[Foundation] Recent confusion about the JSF, JINC and the IET F

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Fri Aug 2 10:33:34 CDT 2002

BTW, Tony is not a member of the JSF but I allowed him to post here in the
interest of improving communication, since none of the Jabber Inc.
employees who are JSF members are "empowered" (ick, I hate that word) to
speak to some of these issues from the company's perspective (they are
really members as individuals, a la the IETF).

Just so you know. :)


Peter Saint-Andre
Jabber Software Foundation

On Fri, 2 Aug 2002, Tony Bamonti wrote:

> JSF Members,
> I am responding to this message as a representative of Jabber, Inc. and one
> of the people responsible for the IETF initiative.  I am reasonably new to
> the company (coming on 3 months)and have responsibility for representing
> Jabber, Inc. management in driving open alliance and standards initiatives
> for the Jabber protocol/technology.  I have had limited participation with
> the JSF to date, primarily observing mailing list and conference activity,
> learning about its organization, structure and dynamics and trying to
> understand how I can contribute to what appears to be a healthy and growing
> open source and development community.
> Rob has done a commendable job of articulating a number of important issues
> and questions that are receiving alot of attention among the JSF membership.
> Many of which are directed towards JINC.  I have attempted to address these
> questions in-line below (TB), but these are important issues that deserve
> on-going dialogue.  I encourage additional discussion either openly on this
> list or privately by contacting me as indicated below.
> Sincerely,
> Tony Bamonti
> Jabber, Inc.
> tbamonti at jabber.com
> 303/308-3655
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Norris [mailto:rob at cataclysm.cx]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2002 11:32 PM
> To: members at jabber.org
> Subject: [Foundation] Recent confusion about the JSF, JINC and the IETF
> Hi all,
> This email is in response to a recent discussion in jdev. If you're not
> already aware of it, you should checkout the links that stpeter has
> posted here:
>   http://www.saint-andre.com/blog/2002-07.html#2002-07-31T22:02
> Now, the recent debate appears to have been sparked by the recent IETF
> BOF on the XMPP protocol drafts. Below I've outlined my perception of
> the membership at large. This doesn't necessarily reflect my own
> opinions on the topic, which I have noted at the end of this message.
> So, the way things look to me:
>  - The JSF membership, in general, understands the role of the JSF to be
>    an overseer of management and development of the protocol. What this
>    means, for most people, is that the JSF effectively "owns" the
>    protocol.
> (TB:  I would argue that as an "Open" protocol, no one "owns" the Jabber
> protocol.  The JSF is chartered with guiding the evolution and management of
> the protocol.)
>  - The core Jabber protocols (XMPP) have been offered to the IETF.
>    However, the membership was not formally informed of that submission,
>    nor were they necessarily in agreeance with it.
> (TB:  The protocol was submitted to the IETF well over a year ago, prior to
> the formation of the JSF, so there is some precedence and the membership
> knew about this.  There is some truth to the statement that there wasn't
> "formal" communication of this recent effort within the JSF
> membership....although, the submissions and the Jabber BOF were discussed in
> the Foundation meeting on 7/10/02 prior to the BOF.....at that time there
> was no apparent dissention from anyone present in the meeting.  However, in
> hindsight, we could have done more to communicate the effort to the broader
> JSF membership.  There were some timing  issues that complicated broad
> communication and debate....but this is no excuse, we need to do a better
> job of making sure the broader JSF membership was aware of the effort and I
> will work on ensuring this happens in the future.)
> The confusion has been furthered by a couple of lines in section 6 of
> the minutes of the IETF BOF minutes (available at
> http://www.jabber.org/ietf/bof-minutes.txt):
> Q: Are you comfortable with the notion of giving up control of the
>    technology in your flagship project?
> A: Yes, this has sign off at the highest levels of managment in Jabber,
>    Inc.
> Q: Will you support the resulting specification?
> A: Yes, this has sign-off at the highest levels of managment in Jabber,
>    Inc.
> (TB:  Both of these questions need to be considered in the context of the
> situation.  I was not at the BOF and Joe Hildebrand is currently out of
> town, so I will try to explain to the best of my knowledge and let him
> clarify later if necessary.  Joe was on the podium and was forced to answer
> these questions.  He was at the BOF as a Jabber, Inc. representative.  While
> he is also member of the JSF, he was not there in a capacity to represent
> the JSF membership.  He (astutely I might add) answered the question with
> the authority he had, as a JINC representative......he did NOT say that
> Jabber, Inc. had the "authority" to give up this control.....he only said
> that the highest levels of management at Jabber, Inc. had signed off on
> it........Joe answered in the only way he could to not jeopardize the
> objective of the BOF and at the same time not misrepresent himself as
> speaking for the entire JSF community.)
> >From this, the questions that many people are asking seems to be:
> 1. Who (JSF or JINC) offered the protocol to the IETF?
> (TB:  Since no one "owns" the protocol, no one can really "offer" it.  It
> was "submitted" for consideration by several individuals who admittedly all
> work for JINC but many of whom are also JSF members. The submittal was not
> represented as coming from a single organization.)
> 2. If it was the JSF, why was the membership not consulted?
> (TB:  It wasn not positioned as a submittal specifically by the JSF.
> However, as mentioned above, there could have been been better communication
> of the effort to the membership.)
> 3. If it was JINC, why did they do it? Especially since, as a JSF member
>    (and the major provider of funds to the JSF) they understand its
>    role.
> (TB:  It also was not positioned as a submittal specifically by JINC.
> Individuals from JINC, members of the JSF and others (e.g. France Telecom,
> BellSouth) contributed to this effort, believing it was the right thing to
> do for the protocol and the greater Jabber community.)
> 4. Is there a difference between the Jabber protocol that the JSF has
>    been charged with managing, and the XMPP protocol that was offered to
>    the IETF?
> (TB:  There is no difference today.  IF the IETF approves an XMPP working
> group, I would expect significant participation and contribution by JSF
> members to achieve IETF ratification.  And by doing so, retain a high level
> of influence on the protocol now and in the future.  The JSF will also
> continue to be responsible for developing and managing protocol extensions
> as this is not part of the IETF charter.  No one would benefit from
> diverting the efforts.)
> 5. If so, exactly who (currently) controls the XMPP? And, where is the
>    line between XMPP and Jabber?
> (TB:  See above.)
> Now, the situation (as I understand it) is that the IETF process was
> begun before the formation of the JSF (and technically, even further
> before that - the protocols were offered to the IETF several years ago).
> (TB: true)
> The IETF is not some huge mega-entity, that will wrest control of the
> protocol away from the users and developers (ie us). Instead, the XMPP
> Working Group (if one was formed), is responsible for the
> standardisation of the protocol, and that working group is made up of
> interested individuals, much like the JSF membership in that regard.
> (TB:  There is no formal IETF membership.  There is a governing body that
> stewards the development of proposed standards and makes final decisions on
> ratification of standards.  But the real work of any working group is done
> by individuals interested in promoting the development and standardization
> of a particular technology.  I would hope and expect that constituency to be
> largely comprised of JSF members.)
> XMPP is the core Jabber protocols - streams, messages, IQs, presence,
> rosters and auth. That is the only thing that an XMPP WG would be
> responsible for. Definition of protocol extensions is a function
> performed by any interested parties, including the JSF.
> (TB: Right....the XMPP WG would be focused on refining the "core" protocol
> to meet the IETF IMPP and CPIM standards primarily for use as an INSTANT
> MESSAGING standard.  It is unlikely the IETF will do much at all in the area
> of protocol extensions (except for possible areas of security).  The JSF can
> and should still be the primary entity responsible for defining and
> approving extensions.......if the XMPP goes to RFC, these extensions can be
> brought to the IETF for future consideration/inclusion in another WG....or
> not.)
> If my understanding is correct, we genuinely have nothing to fear from
> the IETF. Representation in the IETF means that large vendors are more
> likely to support the protocol, and we can continue with the JEP process
> to make whatever extensions we like.
> (TB: Agreed. Ratification as an Internet standard will definitely increase
> Jabber's adoption  and visibility in the broader Internet and commercial
> markets.  Responsibility for extensions will fall on those most interested
> in evolving Jabber beyond what it is today (i.e. the JSF.)
> Rob.
> -- 
> Robert Norris                                       GPG: 1024D/FC18E6C2
> Email+Jabber: rob at cataclysm.cx                Web: http://cataclysm.cx/
> Tony Bamonti
> Jabber, Inc.
> tbamonti at jabber.com
> 303/308-3655
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