Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Internet

XMPP Gets An IETF Working Group 101

An anonymous reader writes "The IETF has approved the formation of a Working Group to continue evolving the XMPP protocol." Interoperable instant messaging, who'd a thunk it. Our previous story has more information.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

XMPP Gets An IETF Working Group

Comments Filter:
  • by stevenbee ( 227371 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:33PM (#4579947)
    I'm glad that it is finally dawning on the Big Technology powers-that-be that proprietary messaging schemes are bad for everyone's business. This is definitely needed if wireless is really to be the way of the future, and since there is so much money being spent on the gadgets, it's inevitable that they are going to have to play nice and compete on some other basis besides lock-out.
    • by rusty0101 ( 565565 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:52PM (#4580090) Homepage Journal
      Not exactly sure how this helps wireless, this is IM stuff. Wireless is a part of IM, however I would hesitate to claim that it is specifically significant to wireless.

      What this is really directed at is getting IM clients to be able to interoperate. Initially this was going to be done in the protocol that AOL was drawing up, however they dropped development on that and have been somewhat antagonistic towards interoperating with other IM providers.

      From a business perspective having half a dozen IM clients (yahoo, aol, icq, msn, jabber, etc.) on different desktops, that don't interoperate is a bit of a pain to support. Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL would very much prefer that businesses would standardize on their own service, however if you have to work with outside vendors you have no gaurantee, that that vendor will use the same service, or that you will be able to interoperate with it.

      You might be able to set up your own gateway using jabber, or a couple of other servers, however one of the ways that AOL uses to "protect their users" is to only allow so many users at a time connect from the same IP address. If more than that connect, they block the IP address. That might be OK if you are a mom and pop operation with only four or five people useing your connection, but fails rappidly when you look at it from the perspective of a large bank or multinational corporation.

      From what I understand, this working group is attempting to lay out the protocols necessary to allow gateways between IM services to exist. Theory being that you could use your Yahoo IM client to talk to your cousin using an AIM client, who is talking to his buddy over in the MSN world. Asside from the same level of requirement to know what service the remote user is on.

      At the moment, with variations on the theme such as jabber, you have to have an account on the remote system even if you are only establishing a connection to a jabber server.

      Then again, I could be wrong. Perhaps this will only help wireless users.

      • IM interoperability would seem important in order for the wireless world to have interoperability.

        Or to put it another way...imagine if instead of proprietary SMS protocols and proprietary IM protocols, you could make a standard IM protocol. And then you'd have an IM client on your desktop machine and an IM client on your cellular phone and so on, and no need to have people remember your pager address /and/ your AIM address /and/ your ICQ address /and/ your Y! address, etc.

        In other words, in order to have a single contact method that moves everywhere with you as the wireless computing people seem to want, you need to have a single method of messaging that everything uses in order to make sure you really only /do/ need that single contact method. ;)

        At least, that's how I read the bit about wireless.
    • 1) This has nothing (directly) to do with wireless messaging. It only has anything to do with wireless if someone makes a Jabber client for a wireless device.

      2) Just because the IETF has a working group working to standardize/improve a protocol doesn't mean anyone will use it. I'll eat my hat if AIM/ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, etc, start using this protocol instead of their proprietary ones.

      How'd the parent manage a +4 score?

    • This may be good for most people's business (app. developers, hardware of various types), but it certainly isn't good for "everyone's business." One's love of open source/etc. shouldn't blind one to the fact that every company *must* have a proprietary core, whether it be software, services, or whatever.

      Your focus on wireless... are you implying that IM is the "killer app" for wireless? That may be true.
  • by Camulus ( 578128 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:38PM (#4579998) Journal
    However, there is no guarantee that they will be implemented properly. For instance, Microsoft has had a long history of perverting open standards/languages (i.e. creating MSSMB instead of using the current standard and bastardizing Java). So, yes, this is a good thing, but some how, I don't see a lot of the established messaging services changing their ways. I hope I am wrong though.
  • Admirable, but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BShive ( 573771 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:38PM (#4579999) Homepage
    I don't see any of the big players adopting it when they all want control of the space. Why should AOL or Microsoft get on board to be inter-operable? They loose the control over what the end user sees.
    • The move will make all systems playing at the same level.

      The onus will be to create new services around the IM medium...
    • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:57PM (#4580119)
      "Why should AOL or Microsoft get on board to be inter-operable?"

      Because it's inevidable. I remember a time when companies were building proprietary networks systems for corporate use. I remember when AOL wouldn't let people send/receive e-mail from internet. What forced them to change was University use. Researchers don't care about ease of use. They see computers like a hammer, just a tool. They set up e-mail systems and web servers. I remeber compiling Linux onto a 383 long before many of you even knew what e-mail was. Instant Messaging is next.

      My boss want to do IM, to keep in more direct touch with associates. He doesn't understand why noone sets up their own servers. So we set up our own right next to our e-mail system (so that e-mail and jabber ids are the same). This is one of the first of MANY coming jabber servers. After a point, every incoming freshman is going to not only get e-mail/web hosting but also a jabber id.

    • Considering that the real start to this was Microsoft's attempt to interoperate with AOL, using the open standards AOL published (and later stoped useing) to allow independent client developers to talk to AIM servers, I think there is a desire at some of the IM server platforms to interoperate.

      Obviously there are problems that will still need to be adressed, however that is what the working group is attempting to address.

      As far as I am concerned, knowing that one of my buddies is online, and being able to send an IM to them, regardless of the service or client either of us are using would be a major step forward.

    • Who cares? Trillian and other clients already make interoperability a practical reality. They need to get over it.
      • by Zorikin ( 49410 )
        > Trillian and other clients already make interoperability a practical reality.

        Only for end users (who this standardization effort isn't aimed at anyway, afaik). For programmers, feature P may exist in protocols X Y and Z, but they may have different requirements, so redundant code will have to be introduced to enable P across every protocol which supports it. Furthermore, users of protocol W might be screwed wrt P even though every other protocol supports it.

        So AOL (for example) may be betting that it can keep its share of clients and keep selling AIM ad space.

        Then again, some end users would like (for example) to have IM handles which match their email address, both of which have the same domain name as their web sites. Jabber solves this sort of namespace issue this by using a decentralized addressing scheme similar to that of email. Meanwhile, AIM users make a game of being the first to register distinctive screen names.
  • for I have heard of nothing as addictive and will-sapping as Instant Messenger.

    What, Adam, what about pornography?

    While pornography is a sin, there is something about the instant feedback of an IM session that quickly dissolves one sense of right. If you look at a pornographic picture of a threesome, Satan may tempt you, but you are able to quickly dismiss him and delete that filth. But if you talk about a threesome on an IM, soon enough someone will also talk to you about it, and the two, or three of you quickly degenerate into very sinful talk.

    Similarly, if you look at an unclad woman, you may feel some loin-stirring, but most men can quickly turn away. But, if you start to IM with a woman, you soon start to feel an emotional involvement, and you may find temptation outide your strength.

    From my counciling groups, I have found that 70% of affairs have started via "innocent" IM chats. Anything that eases IM chatting, including a universal client, makes it that much easier for people to be tempted into sin electronically, rather than focusing on the hard work of making a real world relationship work (yes, I know it's Slashdot, but some of readers will eventually be in a real relationshop, heed these words so that you can make it work).

    In my parenting workgroups, I tell parents to get rid of chatting clients; AIM, jabber, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL. I tell the same things in my engagement workshops. While the children and couples protest at first, years later they thank me. You will to.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What if you're in a committed relationship and you as a couple enjoy three and foursomes?
    • but some ... readers will eventually be in a real relationshop

      i.e. a relationship that you pay for.

      Sounds about right to me.
    • for I have heard of nothing as addictive and will-sapping as Instant Messenger.
      Isn't Everquest a sin? It should be.
      you may feel some loin-stirring
      My girlfriend stirred my loins last night - it was most excellent.
      In my parenting workgroups, I tell parents to get rid of chatting clients; AIM, jabber, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL. I tell the same things in my engagement workshops. While the children and couples protest at first, years later they thank me. You will to.

      Thanks Adam. I do find it hard to believe that anyone will let you near children though, what with the restraining orders and all. See you next week at masturbators anonymous!
    • IM is just a tool. If a person was committed to not having an affair, no amount of technology would change that. It is a matter of self-control. A person that has to cut off their IM usage because they are afraid they might cheat has bigger problems in their relationship than IM.

      I am also tired about being preached to about pornography. Yes, it can be abused, but then so does alcohol. Is alcohol a sin? It is all about moderation.

      I would have modded you down, but thought a reply would better serve my opinion. It is just blantantly absurd to blame IM for affairs. <sarcasm> Men might as well shun off all contact with other women. In fact, why don't we not let women out at all? They are just there to tempt us. Better yet let us make them hide there bodies so no man would be temped.</sarcasm>

      It is ideas like yours that give rise to fanatasism. Technology is not evil. People just must exorcise good judgement. Preach good judgement and soon there won't be as many affairs to worry about.
    • I am currently in a 'Real Relationship', and we use IM to keep in touch like a phone. Most poeple on IM service that I know use it this way - to talk only to people that they know. It is in the Internet chat rooms that you need to worry about the type of thing that Adam mentions. I think that this differentiation should be made. Also, I have never been in an internet chat room, but can you turn down an invitation to converse with someone? IMO Adam's main hole is his lack of distinction beween Internet chaterooms and IM services
    • have heard of nothing as addictive and will-sapping as Instant Messenger.

      What about IRC?

    • What, Adam, what about pornography?

      Do you need to refer to yourself in the third person Adam? Is it because you've sinned ? Are you a sinner Adam? Control your evil self... control Adam control him... God's watching you Adam.
    • At first I thought this post was supposed to be a joke (seeing the +3 Funny and all). But then I took a look at this guy's other posts... he really is a religious nutball, folks!

      Adam, why don't you just download the amazing NetAccountability [netaccountability.com]
      software, so your friends and fellow church-goers can help you insure you never look at pornography again.

      After all, every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten [boners.com].
      • If you take the time to read between the lines of his other posts you'll see their shot through with subtle irony.

        Guess : "Adam Rightmann" (if that is his name and not an ironic nom de plume) is an ascerbic Brit with a penchant for poking fun at the Catlick Church.

        • Guess : "Adam Rightmann" (if that is his name and not an ironic nom de plume) is an ascerbic Brit with a penchant for poking fun at the Catlick Church.

          Yes and no. He probably is a Brit but the most likely target would be Southern US Protestants of the Pat 'Hatred' Robertson or Jerry 'Hatred' Falwell variety, the type who talk about the love of Christ etc. etc. but have hatred as their middle name.

    • In my parenting workgroups, I tell parents to get rid of chatting clients; AIM, jabber, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL. I tell the same things in my engagement workshops. While the children and couples protest at first, years later they thank me. You will to.

      There's a much, much easier solution. Removing a thing from your life, especially a communication medium, deprives others of help. It's better to reform the system, unless a system proves itself beyond help (IM clients, btw, have not.)

      Instead of banishing the client, simply:

      1: Ensure that the non-casual relationships of an IM are based on more than the IM. Have real names, real addresses, and real working phone numbers. Use voice chat if the rest are unavaliable--or better yet, video chat.

      2: Use an IM client with a permanent log function. If a record of the transmissions exists, it's psychologically harder to fall prey to the "anonymous and unseen" concept that the internet offers so many.

      Now, I don't know if you're a troll or just a catholic--so I'm going to take your words at face value. ;) I am a happily married man who has emotional attachments to many people outside of my marriage--these people are called friends, and I share these relationships with my wife. There are some people whom one of us is closer to than the other, but we both know all of each other's friends.

      Feel free to respond, either via journal, reply, or e-mail.
      • He's obviously a troll. He even contradicts himself. [slashdot.org] He uses the temptuous Internet, when he should remove it completely from his life, right?

        Hell, I know someone that cheated on her husband with a member of her bible study group. Better stop interacting at all, right? Let's all live in little boxes, read the bible, and reproduce in petri dishes (that way none of our seed is wasted - hey, it's the Catholic way, right? :) Sounds like Utopia to me...
        • He's obviously a troll. He even contradicts himself. [slashdot.org] He uses the temptuous Internet, when he should remove it completely from his life, right?

          Nope. Assuming that he's not a troll, he seems consistent in considering himself a "strong willed" person who can withstand things that lead to sin.

          Pornography and the internet, in and of themselves, are not sin; they are condusive to sin. There's a distinct technical difference, and some Catholics do believe that the difference bewteen eternal damnation and lack thereof can be a technicality.

          Still, it seems odd that someone would spend so much of their time where they're apparantly not wanted, and not leave realiable contact information. If he's trolling under a false persona, it's an extremly well done false persona.

          (And, of course, if he's just "speaking the good word," he could still be considered trolling... ;) )
    • I fear for the moderators who rated this 'Interesting', +1 Funny would have been a better choice. Do you Americans have no understanding of the concept of sarcasm?

      I have done some work in the past with folk who have got into cult type organizations. First thing those organizations do is to tell their members to cut off all contact with the outside world. That is the same whether you are talking about religious cults or terrorist cults, of course some are both (Al Qaeda, Hammas).

      As for folk who do 'counselling' I tend to find that such people are utter control freaks whose primary objective is not helping people, it is getting them hooked into some idiot set of beliefs.

      Strange as it may seem there are many Christians such as myself who find such activities far more disturbing and dangerous than anything that happens between n consenting adults in bed.

    • It is a proven fact that before computers and phones, 100% of affairs started out via "innocent" talking face-to-face with people.

      I urge people in relationships to stop talking to anybody else - even those of the same sex (just in case). People will hate be at first, but won't be able to complain since they can't talk to me.

  • AOL TW (Score:5, Funny)

    by CySurflex ( 564206 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:40PM (#4580009)
    AOL Time Warner is suing the IETF. From the lawsuit:

    As you can see in Patent#93993229, we invented the idea of instant message interopability. You don't believe us? Look at our next version of AIM and ICQ, they're combined! combined I tell you!

  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by t8k_it_ez ( 609775 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:47PM (#4580062)
    Now I should only have to uninstall a single IM client when I service the computers for my workplace!
    • Which is a really dumb policy to have. I was asked to do something similar (except at the firewall level). I put a rather weak block that can easily be circumvented. Why? Because it helps morale and can improve productivity. When the only way to reach me is my phone, I get calls. And these calls force me to drop everything to focus, highly intrusive.... E-mail is insufficient, while technically fast, in practice it is not a very active form of communication. ..
  • by Prince_Ali ( 614163 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @03:50PM (#4580076) Journal
    If these standards are implemented will it mean that people on many different chat clients will be able to make false assertions about my sexual preferences no matter which client I am using? I can't wait.
  • what XMPP really is (Score:5, Informative)

    by ageitgey ( 216346 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:01PM (#4580142) Homepage
    The headline is a little misleading. This isn't a working group to create some new standard for interoperability. This is a working group to evaluate and possibly improve Jabber [jabber.org]'s protocol.

    In other words, this new group will ensure that Jabber's existing protocol is secure and has good support for localization. But it has nothing to do with AIM/ICQ [businessweek.com], Yahoo Messanger, or anything like that. You can use XMPP today - it's called Jabber (and it's pretty cool).
  • by brassman ( 112558 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:02PM (#4580149) Homepage
    Actually installed a Jabber server yesterday. Should have dug a little deeper though; I got it from jabber.com instead of jabber.org, so it's going to expire in a month or so. (Duh.) Well, guess I've got some time to straighten that out.

    What really makes me shake my head, though, is the client they provided. It's locked on the jabber.com server. What's up with that? They sell you a server, and then give you a client that you can only use with a server they didn't sell you?!

    • There are a couple dozen free and comercial jabber clients available. You are not restricted in which client you use. Clients exist that run on any platform that supports perl, or java. Other clients exist that will only run on a Gnome or KDE desktop. Or only Windows.

      Take a look at the list of clients available under the client list [jabber.org] at jabber.org [jabber.org] or even some of the links under that.

      Don't sell the comercial server short either. The evaluation copy may expire in a month, however it does support some features that are not in the open/free version of the server.

    • Their newest client (the freely available version) IS locked to the jabber.com server, however that is only for the evaluation of the product. Keep in mind that they didnt sell you a server, and give you a client that is locked to jabber.com. You downloaded a demo of the server, and got a locked version of the client. The client is one of the benefits you get when you lic. the server, as it is very nice.
  • Wishful thinking. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Montreal Geek ( 620791 ) <marc@NOsPAm.uberbox.org> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:02PM (#4580154) Homepage Journal
    This is all this is.

    While the emergence of a standard will quickly generate open source implementations (I can easily see, say, licq supporting the standard within days of the first draft) there is no incentive for the big corporate players to support it, and indeed a great many reasons not to.

    Their interrest lies not in interoperability, but making sure that their customers can only talk to their customers so that if you want to be able to IM your brother-in-law or somesuch you have to subscribe to their service (even if it's in a way just as "simple" as feeding them your email for generating spam).

    This means that, in the long run, the mass market consumer will not be able to talk to the open source clients we geeks will be using.

    Like I said, wishful thinking. If we're really lucky this is how things will happen, and we'll have an IM that isn't swamped with hundreds of thousands of inane twinks and lusers spamming us with request for pr0n or cybersex. :-)

    -- MG

    • Except that there are already Jabber -> proprietary gateways. I can imagine Cerulean [ceruleanstudios.com] adding Jabber support to Trillian -- why not? they've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Not enough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Prox ( 521892 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:19PM (#4580244) Homepage
    First off that the IETF supporting a working group for XMPP/Jabber kicks ass. But it will not give us what it promises. In no fault of its own... I am sure it will do what it is designed for from a tech POV. Business (read: AOL MSN Yahoo, etc) don't want it. They more than don't want it, they are probably keeping an eye on it out of concern. AOL is the best example of this. They get people to sign up because their friends signed up and they can chat (and according to the ads you can even send pictures in email! WOW!) They don't want you to be able to use just any ISP. Or just any anything. They will not use XMPP/Jabber. They will intentionally not work with XMPP/Jabber. AOL excels at not cooperating in the IM client area. They want it to bee this way, not because they could not from a protocol/technology point of view

    In the end XMPP/Jabber will only work with itself. A marvel of interoperability.

    And this suits me just fine. They can keep their IM-BS. The rest of us can use somthing else.
    • They don't want you to be able to use just any ISP.

      Well, right now you CAN use just about any ISP for IM services. AOL, MSN, and Yahoo all provide free client downloads. I know this isn't exactly what you meant, however. The companies, especially AOL, don't seem to enjoy 3rd party clients collecting to their networks, which is semi-understandable. (AOL seems to have quieted down about 3rd part clients of late, however). I can only speak from limited experience with the official AIM client, but it was loaded with quite a few ads, which probably explains why AOL doesn't want you to use another client. On the official AOL software, the AIM service offers some features that even the official AIM client doesn't have. Version 8.0 seems to have implemented some type of theming ability for emoticons, which some of my friends find absolutely amazing.
    • I am sure it will do what it is designed for from a tech POV. Business (read: AOL MSN Yahoo, etc) don't want it. They more than don't want it, they are probably keeping an eye on it out of concern. AOL is the best example of this.

      Disagree here slightly. AOL don't want interoperability. They are the gorilla in this space. Everyone else wants interoperability for the reason that AOL do not.

      Passport began as a plot to dislodge AOL's monopoly hold in the IM space. If Microsoft can do that then AOL is simply another ISP, only with a crippleware browser designed for newbies.

      So don't count out the possibiliy that you can get Microsoft and Yahoo to help dislodge AOL here. Yahoo is going to be a tough one because they don't really play in the IETF much. But Microsoft does.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:54PM (#4580495) Homepage Journal
    So what's new here? Back in the early 80's, I used the talk(1) command a lot, and it worked between all the systems that were then capable of using the Internet.

    Of course, those systems were limited to a hundred or so unix clones, plus VMS. But it would have worked just find on Windoze and the Mac, too, if they had bothered to pay attention to what was already developed and available for free.

    It's really just another case of the commercial world laboriously reinventing the wheel, and loudly proclaiming that their shape wheel (square, hexagonal, etc.) are the best, while carefully ignoring the long existence of a round wheel.

    (1) See any unix manual from the early 80's.

    • talk is fine, but has no presence capabilities, The only way that you will know if your buddy is online and able to take a message is if he or she responds to your message.

      For many people this would be sufficient. Some people would rather have some more features such as presence, or higher level formatting, or the ability to check their callander, or have an avatar send a page to their cell phone reminding you to pick up some eggs and milk as the refrigerator reports that you are low on both.

      While I feel talk is fine for most of the systems I use, I don't think it will talk to my cell phone, or my pager. I suppose that both could be upgraded to support it, but why bother?

      • Hmmm ... So you're telling me that if I install, e.g., AOL's IM tool on my linux box, it will be able to determine whether I'm sitting in the chair in front of the screen? I'm not sure I believe that.

        I suspect that all this "presence" does is say whether the app is alive on my machine. If you sent me an IM and I've just walked out of the room, I sorta doubt the app can tell you that I'm not there to read your message. And even if I am, and choose to ignore it and not reply, you can you distinguish that from me not being there at all?

        As for talk lacking such a capability, I point out the existence of the finger command. True, this is a different program than talk. But claiming that "talk doesn't have that capability" when it's merely split off into another command is a bit, well, I think it's called "FUD" in some circles.
        • Love getting into petty arguments. Rolling around in the mud makes me look as petty as the person I am rolling around in the mud with, and as often as not the other person enjoys it as well.

          Presence is usally indicated by one of two things, often both available in clients for various IM services. Either the user establishes a presence, or presence is automatically calculated.

          Most current IM clients, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ and many Jabber clients for sure, (I don't know about MSN, or some of the others out there) allow you to use a pull down list to indicate if you are available to chat, on the phone, away in a meeting, gone for the night, sleeping, napping, etc, including allowing you to set a custom away message such as "don't bother me I am an ignoramous who doesn't know that I can just exit this program."

          Some allow you to be on line without advertizing that you are online by going into an invisable mode.

          Many also provide an indication of whethere you are actively at your computer or not, by looking at the keyboard and mouse activity and noting that neither have been used in x min (x being user configurable in many cases) and degrading your presence to idle, or inactive as the case may be.

          This may also apply specifically to your client application as well, so you could be considered idle because the IM client has not been active for 15 min, even if you have been busy writing your current novel.

          If you want to say that finger on it's own has these features, I would probably disagree. Granted finger will tell you when the user was last logged on, but it has the disadvantage of having had a great big security hole in it that means that as of 1998 or earlier nearly every ISP and proactive system administrator has disabled remote finger.

          Oh, Windows since at least windows 95, and I believe back into w4wg 3.1 has had an application like talk using the SMB protocol. Linux users can use the application LinPopUp to send popup messages to windows users, or other LinPopUp users. Windows NT users can access this facility via the NET SEND command. Novel users have a similar command available to them, and their popup message sending facility would let you know if the user was logged in.

          All of this works wonderfully for users on their respective systems, however they rarely interoperate, and even more rarely do they interact with other message services such as e-mail, text paging or messaging, irc, the current IM clients, and so on.

          XMPP is designed to provide a method of performing that interaction. If you wanted to build the tools that would interact with an XMPP enabled service, you could possibly use finger to find out presence information from one of your buddies IM clients, and use talk to send a text message to them.

          I on the other hand would rather use a client that is designed to talk to one or more IM service providers, and works well with it. I would rather use a client with more features than sjabber, though there are situations where sjabber would be quite appropriate. (I do have a WYSE terminal I use for managing my linux servers. I think sjabber would be fine running in a gnuterm session.)

          The other problem with talk is that if the user is behind a firewall, the firewall has to have a hole in it to allow talk, finger, and other services through to the user's workstation. That may be ok with you, I don't know if there are all that many others who are in agreement with you.

      • The presence thing could be done by continually sending zero-width characters (I can't think of a good one at the mo - some extended character or something) (Or a character followed by backspace or something)

        By formatting, do you mean like bold, underlined, etc? Personally i find this annoying, and haven't found anyone that thinks otherwise.. heh, imagine html-formatted talk :)

        The calander checker, well... you could send like control words or something..hmm..

        I have a talk system setup as an answering machine, so if there is nobody there, it asks you to leave a message..

        But like you said- why bother.

        Actually I kinda like it - It involves you actively trying to talk to someone, which for me reduces the amount of idle chat (and allows me more time to idle-chat on /. heh).
    • So you obviously never came up against trying to talk to somebody on a SunOS box, which used otalk against the rest of the world, which used ntalk. Unless they were really l33t and had installed ytalk [iagora.com].

      Really. Talk never worked that well. I believe that it also had byte order dependency problems.


  • by Earlybird ( 56426 ) <slashdot.purefiction@net> on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:56PM (#4580506) Homepage
    It's useful to compare the current IM situation to the early days of email, when different mail systems would not talk nicely with each other.

    Today there are a bunch of competing networks -- AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! and, to a lesser extent, Groove -- none of which interoperate at the protocol level. There is no infrastructure counterpart to SMTP, RFC-822, MIME etc.

    XMPP, aka Jabber, is the IM counterpart to SMTP, conceptually -- it's a unified protocol that IM software needs to standardize on -- as well as technologically: it's an asynchronous, routed, queuing messaging protocol. XMPP leverages RFC-822 for addressing, MIME and HTML for content, and further refines the SMTP idea by adding an extensible syntax (XML with namespaces), presence, persistent connections, deferral metadata, named services, group chat, file transfer etc.

    To say that XMPP exists for interoperability is like saying HTTP exists for interoperability. XMPP isn't really the glue that could tie proprietary IM networks together, although it certainly does that, too.

    Not incidentally, to get started with Jabber, pick up the best Jabber client for Linux/Windows/MacOS X [sourceforge.net] and register with one of the free public Jabber servers [jabber.org]. The account setup takes about 10 seconds and is done through the program.

  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:22PM (#4580801)
    I really don't care very much about what kind of protocol I use to talk to the IM server. What bugs me is that I need to sign up with half a dozen different services in order to have a good chance of reaching most people.

    What we really need is interoperability at the back-end--AOL IM servers need to talk to MSN IM and to IRC. Maybe standardized protocols would help with that a little (the AOL server could pretend to be a client for MSN), but I suspect lack of connectivity is more of a business thing.

    • Interoperability. (Score:3, Interesting)

      Wouldn't it be conceptually easy to map an AIM name, say, HotSw33tie, to the ID HotSw33tie@aol.com, and the MSN Messenger name GatezRox to GatezRox@msn.com and so on? Since AOL and MSN both use a big centralized server, wouldn't this just require a simple extension of AOL's servers to interact with the full Jabber-style IM world? They could still retain compatibility for people using older AIM clients, anyway, but those people wouldn't be able to talk to MSN/ICQ/Jabber folks.

      And does this whole setup mean that I can run my own IM host? As in, I can be BadAssBob@bobshost.com? No external service necessary? I can IM WimpAssFred@wimpybox.com just like that, no centralized server necessary? Just like email?

      Oh... oh my pants!

      --grendel drago
        • Wouldn't it be conceptually easy to map an AIM name, say, HotSw33tie, to the ID HotSw33tie@aol.com, and the MSN Messenger name GatezRox to GatezRox@msn.com and so on? [...]
        This is what Jabber/XMPP does. My contacts are added as foo@aim.localhost, bar@msn.localhost and so on. The addresses are local to restrict their usage to locally connected clients, but there's no technical reason why they could not be foo@aol.com etc. The aim.localhost bit is just a host name, and Jabber routes it like it routes everything else.

        So yes, AOL or someone else could set up a bunch of public Jabber gateway server stoday that accepted connections to aol.com. The main problem is the impedance mismatch between the AIM protocol and the Jabber protocol. Jabber supports offline deferred delivery of messages, for example; AIM does not.

        • And does this whole setup mean that I can run my own IM host? As in, I can be BadAssBob@bobshost.com? No external service necessary? I can IM WimpAssFred@wimpybox.com just like that, no centralized server necessary? Just like email?
        This is how Jabber/XMPP works. You can run your own server [jabber.org] or use on of the free, public servers [jabber.org]. AIM/MSN/ICQ/Yahoo interoperability included.
  • by jamezilla ( 609812 ) on Friday November 01, 2002 @05:23PM (#4580813) Homepage
    FYI, this is only the latest offering in the arena of IM standards. There are 4 other IETF working groups related to IM standards:

    Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol (IMPP) [ietf.org]
    SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) [ietf.org]
    Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) [ietf.org]
    Common Presence and Instant Messaging (CPIM) (Still a draft) [ietf.org]

    In addition to these guys, Wireless Village [wireless-village.org] is an IM standard created by Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia. It's getting very strong traction among wireless carriers who want to deploy IM on phones and other mobile devices. Of these different offerings, SIP isn't strictly an IM thing, but there are people trying to use it to set up IM sessions. Microsoft uses SIP in their Messenger offering (which is how they claim they are "standards-based").

    CPIM is probably dead.

    IMPP has some traction in the 3GPP wireless groups, but not really anywhere else (read "probably dead").

    SIMPLE has tons of backers including IBM (Lotus) and is probably going to emerge as one of the dominant standards.

    Jabber is just trying to stay afloat in all this standards chaos. This was a very good move for them since they actually have millions of deployed users. Jabber is the only IETF-related working group that can claim real-world deployment like this. None of the other standards have any subtantial deployed user base (if any users at all).

    Probably what will happen is that as IM servers emerge, they will support a handful of these protocols, just like email servers currently support IMAP, POP, etc.

    Notice that AOL, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo! are not pushing their protocols as standards anymore. They are plying the Mexican stand-off thing and probably will have to scramble to jump on one of these standards as things shake out.

    • There are 4 other IETF working groups related to IM standards...
      • SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence
      • Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
      Just to clarify: SIMPLE is IM using SIP. They aren't two different efforts. That means that...
      Microsoft uses SIP in their Messenger offering
      ...would be more precicsely (but just as accurately) phrased as "Microsoft uses SIMPLE in their Messenger offering."

  • I see the IETF now has three WG doing IM standards

    XMPP (The jabber stuff)
    IMPP Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol
    SIMPLE SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions

    I notice most the people I know you AOL, MSN, and Yahoo.
  • An article on News.com [com.com] mentions that "the new working group could have some competition from IBM and Microsoft, which have promoted a separate standard known as SIMPLE". This also has a IETF working group - here's the charter [ietf.org]

    Meanwhile [internetnews.com]a group of users in finance industry are pushing [com.com] for exactly this sort of integrated solution. Called FIMA they "say it is non-partisan, and is open to any company that wishes to promote Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IM standards and protocols within the financial services community. By endorsing IETF instant-messaging standards, FIMA wants to promote "interoperability and beneficial competition among instant-messaging vendors."

    There is an air of enevitability about the integration of protocols - but it may not be based on Jabber.... but SIMPLE doesn't sound [news.com.au]all that hot...

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.