[Foundation] Name change summary

Matt Tucker matt at jivesoftware.com
Fri May 23 12:27:18 CDT 2003


Thanks for your comments.

>  * 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
> this.

Please see my earlier email about this -- I don't think this kind of 
comparison is valid. Jabber and XMPP are both protocol terms (XMPP is 
the base, Jabber is the current name for extensions). HTTP refers to a 
protocol, while "the web" is the use of http. I still think the much 
more valid comparison to HTTP/"the web" is XMPP/IM.

However, I do agree that there is a clear difference between IETF XMPP 
and the extensions that we develop and promote. I want to see that 
continue, but just not under the banner of a single commercial company 
by using the term "Jabber".

> 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.

No, what will happen is that those implementing XMPP will simply ignore 
the extensions we're doing or at least won't actively promote them or 
participate in their development. If JInc didn't exist, then yes, the 
confusion would die in time and everyone would be happy. But, JInc does 
exist, so there will always be the question of Jabber the company vs. 
Jabber the protocol.

> 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.

First, *we* are the people creating the XMPP IETF spec, led by Peter and 
others. Do we need to make sure that we keep the distinction between 
IETF standards and our own standards very distinct? Absolutely! The only 
point to this whole discussion is that we can't effectively promote our 
own standards while using the Jabber name.

> 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.

That's an interesting idea, although I'd argue that such an organization 
may be too broad to effectively accomplish our mission. The current 
focus of the community is excellent. Now, all we need to do is fix the name.

Let me provide my historical perspective on this whole issue:

  1) Jabber the community and the open protocol is created.
  2) A company sees the commercial potential and hires key members of 
the community.
  3) Company takes name of the existing community, trademarks it, and 
uses it as their business name.
  4) Community and company now try to use same name which has all sorts 
of problems.
  5) XMPP becomes official name of the open protocol. Soon the rest of 
world will use the term XMPP.
  6) Community now faces a choice -- stay shackled to the name of a 
single commercial company or embrace an open name that will drive success?

Step #3 is what hosed everything up for us in terms of using the term 
"Jabber". :) I'm not saying it was a "bad" thing for JInc to do, I'm 
merely saying that it happened and that we now need to deal with it.

Snipping from Peter's email:

 > I hate to break it to you, but that's one of the brutal realities
 > of doing business in the Jabber community. No one is forcing you or
 > anyone else to work in this niche. Would it be nice if JINC were
 > called something else? Sure it would. Have I made that argument
 > before? Sure I have. Is that brutal reality likely to change anytime
 > soon? No. Reality is not always the way we would like it to be. I'm
 > sorry.

Yep, this is exactly right. However, we, as a commercial company, have 
the choice over whether we:

  1) Participate in the JSF and make contributions to it.
  2) Use the term "Jabber" when describing our products, including 
advertising support for extensions that the JSF creates such as "Jabber 
IM Basic"

On point #1 -- we've seen a big advantage in being a part of the JSF and 
hopefully other companies will continue to as well. However, it's way 
harder to get to this thinking when the name of the org is the same as a 
competitor. The JSF and JINC even share a light bulb as the logo!

On point #2 -- we've already decided that we'll never use the word 
Jabber commercially. We've already been burned by doing so and won't 
make that mistake again. This means that we won't be able to effectively 
promote compliance with the standards that the JSF is creating, which sucks.

Also, what's up with the "brutal reality" stuff? I really, really don't 
think that's the message that we want to be taking out to the rest of 
the world if we want them to adopt our protocol. Let me paraphrase how 
it sounded to me -- "JInc was here first so if you don't want to use the 
name of their company to describe the protocol, tough. If you don't like 
the way it works, leave". What we really want to be saying is "We have 
the best protocol and an open community that is friendly to all 
commercial and non-commercial participants. Please join us in our 
revolution". The way to get there is very simple -- drop the name Jabber 
from our org name.


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