Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Jul 2016 22:50 UTC
Internet & Networking

It would be nice if, like most email services, these major and forthcoming messaging services could somehow interoperate in the same client of your choice, so they could all somehow learn your preferences and you could use a single scheme of settings and preferences to control their behavior (maybe you could "snooze" them) and their notifications. But that seems highly unlikely. Palm's webOS operating system had a feature something like this called Synergy, but it's defunct.

Or, you know, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. could come together and create a single, open, open source, standardised messaging platform for which everybody can make clients. They could, perhaps, call it "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol" or XMPP.

Of course, that would require those companies actually giving a rat's bum about their customers, which they don't really do, so suck it up, Mossberg.

Order by: Score:
The death of federated protocols
by Alfman on Wed 6th Jul 2016 23:26 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Industry leaders deserve most of the blame for moving us away from federated protocols and into their self-serving silos.

There's a lot of innovation to be had, including better network resilience, more choices & competition, more control in the hands of users, more opportunity for independent innovation, more privacy from both corporate & government snoops, less chance of arbitrary service discontinuation, less vendor lock. The problem is that executives hate all of these things and would rather promote tech that strengthens their grasp on us. Unfortunately the economic advantages are in their favor, when they use our own data to help them sell ads. ;)


Does anyone have hope for alternative non-advertiser based business models in the future? Or is this going to be a permanent feature of all our technology moving forwards?

Reply Score: 6

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Actually, all of them use email or the phone system as their last/fallback authentication system. :-)

It's just completely funny to me seeing all these services build all this stuff and end up using federated services anyway.

Obviously the state of not using federated systems as their primary system is completely and utterly inexcusable.

It's all about who has the most users. Nothing else.

The whole model may even threaten our society as a whole:

https://www.singularityweblog.com/douglas-rushkoff-throwing-rocks-go...

Reply Score: 4

Nice
by albertp on Thu 7th Jul 2016 00:02 UTC
albertp
Member since:
2016-06-13

When I feel all cheered up, it's always nice to visit OSNews to get a dose of negativism.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice
by Morgan on Thu 7th Jul 2016 01:35 UTC in reply to "Nice"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

"Always" since last month, eh? Trollololol.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nice
by birdie on Thu 7th Jul 2016 13:52 UTC in reply to "Nice"
birdie Member since:
2014-07-15

In this day and age I can only think of one reason for cheering: you're high, aren't you?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice
by CaptainN- on Thu 7th Jul 2016 15:14 UTC in reply to "Nice"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Everyone on this site has gotten old and grumpy..

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Licaon_Kter on Thu 7th Jul 2016 03:41 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19
RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Lennie on Thu 7th Jul 2016 07:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

It goes much further than that, the same is happening at the low level protocols like TCP:

http://lwn.net/Articles/691887/

We always thought the end-to-end principle applied to the machine. But it turns out it's the application running on a machine.

The discussion on hacker news about the Open Wisper Systems blog post was interesting too:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11668912

What people did not get, most people that use federated services like email addresses, don't have their own domainname. So they can't easily switch providers. While in a bunch of countries: if I change phone networks I can take my phone-number with me.

Edited 2016-07-07 07:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Lennie on Thu 7th Jul 2016 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Anyway, following the whole discussion. I did find this comment:

https://github.com/LibreSignal/LibreSignal/issues/37#issuecomment-21...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Alfman on Thu 7th Jul 2016 07:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Licaon_Kter,

This is what 'they' believe:


Thanks for that link.

It's what they say they believe, but the engineer inside them probably likes federated protocols. I mean, I get where they're coming from with many protocols kind of being stuck in the 90s, but they're stuck precisely because companies are refusing to rally around more modern unified platforms. Instead modern successful companies have become greedy and don't want to support federated solutions where users become free to get their service elsewhere. Obviously it can be done, the issue is that companies like facebook, google, ms, apple, etc do not favor federated technology because they want to control users. Allowing us to self-host and innovate outside of their corporate silos is counterproductive to their corporate interests.

Edited 2016-07-07 07:13 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by kwan_e on Thu 7th Jul 2016 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Allowing us to self-host and innovate outside of their corporate silos is counterproductive to their corporate interests.


We're heading backwards to a pre-Berners-Lee internet.

Reply Score: 4

WebOS ? Actually Nokia
by Lennie on Thu 7th Jul 2016 06:56 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

The idea of combining all kinds of different protocols in one UI on a mobile device is something that was first done by Nokia.

Reply Score: 3

Money
by Elad_Alon on Thu 7th Jul 2016 07:45 UTC
Elad_Alon
Member since:
2015-04-23

These are for-profit companies we're talking about. Naturally, they'd go with whatever they believe would maximize their revenue. One should not be surprised nor upset with that.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Money
by Alfman on Thu 7th Jul 2016 15:46 UTC in reply to "Money"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Elad_Alon,

These are for-profit companies we're talking about. Naturally, they'd go with whatever they believe would maximize their revenue. One should not be surprised nor upset with that.



One should not be surprised: correct, no one is surprised.

nor upset with that: huh?

So why shouldn't one be upset with for-profit companies just because they go with whatever they believe would maximize their revenue?

You sound like an investor who doesn't give a damn about anyone else in the world but themselves: don't be upset, it's for profit.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Money
by Elad_Alon on Fri 8th Jul 2016 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Money"
Elad_Alon Member since:
2015-04-23

You sound unhappy with their product; don't use it. That's all.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Money
by Alfman on Fri 8th Jul 2016 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Money"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Elad_Alon,

You sound unhappy with their product; don't use it. That's all.


This is totally ignorant of network effects, but I'm sure you knew that.

Reply Score: 3

Wishful thinking
by ThomasFuhringer on Thu 7th Jul 2016 07:59 UTC
ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

Didn't Facebook recently pay USD 10 billion for WhatsApp? And you expect them to throw this away and come together with the other major players to agree on a common, open messaging protocol for the sake of gifting it to the world?
And, by the way, the protocol exists for a long time. It is Jabber. But it is in nobody's business interest to jump on that train.
Messaging is a huge business and everybody wants to lock in the world.
They also tried it with e-mail, which kind of escaped them. Compuserve, AOL, Microsoft all tried to quickly push their own, proprietary service on us. But it was already too late.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Wishful thinking
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 7th Jul 2016 08:15 UTC in reply to "Wishful thinking"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And you expect them to throw this away and come together with the other major players to agree on a common, open messaging protocol for the sake of gifting it to the world?


I thought the tone of the blurb was clear enough indication that no, I do not expect them to do so.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Wishful thinking
by steve_s on Thu 7th Jul 2016 08:24 UTC in reply to "Wishful thinking"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

FYI, Jabber is the old name for XMPP

Reply Score: 5

WhatsApp worth billions
by Adurbe on Thu 7th Jul 2016 08:13 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

If WhatsApp joined a "free and open" platform they have effectively killed their value.

There have been open platforms for years, frankly, noone is interested in them.

Reply Score: 2

avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

As far as I know Google Voice/Hangouts were supposed to be pure XMPP and WebRTC, but became proprietary. Even GMail seems to be a special brand of IMAP that many clients struggle to support.

Apparently it is really true what they say about standards being the same as toothbrushes: Everyone agrees that you should use one, but nobody wants to use somebody else's ;)

It is also worth noting just how many communication tools Google, FaceBook and Microsoft seem to have and which direction they are going:
Google: I simply cannot follow it any more, sorry, I gave up
FaceBook: Internal messages (with FB-email!) are dead, messages got seperated, WhatsApp got bought and added
Microsoft: MSN got absorbed by Skype. Skype and Skype for Business are different tools on different protocols that can interact. SharePoint/Yammer/Linked-In have so far failed to integrate and somebody they might buy Slack (before it either explodes or implodes)

Reply Score: 2

failed
by nicubunu on Fri 8th Jul 2016 06:31 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

Actually the companies tried years ago to converge to XMPP: Google Talk used it, Facebook Messenger used it, many others used it, then XMPP failed to adopt the needed features so everybody dropped it and went back to using proprietary solutions. XMPP is an example of an open standard that failed to deliver.

Reply Score: 1

RE: failed
by Alfman on Fri 8th Jul 2016 15:20 UTC in reply to "failed"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

nicubunu,

Actually the companies tried years ago to converge to XMPP: Google Talk used it, Facebook Messenger used it, many others used it, then XMPP failed to adopt the needed features so everybody dropped it and went back to using proprietary solutions. XMPP is an example of an open standard that failed to deliver.


The thing is companies will embrace open & federated standards to get their foot in the door and take advantage of the network benefits. But once they're well established as incumbents the business incentives actually start to change - they want to deprive other newcomers of the benefits they received using federated protocols, they want to increase the barriers to entry and IMHO that was the core motivation behind dropping XMPP. Personally, I don't think it failed to deliver, and it could have extended to new use cases if they wanted to. And even if they were determined to throw it away, they could still have replaced it with a new and improved federated protocol. Yet they did not - locking out federated users was a business decision.


Business decisions are the reason why federated solutions are becoming a relic of the past. Google's handling of XMPP, CalDAV, RSS reveal an unmistakable shift towards proprietary solutions that give them greater control over us. Google is just a case example here, but this trend is going on throughout the industry with apple, google, microsoft, facebook, etc at the forefront.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: failed
by nicubunu on Fri 8th Jul 2016 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE: failed"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

Companies will embrace open standards when this will bring benefits to them.

You say they could have extended XMPP to fit their use cases, but when everyone extends it in incompatible ways, then they won't be able to talk with each other so the standard becomes pointless.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: failed
by Alfman on Fri 8th Jul 2016 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: failed"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

nicubunu,

Companies will embrace open standards when this will bring benefits to them.


I agree. I just find it unfortunate that the most successful companies choose to close the doors behind them and significantly raise the barriers to entry for newcomers.

You say they could have extended XMPP to fit their use cases, but when everyone extends it in incompatible ways, then they won't be able to talk with each other so the standard becomes pointless.


That's what consortiums are for.

And anyways it's not a big deal if different services don't have 100% feature parity. Some compatibility is better than none whatsoever. Technology should be removing the barriers, not adding them for commercial interests... yea, yea I know, I'm not holding my breath.

Reply Score: 2