Charles Engelke's Blog

July 11, 2003

OSCON Day 4: Session – Open Source and Open Standards

Filed under: Ozette Brown — Charles Engelke @ 2:08 am

This is more of a philosophical discussion. It was very helpful to get a different point of view on things “open”.

Slides for this session can be found at:

There are standards for just about everything. There are large standards organizations (ISO, IETF, W3C, etc…).

What is a standard?

  • determined by markets, not standards organizations
  • Usually adhere to the “Principle of Good is Enough”, it solves at least 80% of the problem
  • Not always open (corporate control)
  • Not always friendly to open-source software

    I’m going to run out of battery life soon. There don’t seem to be enough power outlets and power strips around.
    There’s a guy with bright red hair that’s part of the group. It looks like he’s working on the source code of JabberD.

    Today’s landscape

  • Operating system freedom is possible, but most endusers still live in Microsofts company town
  • doc editing is a suburb of the company town
  • filesharing is a gated community and the owners keep changing the locks
  • Email and the WWW are public parks bordering the company town (but servers are more free than clients)
  • Those nomadic coders mostly live free 🙂

    Intant Messanging Land

  • company towns (Yahoo, Lotus Sametime, Odigo)
  • gate communities (AIM, ICQ, MSN)
  • Plutocracies (SMS, Wireless Village)
  • Public parks (SIP/SIMPLE, IRC)
  • Neighborhood (Jabber)

    Brief history of Jabber
    1998: jabberd server project (Jeremie Miller)
    1999: base protocol defined, more OS projects
    2000: first Jabber-related companies
    2001: JSF founded, defines community standards process
    2002: more protocol extensions, companies, and projects
    2003: IETF’s XMPP WG adapts protocol
    2004: world domination

    Are Open Standards Enough?
    The 3 legs of the stool:
    1. Open Standards
    2. Open Source
    3. Open Community

    The Jabber Community

  • Lots of open-source projects (see
  • Commercial companies large and small
  • Community standards process — we control the protocol
  • Growing fast, many new applications and protocol extensions
  • Focusing on protocol means we have a mixed community — both open-source and commercial
  • More than just open-source — an open standard

    Is this Utopia?

  • No, it’s a neighborhood
  • we have the usual squabbles
  • you may not like all your neighbors
  • ……

    Is this approach transferrable?

  • Jabber grew up in a fractured region (many proprietary systems, no standard)
  • Interoperability provided through gateways to legacy IM systems (still not native)
  • Patience required (4+ years of work in the Jabber community)
  • No assurance of success (competing protocols, large proprietary services)

    What would it take to create open standards for document formats?

  • cooperations between people of different project or project to project communication.. Basically, people deciding on a foramt
  • focus on the format
  • serious benefits from freedom – new applications such as document sharing


  • The Samba Saga
  • Principle of Good is enough
  • Open Source vs. Open Standards (Jonathan Schwartz, Sun)
  • Open Source and Open Standards
  • Jabber Software Foundation
  • JabberStudio

    Hey, Apple uses the Jabber protocol in Rendevous for “presense”.

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