[Standards] Easy XMPP

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at stpeter.im
Tue Jan 17 04:05:03 UTC 2017

On 1/16/17 10:40 AM, Dave Cridland wrote:
> On 16 January 2017 at 17:32, Evgeny Khramtsov <xramtsov at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:28:41 -0700
>> Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter at stpeter.im> wrote:
>>> 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.
>> But IM companies don't choose XMPP. Whatsapp was initially build on top
>> of XMPP but now it's something different. New services like Slack and
>> Signal don't use XMPP neither. So seems like XMPP is not that featured
>> protocol even though there are "server packages, libraries and support".
> I'd say MUC and Federation.
> MUC's just not the right model anymore. (Hence we need MIX).
> And if your business plan doesn't involve federation, why bother with
> the additional overhead and complexity?
> Individual services more or less operate on a business plan that's the
> antithesis of federation - they want to get everyone using their own
> service. Signal's is similar, but they want to get a sufficient
> critical mass on their own service to then sell the (now proven)
> technology to others.
> Businesses simply buying an IM service, however, want to be able to
> talk to their supply-chain, customers, and so on. So federation can
> still be a selling point.

I'm still pondering all of this.

The world I work in has mostly migrated away from on-premises software, 
to cloud services that are public or semi-private. I recognize that some 
organizations simply can't go there - they have regulatory reasons or 
security policies for not allowing any data outside of their trust 
boundaries (e.g., military systems, some big companies, some smaller 
companies in specific industries like aerospace or medicine). However, 
such organizations are in the minority.

Although I like federation, I'm no longer convinced that it is 
necessary for most people. For example, in services like Slack and 
Hipchat everything is room-based, and that fits well with MUC/MIX. But 
authorization for someone to join a room happens via means other than 
server-to-server federation (e.g., set up a private room and invite the 
external person to that room directly). Yes, this kind of workaround 
isn't exactly elegant, but it mostly works for most people.

As to Signal, they appear to be a not-for-profit and to have not taken 
VC money. Thus it's not clear to me that they plan to sell their overall 
service to an acquiring company - the usual model these days. Perhaps 
they do want to sell their technology or consulting services around 
their technology as a way to become self-sustaining, but that's more of 
a lifestyle business (with its own myriad challenges!) and not 
necessarily a path to selling out. (BTW, if I had gotten serious about 
doing something like this with jabber.org, people might be saying the 
same thing about that initiative!)


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