Jabbering Along


It's been 8 years since Jeremie Miller released the first open-source Jabber code. Over the years we've focused more on our open protocols, which have been standardized in the IETF along with Internet standards such as HTTP, SMTP, and SIP. When we standardized the core protocols in the IETF we called them the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). That branding has helped our open technology grow beyond the open-source world -- it has widely infiltrated the financial and defense sectors and has been embraced by the likes of Google, Apple, Sun, Nokia, and Adobe (heck, even AOL is rumored to be developing XMPP connectivity), and there are an estimated 40-50 million end users of Jabber technologies now. What keeps all these disparate interests in sync is our focus on open protocols, which has been guaranteed through our standards work in the IETF and also on XMPP extensions through the Jabber Software Foundation. Given our focus on protocols, we have just renamed the Jabber Software Foundation to the XMPP Standards Foundation.

But it's not just protocols. Unlike what you might find in relation to some Internet standards, we still have a great deal of open-source activity in the Jabber/XMPP community, which helps to keep the commercial vendors honest. We have found that the combination of open standards, open source, and an open community (no fee-based consortiums for us!) has really helped our technology grow. It sure takes a long time to break down the barriers to communication that have been put up by the closed silos of the IM, VoIP, and telco providers. After all, eight years later we're still working to make Jer's vision of the freedom of conversation a reality. But we've been doggedly persistent (yes, we're still here) and that is really starting to pay off.

So what's next? We continue to work on standardization of the core XMPP protocols through the IETF -- currently we're clarifying and updating some details in the specs and will be pushing them forward from Proposed Standard to Draft Standard this year. We continue to work on standardization of a wide variety of XMPP extensions in the XMPP Standards Foundation as published in the XEP series, including the Jingle extensions for voice and video chat. We will soon re-launch the jabber.org website as an information and communications hub for the community of people using and developing Jabber technologies.

Yes, I called them Jabber technologies, not XMPP technologies. Why? Because I think of it this way: Jabber is to XMPP as the Web is to HTTP. I still use the term "Jabber technologies" to refer to this whole universe of real-time communication products and services that companies and open-source projects and independent developers have built over the years. But I use "XMPP" to refer to the XML wire protocols that folks use to create those Jabber technologies. Jabber:XMPP::Web:HTTP. So I'll keep publishing the Jabber Journal at the new jabber.org website, and I'll keep talking about Jabber technologies and the Jabber network and the Jabber juggernaut and all the rest. And speaking of the Jabber juggernaut, I think 2007 is going to be a big year for Jabber technologies. So don't touch that dial! :-)

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal