Re: [Tools-discuss] Trial chat services: matrix and zulip

Tom Pusateri <pusateri@bangj.com> Mon, 05 October 2020 20:23 UTC

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From: Tom Pusateri <pusateri@bangj.com>
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Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2020 16:22:55 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Tools-discuss] Trial chat services: matrix and zulip
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> On Oct 1, 2020, at 10:25 AM, Robert Sparks <rjsparks@nostrum.com> wrote:
> 
> We are deploying trials of the matrix and zulip chat services to gain
> operational experience and get community feedback about how well these
> services meet the need for IETF related chat.
> 
> We have clear evidence from the IETF 107 post-meeting survey
> (https://www.ietf.org/media/documents/ietf-107-survey-results.pdf) that many
> IETF participants find jabber a significant problem.  This is partly due to
> difficulties in finding a free jabber service and partly due to client issues.
> There are two paths to try to resolve these problems, one is to improve the
> IETF jabber service and the other is to switch to an alternative groupchat
> solution.  The community has already taken a step on the latter path with the
> introduction of an IETF Slack space, and we want to ensure that this path is
> properly explored by widening the range of options to well established
> free/open source tools.

As the Internet standards organization, I think we bear a special responsibility to eat our own dog food. Our job isn’t just to publish a bunch of specs that people may use, but to iterate over solutions that don’t meet the needs of the Internet community and make them better.

In my opinion, we should not be switching from XMPP to a new chat service without first opening a working group to look into what failed and how to move back to an IETF standards protocol for chat in the future.

According to Robert above, it’s a client and server availability problem (not necessarily a protocol problem). Why do vendors not want to support XMPP? Likely because a walled garden is more profitable for them. Is that what the IETF should be encouraging?

If the XMPP protocol is not sufficient (I understand Matrix is quite well designed), then the IETF should be standardizing something better (even if that means standardizing Matrix).

This should be the first step.

Tom