[Members] [Standards] Proposed XMPP Extension: Server to Server communication over STANAG 50666 ARQ

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Thu Aug 27 15:09:55 UTC 2015

I'm actually glad for more views on this, even if they've been overtaken by
events in a positive way.

On 27 August 2015 at 15:28, Kurt Zeilenga <kurt.zeilenga at isode.com> wrote:

> XEP 0001 says one of the XSF objectives is "To guarantee that any person
> or entity can implement the protocols without encumbrance”.   Has anyone
> claimed that STANAG 5066 is a patent or otherwise encumbered protocol?
> Dave claimed referenced spec is not publicly available.
> While availability of a spec might create an obstacle to implementation, I
> don’t think obstacles in obtaining a referenced spec were quite what the
> authors of XEP 0001 had in mind when they wrote this objective.  I they had
> meant such we wouldn’t be able to reference any spec that only available
> for a fee, as a fee is also an obstacle to obtaining the spec.
> Steve has stated that he would provide a copy of the reference spec to
> anyone wanting it.  That seems sufficiently “publicly available” to me.
> While certainly it would be nice if the spec were readily downloadable via
> the public WWW… but I don’t think we have any such requirement in specs we
> reference.
Yes, indeed - I thought this was a grey area, rather than an outright
blocker, which was why I was seeking community feedback.

We talk, on our website and in general terms, about XMPP being an open
standard, which implies specifications are freely available amongst various
other things. Could we claim that a document you could get from Steve if
you asked is "freely available" in the sense most people would expect? Does
a hard dependency on such a document have any bearing on the openness of
the specification itself?

I don't think there are clear-cut answers to these questions. Sam Whited,
in the chatroom, noted that it was almost certainly preferable to have a
specification (which would then provide interoperability) than to reject it
on those grounds, whereas Jérôme felt it went against our principles as an

I would reiterate that I could be persuaded either way on this; but I'm
certainly very glad it's merely a hypothetical situation now.

> I note that there seems to be an open source implementation of STANAG 5066
> available at open5066.org.  That bods well for the protocol.  Seems there
> aren't encumbrances that prevent OSS implementation.
Yes, and I should also note for the record that there are a number of
hardware providers who support STANAG 5066, too.

> I note that there are claims it used in HAM radio.  That bods well for the
> availability of the specification (but not necessarily for
> protocol encumbrances).
Yes and no; as far as I can tell, HAM radio usage is generally limited to
IP over 5066, and as a result the performance is worse than a competing
specification, HFN, which has wider usage.

But really, this isn't my field; the only reason I know about HAM usage at
all is via the ATC, which is hardly representative of non-military usage.
(This is the UK RAF-sponsored Air Training Corps, generally known at the
Air Cadets, whose officers are full RAF officers, albeit VR(T) - as such
military hardware is often available to them and it makes more sense to use
common military standards like 5066).

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