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Title: Settling the IM war

Subtitle: Creating an open and federated protocol for instant messaging

Abstract: The world of Instant Messaging is populated with hundreds of providers - all incompatible with each other though history has shown that walled gardens are not sustainable. Why are we unable to agree upon a standard to communicate with each other?

Description: Imagine you would need a separate web browser for every website you visit. Want to shop on Amazon? Download the Amazon browser. Want to surf Reddit? Download the Reddit browser. What seems completely ridiculous in the context of the World Wide Web is a sad reality for instant messaging. The recent years have spawned a sheer number of incompatible instant messaging solutions and forced the user to have multiple accounts with different providers that all do pretty much the same thing. Slack for work, Skype for your parents and Whatsapp for your friends. Wouldn't it be great if they were some kind of standard that would make all these different services interoperable? Fortunately such a protocol exists. The eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) has been around for over 15 years. But creating a unified protocol for instant messaging and adapting it to ever changing requirements presents some challenges. Only some of them are of a technical nature.

This talk will not only be an update to last years talk that primarily dealt with the technical problems and how XMPP addresses them but also tell the story behind the standard. A story of users, developers, license problems and commercial interests.

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