Brno Hat

Jiri Eischmann's Blog

Where to run away from Google?

As many other open source believers, I was naive enough to believe that Google was somewhat better than other software giants. They have a quite loose relationship to open source. Many of their products are closed source and many have published source code, but are not really open (Android,…). But I believed that at least open standards and interoperability were important things to them. But after announcing that they’re going to kill XMPP support in their instant messaging service and especially removing federation (ability to communicate with other Jabber servers), they’ve lost my trust. And because they seem to back off from support of other open standards, too (changes in LDAP,…), I’m looking for alternatives to replace Google services I’m currently using.

What’s the most urgent is Jabber because Google will shut it down soon. I’m currently using Google Apps on my domain which is really good because my address is not tied to Google (or any other provider). I can easily come back to my previous mail and Jabber provider who offers Jabber on custom domains, too. It’s just matter of changing DNS records. What’s nice about it is that I can still use my domain for Google accounts since Google Hangouts are now closed to other Jabber servers and DNS should not be needed for routing messages to others users within Hangouts.

When I was thinking about possible Jabber solutions, I came to a conclusion that it’d be really nice to have a Fedora Jabber server and provide our users with an open IM service which is going to stay open. All FAS accounts already get mail addresses. Why not to have the same Jabber accounts, too? Having support for FAS in online accounts which would add the Jabber account to Empathy sounds like a great service. It could also be a unified platform for IM among Fedora contributors. I know we have IRC and Freenode, but it is not the same.

Anyway, I’ve once again learned an important lesson:

It’s very convenient to have tightly integrated services, but vendor lock-in is a damn bad thing. 

5 responses to “Where to run away from Google?”

  1. Adam Williamson Avatar

    We used to have a Jabber server, IIRC. No-one ever used it.

    1. Mahrud Avatar

      Maybe when Google completely stopped the support we will.

    2. eischmann Avatar

      I don’t know if it was well advertised or if there was any need for it since a lot of people simply chose Gtalk as their Jabber server.
      I think if FAS was supported in Online accounts and it added FAS Jabber account in Empathy, it would be more used.

  2. Matěj Cepl Avatar

    It’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your data are? 😉

    I have been preaching the message that open standards and open data are more important than open source for some time already (once almost caused a heart-attack to Bradley Kuhn) and it seemed always like preaching to the wall ( So, of course, my answer is that all your data belong to your own server (hosted or hardware in-house) or to the service you actually pay for (I used to use in the paid version quite happily). And Fedora contains enough of the server software to make it working (prosody, zarafa are my core servers).

    Thanks to Google (and many others) I hope that this message will start to get some traction.

    Couple of links

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