
> Lotus Sametime -- probably on the assumption that SIP/SIMPLE would be the
> IETF standard (I guess they made this decision before the XMPP wg was
> chartered). 

As far as I know, it is not true that IBM uses SIP/SIMPLE in its Lotus
Sametime product. They have some kind of gateway between Sametime and
SIMPLE, but SIMPLE is not the native format for Sametime (it still uses
a proprietary protocol), and I know of no plans to make that transition 
(though what would I know of Lotus product plans?). (I think they may
have a gateway between Sametime and Jabber as well but I'm not sure.)

IBM has also done some work with Jabber in their SashJab framework:


And as I mentioned in last night's Jabber Journal, they've published 
quite a few documents about Jabber/XMPP:


I've even heard rumours that people in the Sametime group itself use
Jabber! :)

> Later in December las year, an IBM person in the SIP/SIMPLE wg
> said that IBM will go with whatever is best _and_ is the standard, leaving
> an open door to XMPP. 

I never heard this comment. Do you have a URL or was it made in person?
The comment makes sense, though, becuase as far as I can see, IBM is
waiting to see how the standards "race" turns out before committing to 
one of the open protocols.

> The same person later authored an XMPP over SIP draft
> in the SIP/SIMPLE wg where he proposed to use XMPP for session-mode IM - a
> "feature" (LOL) that SIMPLE still lacks -- and not the only one right now
> ;-).

Actually, the person who authored that Internet-Draft was Robert Sparks,
who is an employee of dynamicsoft, not IBM. I've archived that I-D at
the following URL in case it is removed from the IETF repository (it has
already expired):


The only company in the IM market that has made a true commitment to
SIP/SIMPLE is Microsoft, which has implemented early versions of some
SIMPLE protocols in its beta enterprise IM product, called Greenwich.
There are many limits to how much SIMPLE functionality Greenwich can 
contain for the "simple" reason that the protocol is very incomplete and
was probably even less complete when MS started development. Even now,
SIMPLE does not possess the ability to do chat (only single messages),
groupchat, rosters, etc. Plus I understand that Greenwich also does not
have any kind of server-to-server functionality, so user at company1 can't
communicate with contact at company2 (though supposedly that functionality
is coming in a future release -- heard that before?).

I applaud MS for committing to an open protocol in one of its instant 
messaging products (though this is their enterprise product, not its 
consumer service, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft's embrace 
of SIMPLE will include "extensions" as well). We certainly can't say 
the same thing about AOL or Yahoo, which is unfortunate. 

As to IBM, I personally think it would make a lot of sense for them to
settle on Jabber/XMPP -- after all, they have had the foresight to make
serious commitments to both Linux and Apache, so Jabber would fit well
into their open-source strategy. But decisions made in a large corporate
entity such as IBM don't always make sense from the outside. :)


Peter Saint-Andre
Jabber Software Foundation

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