FLOSS Weekly 49

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FLOSS Weekly
Episode 49


Peter Saint-Andre on Jabber/XMPP.


Peter is the Executive Director of the XMPP Standards Foundation, patron saint of Jabber, and amateur poet, musician, essayist, and philosopher.

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open, XML-inspired protocol originally aimed at near-real-time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists), but now expanded into the broader realm of message oriented middleware. ([2])

XMPP Specifications

Other messaging standards/systems:

One of the key things of XMPP is presence.

Peter has 2100 persons in his buddy list.

Presence is not possible as a polling mechanism, so presence works with the pubsub (publish/subscribe) messaging pattern. Whenever there is a state change the subscriber gets a notification.

The XMPP protocol is open source and there a lots of implementations, some of them are proprietary.

The XMPP protocol is more than messaging, you can send any structured [3] data through this protocol. The protocol is optimized for small bits of information and does note handle big binary blobs very well.

The current implementations of micromessaging systems like twitter brightkite and fireeagle still have the disadvantage, that they are build as normal websites. So they don't scale very well with thousands of users. Technologies like HTTP Etag try to solve the polling problem.

Leo wants to provide a stream of text content based on XMPP beside the audio twit.am and video live.twit.tv streams.

Peter calls this a brilliant idea and suggest the Personal Eventing Protocol.

XMPP has a group chat technology called multi user chat, which is like IRC, but has better authentication. This feature is mostly used in the military and financial sector.

speeqe provides a nice web interface to XMPP multi user chat rooms.

Jabber INC was recently bought by cisco. They provide commercial code and support for XMPP based messaging solutions.

Google uses XMPP in google talk. nokia and apple use XMPP in their products.

Leo describes the future of the twit video stream, with a ticker on top of it where users can provide additional information and links.

XMPP has a DNS like feature to provide unique IDs.

There are talks with the oauth people go get unique profile informations. But there are still some privacy issues to solve.

Peter uses Psi as his main Jabber client, because this is the only client which an handle his huge buddy list. Psi is written in C++.

Other clients are:

Google talk uses XMPP as a signaling channel for SIP.

XMPP is still missing a robust end-to-end encryption technology. There is a PGP based solution available, but it is not widespread. SSL based solutions have some security problems with man in the middle attacks.

chesspark uses XMPP as a protocol to submit the chess moves between the players.

There are vehicle tracking systems based on XMPP in the UK.

In Leos vision broadcasting is shifting from 1-n to n-m communication. He is still not sure how to handle the constant flow of information. XMPP might be a solution.

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