[Foundation] Should the IETF standardize the protocol?

Adam Theo theo at theoretic.com
Mon Aug 5 11:38:59 CDT 2002

Hi Peter and all.

Sorry for the late reply on this. While I'd thought it would be best to 
wait a while before replying in order to make sure I could digest all 
the counter-arguments and make sure I wouldn't be replying with emotion, 
I didn't intend to take this long :-)

I'd first like to apologize for disregarding the hard work and large 
amounts of time that people have put into getting Jabber/XMPP ready for 
the IETF. I've taken the time to read through the three IETF 
submissions, and realize that they took a huge amount of effort to 
produce. I also realize that this has been an ongoing effort with the 
IETF membership, with many obstacles that have needed to be overcome. I 
want to apologize for the insult.

Secondly, I've thought long and hard about this IETF issue, and my 
previous stance on the matter. Many people have since told me not to use 
personal feelings about the IETF to decide the future of Jabber. I can't 
really help that, since the personal feelings I have are about my 
personal experiences on the seeming chaotic procedure and top-down 
methodology to creating the standards. I have been a subscriber to 3 of 
the WG's, usually just an observer, but in all but one of those I got 
fed up watching everyone run around in circles and end up deciding on 
poor and clumsy methods. One of those was the APEX WG. Few people on 
those two WG's seemed to have any experience or knowledge about 
implimenting such systems.

Those two experiences have tainted my view of how the IETF does things, 
but since it seems others have not had such bad experiences with the 
IETF, I'm willing to believe mine were just flukes or maybe bad luck. If 
Jer, PGM, Hildjj, and StPeter believe that the IETF will do good with 
the Jabber/XMPP protocol, then that's good enough for me now. I'll try 
to make time to participate in the WG and make sure things go how I want :-)

Also, now I better understand exactly what the IETF will have change 
control over and not. I have to say, this was not really ever clear 
until this and related discussions broke out. A large part of my 
resistance towards the IETF having change control was I had no idea 
where their limits would be, and what the JSF would be left with to 
manage. I now realize the IETF would not have change control over 
extensions such as packet headers or disco, and would not cover JNG. 
With that, alot of my fears are eased, and I can support the IETF move.

On the last issue that was brought up by Peter, I was not opposing the 
IETF move out of fear of loosing my own position within Jabber, and am 
not trying to gain a Council seat by flaming or trolling an important 
issue. I realize this was probably just a heated attack, and not 
something that PGM really meant. It's happened to me as well in the 
past, so I know what it's like :-) If PGM or others really do feel this 
way, however, please contact me off-list and I'd be happy to discuss 
these personal matters with you.

Later, and thanks all.  :)

Peter Millard wrote:
> Adam Theo wrote:
>>Reply inline.
>>Joe Hildebrand wrote:
>>>[... lots of stuff munched from adam & joe ...]
>>>I just want to make sure that people know that if you don't want the
>>>IETF to have change control over the protocol, it's the same thing as
>>>not wanting an IETF standard for the protocol.  The IETF demands
>>>change control as a condition of taking on the work.
>>If this is the case, then I still politely say no to the IETF.
>>Besides, perhaps it is time for the IETF to change its ways a bit,
>>and allow outside open standards foundations to create and maintain
>>the protocols.
> I just don't understand this reasoning... If we are the ones participating
> in the WG of the IETF, we still have as much of a voice in shaping the
> protocol as we do now. It is totally unrealistic to think that the jabber
> community can change the governing body of the internet protocols. Saying
> that "it's time for the IETF to change it's ways a bit" is a totally naive
> attitude. You would have an easier time telling every webmaster in the world
> to switch to IIS from Apache. The IETF has a proven process for developing
> and standardizing protocols that we all use every day. We should seize the
> oppurtunity to use the process.
>>>Now, the IETF may not need to standardize the entire protocol.  So
>>>far, the drafts that have been submitted are just the basics
>>>(stream:stream, message, presence, iq, register, auth, roster, I
>>>think).  It may be that any working group that might be formed might
>>>only be interested in the basics.
>>While this may be a viable option, I believe that it would be best to
>>keep "the basics" under JSF control, too. This is to allow us to build
>>greater and better things on top of Jabber (I refuse to use that
>>"XMPP" term) without having our foundation slipping out from
>>underneath us while we try to work. This is not a big issue, since I
>>don't see that happening, but it might be something to consider
> This just doesn't make sense. The core protocol doesn't have to change in
> order for us to build better and bigger things on top of Jabber. People are
> doing this all the time. If you're talking about some new "next generation
> jabber protocol", then it would be totally different anyways, and would not
> fall under the purview of the IETF WG. While I agree, the XMPP thing kind of
> stinks, it's something that we all have to deal with going forward. The IETF
> drafts have been published, for better or worse. There are too many legal
> issues surrounding the word "jabber" that could (and possibly may) cause
> problems that the IETF is too eager to avoid. If you want to debate this
> issue, lets do that in another thread. It's separate from the IETF control
> issues. The JSF would still be active in maintaining all of the extension
> protocols that we are already working on. Looking down the current list of
> standards track jeps, lets see which are core protocol changes:
>     - 003: Nope; 004: Nope, 009: Nope, 013: Nope,
>     - 014: Inactive, Nope; 015: Inactive, Nope;
>     - 016: Nope; 020: Nope; 021: Nope;
>     - 024: Nope; 026: Nope; 028: Nope;
>     - 029: Possibly yes.. more of a clarification and setting rules, Already
> passed.
>     - 030: Nope; 031: Nope, 032: Nope;
>     - 033: Nope; 034: Nope; 035: Nope;
>     - 037: Nope; 038: Nope..
> It seems to me, that the JSF isn't doing much in the way of changing the
> core protocol anyways. So what would we be loosing??? The JSF is actively
> tracking the extension protocols being used on _TOP_ of jabber, but not
> changing the fundamental semantics of the protocol, or the core elements
> (iq, presence, and message).
>>The IETF thankfully does not charge for membership. It doesn't even
>>have a membership. This is actually a bad thing because the
>>developers do not make the decisions on the future of the IETF. They
>>also don't make the decisions on the protocols they are developing,
>>that is by an informal consensus of participants, which in the past
>>has shown to take a very long time to resolve matters and has caused
>>many disputes and attempted forks. Jabber has greatly benefited from
>>its formal voting and membership process. It has kept everyone more
>>or less happy when that process is followed, and allowed Jabber to
>>keep moving forward instead of having to revisit and refresh past
>>decisions every so often.
> It's a bad thing that the governing body of the internet protocols does NOT
> have a membership?? /me picks himself up off the floor. I'd prefer an open
> governing body to a closed one any day of the week. In addition, when
> molding the various JSF processes, the IETF was used as a model for defining
> how we would get things done. Granted we removed some things from their
> process, but we are a _MUCH_ smaller organization than the whole of the
> IETF. I'm wondering what your experiences are for basing these opinions on??
> Have you been to any of the IETF WG meetings?? Have you sat in on the IMPP
> WG and to see the kind of people that we need to deal with to shape and
> change the internet infrastructure to see Jabber go where we want it to??
> Have you participated in any of the mailing lists?? A quick google search
> did not turn up any activity by you on any of the mailing lists. Perhaps
> your opinion would be different if you were an active participant in their
> processes? I have not participated in mailing lists, but I've been to an
> IMPP WG meetings to witness first hand the people that we're trying to
> influence. I am also not dismissing the idea of having the IETF help us
> develop the protocol to gain the kind of acceptance and recognition that
> jabber deserves.
>>I know Jabber will come to take over the Internet and take its place
>>as the premier universal open protocol for instant communications.
>>It's a gut feeling because Jabber has what no other attempt has had:
> community,
>>tolerance, lots of implimentations, and superior technology.
>>We don't need the IETF to accomplish these things, the only thing the
>>IETF would help with is to make this happen a bit faster.
> In my opinion, the jabber community needs a bigger/better push forward than
> anyone here has the standing or time to do (hope I don't offend anyone).
> Jabber needs to be brought to the fore-front of internet technology "icons"
> and the IETF is really the _ONLY_ way to do that. If we ever want Jabber to
> flourish like you say, we can't just be internet introverts... We need to
> embrace outsiders, buck it up, take some criticism of our protocol, change
> and get better. Being a closed community does not help us "win friends and
> influence internet infrastructure" :) The Jabber community has made great
> progress thus far, but we're still just an "IM thing" for most people
> outside... We need to change that, and the only way to do it is to gain
> standing in the internet community at large. We've done well, but not well
> enough. We need to change something, not just be "patient". If we don't do
> something, another "force" will (M$, AOL, etc..).
>>With the IETF, I seriously doubt Jabber would come to replace such
>>legacy protocols as HTTP and SMTP. The IETF community would more or
>>less have a bias towards restricting Jabber to IM and fringe uses,
>>allowing HTTP to become the premier protocol for "web services" and
>>the "semantic web". I'm not claiming a great conspiracy, just
>>community bias.
> Um... Last time I checked the W3C was in charge of the SOAP spec, not the
> IETF. Granted SOAP and XML-RPC primarily use HTTP, but so do most jabber
> clients (for file xfers). But why did they choose HTTP?? Probably because
> they weren't aware of any alternatives. Given the choice between HTTP, FTP,
> or SMTP, which protocol would you use?? I would have made the same choice
> given the alternatives. At the time, if jabber had a bigger "image" (perhaps
> via the IETF), those folks using SOAP and XML-RPC would be using jabber
> instead of HTTP.
>>Watching a few of the IETF's past Working Groups and hearing about the
>>strong impression that they create protocols by committee, and few of
>>the developers actually try to impliment the protocol they are making.
>>This is in sharp contrast with Jabber.
> Protocols are created by WG's in the IETF, and WG's are the people who
> participate. That can be us.. the existing jabber community!! Are you also
> implying from this statement that you are a developer?? I could have sworn
> that you said you don't code on many occasions. What's the differentiator
> between you and others like you that participate in the IETF?? If you're
> afraid of "losing control" of the protocol, it shouldn't be a big concern..
> People that have been involved with jabber for a lot longer than you have
> aren't concerned about this... Most of us think making Jabber become an IETF
> standard would be a GOOD THING (tm).
> Perhaps you're more concerned about your standing in the community once the
> community expands to include folks from the greater IETF organization?? If
> this is the case, your personal issues should not get in the way of Jabber
> reaching it's full potential in the internet community at large. Standing
> and respect in these circles is gather by producing results, not by gaining
> a following. There are probably lots of people out there that think that I
> haven't contributed a lot over the past year, and that may be true, but I'd
> like to hope and think that my standing in the jabber community is judged by
> the JEPs that I help author, by my comments to other JEPs, by help I provide
> to people working on jabber projects, and most importantly, by the code that
> I produce for the Jabber open source community which I hope helps further
> the jabber cause.
> Hope this all makes sense.
> pgm (trying to put the best foot forward to see Jabber World Domination).
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     /\  Adam Theo, Age 23, Tallahassee FL USA
    //\\   Email & Jabber: theo at theoretic.com
   //  \\  (Boycotting AOL, therefore no AIM or ICQ)
//  ||  \\  Theoretic Solutions: http://www.theoretic.com
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     ||         "The Next Generation Communications Protocol"
     ||  "A Free-Market Socialist Patriotic American Buddhist"

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