[Foundation] JSF == Jabber Standards Foundation?

Matt Mankins mankins at media.mit.edu
Thu May 22 23:04:33 CDT 2003

*sorry, a sorta groggy narrative jumble follows*

MT sais:

> However, I can't understand why you would be tied to the actual term 
> "Jabber". As someone in an educational environment, I would think that 
> you would much rather have a term that is un-encumbered by commercial 
> interests.

[It's about the concepts]

As my dear high school teacher Hazel Haley [1] used to say: "argument's 
over when it comes to definition of terms".  Now I always considered her a 
well of knowledge, but thought that was one of her stupider maxims.  
Looking back I think it was her strategy to focus on the concepts and let 
the words stand alone.

In this [digression of the original] discussion, I think that we agree
that there's a concept of "jabber", and that we all want to promote this
concept in the best way we can.

[does Jabber.com have an advantage calling the concept "jabber"?]

This question: "does calling the concept jabber give unfair advantage to
jabber.com?" has an answer that starts out as "yes, some" at t=0 and as
t->infinity looks more and more like NO.  In the beginning, it's certainly
a little bit of an edge.  As a "competitor" you must feel it.  But as the
concept of jabber gets more widespread and the marketplace fragments and
all kinds of good products enter it, that name-based advantage erodes.  
If I were you, I'd put my money on the promotion of the generic jabber
concept and working together with the (probably better funded) corporation
to leverage their resources and convert never-heard-of-its to 

I started the web game with a hybrid of email and the web and spent all of
my time educating customers: "You can read your email through the web
browser"...it was a tortuous, long, costly task.  And then popular culture
latched onto the term and concept "webmail".  They got it, and our sales
went through the roof--we didn't have to educate them, they were educated
and just bought.  That's the stage where there's profits and unexpected

[promotion through bottom-up]

Top down control of "jabber" doesn't exist from Jabber.com.  Jabber may be
shepherded partially by Jabber.com, but its breadth and community activity
have given it--the concept--a life of its own.


To illustrate what a commendable thing jabber's momentum is: I've had this
project I've been doing for the last ten years or so.  At a lull in
conversation at parties or over dinner with someone I've never met, I tell

"Have you heard of the word munt?"  

"No, I don't think so."

"Well, do you know a word that means 'the inability to smell'?" 

"Gosh, No."
"That's what munt is for."

<they go ahhhhh, and either run away or drunkenly step slightly forward>

"Something like, 'Sorry, I can't smell that, I have a cold and am munt.'"
"There's no word for can't smell?" 

"Nope, blind, deaf, mute, ... and there should be munt."

Anyway, everyone always asks me why don't I petition Websters to put it
in.  Well, it just doesn't seem to work that way.  The word needs to be in
popular use with lots of people before it's valuable and the "top down"  
cycle works.  I've got a really small army of people spreading my word,
but it's unlikely that we'll ever see it in the dictionary.  Our bottom-up
is too small and it will likely go away (hey, unless you all spread the
word! Do it now!).
My point, if I have one (sorry for this rant), is that getting Jabber 
as popular as it is today was a hard thing to do, especially from the 
bottom-up, and changing it now is ridiculous.

In the XMPP vs Jabber debate, Google reports 716 000 results for "jabber" 
to "xmpp"'s 7,600. [2] As a point of reference, "Pope John Paul" has 
792,000 results and "Elvis Presley" has 623,000. :)

-> Jabber has momentum.

For after all, starting a new concept and getting it into popular
culture...even niche culture...is a really hard thing.  We've recognized 
the need to band together and "make a go" at it if it's going to work at 
all.  If it doesn't work, Jabber.com as well as the other companies will 
be out of business and the other advocates will shrug our shoulders and 

[1] http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/bi445/hh/hh.htm

[2] http://www.googlefight.com/cgi-bin/compare.pl?q1=jabber&q2=xmpp&B1=Make+a+fight%21&compare=1&langue=us

These two references are for an anecdote that I lovingly deleted (for your
viewing pleasure).  As a game, gentle reader, make up your own relevant
and amusing points using these references as to why jabber.com is a good
thing and jabber, the concept ain't going away.

[3] http://www.smtp.com/ 

[4] http://www.www.com/

love and squalor,


ps - rest easy, no more messages from me on this. :)

More information about the Members mailing list