XMPP Server Migration

The jabber.org admin team is happy to announce that we have chosen M-Link from Isode as the server software that will power the jabber.org XMPP service for at least the next two years, in accordance with the Server RFP that we issued back in April. We would like to thank the server vendors who submitted proposals, and also thank the ejabberd / Process-One developers for their support of the jabber.org service since 2006. We look forward to working with Isode and we shall post additional information about the upcoming migration as it becomes available.

Posted in notices.

By stpeter

August 12, 2009

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Planned Downtime

Because of some network improvements happening at our data center (US Secure Hosting Center), various jabber.org and xmpp.org services might experience brief outages between 07:00 and 09:00 UTC on Tuesday, August 11. These improvements will decrease the chances of unplanned outages in the future, so thank you for your patience.

Posted in notices.

By stpeter

August 10, 2009

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Follow Us on Identi.ca

Just a quick note that you can receive notices about the jabber.org IM service by following us on identi.ca, the open microblogging service (it’s like Twitter, but without the silo!).

Posted in general.

By stpeter

May 7, 2009

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New File Transfer Proxy

You might have noticed that we recently added a SOCKS5 Bytestreams proxy to our service, located at proxy.eu.jabber.org. This is the first of many proxies that we intend to deploy around the world so that you can more easily send files to your friends. Special thanks to Flosoft.biz for hosting the machine and paying for the bandwidth!

Posted in notices.

By stpeter

May 6, 2009

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Server RFP

Request for Proposals: Jabber.org XMPP Service

This document defines a request for proposals to provide the software that runs the jabber.org IM service, one of the central nodes on the XMPP network.

1. Background

The XMPP service offered at jabber.org is the original and longest-running XMPP service on the Internet. In the beginning, the jabber.org service served as the development testbed for the jabberd server project. After the release of jabberd 1.0 in May 2000, the jabber.org service became more stable and thus more popular with end users. The userbase has continued to grow, from perhaps 500 users in late 1999 to over 500,000 users in April 2009. Clearly the service is no longer experimental, and considerable attention is needed to maintain an acceptable level of functionality and performance.

Currently the service runs the ejabberd 2.x server software, which was chosen by the jabber.org admin team in early 2006 through a private discussion process without a public RFP. This team is a group of volunteers from the XMPP developer and operator community, loosely coordinated by Peter Saint-Andre, who is also executive director of the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF). Although the jabber.org IM service is primarily hosted on a machine owned by the XSF, the jabber.org service is not an official XSF service (see http://blog.xmpp.org/index.php/2009/04/xmpporg-and-jabberorg-rough-consensus-and-running-code/ for details). After three years of good experience with the ejabberd codebase, the jabber.org admin team has decided to issue a public RFP so that it can determine in an objective manner whether to keep using ejabberd or perhaps to use one of the codebases that has emerged since the switch from jabberd 1.x to ejabberd in early 2006.

2. Objectives

Our objectives in offering this service include the following:

  1. Provide a stable, accessible service to the Internet community for instant messaging, groupchat, alerts and notifications, file transfer, voice and video chat, and other forms of real-time communication.
  2. Gain operational experience with a live service to validate our work on XMPP technologies.
  3. Deploy not only implementations of the core XMPP RFCs but also important extensions developed by the XSF.
  4. Deploy our services in the most secure fashion possible to us.
  5. Where possible, encourage the development and use of free or open-source software (FOSS) solutions.

3. Deliverables

This Request for Proposals (RFP) defines the jabber.org team’s needs regarding XMPP server software for the jabber.org IM service. The team shall run such software on hardware owned by the XSF, hosted in a data center operated by US Secure Hosting Center located in Iowa, USA. Software packages related to ancillary functions such as SOCKS5 Bytestreams proxies, STUN/TURN servers for NAT traversal, and databases for information storage are out of scope for this RFP.

4. Length of Contract

The team expects the negotiated contract for services to last for one (1) year beginning in September 2009, with an option to extend the contact for one (1) additional year without the need to publish a new RFP.

5. Functional Requirements

The jabber.org IM service is in many ways the flagship XMPP server on the Internet. Therefore it is expected that its software shall comply fully with RFC 3920 and RFC 3921, to track the modifications to those core protocols in the form of rfc3920bis and rfc3921bis, and to implement the “core server” protocols defined in the yearly compliance levels published by the XSF (most recently, XEP-0243).

In addition to these core features, the jabber.org IM service has long hosted a popular multi-user chat service at conference.jabber.org, which implements the protocol defined in XEP-0045. The jabber.org team must continue to offer this service, including archiving of logged conversations for appropriate chatrooms at http://logs.jabber.org/>.

The XSF continues to define extensions to XMPP for enhanced functionality. To prove these extensions in the form of running code, the team would strongly prefer to host software that supports certain extensions. At present the preferred extensions are:

  • The HTTP binding for XMPP defined in XEP-0124 and XEP-0206.
  • The publish-subscribe extension, including the “personal eventing protocol” profile thereof, defined in XEP-0060 and XEP-0163.

The server must support the Jabber Component Protocol XEP-0114 so that the jabber.org team can deploy add-on services on other machines.

6. Performance Requirements

As mentioned, the jabber.org IM service has over 500,000 users, with typically 15,000 online at any one time. To service this userbase, the XSF has in the past solicited in-kind donations of appropriate hardware. The machine that currently hosts the jabber.org IM service (”hermes”) was donated by HP in early 2008; the machine is an HP ProLiant D385 G2 with dual 2.8 GHz Opteron CPUs and 16GB of RAM. The jabber.org team is of the opinion that this machine should be sufficient to meet its needs for the duration of the contract. However, the team is open to clustering the XMPP service across other machines under its control, or offloading non-core XMPP services (e.g., multi-user chatrooms) onto other machines in the future. However, the server software should be able to handle at least 1 million registrations and 30,000 concurrent connections on the above mentioned hardware configuration (single server).

Because the jabber.org domain is a significant node on the XMPP network, it federates with a large number of other domains. Typically the jabber.org IM service has open 3,500 or more server-to-server connections with other domain at any one time. This number is only expected to grow.

The jabber.org IM service has traditionally been the preferred target for abusive and excessive traffic, the first place where inexperienced developers test their alpha-quality code, and the witness to various strange phenomena not normally seen at other XMPP services. Any solution deployed at the jabber.org IM service needs to be flexible, stable, secure, and hardened against intentional or inadvertent denial of service attacks.

7. Integration Requirements

The jabber.org IM service has long used PostgreSQL for storage of user account information, including offline messages and vCards. The infrastructure team would strongly prefer not to migrate to a new database or modify its existing schema if at all possible.

For security reasons, the machine that hosts the jabber.org IM service is kept clean of extraneous services that might open unnecessary vulnerabilities, including web and email servers. It is strongly preferred that such extraneous services will not be required in order to offer complete XMPP functionality.

The machine that hosts the jabber.org IM service runs the Debian GNU/Linux operating system (currently 4.0.1 stable). The infrastructure team would strongly prefer to continue Debian on its machines. This includes the current 4.0.1 stable version and future stable releases. All software provided by the Vendor should be tested and confirmed to run on Debian.

The transition to the new software should be handled by the jabber.org admin team. The vendor should provide comprehensive documentation in English on the migration and configuration process of the user database and the setup of the different modules such as MUC.

8. Support Requirements

For privacy and security reasons, the jabber.org team prefers not to allow access to its production machines except to members of the team. Access may be allowed in order to migrate the jabber.org IM service to a new software solution (if necessary), but ongoing support should be handled using standard industry practices such as issue reporting, feature requests, and normal communication mechanisms (e.g., phone, email, or IM support). Relevant support parameters should be clearly agreed upon by both the jabber.org team and the supporting organization, including expected response times, issue tracking software used, and preferred communication methods.

9. Compensation

At this time the jabber.org team has no budget to pay for commercial software or for support contracts related to the deployment of open-source software. In lieu of financial compensation, the team can offer in-kind sponsorship of the service’s ongoing operations, including appropriate publicity at the high-profile jabber.org website, which receives millions of hits a month.

10. Proposal Process

If you would like to submit a proposal, or if you have any questions about the proposal process, please contact Peter Saint-Andre stpeter@jabber.org>, preferably in PDF format. Please ensure that your submission describes your organization and its proposed solution, addresses all functional, performance, integration, and support requirements, and describes the prices associated with your solution (to be used as input to decisions about in-kind sponsorship). Please submit your proposal no later than July 1, 2009. The jabber.org admin team shall make its decision by the close of business on August 14, 2009. The engagement shall begin in September 2009.


Posted in notices.

By stpeter

April 30, 2009

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Account Registration Policy

The Jabber.org IM service has instituted a new account registration policy. Until further notice, IM accounts can be registered only via the web at register.jabber.org, which means that our longtime practice of allowing in-band registration using an IM client has been disabled.

You will notice that register.jabber.org requires you to complete a “CAPTCHA” test in order to create an account. This is a security measure to help prevent bulk account creation by automated processes. We might deploy further account security measures in the future, and will announce any such changes at the jabber.org website.

Posted in policies.

By stpeter

April 2, 2009

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To get started with the Jabber.org service, create your own “username@jabber.org account” by visiting register.jabber.org, then download a free Jabber client, log in, and start chatting with friends on Google Talk, Live Journal Talk, Nimbuzz, Ovi, and thousands of other open IM services around the world.

Posted in general.

By stpeter

April 2, 2009

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About Jabber.org

Jabber.org is the original IM service based on XMPP, the open standard for instant messaging, and one of the biggest nodes on the open XMPP network. Create an account by visiting register.jabber.org or one of the other public XMPP services, then download a free client, log in, and start chatting!

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