[Standards] Easy XMPP

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at stpeter.im
Mon Jan 16 16:28:41 UTC 2017

On 1/16/17 7:00 AM, Evgeny Khramtsov wrote:
> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:29:42 +0100
> Georg Lukas <georg at op-co.de> wrote:
>> The goal of Easy* was to write down the things that can easily be
>> done today. However, few client developers are sufficiently
>> motivated, aware of Easy* or competent in the UX domain. Just to pick
>> a random example: Gajim, the most actively developed (or user
>> visible) desktop client, is a nightmare to configure for a user who's
>> new to XMPP.
> Easy configuration is not the only problem. All XMPP clients has really
> terrible UI. What I'm wondering is: don't client developers see their
> UI sucks? They never saw popular clients' UI (Viber, Skype, etc) or
> what? OK, I can understand that the majority of clients are targetted
> on advanced users, but in that case no easy onboarding is required and
> XMPP will never be a popular protocol. So all Easy_* initiatives are
> pointless at this point.

Recently I tried Signal because it was mentioned in another thread on 
this list. Although I'm sure folks could quibble with various aspects of 
Signal, it was very easy to get started and it's very secure. It's also 
built by maybe 6 people working at a non-profit organization in San 
Francisco - a lot fewer people than are active on this list!

If someone like Sam's friend told me they wanted to find a secure 
messaging service, I'd tell them to just use Signal.

So, at this point, I wonder what we're doing here. :-)

I fully understand that XMPP can be useful for organizations who want to 
develop or deploy their own messaging systems, either on-premises or 
integrated with an existing system like an e-learning platform - there 
are server packages you can download, libraries you can develop on, 
companies you can contract with for support or consulting, and overall 
it's pretty secure.

However, why run a public XMPP service? Why try to convince normal end 
users to switch to XMPP? Are companies still offering dedicated email 
services? Even ISPs got out of that business years ago.

As the administrator of jabber.org, I've been thinking for the last few 
years that it might be useful for jabber.org to offer a large, secure, 
privacy-respecting, easy-to-use messaging service with dedicated clients 
("just download the Jabber app!") and always-on end-to-end encryption. 
The stumbling block for me has been that I'd need to create a small 
non-profit orgnanization and find people to staff it, but I'm always too 
busy with my $dayjob to get this going. (I'd also need to brand it as 
JABBER™ and make hard choices about which XMPP software to use and which 
not to use, and probaby stop being executive director of the XSF to 
prevent a conflict of interest.) But Signal has beaten me to the punch, 
and as far as I can see they've done a great job of it. So hats off to them!

Thus I repeat the question: what are we doing here?


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