[Foundation] thoughts from another commercial player

Ben Schumacher ben at blahr.com
Thu Jul 10 14:11:18 CDT 2003

Matt Tucker said:
> On a personal note, I think all the statements on the current glory of
Jabber are a bit delusional. Yes, we have something great going. But no,
we haven't already won -- very few outside the developer/hacker
> community have any idea what XMPP/Jabber is. SIP/SIMPLE has won backing
by two of the largest software companies, IBM and Microsoft (Antepo
obviously sees the value in SIP/SIMPLE as it's a major part of their
product). I see our potential "tipping point" as being XMPP through the
IETF and not the current Jabber movement. Further, I think we've
provided enough evidence around the fact that most commercial
> organizations and many non-commercial ones will not be attracted to a
protocol strongly associated with a single company, espcially when there
are alternatives on the table.

On a personal note, I think all the claims that dropping the Jabber name
is the best solution to a complex problem are a bit delusional. Yes, we
_do_ have something great going. And I know that we haven't won, but I
absolutely do believe that we will never win if we continue this
infighting. From what I've gleaned from the mailing lists archives, it
appears that you, Matt, only became active in the communiy around December
of 2002. With that knowledge, it doesn't surprise me that you have no
attachment to the name, but I think its ridiculous to believe that the
name doesn't matter. XMPP is a protocol, only. And its the protocol that
Jabber applications are built on. There is nobody in this community of
Jabber developers that is preventing you from implementing only XMPP in
your products, but there are those of us that believe that Jabber is more
than just XMPP, and that the JSF does more than just promote XMPP.

> There has been a lot of debate about what the JSF is. It's quite obvious
> that a lot of people think that the JSF should be doing more community
> things than just the protocol work of creating/extending XMPP. That
> could mean that there needs to be two seperate orgs as some have
> proposed, which I see no problem with. Howevever, I still maintain that
> it makes the most sense to rename the JSF and to create a new community
> organization, as the JSF is currently primarily focused on protocol and
> not community activities.

I think that this proposal is a slap in the face of the JSF. The JSF was
established to bring together people and companies developing
Jabber-related software. During the course of its lifetime, it has
certainly grown, and during one of these periods of growth, we decided to
take the protocol that we had all grown to know and love, and bring it to
the wider Internet community, byway of the IETF. At this point in time,
that work is certainly central to the JSF, but it is not, and should not,
be our only goal. The Internet doesn't need another standards body. The
Internet needs a rallying point where developers and businesses can come
together and work cooperatively, and competitively, to find solutions to
fit their needs. Dividing the JSF isn't going to fix this. Renaming the
JSF is only going to create confusion. If there was a second XMPP
organization, then what would be the impetus for Jabber developers to even
acknowledge its existance? If the XMPP Standards Foundation were formed,
why would those that are still running the Jabber Software Foundation feel
the need to support it? Whether or not you believe it, there is mindshare
around Jabber. And even if it is still known only in the
"developer/hacker" community, a change now would not only be a devastating
blow to this mindshare, but it would serve only to further confuse the

I understand that you, Iain, and the others that signed the proposal are
only trying to protect yourselves from what you perceive as a threat to
your commercial interests, but I still believe that there must be a
solution that won't destroy what some have spent years to develop. As Don
Bergal stated, "I would much rather be a member of a well known thriving
marketplace and differentiate based on real software advantages." That is
certainly a goal that all developers can agree to.

Taking the Jabber name away from the JSF, and the protocol that the JSF
evangelizes, would serve only to deflate this marketplace at what can only
be considered the worst possible time.



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