[Foundation] JSF == Jabber Standards Foundation?

Matt Mankins mankins at media.mit.edu
Thu May 22 18:09:02 CDT 2003


Quick summary: I'm still for: 
                              1) JSF = Jabber Software Foundation, (think FSF)
                              2) keeping jabber as a generic term not tied to IM
                              3) thinking of JSF's job as advocacy
                              4) promoting jabber for "open im" in the short run

Some details:

> I don't think this is true. The broader term is "Instant Messaging" not 
> "Jabber". Nobody will ever say, "Hey Sally, I'll jabber you when I get 
> home".

I'd agree with you if you want to pigeon hole jabber to be human based (or
computer assisted) instant messaging.  (Granted, that's what it is today,
and that's the proper route to mass, but there's a "dream" involved in
jabber that's not present in pure instant messaging.)  What if 
"jabber" meant the broader "connecting two thing's presence together and 
letting them possibly talk"?

To expand further, there's four pieces to XMPP -- extensibility,
messaging, presence, and protocol.  Each of these are huge additions to
the "world's digital toolbox" and worthy of being capitalized.  To 
swallow such a big pill, we call these things "jabber".  Together 
they form a class of applications--jabber enabled applications--that give 
presence and messaging capabilities to two (or more) endpoints on the 
Internet.  These endpoints need not be humans--they just have to be on the 

XMPP makes it easy for application developers to put their hands into the 
toolbox and come up with a way to make two things talk to each other 
without doing a lot of worrying.  To be concrete, I'm in the middle of a 
project that sees the idea of jabber touch things as different as
whales, taxi cabs, and airplanes--that's not just instant messaging. 

> I think the discussion should be focused on the terminoloy that the JSF 
> uses to promote the protocol, as expressed through the name of the 
> organization.

I would agree, focus is good. I think I spoke of whales some lines 
back... :)

But seriously I see our interaction as really just disagreeing over
"promote the protocol" vs "promote the concept".  I don't really give a
wit about the protocol (well, that's not true, it's great), but am
enamored with the concept.  

Because of this philosophical difference, I advocate "Jabber Software
Foundation" rather than "Jabber Standards Foundation".  "Software" is
general and open ended, suggestive of an organization that fertilizes its
IP garden rather than "Standards" which connotes one that's constantly
plucking weeds from it.

If there exists a current confusion about what the JSF's role is, this is 
opportunity for us to educate and evangelize to the confused.  I 
understand that this is made easier if the general thing the JSF promoted 
was "Standards", but the righteous general promotion should really be 

Matt Mankins

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