From: Rohit Khare (Rohit@KnowNow.com)
Date: Tue Dec 19 2000 - 08:58:08 PST
IETF split on instant messaging standard
By Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World
THE IETF (INTERNET Engineering Task Force) seems hopelessly split on
the issue of instant messaging standardization, making it likely that
the international standards body will develop several communications
protocols and let the market decide which is best.
At a meeting held in San Diego Dec. 15, the IETF working group on
instant messaging backed the idea of a common message format that can
be used with different transport protocols. Gateways between the
transport protocols would ensure interoperability, which is not
possible today among leading instant messaging systems from AOL,
Microsoft, and others.
Earlier in the week, various camps within the IETF community debated
the merits of three transport protocols that can be used for instant
messaging. The three proposed transport protocols are:
-- Presence and Instant Messaging (PRIM), a general-purpose protocol
that runs directly over TCP/IP and was built from the ground up for
instant messaging applications. PRIM is backed by representatives of
Fujitsu, Network Projects, MIT, and MITRE.
-- SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions
(SIMPLE), a telephony-focused approach that uses the Session
Initiation Protocol as its communications foundation. Representatives
of Microsoft, Dynamicsoft, Level 3, and Media One are backing SIMPLE.
-- IMXP, a messaging-focused approach that uses an XML encoding
scheme and a novel messaging relay system that can handle presence,
instant messaging, or other applications. IMXP was developed by
start-up Invisible Worlds.
The SIMPLE and IMXP groups appear to have enough support from the
IETF community to move forward with detailed protocol designs, while
PRIM has fewer proponents.
To the disappointment of the IETF community, instant messaging leader
AOL has not been involved with any of the three transport protocols
or the common message format.
"I'd be happier if AOL had submitted input to the documents or had
commented on any of the documents, but that didn't happen," says
Leslie Daigle, co-chair of the IETF instant messaging working group.
The IETF leadership is expected to decide in January whether or not
to move forward with the common message format and to select which of
the three transport protocols will be developed further. New groups
should begin work on the transport protocols before the IETF's next
meeting in March
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