[Members] XEP-0001: Remove impossible guarantee from XSF Objectives

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Tue Jan 14 10:19:31 UTC 2020

On Tue, 14 Jan 2020 at 00:13, Travis Burtrum <travis at burtrum.org> wrote:

> Basically the XSF being an organization that crosses all jurisdictions,
> this simply isn't possible.  As far as I know we have no members
> qualified to give legal opinions, and thus shouldn't even try.  Whether
> a given person/business/entity can implement a XEP in their jurisdiction
> can only be decided by them and their lawyers.
This is a bad idea. It will not benefit us as a community. It will not
benefit us individually.

First, I would note that this is not the same as the goal you have stated

The goal you have stated elsewhere is to explicitly publish specifications
in the full knowledge that many in the community cannot implement them for
clear legal reasons. That is not at all the same removing an objective
which may prove impossible to perfect, that is a wholesale reversal of a
long-standing policy.

You have also, very explicitly, said that you do not agree that the XMPP
Standards Foundation should be in the business of producing Open Standards
by any existing definition of "Open Standard" by any major organisation
(including FSFE, FFII, EU, UK Government, etc).

I think you should make both of these things clear, rather than couching a
radical change and abandonment of our principles as a minor clarification.

Any move in this direction would have serious effects on several of the
markets we currently dominate with our technology, including essentially
all the Critical Messaging market, the Gaming market, and almost certainly

In the interests of both transparency and stating the blindingly obvious, I
benefit financially from XMPP as an Open Standard, and have done for years.
At times, I have even explicitly been paid to do XSF work because the XSF
is an Open Standards organisation. Other times I do XSF work (and indeed
Open Source work relating to XMPP) because it indirectly benefits me
financially. I'm certain I'm not the only one - the XSF itself, and the
XMPP community as a whole, get a lot of benefit from the efforts of people
and companies who work on XMPP because of its Open Standard status.

There is no way we can risk even the perception that use of XMPP might
require licensing under the GPL, for example, and expect to have the likes
of Fortnite keep using our technology. There is no chance that the Dutch
health services would adopt a common messaging protocol that was not a
formal Open Standard by the guidelines of the EU. Some of our sponsors
would not renew, some of the companies involved with XMPP would withdraw.
Competitors - both groups like Matrix and entirely proprietary solutions -
would erode the few markets we dominate in.

No corresponding gains have been suggested by this move. There have been no
suggestions that this radical change to our objectives will make anything
"better", or allow the XSF to achieve anything that it currently does not.

Therefore this seems to me to be an entirely negative change - all
downsides, without compensation.

I repeat, therefore: This is a bad idea.

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