[Foundation] Name change summary

adamtheo at theoretic.com adamtheo at theoretic.com
Fri May 23 09:44:14 CDT 2003

My opinion:

There is a powerful brand and name recognition around the name "Jabber"
within the Open Source communities. It is the term "Jabber" that Open
Source projects around the 'Net recognize.

But, it seems opposite of that within the commercial world, where "XMPP"
holds sway.

There are good arguments for both, and seeing as how I don't to be biased
towards one or the other, I'll call that debate a draw. But there are
other points to argue on: How Jabber relates to XMPP. As I understand it,
XMPP is the core protocol, and was always intended to be such, whereas
Jabber is the extensions and application environment that is built on top
of XMPP. Some say that using these two terms will utterly confuse users
and developers. I *completely* disagree. There are dozens of very popular
cases already of similar situations:

 * We use the HTTP protocol for presentation data over the Internet, but
we don't call the application environment that uses HTTP "the HTTP
Network". No, we call it "the Web", and no-one (user or developer) has a
problem with this.
 * We use the NNTP protocol for distributed mailing list-like discussion,
but it's not "the NNTP Network" that people call the application
environment that uses it. We call it "USENET", and everyone understands

It *will* be the same with regards to XMPP and Jabber> There may be some
slight confusion in the beginning, but eventually it will come to be
accepted and understood exactly like the above cases.

Keep in mind, XMPP and Jabber *are* two different things. What we are
doing here at the JSF wih our JEPs is *not* XMPP by anyone's definition.
It is extending and enhancing upon the XMPP standards that the IETF will
be approving soon. We are not modifying the XMPP standards, that's the
IETF's role. We are building extensions and promoting the application
environment built on top of it. If we call ourselves XMPP Foundation or
some such, *then* we will get into confusion later on, because there will
be no distinction between what the IETF does and what we do, and we might
as well disband the JSF and hand all power over to the IETF.

Now, if we were to change the name, the only way I'd support it is if we
merged with another XML protocol/standards foundation that would
compliment the XMPP/Jabber transport protocol. Perhaps the XML:DB folks
(http://xmldb.org/), since they have some pretty neat ideas and seem to
take similar philosophies when it comes to KISS and elegance in design as
we do. They work on XML protocols for data storage and manipulation, which
would easily compliment our XML protocol for data transport, presence, and
discovery. In fact, this might not be a bad idea... the "Open XML Protocol

> Hey all,
> I realize that there has been so much discussion on the name change
> issue that it's probably very hard for everyone to follow. I wanted to
> summarize some of the points as best I as I could so that we can
> continue to move forward.
> ---------------------------------
> Arguments *against* removing Jabber from our name:
>   * The community and protocol is well-known as Jabber by the rest of
> the world. It would be foolish to abandon all this momentum.
>   * The term Jabber is integral to the very nature of the community and
> without it the community would be damaged or lessened.
>   * The core protocol is called XMPP, but any extensions we define
> should be called Jabber.
> -----------------------------------
> Arguments *for* removing Jabber from our name:
>   * Using Jabber as the term for our protocol and community name isn't
> nearly as valuable as others assert. Many of us have found that people
> are very confused about the difference between the protocol and the
> company (I sent some specific links about this before and related a
> customer story). Many people already know "XMPP", especially since
> that's the term getting used by journalists these days.
>   * Jabber is the name of a company. When we promote that name, it
> greatly decreases our effectiveness at promoting an open standard,
> since:
>   1) Other companies and non-commercial users have less incentive to
> participate in an organization whose very name promotes a competitor.
>   2) Many people will adopt XMPP as a standard once it comes out of the
> IETF. However, there is a danger that they will ignore whatever
> extensions we define when we use the term "Jabber". What company would
> seriously advertise "Jabber Basic IM 1.0" compliance? We need to have a
> name and terminology that lets our extensions gain market acceptance.
>   3) There are already many companies (including sponsors of the JSF)
> and non-commercial users that have no affiliation to Jabber Inc. Out of
> fairness to them and to create a level playing field, the name should be
>  changed.
>   * The term "Jabber" is not the strength of this community -- the
> protocol and its users are. Therefore, a name change will not damage the
>  community, and will only strengthen it by making it a more open,
> effective body.
>   * The fact that XMPP is about to become an IETF standard presents a
> unique oppurtunity for us. Very soon, the entire rest of the world will
> be using the word XMPP instead of Jabber. Now is the time to harness
> that change and energy.
> -----------------------------------
> Open questions:
>   * What would actually be a better organization name? Several people
> like "XMPP Foundation", but it's not clear the IETF would look kindly on
>  this. It would be very helpful if someone "in the know" could comment
> on  this. The other choice would be a more generic name like "Open IM
> Foundation", but feedback is that this would be less desirable.
>   * What do we call the extensions to the core XMPP protocol that we
> develop?
> -----------------------------------
> Next steps:
> So far, we've only heard from a relatively small number of JSF members
> on this issue. If you have an opinion, please make it known so that it
> can be considered in the discussion. However, please avoid statements
> like "I like 'Jabber'" or "I hate 'Jabber'" as your only justfication
> for or against a name change. ;-) What will form consenus is reasoned
> arguments.
> Regards,
> Matt
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