[Jabber-IETF] minutes from the BOF at the Yokohama IETF

Marshall Rose mrose at dbc.mtview.ca.us
Mon Jul 22 16:01:47 CDT 2002


hi. attached are the minutes from the BOF held last monday evening at the yokohama ietf.

share and enjoy,

/mtr
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Minutes of the Jabber BOF (jabber)
    
   Time: Monday, 2002-07-15, 1930-2200, room 501
  Chair: Pete Resnick
Minutes: Marshall Rose

    
1.  Agenda Bashing:
    
The chair introduced the agenda, and asked for some to take
minutes. A volunteer was indentured.

It was agreed to revise the agenda to allow for questions both during
and in between the presentations. In particular, much discussion was
expected after the first two technical presentations.

    
2.  Introduction:

The chair introduced the bof by noting that Jabber is a lot of different
things, but that the bof was limited to the XMPP protocol that Jabber
uses. In particular, the question to answer is whether its a good idea
to bring xmpp into to the IETF.
    
An initial question was whether the owners of XMPP understood what that
entails. (Much discussion along this line was held later on, cf.,
Section 6, below).

    
3.  XMPP Overview, by Joe Hildebrand, Chief Architect, Jabber, Inc.

The speaker's basic points:
    
    - XMPP is an XML-based protocol that delivers asynchronous XML content,
      of which IM is a one kind of traffic
    
    - Three are 3 I-Ds that document the existing XMPP
    
    - XMPP's model is similar in concept to the SMTP model, the major
      addition being the notion of resources (multiple mailboxes for the
      same recipient) and services (a standardized way of extending a
      server)

    - Each direction of an XMPP connection is a single XML document
      containing zero or more "packets"
    
    - There are three types of packets: message, presence, and info/query    
    
The speaker gave some examples of XMPP packets and usage and then
indicated areas in which the IETF could add value:
    
    - Separation of presence from IM
    - Security standardization
    - Transport independence (e.g., SMS)

    
4.  Questions
    
    Do XMPP entities trust the "From" element? Not really. Servers
    require that clients authenticate themselves, and server/server
    authentication occurs with a dialback mechanism, but neither are
    inherently secure.
    
    Does XMPP support anonymous messages? Although there are
    anonymizers, in general, the answer is no.
    
    Are subscriptions bi-directional? No, there are for kinds: to, from,
    both, or none.
    
    Why did you crate a new URL scheme ("jabber:") for a few new
    datatypes. This was a historical decision.
    
    How do you handle downgrade attacks? Clients may be configurable as
    to the minimum level of acceptable security. (It was subsequently
    noted that, in the absence of TLS, that an attacker could hijack a
    TCP connection regardless of the method of authentication.)

    
5.  XMPP and the IETF, by Jeremie Miller, Founder, Jabber Software Foundation
    
    The speaker recounted the early history of Jabber, starting back in
    1998, along with his initial interactions with the IMPP working
    group.
    
    The speaker then explained Jabber's growth, both in terms of users
    and applications. As a result, there are presently over 100K
    deployments with over 1M users. This growth is leading to new
    pressures on the Jabber Software Foundation (JSF) which current
    manages XMPP development. Rather than start diverging activities,
    the JSF would prefer that XMPP move to the IETF to get:
    
        - a "better" standards-process
        - help with security
        - help with internationalization

    In terms of comparing XMPP with IMPP, the speaker noted two
    differences:
    
    1. XMPP is XML-based whilst IMPP is MIME-based, and that you could
       encapsulate XML in MIME and vice-versa. However, when building a
       CPIM gateway, if end-to-end encryption were used, then translation
       could not occur.
    
    2. XMPP achieves presence using broadcast, not transient
       subscriptions.  However, a CPIM gateway could easily translate
       between the two.

    
6.  More Questions:

    There were several questions concerning change control. The second
    speaker explained the current process used by the JSF. Briefly,
    Jabber Enhancement Proposals (JEPs) are submitted, discussed in a
    group, and a vote is taken by the JSF's council.
    
    If the IETF starts work on XMPP, with the JEP process be discarded?
    For the parts that deal with XMPP, yes. (Jabber is more than XMPP.)
    
    Are you comfortable with the notion of giving up control of the
    technology in your flagship project? Yes, this has sign-off at the
    highest levels of management in Jabber, Inc.
    
    Will you support the resulting specification?  Yes, this has
    sign-off at the highest levels of management in Jabber, Inc.
    
    It was noted that the IETF process isn't as fast as the way XMPP has
    developed.
    
    There were several questions on backwards-compatibility. The first
    speaker explained that XMPP was very "upgrade friendly" and that two
    large protocol upgrades had already been made to XMPP since 1998.

    What is special in XMPP that we need to standardize something else
    that does presence? Jabber is a simple, easy to configure and use
    system that asynchronously transports XML content.
    
    What would prevent other companies with IM technology and coming to
    the IETF and making the same offer? Nothing, and that's a good thing.

    There was some discussion as to whether CPIM was still needed if
    SIMPLE were to be the only IM technology used by the IETF.

    
7.  User experiences (part one), by Dale Malik, Bellsouth
   
    The speaker briefly discussed a commercial offering provisioned for
    1.5M users. Under test, the system has supported 200K simultaneous
    users with 100K simultaneous sessions.
    
    The speaker indicate the kinds of things he'd like to see in moving
    foward with XMPP:
    
        - more security
        - more carrier class
        - easier application integration

8.  User experiences (part two), by Alexandre Noell, France Telecom
    
    The speaker briefly described a commercial offering for an ISP
    having 7M users. After developing an internal protocol, the ISP
    adopted XMPP instead because:

        - it was XML-based, so it was easy to understand, implement, and
          integrate
    
        - it supported interoperability with other IM systems, including
  	  server/server queries

        - it is connection-oriented, which is good for server-push
    
        - it is extensible, making it easy to extend exsting features
    	  and add new protocol functions.
    
    The ISP subsequently added about 10 new services to XMPP, e.g.,
    blacklisting.
    
    In terms of technology choices, the ISP deployed the service using
    both Sun/Oracle and PCs. The front-ends are each able to handle 10K
    simultaneous sessions and upto 400 messages/second, and the servers
    are each able to handle 100K simultaneous sessions and 2000
    messages/second (i.e., a user sending a message every 50
    seconds). The offering launched in April, 2002 and is currently
    running with 300K users.
    
    The speaker indicate the kinds of things he'd like to see in moving
    foward with XMPP:
    
        - presence packets should be per domain instead of per contact
        - presence should be better seperated from subscription

    
9.  Still More Questions:    
    
    There were several questions/comments (well, mostly comments)
    regarding whether (or not) introducing XMPP was destructive of the
    IETF process, e.g.,

        - should the IETF be standardizing technologies or picking
       	  winners?

        - doesn't SIMPLE have mind share? the IETF shouldn't do
          overlapping protocols (oh, wait there's already CPIM)
    
        - we're setting the bar too high by requiring that a new effort
	  not compete with an existing effort, the only questions should
	  be: is it tecnically credible, are people willing to work on
	  it, are people willing to use it?
    
        - we should be deciding things based on the number of folks who
	  want to do things, not the number opposed.

        - what exactly is the scope of xmpp? asynchronously transport of
          XML content
    
        - do we have the resources to split up our efforts?

    It was noted that SIMPLE wasn't the only thing in the IETF, that
    APEX was being published as RFCs.
    
    What are the advantages of XMPP over SIMPLE? traverses firewalls,
    has congestion control, a lot easier to implement and integrate with.
    
    Will XMPP implementors (other than Jabber, Inc.) synchronize their
    work with the IETF product? If there's functionality there, sure.
    
    It was noted that a generic XML delivery system, or even an IM
    transfer protocol, such as XMPP would be an interesting work item
    for the IETF.
    
    And, finally: is any of the XMPP technology encumbered by IPR
    issues? No, portions of the Jabber, Inc., implementation have IPR
    protection, but there are at least two commercial XMPP
    implementations from other companies, and the Jabber, Inc. lawyers
    aren't suing them.
    
    
10. Wrap-up
    
The chair asked for humming for the following three activites: How many
folks would are willing to work on XMPP for:
    
        - for async messaging
        - for im
        - for presence

after receive various hums, the meeting was adjoured.
    
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