[Standards] Easy XMPP

Sam Whited sam at samwhited.com
Tue Jan 17 15:31:59 UTC 2017


On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:05 PM, Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter at stpeter.im> wrote:
>> And if your business plan doesn't involve federation, why bother with
>> the additional overhead and complexity?

I don't have a good answer for this, but it's worth asking why most
email and phone / SMS providers federate. Is it just because there are
laws saying they have to (in the case of the telephone network), or
because a critical mass was formed that expected to be able to call
anyone else regardless of the network before the phone companies /
email providers realized they could avoid the overhead and trap people
by not doing so? I'm not sure. I've always assumed email became the
primary identity provider for the internet because it was federated,
cashing in on that kind of popularity

In general I agree though; there are some business plans where
federation makes sense, and others where it doesn't. In general it
doesn't make a lot of sense in the enterprise case (although even
there we [HipChat] get requests quite often to allow eg. contractors
to chat with people without having access to the organizations account
or without having to have users for them in the organizations LDAP,
SAML, or other identity provider). I personally think federation is
the best way to accomplish this and keep everyone on separate security
domains, but still allow them to chat. The usual disclaimers apply:
views are my own, etc., etc.

> 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.

I tend to think of this the way I think of email or telephones
(again). In my mind most people do need federation (everyone would be
angry if they were a Deutsche Telekom subscriber and suddenly they
couldn't call their friends who used AT&T), but a few people (a
company with a private, internal phone network) maybe don't need it
because it's not necessary for their business (just like most people
who use HipChat or Slack may not need federation since only people in
their business should be able to talk to one aonther). But I think
we're saying the same thing and just disagreeing where the majority
lies?

—Sam


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