[Foundation] thoughts from another commercial player

Matt Tucker matt at jivesoftware.com
Thu Jul 10 16:43:46 CDT 2003


Ben,

> 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.

Can you define how Jabber is more than just XMPP? If you are referring 
to the larger community, then yes, I totally agree. Or, are you 
referring to the protocol extensions (JEP's) that the JSF creates as 
well as the upcoming protocol extension branding (i.e., Jabber IM Basic 
1.0)? I think what everyone wants to avoid is that organizations only 
implement XMPP and ignore all the extensions that we develop inside the 
JSF. That's one of the things that this proposal is meant to address. We 
believe that vendor-neutral naming should be used around all protocol 
activities so that people have more incentive to adopt and promote 
compliance with them.

Let me repeat yet again that we're not trying to rename the community or 
movement. :)

> The JSF was
> established to bring together people and companies developing
> Jabber-related software.

Yep, and we believe that implementing the proposal would improve that. 
Our argument is that when vendor-neutral naming is used that creates a 
more open and appealing environment to bring people "into the fold".

>  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.

Obviously the IETF seems to be working out well for the core XMPP 
protocol. However, that doesn't cover everything that one needs for a 
full IM system. What about file transfer, encryption, message events, 
pubsub, etc, etc? We do need a standards body for that. One thing we 
could decide as a community is that we just try to push every single 
important XMPP extension through the IETF and use that as our only 
standards process. However, that seems a bit heavy-weight and slow to 
me. As has been discussed rather strongly recently, we need a standard 
file transfer protocol yesterday!

> 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.

Our argument is that the current naming doesn't foster a cooperative and 
competitive environment but that new naming would.

 > 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? 

Creating a seperate organization was not our idea and our proposal is 
not to do so. Tony from Jabber Inc. had suggested that as a compromise 
solution. Personally, I'm neutral on the idea. It could work, I suppose, 
but I don't see any particular need for it either.

> If the XMPP Standards Foundation were formed,
> why would those that are still running the Jabber Software Foundation feel
> the need to support it? 

Well, it's really all about where each segment of work is done. Who 
leads the JEP process and puts out recommendations for XMPP extensions? 
Who sponsors the community, open source projects, etc. Different people 
are interested in different things. I think that the JSF is mostly doing 
protocol work at the moment, so it could arguably make sense to create a 
new organization or website that is really focused on the community.

> 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
> issue.

I think most people have acknowledged that XMPP is the name for the core 
protocol and that that's what the larger internet audience is already 
using. This proposal only discusses our naming efforts around the XMPP 
protocol, not the name for the "Jabber movement".

> 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.

I really think it would do the exact opposite. If I had to sum up the 
arguments against the proposal so far, they would be the following (with 
the replies that those of supporting the proposal have made).

  1) "Jabber is a really good name we can't lose"

     a) XMPP is already the name of the core protocol. We're really just 
talking about naming of XMPP extensions and it seems much less confusing 
to center that naming around XMPP rather than Jabber.
     b) Jabber doesn't have much name recognition outside of the 
developer/hacker community and there doesn't seem to be much evidence 
that this is set to change.
     c) Every recent media article seems to be using the XMPP 
terminology and not Jabber.
     d) You don't lose the Jabber name or the community name by voting 
yes for this proposal -- that's not what this proposal is about at all. 
If you're happy with Jabber as the name of the larger community, then 
great, because this proposal won't affect that.
     e) There *does* exist significant confusion around the current 
naming. Many of us have seen it specifically with our own customers (as 
related in some previous emails). Stephen Lee sent around a good set of 
links on this topic too.

  2) "Now would be a bad time to change the name"

     a) Now is the perfect time to change the name since XMPP is making 
its way through the IETF.
     b) There are other IM protocols out there with vendor-neutral 
naming. We need to make sure that we're in a position to compete with 
them and beat them.
     c) We don't want to risk that people will only implement XMPP and 
not the extensions that the JSF creates. We can help to prevent this 
from happening by aligning ourselves more closely with XMPP and by using 
naming that isn't commercially encumbered.

  3) "It will cost a lot to do a rename in out-of-pocket costs as well 
as marketing losses around not using the Jabber name"

     a) The out-of-pocket costs will be minimal as has been discussed in 
previous emails.
     b) We risk losing a lot of sponsorship money over time if companies 
are dissuaded from contributing to the JSF because of its current name.
     c) A name change of the JSF doesn't affect the "larger community". 
Nothing is being "given up" around Jabber as a community name.
     d) The core protocol is already referred to by everyone as XMPP 
(see above).
     e) The IETF process gives us an amazing amount of "free marketing" 
for the XMPP name as evidenced by all of the recent press articles.

  4) We shouldn't change the charter or activities of the JSF.
     a) This proposal doesn't. It's about changing the name, not what 
the JSF does. Some people would like to see the JSF do more "community 
stuff" but this proposal is neutral with regards to that.


Finally, I'm confused by the accusations by some that this proposal 
seeks to divide or weaken the community. It's aim is exactly the 
opposite. We want the protocol to flourish and to have as many new 
participants in its development as possible. We think this proposal will 
help accomplish those goals best.

Anyway, that's probably more than enough to say on this topic. :) To the 
JSF membership in general -- I'd ask that before making up your mind on 
this issue that you read through our letter carefully and consider the 
proposal with an open mind. I personally think that many of our 
motivations and much our reasoning has been distored or misrepresented 
by discussions on the members list. For those that need the link again:

http://www.jabber.org/members/jsf-name-proposal.pdf

Regards,
Matt




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