Just today a horrible thing happened. Advogato members decided that someone certifying me as Master was wrong, and that my certifying of him as Master was wrong. They believed that our interpretation of the Master level criteria was wrong. I beg to differ. First I would like to begin by describing the project that I work on, because it seems to have become the central reason for everything.
I develop on the Jabber Project, a 100% open source, XML based, real time instant messaging system. I really hate to use the term instant messaging now because it brings out so many fears due to abuse of the term by the large corps such as AOL, and the former ICQ (now AOL). People only see this as a simple system to chat with people, but we (the jabber project) believe this to be the most base layer of jabber (pardon my not capitalizing it for respect, but I'm typing fast as I think through all that just happened), it's ability to encompass anyone's existing IM protocol into it's own. The true power of jabber lies in it's ability to create a stream of XML data routed through the internet between two (soon to be more) points. This amounts to tons of potential, because XML can so exactly describe any structured conversation (even the most random conversation has some sort of logic due to the brain's ability to click up thoughts on apparently random topics). The potential for this is huge. And even this is just another layer to the power we call jabber. I would invite everyone to go to our website to read more about jabber itself.
I now feel it is important to describe myself, and then my relationship to jabber. I am a 19 year old college dropout (yes I'm a dropout). Why did I dropout? Because I began developing on a project during my Freshman year (when I was 18) called jabber. It was very young back then only 0.6 release number and still had a long way to go. My view of the project was limited to the idea of talking to all my IM friends through a single client. I quickly joined it's ranks and advanced to a "vice head" of the project. It was now the beginning of my Sophmore year. I was doing ok in school, but was slowly being drawn away to work on jabber. I had slowly come to realize that this tool was completely missing from the internet, and had huge amounts of possiblity beyond what any of us had originally envisioned. It was now semester break and I made a life changing decision. I was going to leave school. This happened for two reasons. 1) My family reached a point where money was very tight, and 2) I loved programming on open source projects so much that I couldn't contain myself. So I began my job hunt. I approached many of the local programming houses, but none were that appealing. I can no longer fathom writing software that I'm not letting the public use at large. Then luck hit. The company that employed jeremie (jer, the other party in this Master ordeal) Webb Interactive approached me to work on jabber (I believe I have jer to thank for this miracle). This was a dream come true, but I was very apprehensive of the whole thing. A lot of "what ifs" filled my head. I eventually said, "Ahh screw it, I'm just going to have to go for it." The oppurtunity was too true and good to pass up. I got my contract and signed on. My contract is amazing. It basically says I work on jabber, and that's it. Webb Interactive believes in jabber so much to hire me and jer, with fairly liberal contracts, that it astounded me.
So we now more or less reach advogato. I first found advogato thanks to a few friends from jabber work. I thought "excellent, I've been looking for a weblog for my jabber work and other thoughts in general." So I signed up and read everything carefully and then moved on after certifying a few people to the level they respectably deserved according to the guidelines. I often felt bad for giving some people only apprentice, but it is what the guidelines described. I gave jer a Master level rating, because I believed him to fit in the guidelines. He and I devote all our time to jabber and we believe this to be a (if not soon) vital component to the internet. We constantly evangelize this system and strive for other components to be open sourced that are being done as professional services for companies. He in turn gave me the same ranking once he figured out the rating system.
Hell started to break loose. All of a sudden I no long had Journeyer status (this could have been due to the rubrik, I never really checked it) and I was being told our actions were being discussed in other IRC channels. This was surprising, and I was a little riled by it. I reviewed the notes on the site and found everything to be as it should, yet arguments went unheard. One of the oppositions was that jabber was not an "important" (I love the use of quotes here to leave wide open interpretation) open source project. I talked with one of the opposers and tried to figure out the beef with the project. I could not convince them. I become slightly angered and left the conversation. I unfortunately never was able to point out that we are already in talks with major companies looking to integrate Jabber into their systems. Some of these companies being very large open source supporters, some enterprise level, some smaller. I'm sorry for the one I talked with who could not look out of his limited view.
I was told about the reason for the inception of Advogato by X-Virge, who helps with both GNOME and with Jabber and I wold like to quote what he told me:
- [18:26:11] <x-virge> raph started advogato as a sort of psychological experiment to see what would happen
- [18:26:24] <x-virge> and this would prove that humans bring politics into things way too quickly
- [18:26:35] <x-virge> even in a place where it really makes no difference
- What makes the system interesting is that it's attack resistant. If a bunch of attackers were to create lots of accounts and mutually certify each other, only a very few would be accepted by the trust metric, assuming there were only a few certificates from legitimate members to the hackers.
--Thomas "temas" Muldowney <firstname.lastname@example.org>