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Subject: Re: [DotGNU]IM services ?

From: Gary L. Sun
Subject: Subject: Re: [DotGNU]IM services ?
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 13:05:09 +0800

I am on.


Message: 11
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 10:35:43 -0500
From: Adam Theo <address@hidden>
Organization: Theoretic Solutions (
To: Norbert Bollow <address@hidden>
CC: address@hidden, address@hidden,
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]IM services ?

Norbert Bollow wrote:

> I propose that our resident Jabber fans make it clear to the
> Jabber company that unless they fix their licensing to be
> GPL-compatible,

Hi, all. As one of those resident Jabber fans here, I'll speak up (BTW, 
just got back from a 2 week trip, so that's why I haven't been around 
much lately).

I really hate Jabber, Inc sometimes. I sometimes get so bitter that they 
have probably purposefully named themselves after the technology, just 
to confuse users and potential developers. I'd like to make clear that 
Jabber Inc (the company) came after (the technology). Jabber 
is not any server or licensed code, it is an open protocol that anyone 
can do what they want with at no cost (free both as in cost and 
liberty). "Jabber is the protocol". It so happens there are two mature 
codebases for a Jabber server: the Jabber Open Source Server (or "JOSS") 
licensed under the Jabber Open Source License (or "JOSL") and being 
developed by the folks, and the Jabber Commercial Server (or 
"JCS") licensed under a proprietary license and developed by Jabber, 
Inc. I used to think the JCS was a proprietary extension of the JOSS, 
but recently found out at the P2P Conference that they are two 
completely separate codebases.

Now, most of the "core team" of Jabber developers (Jer, Temas, StPeter, 
and some others) are employed by Jabber, Inc. This is not because 
Jabber, Inc created Jabber, but because it was the first serious 
commercial venture to use Jabber, and decided to give the open source 
developers who created Jabber a job (and pick up the most experienced 
Jabber developers, yes). This dual-role does result in the JCS so far 
getting most of the cool features well before the JOSS does, but hey, 
that's just the way things *have been so far*. And other than this time 
delay, there have been no problems or scandals, so it's kind of worked out.

Lastly, and most important, though, is the creation of the Jabber 
Software Foundation (or "JSF"), modeled after the Apache and Python 
Software Foundations, it is a completely independant, autonomous 
organization that now oversees Jabber the protocol. It cares nothing for 
licenses or server implimentations. The JCS and JOSS are completely 
equal in irrelevancy to it, since it just does the protocol, and expects 
any and all implimentations to follow. It is an open organization, with 
the at large member base voting in the Council which approves the big, 
important protocol standards stuff. Members can also create Jabber 
Interest Groups (or "JIGs"), which exist to develop, expand, modify, 
create, etc. the protocol. For example, there is the RPC JIG to define 
how XML-RPC and SOAP is done over Jabber, the Conferencing JIG to 
develop how group chats are done in Jabber, etc.

> it is only a question of time before a good but
> Jabber-incompatible GPL'd IM system will get created.  The
> DotGNU project does not currently have plans for creating such a
> system, but I'm totally convinced that unless Jabber's licensing
> problem is resolved, sooner or later someone will start a
> project to create a GPL'd alternative.  The DotGNU project would
> probably be quick to endorse such a GPL'd alternative.  So it is
> definately in the best interest of the Jabber company to prevent
> that from happening by switching to JOSL+GPL dual licensing.

Taking all the above into account, I'd say it's actually best for the 
GNU community to create a GPL'ed Jabber server of their own. It's 
components and modules might be incompatible with the JOSS and JCS, but 
so what? The important thing is that they can all communicate with each 
other with no problems by using the standard Jabber protocol. It doesn't 
matter how they do things internally as long as they are 
Jabber-compliant. And I can tell you that the Jabber community would 
love to see a new server start up.

Most of them/us like to see different communities embrace Jabber and do 
their own thing with it, and come together under the Jabber Foundation 
to standardize and interoperate.

And also, many would see this as the force that forces the complete 
separation between and Jabber, Inc. So far Jabber, Inc has 
been allowed to muddy the waters and run the show because they've been 
the only powerful force driving Jabber. GNU could force them to open up 
all their secret projects and start developing standards in the 
Foundation instead of in-house.

I and most of the Jabber fans would welcome a GPL/GNU Jabber server that 
competes head to head with the JOSS and JCS. It doesn't need any of 
their code, it can make it's own very easily. The Jabber protocol is 
very easy to impliment if you keep modularity in mind from the beginning.

So, what does everyone say? To hell with the JOSL, could GNU make it's 
own, completely seperate from JOSS and JCS, yet still 100% compatible 
with the standards? Time for a Jabber Free Server?

Hmm... perhaps it's time for P2P in Jabber, and GNU could make a head 
start by being the first to do this? There's nothing in the protocol 
that prevents or hinders P2P, it's just a matter of programming hours to 
impliment. Jabber+GNUtella, anyone?

    /\    -- Adam Theo, Age 22, Tallahassee FL USA --
   //\\   Theoretic Solutions (
  /____\    "Software, Internet Services and Advocacy"
/--||--\ Personal Website (
    ||    Jabber Open IM (
    ||    Email & Jabber: address@hidden
    ||    AIM: AdamTheo2000   ICQ: 3617306   Y!: AdamTheo2
  "A free-market socialist computer geek patriotic American buddhist."

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