Jabber

It looks like I’ve finally got 30 minutes to write this post. So here goes.

Just about a week ago, the XSF held yet another successful XMPP Summit in Brussels in conjunction with FOSDEM’10.

As I had to miss the Hackfest on Friday, let’s start with the important things: The FOSDEM Beer Event.

It was nice to see, that this year, the Beer Algorithm allowed us to actually get a seat, unlike the last years where we had to stand in front of the Delerium most of the time.

On Saturday, the XSF had the Stand and Devroom at FOSDEM. We were happy to see, that the devroom was packed throughout the event. There were some great talks, including a very popular “Stump the experts”, where the audience was able to ask our XMPP Book Authors and Council members this amazing technology called XMPP.

The booth was also not left unattended. Although this years T-Shirts proved to be harder to sell, GREY?! REALLY?!, we were able to sell about half of them.

We also had some odd people visiting the booth, such as a lawyer, that wanted help the XSF help to defend their copyrights. The thing we noticed though was, that not that many people are aware of the fact that they use XMPP every day, in their favorite websites, such as GMail and Facebook.

The thing that people really seemed to like, were our “Shiny Toys” (N900’s nicknamed by Dave; reference here), and the other Mobile XMPP demos, like Ooros‘ NFC Demo, and Buddycloud. We’ll try to have more of those next year round!

Speaking of “shiny toy”, I’d like to thank Nokia for lending us the 20 N900’s and MobileVikings for being so generous and giving us SIM cards with Mobile Internet to take advantage of all the functions of the N900’s. I had my first Jingle call that JUST WORKED! It actually worked so well, that I got a wake up call on the N900 early in the morning from other people on XMPP Jingle – Nokia, please implement auto away.

Of course, after people had played with the N900, many started hacking software together in order to try and keep the N900’s provided by Nokia. Here you can see Remko porting Swift to the N900, and Dave finding the accelerometer API.

Sunday evening, it was time for the big XSF Dinner. It was less spectacular than last years, but that’s because we had a coach bringing us to the restaurant and back, which resulted in less running in the Brussels Metro stations, and a short 15 minute drive. With 54 attendees, the dinner was full up, and we might need to restrict it to XSF Members and Sponsors only. But we’ll see.

I’d also like thank Auberge Bretonne for another successful dinner.

On Monday, we had the actual Summit. There were some talks about mobile optimizations, server to server security and of course Jingle. More info about these can be found on the official XSF Blog.

I’d also like to congratulate Frank Scholz and Philippe Normand, who gave a talk about their Mirabeau application, and won the XSF Developer Challenge.

It’s a pity that I didn’t find time to talk to everyone personally, and learn about all the cool XMPP projects out there, but I’ll try to catch up next time.

I’d just like to thank some people personally, without whom, this weekend wouldn’t of have been the same:

  • Nokia and specifically Kristian Luoma and Petri Liimatta, for their continued support of the XSF and the cool N900’s.
  • Our Dinner Sponsors, who paid for the great dinner: Nokia, Vodafone, Collabora, Isode, TANDBERG, Buddycloud, Collecta, and Ooros.
  • MobileVikings, for giving us the SIM cards with Mobile Internet, that saved us from FOSDEM’s flaky WiFi and allowed us to keep in touch over the weekend.
  • Auberge Bretonne for the great dinner.
  • Everyone in the XSF community, who joined the events.
  • And the rest of the XSF Board, for organizing the event!

I hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the event, and I hope to see you all next year (or maybe earlier – if I am able to attend OSCON).

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Evening.

After having had a very productive Sunday, I seem not to be able to stop doing stuff 🙂

So I started playing with chat.facebook.com (Facebook’s XMPP Server).

Having read P1’s article that Facebook would be using Ejabberd made me curious, as I don’t believe Ejabberd would scale anywhere near the needs of Facebook.

So I investigated the XML responses, and got a hint by Artur that the message IDs look nowhere near the message IDs of any server.

Now, if Facebook would’ve used an existing piece of code, they wouldn’t rewrite the message ID generation. That would be useless.

So, I checked every server I had access to, and I can say, it doesn’t behave like: Tigase, M-Link, Ejabberd, Jabberd14, Jabberd2, Prosody and Google’s XMPP Server.

Thus my conclusion: They have written their own XMPP server.

Update: Or maybe they are actually using EJD.

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So, I’ve been back from Brussels nearly a month now, and I have finally found a few spare minutes to write this post.

For me, the trip to Brussels consisted of 3 great parts. The Actual FOSDEM, the XMPP Summit and last but not least: The Social Events all around it.

FOSDEM: A place where people talk and hand out T-shirts

After arriving in the evening from London and having had a dinner with the nice guys from Seesmic, we headed down to the FOSDEM Beer Event. Having lived in the UK for a few months now, I was missing my real beer. Until today, I haven’t had a beer in the UK that comes close to the good taste of Belgian Beer, and people are trying hard to prove me wrong 🙂

The FOSDEM Beer event is an event held in the city centre near the grand place in the Delerium Cafe. The equation more or less goes like this: Geeks + Free Beer = Overcrowded bar. But it’s always nice to meet up with the people you IM with atleast once a week. Ofcourse, you can’t stay there too long, as you have to try to get up relatively early the next morning to get to the conference.

So Saturday morning, I realized that it’s actually quite difficult to fit a box of 25KG with 110 T-Shirts into a small Golf. After about 20 minutes of turning and moving around the box, it finally fit, and we we’re ready to head down to the ULB Campus. Arriving there with the box of T-Shirts, Dave found his calling as a T-Shirt salesman. He saw the box of T-Shirts, ripped it open, and before anyone realized, the first batch of T-Shirts we’re already sold. AMAZING!

In the back of the building, XMPP had it’s DevRoom, which was the place to be around the conference. The room was packed on nearly every single talk. It just shows you, that XMPP is actually quite popular. Who would’ve guessed?!

The Crowd

The Crowd

My Talk

My Talk

So at 16:30 the big moment had arrived. My turn to hold a talk in front of a room of XMPP Fans. Thanks to Will for the pictures.

For everyone who’s interested in my presentation, it can be downloaded here: fosdem09-largescalexmpp-public

Sunday mainly consisted of running round at FOSDEM and selling shirts at the booth, although we actually only had 3 left in the end which then got back ordered.

So let’s move on to the XMPP Summit. Actually, let’s give a summary of the Social stuff in Brussels.

Social Events all around Brussels

The XSF Dinner:

Some time in December, I heard that there wouldn’t be any XSF Dinner. Not being able to rest before knowing that there actually would be one, I talked to some people in the XSF, until one evening, Jack gave me an idea. Small contributions towards the dinner, making it an official event, and a cheap dinner for participants.

Running around with this idea, people quickly joined in and pitched in some money towards the dinner. In the end, we had more money than the dinner would cost. Unbelievable! We collected 1875€ for the dinner.

I would like to thank again everyone who pitched in and made this dinner happen. Thank you a lot.

The hard thing was actually getting there. I underestimated public transportation timing, and the costs to transport that amount of people. I’m sorry that it took this long. I should of have tried the route before. But, public transportation had it’s fun moments.

Hermann-Debroux Metro Station

Hermann-Debroux Metro Station

One was when getting in to the Metro, we went down to the normal departure platform, where we noticed the Metro arriving on the other side. Adding 1 and 1 together, we quickly realized that we were on the wrong side. Not wanting to miss the Metro, everyone started running up the stairs to reach the other side. It was mayhem. However, some smart people, to be exact only Will, actually saw that there was an unused alternative path. You’ll soon know why it was unused. Will saw the stairs and thought it wasn’t enough of a challenge. So he took the escalator. The escalator that was going down, not up. Running alongside the stairs, you could see him trying to fight the system, and actually nearly beating Dave on the way up. Will would’ve won if he didn’t trip on one of the last steps, which set him back a few seconds, allowing Dave to reach the top first.

Arriving on the other platform, completely exhausted, we saw the Metro driver leaving her car, slowly walking to the other side of the train, as yes, Hermann-Debroux is a Terminal Station. The Metro wasn’t supposed to leave for another 7 minutes. But hey, sports are healthy 🙂

A side note on this story: We had the XSF Dinner, which consisted of a solid 4 course menu about 20 minutes beforehand.

The second thing that was quite funny, was the size of the group. On Sunday evenings, public transportation is usually running empty. No-one uses the Buses on a Sunday night. Getting on to a Bus with 45 people which was empty just seconds before, filling it up completely is a funny thing to see. The Bus drivers couldn’t believe their eyes.

Saturday Night @ Poechenellekelder:

After having had a good dinner at a nice restaurant on the Grand Place, we headed down to the Poechenellekelder.

This pub is just amazing. We had the best bar tender ever! EVER! EVER! After a few initial beers, he said to us: “Challenge me!”. We had to describe a taste for a beer that we would want, and he would bring a beer tasting like that. So the first round, we gave him a decent challenge, and he matched it perfectly. Seeing this talent, we quickly challenged him with the impossible. However, he always got a perfect match! Unbelievable! Just amazing!

The biggest beer bottle I have ever had.

The biggest beer bottle I have ever had.

Some random notes on the evening: I have never seen Artur smile that much; I have had the biggest bottle of Beer I have ever seen in my life; I have tasted amazing beers that were too good to be real.

I want RIBS!:

On Monday evening, StPeter mentioned that he knew an amazing ribs place in Brussels. Being all up for a solid meal, we quickly found a few people that thought the same way. Remember the beer place? Well this was the same for Ribs. You basically had a cow each! And they actually brought more! Again, pictures say more than words.

Please note: This was a huge plate! And I think the salad was just there to decorate. You can’t have those ribs, and then some salad!

RIBS!!!

RIBS!!!

So, having covered all of the major social events, let’s move on to the Summit.

The Summit

The XMPP Summit was held in the Bedford Hotel this year, as we’ve had a lot more participants than the year before. Like you’d expect, there we’re a lot of hot discussions going on about PubSub, File Transfer, Mobile Optimizations, and one of the most interesting for me, Server Security and Abuse Reporting.

I won’t go in to detail for any of these in this post, as this post is already way too long, and you’re probably already asleep.

So just some closing words: It was great seeing everyone at the Summit, and hope to see you again next year!

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Hey guys,

I have a few invites to several pages.

Jaiku: The better version of Twitter. I now have unlimited invites, so come and get them!

Boxee: A great Media and Entertainment Center for OSX and Linux. Especially for OSX users who want to play full HD movies without any problems, you need Boxee! I have a few of those left!

Jabber.me: It’s not open yet, but it will be in a few weeks. I’ll be handing out 5 invites to people who comment here with a good reason why they want to try Jabber.me!

So, get your comments now, by commenting here. Please use your real E-mail address (it won’t be shown in Public) in order for me to send you the invites.

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Preliminary Jabber.me logo

Preliminary Jabber.me logo

Evening guys (no girl is reading this blog anyway),

I thought I might just share my idea of Jabber.me here. As with all of my projects, the aim is to conquer the world (I am used to failure by now) and to offer the Jabber Community a fully equipped Jabber server. So let’s start off with the basics.

Jabber Server

We will deploy Tigase on our Dynamic Clustering Model. We have been using Tigase now for more than 6 months and are very happy with it. It supports our Dynamic Clustering, and allows us to scale up and down within minutes, so we can make sure you don’t experience any problems with the service.

Google Mail? We can do that!

Do you want a nice and short E-mail adress? Easily done! Your Jabber Account is actually also an E-mail account! So you can receive E-mails via Jabber, or your default E-mail client, using the same adress as your Jabber ID. You will be able to use your favourite E-mail client with IMAP support, so you can get your E-mails anywhere.

PubSub! I heard that somewhere!

PubSub has been in everyone’s mouth over the last few weeks. It’s that cool thing no-one actually knows what it does, but everyone has to have. It’s like these things with laser in the name. You hear laser, and every guy in the room wants to have it. So yeah, Jabber.me will have PubSub, and we actually have an idea what to do with it!

You’ll be able to publish your own blog on PubSub, so your friends can subscribe to your blog using their Jabber account and get notified the second you publish your post. And the best part is, we’ll provide easy plugins for your blog, so that you can get it up and running in a few seconds! That’s just cool!

Web & Widgets

The Web is a place where everyone has been to at least once in his life. I always wanted to have a small badge on my personal site, where you could see my Jabber Status, and start talking to me just by clicking on that badge. That’s what I call a widget, not a gadget (joke), and it should also work without Dashboard. Jabber.me will give you the possibility to create these easily, and add them to anything you want.

Free Phone Calls? Gimme, Gimme, gimme!

It’s true! Flosoft.biz is currently working on VoIP services, and those also include calling of fixed landlines and mobiles. I don’t know how we can do this yet, but we will find a way. The aim is to let the users call other users, and regular phones for free. Any ideas on how we could accomplish that via XMPP are welcome.

MicroBot – One Bot to rule them all!

You have Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca and probably some other MicroBlogs. It’s nearly impossible to keep them all up to date. This is where MicroBot comes in. Using MicroBot, you’ll be able to post to all your MicroBlogs at once.

Powering Development

With Jabber.me, we want to support the small developers, especially of server components. Developers will be able to upload and load their components to Jabber.me, and make them available to all. A few clicks, and your development code is running on our servers, allowing all the users to test it, and give immediately feedback. Cool ey? 🙂

Last but definetly not least: No Ads!

Ads are annoying. So I promise you, there will be no Ads EVER on Jabber.me! Not a single pixel of ads!

Well, that’s all the ideas I have for tonight; imagine what I can come up with in a little more time! So sit back, think about it, and maybe come up with even more cool features for Jabber.me!

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You probably remember the Jabber World Map by Ralph Meijer. The problem there was, crowded areas were difficult to decode.

World Of JabberDuring my morning tour of Websites and RSS feeds, I have found a post on Jabberforum.org by Sublime Porte about a new Jabber World Map. The post can be found here.

This Map is based on Google Maps, and uses your vCard profile feeds to get the location. He says that in future he wants to use the XEPs XEP-0080 and XEP-0154 for the user location. This might be a project to keep an close eye on 😉

To use it, simply add geolocator@jabbering.org to your Jabber Roster. A few minutes later, you’ll find yourself on the Map.

World Of Jabber Homepage

Update: I was just told, that it is based on SleekXMPP.

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Hey guys,

Euro 2008

yesterday evening, we had a sort of trial discussion room for Euro 2008. It attracted quite some people, so today we’ll have the same thing, but better.

People can join the MUC room, and join the lively discussion going on in there. On top of that, we’ll try to get a BBC Livefeed integrated, automatic score updates, and maybe some bets on the outcome? We’ll see what we can finish in less than 12 hours.

Any other suggestions are welcome ofcourse.

So how can I participate? It’s easy.

1. A Jabber / XMPP Account

First of all, you would need a Jabber / XMPP Account. If you have Google Talk, you can use that. If not, you can register an account on im.flosoft.biz.

2. A MUC capable Jabber Client.

If you want to join the conference, you would need a MUC capable client. Normally every Jabber client supports MUC (Multi User Chat). The Google Talk client however, doesn’t.

For Windows, I recommend Psi or Pandion. For Linux, try Gajim, and for OSX try Adium.

3. Join the MUC Room.

Last but not least, join the conference.
euro2008@conference.im.flosoft.biz

Translated:
Host: conference.im.flosoft.biz
Room: euro2008

Hope to see you there! 18:45 UTC!

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It’s official. Jabberforum.org has replaced the old forums on Jabber.org. Besides running a real forum software, it has a lot of nice features.

Social Groups: Social groups are communities on the forum, where members can post some pictures and post messages. A bit like Jaiku Channels, just with pictures and without SMS.

Thats fun, but there’s more!

The coolest feature we just installed is: Mailinglist integration! You can now read all posts from the mailinglists via the forum, and also reply to them via the forum! We currently have set up 3 lists, Jadmin / Jdev and Juser, but we’ll add more soon.

I showed this to stpeter, who is mainly hanging out on Mailinglists, and isn’t really familiar with Forums, but even he said:

[00:08:28] <stpeter> niiiiiice!

This means something 🙂

So join the 21st century, join Jabberforum.org

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First off, if you have a good 3G data plan with unlimited everything, or don’t care about paying your precious €€€s to mobile service providers, you can skip this article altogether 🙂

My E61!The last few weeks I’ve been traveling quite a  lot, and didn’t always have Open WiFi near me. So I needed to use overpriced 3G connections by Proximus.

Before you tell me, why don’t you have a Data Plan, let me tell you that they are only valid for Belgium itself, and not foreign networks. Why should I need a Data Plan when I am at home? So much about that.

Using 3G a lot in foreign countries, I asked my provider what the actual costs would be. They told me, using Pay&Go Cards you are paying 1,50€ / 100KB. I thought, hey, sounds fair. I mean, the only thing I want to do is check my Jabber Offline Messages and E-mail from time to time.

Let me tell you one thing in the beginning: Do NOT check E-mail with such a rate plan. I downloaded the headers of my E-mail once, and it cost me 400KB! That were just the headers. So forget that directly.

Talkonaut 4.0So I used Jabber. My setup was Talkonaut 3.0 with compression enabled. Do not try to use Jabber without compression. Ask your Server Administrator if the server supports compression, and make sure your client supports it. Using compression I had about 10x less data transferred. If you think about the overpriced traffic, it’s worth enabling it.

I have to say, compared to MSN, yes, I have that installed too, Jabber consumes a lot less. So use Jabber transports instead of native clients.

But what can be improved?

First of all, typing notifications. They consume bandwidth for nothing. And when being mobile, do you really care about someone typing? You don’t. This should be filtered on the server and not sent to the mobile device.

Then you have status changes. About 50% of all my traffic were status changes of people on my roster. Ok, I have a big roster (around 400 persons), but again, I don’t care about people coming online or offline, when I am chatting with someone. I don’t see the roster, and I don’t want to. As proposed at the XMPP DevCon, these statuses should be queued on the server, and just the last status should be kept, until my client requests them, i.e. I check my Contact List, or hit a refresh button.

Talkonaut 3On third place, I have my contact list. Every time I log in, the contact list is downloaded. This consumes with compression enabled about 30KB on my account. That’s just a waste of bandwidth. My contact list doesn’t change that often, why can’t the client cache it? Then you need to get the status of every contact. My guess is, that you get them one by one. I.e. contact 1 is online, contact 2 is online, contact 3 is offline … etc. You could do: contact, 1,2 are online, contact 3 is offline. This would compress better and you would save bandwidth. Again, this should be prepared on the server.

I remember that a big part of the discussion for mobility was about power consumption. I have been using 3G quite a lot and WiFi, whenever I found one, and I have to say I don’t see any problem with the consumption. But if anyone has seen the battery of an E61 by Nokia, you know why. It’s huge! I think it’s more important to get clients that consume less bandwidth, as that is something that you really have to pay for. You can recharge your mobile phone nearly anywhere.

Well, that’s it for today. Feel free to comment with your ideas and experiences with your mobile and 3G roaming.

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I started using Jabber in 2004. Since then, I’m sorry to say, not much has happened.

Jabber still more or less only supports text messaging, file transfer works quite bad, compared to other IM Networks, and Jingle isn’t implement anywhere. This might be exagerated a bit, as there are some attempts for Jingle implementation, and file transfer works with some clients, but it doesn’t work with most of the clients.

I think this is a pity, as Jabber is a technology with alot of potential on so many levels.

Jingle:

Jingle would be great if it would be implemented.  But apparantly it is too complicated. So if there would be a few good libraries, this could be realized.

File Transfer:

File transfer is more or less my favourite topic on Jabber 🙂 . It often doesn’t work. Just tried to recieve a file without any success. Although both sides have a SOCKS5 proxy set up. Weird.

Then, at the XMPP DevCon, Pedro Melo came up with the idea, why not use torrent? There are tons of good libraries which can be added to the clients, and all of these libraries do very good NAT traversals and this technology could lead to cool new features.

In theory, you could send one file to several persons, without uploading it to everyone seperately. You could also have Pubsub deliver content, for example your podcasts as torrents.

Server operators could run a torrent proxy, which speeds up downloads, and many other things are possible.

Jabber vs. XMPP:

The last thing I’m going to talk about in this post, is the name. The technology has been renamed to XMPP to make sure that there will be no legal issues in the future with Jabber Inc., but many of us still use Jabber instead of XMPP.

Jabber vs XMPPAs you can see on the graph, Jabber is far more known than XMPP. Red is Jabber, blue is XMPP. All the marks are explained here.

Invisibility & blocked contacts:

Then we have invisibility. There seems to be no real standard for being invisible.  It doesn’t work with all transports. Then you have blocked contacts. I have to be honest, I haven’t played with Privacy Lists on my account, as I generally like everyone on Jabber, but I am missing the button, block contact. This is something which would be useful for all the switchers from other networks.

Well, I think this is all for today. Keep on Jabbering 🙂

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