[Foundation] Catching Up

Jeremie jeremie at jabber.org
Wed May 23 04:11:57 CDT 2001

This whole thread came with a bad bit of timing (moving), but I've got my
office back and am catching up on things :)

First, on the server/development issue and the frustration that some
who've wanted to contribute might have felt or are feeling.  Yes, things
have been a bit rough since 1.4 and I apologize, I wish the progress on
the foundation and jabelin had started sooner and was moving faster as I
think it's the right way to solve these problems.  One of the issues is
that the core team working on server/transport development was fairly
small and rushed to get things working, and we all spent 5 intense months
getting 1.2 and then 1.4 out. It was in part the resulting drop in
intensity by the core and growth in interest from new developers and
contributors, that has helped bring us to this point and see the need for
the foundation and jabelin.

On another very positive note, from the people I've been chatting with
recently, there's a number of JIGs under the foundation that are ready to
get started and people waiting to dive in. It's exciting to see the amount
of interest in different areas of the protocol and cool applications of
the growth and possibilities they are creating.  I'm hoping we can start a
few skeleton JIGs in the next week or so with a simple process for
participating in them, and start pouring our energy into Jabber growth.

Now, on to the hot issue at hand, the TM.  As others have noted, any
analogy to Java and/or Sun's handling of it is improper.  Sun created and
owns Java, and it's in their right to protect it as they see fit.  *We*
created and all own a part of Jabber, not just Jabber.com, so it's not
appropriate to consider Sun's management of the Java TM analogous to this
situation.  Jabber.com was the first to enter the business marketplace
with a couple commercial products and purchased the .com name, and I don't
think anyone is arguing with their right to protect those investments, but
that doesn't provide them with a blanket deal over the rest of the Jabber
namespace that we've worked hard to create.

Alright, let's go down the road of "change the project name".  It might be
a considerable amount of work, but is not insurmountable.  We all have the
same goals here and the name isn't as important as sharing those goals.  
My understanding is that most of the additional value that Jabber.com is
currently getting from the TM, beyond the protection of their company name
and products, is that it is the name of the open project and holds a
certain value depending on the success of the project.  The value is by
simple association, that Jabber.com shares the name of it's current (and
possibly future) commercial products with that of the open protocols and
project they are a participant of.  So, if we were to choose another name,
they would loose most if not all of that kind of associative value from
the TM, and that whole path seems like a very pointless exercise for both

So in that light, I'll refine my suggestion a bit, possibly making it
sting a bit more:

 - Jabber.com assigns the TM to the Jabber.org Foundation
 - Jabber.org is then responsible for assigning all appropriate commercial
uses that don't overlap and therefore implode the TM validity
 - The immediate commercial use licenses would be to Jabber.com for:
        "Jabber Commercial Server"
        "Jabber Instant Messenger"
        (those are the ones I'm immediately aware of and have had
considerable resources put into creating marketplace recognition of)

Additional licenses might be assigned by Jabber.org for alternate uses by
the companies that approach the Foundation, such as "JabberToons" or
"Jabber Friends Network", etc. IANAL, but this seems very much in the
spirit of TM law as much as I understand it, as long as the mark is
managed appropriately (as we all seem agree it should, but by the member
based foundation instead of a commercial entity).

At this point I'm not sure what the other alternatives are.  I'm doubtful
that any honest effort or "irrevocable use license" from jabber.com would
be enough to gain the support and trust of the entire community in their
role as TM holder, and the only other viable alternative so far would be
to change the name, which effectively nullifies jabber.coms utility of the
TM anyway.

I'm enjoying the discussion around these issues, and think it's a great
way to bring the community together to solve a problem.  Dealing with TM,
branding, and "certified" marks might be viewed by some as a distracting
or commercial exercise, but it's important work that with any popular
'thing' if it's not done by one entity, another will quickly come along
and take advantage of the popularity.  In the case of Jabber, I'd rather
that be us and now :)


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