[jdev] Is Jabber P2P?

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Thu May 8 05:38:06 CDT 2008

On Thu May  8 11:24:01 2008, Hardy Huang wrote:
> dear all,
> I'm a newbie. I've just read Peer to Peer Harnessing the disruptive  
> technologies. In that book, jabber is stated as P2P. But as far as  
> I know, jabber uses client/server technology. Can someone provide  
> me an explanation to this? Thanks.
I can provide two:

1) People who write books spout all manner of stuff in order to  
support their flakey arguments, primarily in order to sell more  
books. In particular, there are some severely bendy definitions of  
things like P2P, and this is very convenient if you're trying to sell  
lots of books.

I'm sure that the book makes great reference to two P2P technologies  
- email and PPP. Both have, undoubtedly, had great influence on the  
world, and certainly more than the majority of P2P technologies.

2) XMPP can be considered peer-to-peer in the sense that between two  
clients, it's possible to perform peer-to-peer protocols, and many of  
these exist - the servers in this case act like routers or gateways,  
and don't mediate the traffic. Since one plausible definition of  
"peer to peer" is that there are two equal endpoints and no mediation  
by a third party, then XMPP is peer-to-peer.

Of course, in most XMPP client-to-client protocols, one client  
"offers" and the other "accepts", or one client "requests" and the  
other "provides". As such, these are actually classic client/server  
technologies, it's merely that  both endpoints can operate in either  
role, or indeed both at once. This is in common with several  
technologies which have assymetric protocols between equal endpoints,  
such as SMTP. It's different from those technologies which use an  
assymetric protocol to create a symmetric channel, such as S2S XMPP.

Dave Cridland - mailto:dave at cridland.net - xmpp:dwd at jabber.org
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