Re: The ecosystem is moving

mrex@sap.com (Martin Rex) Fri, 13 May 2016 16:57 UTC

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Subject: Re: The ecosystem is moving
In-Reply-To: <CAMm+Lwizm-5xH-f-3tD1xvM1CDKkSD0m4m4SRoDgQqzU8dg3Fw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill@hallambaker.com>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2016 18:57:13 +0200 (CEST)
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From: mrex@sap.com (Martin Rex)
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Cc: Paul Wouters <paul@nohats.ca>, "ietf@ietf.org Discussion" <ietf@ietf.org>
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Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
>
> Moxie has never really been interested in the standards game. He just likes
> doing code.
> 
> If we want this to be really open, we have to put our own proposal on the
> table.
> 
> I am currently trying to do just that.


IMO, Moxie points to a number of real problems, but I think his
conclusions about the causes are wrong.

The two most important things that engineers (professionals and amateurs)
get wrong are:
  - failure to provide smooth interop with installed base
  - failure to take usability into account, how does a novice
    user get started?

Jabber (which allegedly uses XMPP) is a royal PITA.
It is possible to participate IETF Meetings remotely via Jabber,
and the IETF operates a jabber server, but that crappy server
refuses to let you in (provide a login/user account for you).
How to get a user account to join?  Well that's a black magic art
that is explained nowhere (at leat this was the situation
a while ago and for more than a decade).

I got myself an "jabber account" somewhere else, but at some point,
I got a "warning" that I would soon no longer be able to login to
that account, because my client software didn't support TLS.

Well, getting a jabber client _with_ support for TLS turned out to
be another royal PITA, because it wasn't available for my old Linux
distro, and compiling it my self would have required to obtain and
compile at least three dozen other libs and toolkits it depends upon,
and what my existing Linux distro had was "too old".

I only wanted to join IETF meetings remotely, and they're public anyways,
so I was just fine without TLS and my old client, but the XMPP freaks
running this stuff seemed to be fiercly determined of breaking backwards
compatibility just for the fun of it, giving a shit about their users,
similar to the developers of the newer client software, which gave a shit
about compiling the client software on a 5 year old linux distro.


There things that WhatsApp achieved in a straightforward and
user friendly manner:

   - signing up as a new user is *EASY*

   - getting the newest of their client software for a 5+ year old
     Android (e.g. Android 4.1) is no more difficult that getting
     it for bleeding edge OS releases

   - Interoperability with installed base was not impaired when
     rolling out the encryption-enabled clients

For these three issues, Jabber is a complete and utter failure.


-Martin