More than just a name change

Today, the the Jabber Software Foundation announced that it’s now the XMPP Standards Foundation. Already, a lot of content has been moved to from The change is symbolic of much that’s happening with the protocol:

  • Explosive growth – Almost every week a new network or product seems to announce XMPP support (although we’re all still waiting for another major consumer IM network to follow Google’s lead). The XMPP standard is also rapidly evolving in areas like VoIP with Jingle and advanced presence with Personal Eventing via Pubsub. We’ve seen the growth trend at as well – we’re nearing 1 million downloads of Wildfire and on the verge of making our most significant set of product releases ever.

  • The slow death of SIMPLE – two years ago the story was about how the SIMPLE protocol was winning the real-time standards war against XMPP. Now, only Microsoft is left beating the SIMPLE drum and that complicated, bloated mess of a protocol is fading into irrelevance. Microsoft is still the most important player in the corporate IM world, but at least we don’t all have to pretend anymore that they’re pursuing an open protocol. XMPP is the only way to have open federation, which is why products like Lotus are adding support.

  • Open for business – Jabber started as an Open Source project and the Jabber Software Foundation began its life in that tradition. It wasn’t that long ago that the organization didn’t have a reputation for being friendly to companies looking to adopt the protocol. All that’s changed now and the JSF to XSF name change re-enforces that trend. I’m proud to be part of an organization that’s pushing the boundaries for how Open Source and commercial interests work together to develop an open protocol.

Last year, a blog entry claiming that 2006 would be the “year of XMPP” got a fair amount of circulation. Indeed, a lot of great stuff happened last year, but 2007 is truly the year we’ll see everything come together for XMPP.

Announcement is now also available on

I’m little confused with fine line between XMPP and Jabber. What should one call Jabber and what XMPP. Where do I chat in (Jabber or XMPP network) with my chat (Jabber or XMPP) client? I think I’m not the only one having this confusion. Jabber is much nicer name, but since it seems to be register trademark, so it’s not okay for me to register a domain like jabber.tld and start a chat community?


Great question. Everyone has a different approach to the issue. For example, read Peter’s latest blog entry where he discusses XMPP vs Jabber:

Personally, I tend to use “XMPP” for everything. This is largely because Jabber is a trademarked term owned by a commercial company. As long as you refer to the protocol as XMPP, what you decide to call everything else is pretty open to personal preference.

Thanks for the answer. Jabber/XMPP seems to be stuck between names. I think the situation is bad since XMPP (compared for example to msn messanger) is not very media sexy name and while Jabber is established and nice name, its use is crippled because of that trademark thing. Jabber/XMPP community should come up with some kind of common solution with the naming convention, since it’s really hard to spread Jabber/XMPP (or whatever it will be called) without any so called branding. I would love to see the world using open IM-network, but its not all about the technology, its also about the image of the product. No proper name, no proper userbase and no world domination of open/free IM.


I think that to some degree we’ve all been trapped into thinking of “IM networks” like AOL, MSN, Yahoo, etc. That’s not how it should be at all. For example, we don’t think of email that way. Open Standards will destory the notion of individual networks. For that reason, I don’t think that Jabber/XMPP needs to be something that all users know about – it should be marketing for developers. There’s still the need to have software that is recognized and loved by end users. That’s what we’re trying to do here at Ignite with Wildfire and Spark.



True, we ultimately don’t need a branding name. However, until we take over the world, we do need at least some special term for differentiation. We can’t call it “IM”, that’s too generic (the rest are also called “IM”). We could call it “Chat” or “Talk” (I’m not as big of a fan of these, but they are amazingly better than “XMPP”).

The name issue does hit the end-user, particularly when it comes to client configuration and usage. Right now we have “Jabber ID” and “JID” everywhere in our clients. What do we replace these with? I like “IM Address”, or possibly even better: “Address” (you know it is IM, based on the fact that you’re using an IM app, and this leaves the door open for non-IM usage of the same address in other apps).

As I like to keep saying, XMPP is entitled to usage of the “im:” URI prefix. I don’t know if anyone has started using it yet, but that is something to gloat about.

Justin: In my opinion, the convergence between voice (phones/VOIP), text (email/IM), video, file transfer, and other media could leave us with a single address; at that point, what to call the real time chat part of it would be fairly irrelevant, as it’d all be part of something much larger.

In other words, more important than im:// would be person://

My vote is for WildFlower