Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for April, 2002


April 15, 2002 By: Andre Category: Life

I was chatting with Eric Norlin today and he mentioned a conversation he had with Dave Winer just this morning. Apparently they were talking about something or another when the conversation passed over digital identity, and Eric asked Dave what he thought of identity and Digital ID World. My take of the summary was that Dave felt identity was no longer an interesting problem to solve, afterall, identity was already built into Manilla… what more was there to discuss? Well, it’s an interesting “WINERism” for sure:




* Late breaking correction from Dave Winer.  *

Dave Winer: “What I really said was, there is a lot of technology for identity already out there, that’s not the problem, the problem is getting people to swing the same way, and that’s what I thought was impossible. I also think Jabber is a pretty good start for global identity, that’s one of the reasons we’re working so closely with DJ Adams.”


Well Dave, I do agree with you that “getting people to sway the same way…” is no short order (it’s going to take a long time). I also agree that much of the underlying technology for identity also exists, but underlying ‘technology’ and robust ‘identity infrastructure’ are in fact two different things. 

As you know, I do love Jabber, but as much as that is a true statement, Jabber is no more a start towards my ‘global identity’ than my existing email account, it just happens to extend my online interaction capabilities to real-time with presence. True global identity infrastructure, when it exists, will likely absorb many of my existing T2 identities and all of my semi-T1 identities, such as my personal email and Jabber accounts.

Identity: The Personal Firewall

April 07, 2002 By: Andre Category: Ping Identity

The concept fo 1:1 marketing and personalization, while still promising, has all but stalled. People are increasingly deluged with email spam without a sustainable mechanism to halt the flood of solitation and the two-way web combined with smart search engines such as Google are creating digital slime trails we can only begin to understand the future implications of.

Identity infrastructure might be just the disruptive technology which tips the power scales in the direction of the individual, at the same time redirecting billions of dollars spent annualy on Tier 3 identity marketing. Find out why…

Future Battle: Smart-Cards vs. the Cell Phone

April 07, 2002 By: Andre Category: Life

There’s the potential for a battle in the coming years between financial services companies and wireless operators. Each have a method of allowing individuals to ‘use’ their identity, one see’s smart-cards as the platform and another the cell phone. Who will win? Read more…

Codename WALTER

April 06, 2002 By: Andre Category: Life

Late yesterday afternoon, as Bryan was completing his description of our first commercial release of our identity server, he leaned over and said, let’s give this project a name. I responded with ‘Gilbralter’, he heard ‘Walter’, we laughed for fifteen minutes and ended up calling the project Walter. From now on, all of our project codenames will reference the names of grumpy old men.


April 06, 2002 By: Andre Category: Life



  1. Of or relating to George Bush or Bushiavellianism.
  2. Suggestive of or characterized by precise thought and judgements which are either black or white.

– “He’s an evil man.”

The Opposite Of: To be confused in one’s thinking. To struggle with making a decision. To make decisions which represent compromise. To live in the “gray.”

Real-World Example (Just posted today on CNN.COM)

Handed my lunch!

April 03, 2002 By: Andre Category: Life

Phil, Theo, Rusty (of K5) and I have been in discussions the past day or so about the possibility of some sort of relationship between and K5 (

While I love technology, I’m not a developer or a technologist and it would be a stretch to say that as a result, I’m able to build real bridges to the ‘people in the trenches’. You combine this with my rather limited focus lately and a schedule that doesn’t afford me an opportunity to engage in online communities and I should have seen this coming. Anyway, in an act of bravery (or stupidity), I wrote and submitted a short story to K5 this morning to see how the voting system worked and get a sense for the group. It took all but a minute for the community to send the story to the slaughter-house. Now I knew I was offering myself up as the sacrificial lamb, but I have to admit, I wasn’t quite ready for the speed at which it was to occur. 

God bless blogs, or I might never be published!

Wake up and Smell the Success

April 01, 2002 By: Andre Category: Musings

So I’ve been brewing all weekend on the comments Dave Winer made surrounding my views of open source, and feeling a bit of guilt about my defensive and timid initial response.

Jabber, an open source project from day 1, has emerged as the leading contender in the instant messaging space despite over 50 commercial competitors, many of which were much better funded than Jabber. In hind-sight, the reasons for this I believe to be quite simple:

1. Jabber was architected very well thanks to the entire Jabber OPEN SOURCE community.

2. Early on, we cultivated the concept that a robust ecosystem capable of meeting the markets demands required both an open and commercial element, and we worked hard to bridge the two by providing a foundation for commercial involvement through the introduction of the JOSL license which was much more commercial friendly than GPL.  

If you take the open source rule-book at face value, and close your eyes to the possibilities, or the positive attributes that open source exhibits, then you have constructed blinders which narrow your view to only one-half of the equation. The fact is, the pendulum swings fastest in the middle, which is neither copyRIGHT or copyLEFT, but a well-designed mix of the two, where mutual goals are not mutually exclusive, but in fact MUTUALISTIC.

We’ve had this vision from day one at Jabber, and it’s likely the reason that BOTH the open source community AND the commercial entities surrounding it are doing as well as they are. I’ve also taken these concepts and moved them up one additional notch at Ping Identity ( and

Don’t argue with success. Open Source is no more dead than the traditional proprietary software company. If  I have my way however, your going to see a new breed of dog in town, a mutt with a killer bite! 

Jabber – What’s Next

April 01, 2002 By: Andre Category: Musings

Jabber has evolved over the last three years into one of the dominant instant messaging and presence platforms. I often relate to it as the “SMTP” of Instant Messaging. But future growth and expansion will require a concerted effort on behalf of the community to overcome some of things which Jabber does poorly today, namely, the ability of third party developers to leverage existing client distributions to add new applications to the network. Unlike the ‘browser’, which provided a dynamic client-side platform from which server-side developers could deploy application ‘into and through’, Jabber clients are mostly ‘hard-coded’ so to speak, and do not provide a flexible and dynamic framework from which server-side developers are able to add and deploy new applications. This fact is stunting the speed and growth of the Jabber network. Read about how I think the Jabber community needs to approach this problem to cross this chasm into the next 2-3 years of its evolution… 

Jabber – What Next

April 01, 2002 By: Andre Category: Musings

In early conversations with Jeremie Miller (Jabber founder), he spoke of his desire to ‘consolidate’ the IM client market by creating a single instant messaging client that could talk to all of the various IM networks through server-side gateways (translators).

While the vision made sense, Jabber’s sophisticated open source client libraries combined with the communities interest in building chat clients  quickly resulted in a mushrooming of Jabber-based chat/IM clients. I used to joke with Jeremie that Jabber clients were proliferating like rabbits and instead of solving the problem (fewer clients), all we were really doing was magnifying and expanding it. Heck, at one point, I think we had more Jabber clients than all the competitions combined! 🙂

It was clear in the early days of Jabber, Inc. that we needed to focus first on the robustness and scalability of the Jabber server, and that this was the foundation of our ability to call it infrastructure and a platform for extensible presence and messaging applications. Over the course of the last 2 years, Jabber, Inc. has executed well against this vision and focus and now delivers a highly scalable and extensively tested Jabber server, 100% compliant with the Jabber (XMPP) protocol.

Having completed ‘phase I’ of its mission, it’s now time to turn our attention, collectively, on the next problem and evolution of our platform, the Jabber Client.

In thinking through the possible scenarios for future development of the Jabber platform, nothing strikes me as potentially more exciting and more important to the community as a hole than to come together to rally around an extension of the core platform-like capabilities of the client.

One of the biggest hurdles to the adoption of client/server systems is the friction associated with downloading and installing separate clients. As it stands, every Jabber client requires a separate download, and many of these clients are doing nothing more than simply replicating the functionality of several existing Jabber chat/IM clients. The time for this to end is now!

In thinking of the Jabber client/server platform as a platform, we should (again collectively as a community), be thinking of the client as nothing more the client portion of our platform, and not as any particular ‘application’. We should be thinking of ways to extend the ‘core’ capabilities of our client platform in ways that can be harnessed by server-side development, and we should be thinking of ways to consolidate the propagation of these core client features throughout the Jabber community.

If I had my druthers, here’s what I would do.

I would start work at once on the concept of what is ‘core’ in our client libraries. In essance, what I would look to do is extend what is considered and harnessable as generic functionality within any client application, and I’d make sure that this enhanced functionality can be harnessed at the server, perhaps through server-side add-ons. Take for example the concept that with nothing more than some server-side scripting, I would be able to use any Jabber client running in the desktop to pop-up a form or a notification window (not a chat window). With only server-side development, I would be able to control of the look and feel of the form and the buttons which appeared to the user. By adding nothing more than a few simple forms and windows controls to ‘core Jabber functionality’, Jabber would enable entire new families of applications having nothing to do with chat or IM.

Secondly, I would work with the community to consolidate the distribution of these ‘core client’ capabilities, so that at some point in the future, server developers could count on a homogenous client-side capability. I personally believe that one of the biggest problems and innefficiencies in Jabber right now is that new developers are not able to ‘harness’ the existing client distribution to add new applications to the network without having to distribute their applications separately. Take ‘Lotus Notes’ as an example of extending core client functionality into a framework for dynamically deployed applications. What would be powerful is if we could agree on methods of harnessing ‘basic’ capabilities that have massive future application functionality potential (forms being one of them).

Thirdly, I’d reposition Jabber in the marketplace from a ‘IM / Chat’ application into a ‘powerful two-way communications platform’.  I’d find some new name to hook to this which denotes flexibility and more generic power like ‘Jabber – The Communications Browser’ or something similar. 

It’s time to graduate to the next level. It’s time to eliminate the inefficiencies and the barriers to third-party development success (most notably, the requirement for every Jabber application to be a separate client app, requiring distribution capability as a prerequisite for success).

Jabber is a client/server platform. Let’s extend the ‘platform’ part of this story beyond its current definition and do so in ways which do more than just parse XML at the client, and provide hooks for sending messages into the Jabber network.

Andre Durand is Chairman of the Jabber Software Foundation and founder of Jabber, Inc. (but no longer empoyed by Jabber, Inc.)