[Members] S is for Software once more?

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Mon Mar 21 15:50:35 UTC 2016


Folks,

A number of years ago, two renames occurred in this community, within a
couple of weeks of each other. Firstly, the Jabber Software Foundation
renamed itself to the XMPP Standards Foundation, reflecting what it was
actually doing. Secondly, Jive Software renamed their server to Openfire.

These two have collided again. This will involve a series of confusing
hat-changes on my part, so do bear with me in case I accidentally use "us"
in the wrong context.

Over the past few days, Jive Software have been in touch with the Ignite
Realtime community (which is the community behind Openfire, Smack, Whack,
and countless other smaller projects), and let us know that they'd like to
cease paying for the hosting that they've provided for us in the past
several years. They've not done this abruptly; the community has three
months to locate a new home and migrate. In addition, they're continuing to
provide us with forums, blogs, and other social tools via their Jive Cloud.
I would note that Jive have not been active within the XMPP world, or
indeed the Ignite Realtime world, for many years, and I think this decision
is entirely reasonable and more than generous.

Jive Software have indicated that they will transfer ownership of the
domain name (igniterealtime.org) to another entity of our choice, and we
believe that the trademark "Openfire" could also be transferred. However,
lacking a formal legal existence, the community has nowhere to place these,
nor do we have a legal existence for potential sponsors to donate *to*.

Matt Tucker, late of Jive Software and also a previous Jabber Software
Foundation board member, suggested on the forums that Ignite Realtime might
be best off approaching the XSF. All those commenting in the forums seem in
favour of this approach, compared to the alternative umbrella organizations
and/or formation of our own legal entity.

This places me in an interesting situation - I'm not, and don't intend to,
represent the community here - but I can act as a liaison of sorts.

I've sounded out a couple of other XMPP related projects who do not have
any legal existence, and there seems to be some interest in the XSF taking
this on from their perspective - not least because it is felt that the XSF
is most likely to understand the community and allow it to remain intact.

>From the community's perspective, there is no expectation of wanting the
XSF to provide hosting, or accept other costs. We do need some kind of
legal existence in order to protect the IPR assets we have (the domain name
and trademark), and we may in the future need an entity who can accept
donations on our behalf. We would expect, and indeed hope, that the XSF
offer similar to other client libraries, servers, and other "competing"
projects.

>From the XSF's perspective, I believe that if this were the only project
(or community of them) interesting in this kind of arrangement, there would
be a risk of an appearance of bias - so again, I would hope there are other
projects in similar spaces which would be interested, and moreover, I would
avoid any illusion of control from the XSF, lest this imply a
recommendation or approval.

I'm intending raising this at the Board meeting in a little over an hour,
but I'm not anticipating any kind of decision at this time given the very
short notice and magnitude of this. Given I'm crippled by the weight of
many hats in this, I find myself unable to form a fully impartial opinion -
no matter what hat I wear - and will therefore be recusing myself from any
voting in both camps in any case (not that the Ignite Realtime community
votes).

Nonetheless, I'd welcome comments - do we want the XSF to take on a role
similar to SPI, the Software Conservancy, et al? Who would decide which
projects to accept if we did? Who else would be interested?

Thanks,

Dave.
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