Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Jabber at FOSDEM 2006

FOSDEM 2006 is over. The picture at left was taken by Dries Buytaert, showcasing the fact that this was my first appearance at an event being associated with Jabber. I’d put "officially" somewhere in that last sentence, but I’m not a member of the Jabber Software Foundation (JSF)*, so it’s just my name on a presentation. I had a lot of fun co-presenting with Ralph for the second time – he knows all the technical nitty gritty, and I wave my hands and try and open people’s minds as to the current and future potential of XMPP.

Lots of people had heard about Jabber, and I think mine and Ralph’s intro presentation on the first day helped hilight the point that I have been trying to make for a while now: that it’s time for people to pick up the IETF-blessed XMPP standard and use it for real-time uses other than IM.

Full house in the Jabber Dev Room

The picture at right is from my poking my head into the Jabber developer room on the second day – every seat was taken and it was standing room only. Ralph by all accounts kept the room quite full, being stuck doing all the presentations as other presenters hadn’t been able to make it. The Virtual Presence session (see the LLuna project for more info) became a step more virtual because the presenter wasn’t in the room, but that itself became a great example of uses of the technology.

Jabber booth was well-visited over the course of two days, but we were there mainly just answering questions as people came by – no stickers, posters, or demonstrations. I have to give major credit to Ralph, Edwin – they are the Jabber evangelists in Europe, and travel on their own dime attending such events (never mind getting Jabber into as many projects as they can in their day jobs). The whole mandate of the JSF, which is not to develop the server- or client-side sofware that people actually use, but rather to promote XMPP and preside over JEPs, is problematic when it comes to public events. There is only so much you can do in evangelizing a protocol without implementations.

So, for further events, the goal should be to use the Jabber presence as an umbrella group to include the open source projects that are building software on both the client and server side. There are a very wide range of projects, written in a number of different programming languages for a number of platforms. This very diversity should lead to some interesting discussions.

*On joining the JSF: right now, the JSF membership responsibilities states that "Prospective members are expected to have made significant contributions" and goes on to list mainly very technical contributions. Have to find out whether evangelism counts – I probably need to kick off a little more significant project at some point, like maybe lobbying OSU’s Open Source Lab to run a jabber server for every project that it hosts, including the all-important multi-user chat.

Next Jabber community event? (Doh! No "events" list on – maybe convert Planet Jabber to Drupal so we can have events, too?) Well, I talked with Ralph about doing something around EuroOSCON in September (also maybe a camp). I don’t know if I will be attending OSCON in Portland this year…have to have a look and see if there is any Jabber activity happening there. Maybe I will go down to Penguin Day in Seattle and tell non-profits about Jabber.