I'm not working this week, but I thought I'd note that RFC 7081 was published today, providing guidelines for dual-stack SIP/XMPP software and services. Many thanks to Emil Ivov and Enrico Marocco for working on this document with me, and thanks also to the many software developers and service operators who provided feedback regarding our recommendations. And hey, now I've had RFCs published in the 3000's, 4000's, 5000's, 6000's, and 7000's, with another ~15 on the way in the next year or so.
Almost 15 years have passed since my friend Jeremie Miller released the initial version of the jabberd IM server, launching the Jabber open-source community and the technology we know today as XMPP. Yet, all that time, hop-by-hop encryption using SSL/TLS has been optional on the XMPP network. A number of server operators and software developers in the XMPP community have decided that needs to change for the better. Based on discussions at the XMPP Summit last week in Portland, Oregon, I have drafted a plan for upgrading the XMPP network to always-on, mandatory, ubiquitous encryption. You can find it here:
In short: we owe it to those who use XMPP technologies to improve the security of the network (and thanks to Thijs Alkemade, we now have better ways to test such security, using the newly-launched "IM Observatory" at xmpp.net). Although we know that channel encryption is not the complete answer, it's the right thing to do because it will help to protect people's communications from prying eyes.
If you or your organization develop XMPP-compatible software or run a service that's connected to the XMPP network, I encourage you to sign the statement by following the instructions in the README at the URL shown above.
Over at The Atlasphere, Kurt Keefner has written a thought-provoking review of my book The Tao of Roark. What I like most is this: Kurt understands and appreciates that the book is best experienced more as a piece of music than as a discursive exposition. Some of this effect is achieved subconsciously, for in many places I built up the text from motifs and short phrases and even single words that appear in The Fountainhead, in ways that only someone intimately familiar with the novel would notice. Some of the effect is more obvious: the variations on the theme that I introduce early on, the repeated triads of individual, social, and spiritual analysis that I bring to the virtues in the middle section, the slow crescendo leading up to the end.
Thus The Tao of Roark is perhaps better absorbed by osmosis than analyzed intellectually. As Irfan Khawaja put it an earlier mini-review, I have "a unique take on Objectivism that has to be experienced ... to be experienced." (He also said that I'm "the ultimate way-out-of-the-movement-quasi-Objectivist"; I take that as a compliment!)
Far be it from me to say that this is the only way or even the best way to write and read philosophy. It is simply how this particular book turned out, perhaps because it gestated within me for so long and was written with ninety-proof ink. Yet I do think there is great value to be had in, as Kurt puts it, "giving the reader an experience of a sensibility" (or more fundamentally in giving the writer that experience). Poetry does that, too. And although The Tao of Roark is not a poem, there is nevertheless something poetic about it. I hope to achieve a similar effect with my next book, Songs of Zarathustra.
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