Lionel Dricot entrusted me with organizing Open Discussion Day, 2008. This came as quite the compliment, as I switched to Jabber only for IM back in 2006, when it first started, and have been publicly supporting and advocating it since. So, for this year, I’m excited to see things take shape.
First, what is Open Discussion Day? Open Discussion Day is all about supporting open protocols for communication. The official day is May 19th, the birthday of Robert Bugg Quattlebaum Jr., who announced that he was dropping legacy IM for just Jabber. As such, Lionel decreed May 19th Open Discussion Day with May 19, 2006 being the first.
The idea of Jabber, the cornerstone of Open Discussion Day, is simple. When email was started in the early 60s, the idea was that people could connect to each other, regardless of domain, location or date. As such, over 40 years later, email is a crucial part to everyday communication. Can you imagine firstname.lastname@example.org only being able to send mail to the example.com domain? Of course not. John should be able to send email to any user under any domain regardless of the daemon powering the email server. Instant messaging should be no different.
Jabber was setup with the same concept. When Jeremie Miller set out to create an instant messaging protocol, he wanted any user under any domain to be able to connect to any other user under any other domain. The result was the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, also known as Jabber. What’s cool about Jabber, is any Jabber server can be setup under any domain, unlike the proprietary IM protocols, such as MSN, AOL, ICQ or Yahoo!. Can you imagine being able to setup an MSN instant messaging server for your domain? Microsoft wouldn’t have it. Jabber on the other hand is different. Setup a Jabber server for your local LAN or setup an external server to connect you to the outside world, such as I have done under the aarontoponce.org domain.
So, what’s the point of Open Discussion Day 2008? Drop your legacy IM services for Jabber, of course. Jabber, in my opinion, will be one of the most influential communication tools of the new millennium. With Google supporting Jabber and AOL testing it, we’re already starting to see the protocol take some serious notice by the big online players. It is even estimated that Jabber has more users now, second only to AOL, than any other protocol (according to Wikipedia). With the transports feature of Jabber, Jabber users can even use their legacy IM accounts through their Jabber account. Thus, only connecting to their Jabber server, which connects them to the legacy servers, optimizing the total outreach of your buddy list. However, while Jabber supports this cool feature, Open Discussion Day is about dropping those legacy accounts completely.
Join us in #opendiscussion on Freenode if you’re in favor of dropping legacy IM for Jabber.