[Standards] 0174 Serverless Messaging: Discovering Capabilities

Denver Gingerich denver at ossguy.com
Thu Mar 8 16:12:23 UTC 2018

On Thu, Mar 08, 2018 at 08:47:50AM -0700, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> On 3/8/18 2:33 AM, Dave Cridland wrote:
> > I'm aware of people experimenting with this on ad-hoc networks such as
> > emergent vehicle networks.
> I heard about such things years ago, too. Are those active projects?

I can't speak for emergent vehicle projects, but ad-hoc networks are becoming increasing popular for person to person communication given new hardware technology (more on that below).  I suspect related XEP-0174 projects will soon be quite active.

> > While I agree that it's probably flaky as hell in practise, I think it
> > remains our best shot at this.
> Do *we* need to take a shot at this?
> What scenarios are we or other folks trying to solve for these days?
> The original use case was ad-hoc 1:1 chat at conferences and local
> networks not connected to the wider Internet. While that was interesting
> 12 years ago, is it interesting now? Is there some other interesting
> problem that serverless messaging can solve?

I believe "local networks not connected to the wider Internet" are definitely still interesting, perhaps even more interesting today than before.

There are a number of new devices that allow people to create their own networks when away from an Internet connection.  In particular, see https://www.sonnetlabs.com/ and similar projects.  Sonnet creates an IP network with other Sonnets within a few kilometres - this would be a great place to be able communicate via XMPP without a server, i.e. using mobile XMPP clients on wifi-connected phones.

Similar devices include https://gotenna.com/pages/mesh - goTenna does not create an IP network like Sonnet, but instead uses its own proprietary protocols over the air and with connected Bluetooth devices.  I suspect we'd be able to go far beyond goTenna's capabilities by using XMPP with a less proprietary device like Sonnet.

It is the long-term goal of the Soprani.ca family of projects that I'm working on (which includes https://jmp.chat/ among others) to build and/or integrate a device like Sonnet into existing phones so that we can replace some of the cell network functionality with something that gives people a bit more freedom.  See https://wiki.soprani.ca/ThePlan#Long-range_radios (where we explicitly call out XEP-0174 as a way of doing this) for more details.


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