Many of the developers of the Jabber protocol showed up to talk
about Jabber and their ultimate plans. They talked about what their
original intentions were and what their plans are for Jabber in the
future. The protocol has many possibilities and they hope to fulfill all
of them. Read on for the jibber jabber from the Jabber folks.
<Wintersun> Okay, welcome to Linux.com Live!
<x-virge> jer should probably start by giving a brief on what Jabber is ;)
<Wintersun> I'd like to thank everyone for coming out today. :)
<Wintersun> If you have any questions, please /msg lcModerator with them and he will ask them in the channel.
<jer> x-virge: thanks :P
<opie> jer: just don't type when you're talking to people at the booth, that's rude =]
<boatpants> wow! jer's here?!
* jer hids
<Wintersun> I'd like to start off by getting everyone to introduce themselves and telling the audience a little of what they do.
<TCharron> opie: ROTFL
<opie> give reatmon voice ya'll
<Wintersun> how about we start with boatpants and then move down the line. boatpants, would you like to introduce yourself?
<jer> I'm Jeremie, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tend to work on protocol, extensions, server side, coordination, mostly jabber.org stuff
<reatmon> better. =)
<boatpants> jer first :)
<Wintersun> that works. :)
<jer> I'm also sitting in the corner of the terminal room at the oreilly open source conference on my laptop :)
<temas> Hey, I'm temas, Thomas Muldowney. I've been with Jabber since pretty much the beginning, working on just about everything. I work on the open source stuff now as a jabber, inc. employee.
<boatpants> I'm mike szczerban, jid email@example.com, and I started getting into jabber because I knew x-virge in real life. After watching the development for a while, I started writing jabbertools, which is a set of utilities to make jabber easier to convert to and use. I'm at work not, hacking perl.
<reatmon> Howdy, I'm Ryan author of the Perl modules Net::Jabber and XML::Stream. General all around handyman for the project.
<x-virge> I'm Julian Missig... I've been involved with the Jabber protocol for a while now, and am maintainer of Gabber, the GNOME client.
<x-virge> I'm at work now too, so I may get distracted ;)
<opie> I'm Justin Mecham (firstname.lastname@example.org). I got involved with Jabber in late 1999 (thanks to eliot) and started the JabberCentral web site in April 2000, and pretty much work on that and the jabber.org sites, and do odd jobs. I'm also working on a Jabber server logfile analyzer... (my secret project, announced)
<reatmon> email@example.com (original I know... =)
<boatpants> opie: geez, you've kept that hidden for how many months now?
<opie> boatpants: I've just resurrected it again :)
<opie> boatpants: had to put it aside for awhile :/
<Wintersun> jer: Could you tell us a little bit about what Jabber is and what ya'lls purpose for it is?
<jer> I've been doing (trying to) that this morning in the booth here, so sure :)
<jer> underneath it all, it's a framework for moving xml around between clients and servers
<jer> the most immediate application of that framework, is as an IM architecture
<jer> the most immediately important part of all this is that anyone can own/operate their own independent IM system and userbase, and that userbase can communicate with any other anywhere on the net
<jer> it's always been about ensuring that IM is open, and people can freely communicate with any software or platform or data
<lcModerator> Are there any other implementations for Jabber except IM systems?
<jer> with xml as the underlying transport and language, it's evolving into a generic xml fabric for inter-person and inter-application communication
<boatpants> I believe that there are a few applications that are beginning to use Jabber as a gaming framework
<jer> today there was a great demo here of Jabber and SAP, for internal and b2b apps :)
<lcModerator> For someone to start joining the jabber developer team, how long would it take for all that? To learn the protocol, existing programmes/utilities, how good one should be, what is expected out of the person?
<jer> the hardest place is probably figuring out _where_ to start, which project, which aspect, etc
<temas> The protocol is fairly easy to pick up, it only has 3 main pieces. Some of the pieces can get tricky, but you might now have to care about them.
<reatmon> I think you just need a desire to learn. everything else can be picked up fairly easily.
<opie> The "Help Wanted" forums on jabber.org have listed items that are needing to be done, and are usually a good place to start. It hasn't been updated in a while, but I'm hoping to change that.
<temas> I've seen people go from zero understanding to a good usable level of understanding in just a day of reading, and asking questions
<boatpants> temas: did you mean might _not_ have to care about them?
<temas> yes, thanks
<reatmon> See Jabber has layers...
<temas> not =)
<jer> jabbersearch.org can answer many questions, has indexes of the common ones from the lists, chats, etc
<reatmon> as you peel them back you get some knowledge...
<reatmon> but then you find more layers. =)
<temas> Now is also a good time to join development, we've just started design phases for a new server
<lcModerator> Do the you see widespread application of the jabber servers for secure e-commerce and XML exchange services (replacing proprietary EDI), and other business applications targeting businesses that do not have the means available to develop their own?
<temas> you can email or jabber me if you are interested in the next gen server team (firstname.lastname@example.org)
<jer> well, we have some pretty slick pgp/gpg integration in some clients, and ssl connections, so we're starting to get there from a technical point of view
<jer> I think that if some of the SOAP and UDDI integration turns out to be transparent and useful, we'll see Jabber spreading much faster in that area
<lcModerator> With the recent annoucement from AOL are you going to be working with jabber for an IM gateway?
<jer> oh hell yeah
<TCharron> As a matter of fact, I'm sure Jer and temas will have it hacked out within a few hours of it being out.. 8-P
<jer> if they publish a real server-interop spec, no prob, there will be soild transparent connectivity to AIM
* temas grins
<lcModerator> Has AOL shown any signs of allowing interoperability with the AIM service?
<jer> the leak was a bit light on details, I'm hoping it's not a stalling tactic
<opie> quite the opposite
<TCharron> I belive the only messages we have ever heard back was, 'I'm sorry, we do not allow external systems access to our prorietary IM network. Thank you for contacting AOL'..
<lcModerator> Why would someone use jabber as apposed to other similar services like irc?
<jer> from a corporate mentality, aol doesn't care that much about technology, it's only a tool they use to provide "entertainment" to consumers
<jer> they are a media company, not a technology company, so the standards and open server interoperability hasn't concerned them it seems
<x-virge> IRC is certainly nice for some things... but from an IM standpoint, it's the same thing as why people would use ICQ/AIM/Yahoo!/Excite/MSN IM instead of IRC, except Jabber's actually an open protocol. Some people prefer IRC, some IM. That's my opinion, at least. :)
<temas> I don't necessarily see IRC as a similar service... yes it's similar in messaging, but it's not designed to payload other data well
<jer> well, it depends on you, if you like irc and it works for you, stick with it :)
<TCharron> IRC, while a reasonable model for the time it was written, was written with the express idea of writing chatrooms. Not only that, but the rfc itself blatently says it will not scale. Jabber provides an open architecture, and can scale as far as DNS names will allow it to.
<lcModerator> There is a somewhat confusing mix of commercial and non-commerical interest in the Jabber community, what is the divide, and more importantly how does the commercial side expect to make money?
<TCharron> The servers themselves are also designed in such a modular nature that anyone can write an additional plugin to handle pretty much anything that they may wish from a client extention point of view.
<opie> with IRC, to find people you must enter chatrooms... with IM you have rosters that allow for easier direct communication between people.. imo
<opie> IRC is more chat oriented, IM is more presence oriented
<jer> IMHO, it's kind of like comparing email and IRC, you can use IRC to do everything in email, it's just different models of communicating for different people
<x-virge> There are many reasons for some of these corporations to become involved in Jabber. Jabber, Inc. is mainly focusing on catering to other corporations' needs for an internal IM solution right now, I believe.
<TCharron> I'm not sure there really IS a divide between the entities interested in the project from a commercial aspect, and the developers devoting their free time to it. Many people seem to like to give that 'face' on things, but it's just not the case..
<TCharron> Many of the commercial entities are looking at exactly the same things the freeforall developers are looking at. One does it for profit, another to scratch an itch. In the end, we all scratch eachothers backs..
<jer> businesses and corporations who are interested in using jabber as a service tend to go right to jabber.com
<TCharron> But perhaps I was reading the question incorrectly...
<jer> those that are interested in the technology and integration, tend to go to jabber.org
<lcModerator> In recent times you can hear very often, that mobile communication will becoming increasingly popular in the next months / years - does Jabber has any plans on making the IM service available to WAP-based handhelds / to offer SMS gateways (like ICQ does) / etc...? Are there any clients available for handheld pdas?
<jer> jabber.com primarily offers some enterprise integration (oracle/ldap/archiving) and high-scale (farming, 100k-to-millions simultaneous users, etc)
<boatpants> I think that a lot of corporate interest in jabber is not from a money-making standpoint but from the aspect that they can host their own private, secure jabber servers to help enable communication in the company without depending on someone else
<TCharron> One of the wonderful things about the abber system as a whole is, presentation is up to whoever wants to present it. I've seen jabber data being presented via email, via WML published by Java Servlets, and even as messages pumped into a syslogd..
<jer> well, there's been some neat clients on the new imode phones, java applets, etc, but not around here
<TCharron> And I belive both Palm and PocketPC clients exist currently..
<jer> and SMS is difficult to gateway, since there's a per-message charge, and opening that up to the internet (for receiving them on your phone) is challenging to manage
<lcModerator> Do they see Jabber being applicable in the wireless realm?
<lcModerator> 802.11 sure, wap, but I was thinking mobile pc/computing.
<jer> there's a blackberry w/ a client on it here :)
<lcModerator> s/they/you/ :)
<jer> hmm... what is mobile pc/computing? I'm mobile right now, I can walk around most of the building and expo floor :)
<TCharron> Yea, Jer, I'm not sure what I mean by the question..
* lcModerator didn't either, but... :)
<lcModerator> moving on.. heh
<TCharron> If they mean actually bring Jabber down to the protocol level of things such as 802.11, I'd say we'd need something to ride on..
<lcModerator> Do you think Jabber will someday replace the need for things like Voice Mail and possibly the corperate usage of PBX systems?
<reatmon> that's an interesting idea...
<jer> ahhh... yes, with IM in general, many businesses see a big drop in voice tag internally
* opie can see a prototype brewing in reatmon's head =]
<TCharron> Well, I might have a different opinion on this then others, becouse I work on software based IVR and PBX systems, but I think they suppliment them, and not replace them..
<reatmon> I already had the idea of a voice-transport...
<reatmon> voice to text and vice versa.
<jer> and... with some of the IP phones and the SIP-Jabber integration already happening, the systems will merge
<TCharron> PBX and IVR systems will always be around, simply becouse phone access is pretty much everywhere, and universal..
<reatmon> I type, and you speak.
<TCharron> But those systems talking to you in different ways then just being reactive may change in the future..
<lcModerator> In some cases, as opposed to routing through a bunch of serves around the world, wouldn't direct client-to-client messaging be faster and more logical?
<TCharron> Which leads to what Jer just said..
<jer> if you talk to kevin lenzo (cmu), he'll be happy to promote that idea, independent voice-text-voice networks :)
<TCharron> IP Phones, and even standard analog phones, can use things such as jabber to initiate sessions, using the neutral capabilities of jabber, to say, locate where you want your calls directed, etc..
<opie> Have you read anything about the recent MSN messenger fiasco? what if e-mail was all going through one central e-mail server? The internet is a distributed system, so distributing IM like e-mail and other services is only logical, and really, it's not that slow :)
<jer> yes, client-client makes sense in many cases, and there is some migration of lightweight servers into the more complex clients
<lcModerator> If the focus on providing enterprise-ready or turnkey B2B systems, will the free and open nature of the services change? Additionally, if the jabber focus changed to a more commercial application, would it defer development and enhancement/support/maintenance of the existing IM/client services?
<temas> Jabber often just needs to be a middle man to initiating connections, such as voice communictations, and games.
<jer> client-through-server also makes sense, when you have very lightweight or disconnected/blocked clients, or have to apply some server-side logic (archiving, protocol translation (into soap, wap, etc)
<temas> refined protocols for some specific tasks are always useful
<jer> if you're going to exchange files or do a voice chat, jabber does nothing more then help negotiate the locations or types, a simple xml directory and presence service
* opie mis-read the question :)
<jer> everyone has their own focus... it's hard to know what the whole jabber community's focus really is
<temas> I'm kind of confused by that question, but if I read it right, there is alway sa need for the central system, and the central system pretty much directly has an IM functionality
<temas> so it is always growing
<jer> there's definately some that do b2b/enterprise, but there's many that dont
<TCharron> Yea, thats what I was just thinking.. Focus is all over the place, depending on who you ask and what they are using the system for..
<lcModerator> What is the state of making file transfers easier to use through jabber as the OOB namespace doesn't really seem that easy to use or efficient?
* TCharron snickers..
<reatmon> ahh PASS...
<jer> it's like asking if the focus of the next version of xml is to do wireless, maybe some, but not entirely :)
<temas> a system has been designed and partially implemented
<temas> called PASS
<temas> I wasn't skipping the question
<lcModerator> Jabber seems like the best way we've seen so far to make strong encryption (pgp/gpg) available to the masses. Are efforts being made to make public key cryptography the default, or even compulsory, for jabber communications?
<TCharron> I betcha 90% of the people here thought you meant you didn't want to answer.. 8-P
<temas> it should be rolling out faster very shortly
<x-virge> heh, someone just asked me this earlier today
* reatmon needs to get busy
<jer> I've been pushing to get it installed and used by default in JabberIM, the popular windows client from jabber.com
<TCharron> Yea, in the jdev room on the conference transport..
<temas> the security JIG is working on a lot more enhancements to how security/encryption will work in the protocol in general, as well as a set of suggestions to client authors
<temas> one of those will definately be to try encrypted sessions by default
<jer> the problem is the complexity of bundling or utilizing pgp itself, but once it's on there, it's transparent to the users
<temas> btw, JIGs are Jabber Interest Groups
<temas> for those that haven't followed some of our reorganization efforts to stream line our development and protocol enhancement.
<x-virge> Gabber has support for GPG... and short of making GPG a completel prereq, it's about as default as it can get, unfortunately. Until GPG/PGP are easier for end users in general (to setup keys, manage them, trust, etc), it just won't be that popular.
<jer> reorganization? was there any organization beforehand? :)
* temas smacks jer
<reatmon> x-virge: agreed
<TCharron> I think that based on what temas just said, sometime during this chat Jer or temas should go thru the jabber foundation. Many people are unaware of it..
<reatmon> same with Jarl.
<TCharron> Just a note, not now..
<lcModerator> Where do you see Jabber in 1 or 2 years time?
<reatmon> On my home stereo... hopefully.
<TCharron> World domination? Oh wait, wrong answer..
<reatmon> In home automation.
<TCharron> temas: Well, we're not supposed to let the secret out..
<TCharron> Overall, I'd like to see more service incorperate Jabber as a delivery system..
<lcModerator> Has there been a Jabber port to the non-MMU versions of linux, like the uCsimm controller?
<temas> in 1 to 2 years I can see it doing a lot more as a real XML router
<jer> well, I've always hoped to see more people communicating... so if jabber can have an influence in getting more people "talking" to each other, in businesses, families, around the world, and force open more of the closed IM systems, I'll be overjoyed :)
<TCharron> That sounds like fun..
<TCharron> Someone send me one, then we will..
<jer> even if they're "talking" by playing a game, exchanging recipies, giving movie reviews, and through other apps
* TCharron begins to think of a Jabber server in his back pocket..
<TCharron> jer: Yea, thats what I meant by services..
* boatpants thinks that jer suddenly sounds like richard stallman
<temas> a lot of working with smaller devices is a matter of who has access to them
<temas> I sure don't
<temas> but I would love to play
<lcModerator> With things like WebTV and other similar services do you think Jabber will someday be included in the webtv revolution?
<temas> IM is becoming a requirement of an internet device now, and I can see Jabber as a real solid choice, since the company can have their own servers
<temas> so definately yes
<TCharron> I'm still not sold on the 'WebTV' revolution.. They are simply not taking off like they said they would when they came out several years ago.. When they do, we can be there to provide a communications means between and accross all of them..
<opie> I can see Jabber being integrated into specialized boxes (I-Opener-style systems, set-top boxes, etc)
<jer> connecting people-watching-tv together is dangerous, as it provides a way to edit out commercials cleanly or shift their attention to other programming, it won't come from the existing media world at least :)
<TCharron> SSHH.. JER!! The RIAA will here you!!!
* TCharron snickers..
<x-virge> TCharron means 'hear', I'm sure ;)
<lcModerator> What relationship do jabber's generic xml router facilities bear to Microsoft .NET, .GNU and Ximian Mono's XML Remote Procedure call System? Has there been any collaboration with these parties to work on a unified xml transport protocol?
<jer> it's hard to have a unified transport without unified identity of what/who is transporting
<TCharron> There has been a large interest from my understanding on the .GNU front on using Jabber as an XML communications medium..
<opie> (re, previous question) with Jabber, licensing isn't necessarily an issue. so someone wanting to come along with an internet appliance wanting to implement an IM solution would easily be able to include built-in jabber support, without getting contracts with AOL, MSN, etc... as more people realize this I believe we'll see more widespread integration of JAbber
<x-virge> I wasn't aware ximian was going to go into the other areas of .NET, I thought from the Mono FAQ that they were sticking to the CLR, C# compiler and classes for now
* TCharron actually went searching when the moderator said that.. 8-P
<lcModerator> Seems to me (CLM) Jabber can also be used as a way of storing DTDs that people create for specific activies.. gaming, communities, and other new and creative ways to manage information.. are there plans for making some sort of "subscription" to DTDs such that clients can evolve in potentially real-time based on changing needs/prefernces of various groups of people?
<jer> so, the important first step is on the identity/authorization front, moving xml isn't hard, you can do it with Jabber, HTTP, whatever, but identifying and trusting who is doing the moving is an important part of it all
<jer> yes, there's always been the possibility that your jabber id "email@example.com" can store any xml in any namespace, like a personal web server, and presence/notification systems can be built ontop of that for many apps
<x-virge> If by "DTD" you mean "XML Schema" ;)
<lcModerator> Do you feel there is a severe lack of decent clients that hardly challenge the current offerings by AOL/Yahoo/MSN and what's being done about that?
<jer> on the .net Q: it'll likely be some integration of mono, .gnu, jabber, and other projects which provide a comparable suite of tools and services to .net, passport, and hailstorm
<x-virge> but in reality, the client has to understand the XML *somewhere* - so if you somehow had one with evolving features, it would be possible... you could query for a schema as easily as contact information (vCard-XML)
<TCharron> I feel that many of the current clients lack the nontechnical end user capabilities that those clients offer. This could be becouse we're providing the systems, and not the clients, to 'entertain' our end user..
<lcModerator> Do you see systems like Jabber spell the end of e-mail with offline messages?
<reatmon> Jabber clients are by design, supposed to be simple, with all of the hard work being done on the server.
<temas> I've often felt that many of the clients are lacking, but then I use some of the other large system clients and become disgusted by their inconsitancies and heavy reliance on web pages. Many of them end up not being that cool.
<temas> email will always have a place
<boatpants> I think that Gabber's an excellent client, but I am not such a fan of most of the Windows clients.. Jabbernaut and JabberFoX for the flavors of MacOS seem nice. I think it's an issue with usability in a lot of the clients as well as the stability of different transports and some of the servers.
<TCharron> IM and email overlap, and are simular, but are not the same..
<lcModerator> (carrying on from the lack of decent clients...): But you are only going to gain user acceptance and demand (for servers/services) based on the quality and functionality of existing clients...
<temas> but I can see integration of jabber and email so that they can work together
<temas> like IMAP interfaces for jabber
<temas> (hinting at projects that are happening now)
<TCharron> And the smtp-transport..
<temas> On the client note, I've been seeing some real strong development on new clients that looks ver promising.
<opie> e-mail will never go away, it will definitely always have it's place. IM is real-time, but try discussing something with people around the world... Not to say that IM couldn't fill this role, IM is "Instant Messaging" not "Send Instantly, Store, Respond"
<TCharron> I'm not sure we have been out there to 'compete' for end user acceptance..
<TCharron> This more then likely overlaps with what was said earlier about focus..
<temas> and more corporations are starting to release their clients, we'll probably be seeing a surge of good clients (bells and whistles) shortly
<jer> well, hopefully the business demand on jabber will in return highlight the need for really-simple really-solid end-user clients
<jer> and if we can force the larger services w/ the slick integrated clients to truly open their networks at the server level,
<lcModerator> What do you say to the concept of there being a single "communications portal" interface into which offline, nearline, and realtime communications that are one-to-one and one-to-many go? I.e., a single unified interface...
<lcModerator> ...for web publishing, IMs, email, and message boards?
<jer> then you can use those clients openly as well
<jer> mozilla is sort of heading in that direction, no?
<jer> I'm not sure you could ever put it all in one combined interface, but if all the systems start sharing more data formats it'll be easier to at least cross the boundaries
<lcModerator> Will there be a Jabber component for Mozilla?
<opie> there already is
<jer> there is already, jabberzilla.mozdev.org
<opie> it's quite spiffy
<temas> I think the newer jabberzilla is making it so there is more of a hookable component for mozilla
<opie> yes, there is now JabberXM
<lcModerator> The future of Jabber, I think (CLM) , really heavily depends on mass adoption efforts of currently available IM services such as AOL.. if AOL continues to successfully block those who are running AIM-Transports, then that could seriously thwart the advancement of Jabber on all fronts (not to mention, bad press)... how can this be resolved asap such that this will place Jabber at the forefront of leading web communications?
<jer> it has a back-end component, JabberXM, which allows you to build any jabber/xml functionality into moz anywhere
<jer> it might ship w/ moz 1.0, if we can figure out who to talk to to get it in and aol-imposed politics don't put a stop to it :)
<reatmon> that's a hard question to answer. this has been discussed a lot in the jdev conference channel.
<reatmon> the problem is that to put Jabber in the front, means that the others are behind.
<reatmon> and they don't want that.
<jer> well, what we do have going for us is the fact that every other company and business out there is realizing that aol/microsoft are effectively blocking them from using IM
<reatmon> I think the best plan is to get all of your friend to use Jabber, and so on, and so forth.
<jer> and they are starting to realize their frustrations by supporting open projects and standardization efforts
<reatmon> once you have Jabber at work, and home, and all your friends have it...
<opie> the aim transport is only there for you to message those people on aol to tell them to switch to Jabber =]
<jer> that's probably why they work so hard to block it :)
<TCharron> The other issue we need to be carefull is the image that we take if we actively try to *force* into the AIM network. I think not having a reliable connection, but AIM releasing press releases saying that Jabber develers are 'Hacking' their systems (Well, their PR guys would obviously put it that way), it'd be really bad view for the general public to have..
<boatpants> I think the reason that people use AIM, or ICQ, or what have you is that their friends are on the system.. they don't care about the technology or tactics behind the client, just about the ability to converse. More end users need to use Jabber for more people to switch to it.
<TCharron> Hrm, that just didn;t get typed correctly..
<reatmon> neither did that.
<TCharron> I think not having a relaible AIM or ICQ connection is bad, but not as bad as what I said above..
* reatmon ducks
<opie> boatpants: the client plays into that a bit, most people I talk to say they "like the sounds, and the smily faces and the colors!"
<Wintersun> Okay, that's all of the questions that we've got. I'd really like to thank all of the Jabber folk for coming out today and talking with us. I'd also like to thank the audience for the great questions!
<boatpants> opie: I think the client plays into it a bit as well, but if you're the only person you know online to talk to with a fancy schmancy client, you'll do with a bit more rudimentary one to obtain your goal: to converse with other people
<TCharron> ROTFL boatpants...
<jer> people should be able to choose any software they want to communicate, from any system, even using any protocol
<opie> boatpants: or convince their friends to switch to the client they like best, which in my case it's always AIM
<opie> jer is right
<TCharron> Aka, Global Domination, from the bottom.. 8-P
<opie> I'd hate to have to use MS Outlook if my friends were using MS Outlook for their e-mail
<reatmon> that's what I like about jabber... multiple clients to choose from.
<Wintersun> If you would like to stick around and discuss, we'd love for you to. I'll be unmoderating the channel in just a moment.
<jer> the more Jabber can facilitate that, and the more people and businessess out there that promote that idea, hopefully it'll sink into the likes of AOL and MS
<temas> it's been fun all
<TCharron> That is a point, many people package the entire Jabber system up, but part of it is to serve as the SMTP of IM..
<temas> but I have a wedding in a few days
<TCharron> Another is to route XML..
<temas> so I really have to do other stuff