New blog post: "Products vs Protocols: What Signal got right"

This extended version of @mattj's recent talk explores the thinking behind Snikket, and what and protocols can learn from 's success.

@snikket_im Is the answer "get funded by the feds to the tune of millions of dollars"? @mattj

@snikket_im @mattj I don't know what would happen if signal suddenly open an XMPP or matrix bridge 🤔

@snikket_im @mattj This article strikes a beautiful balance, really looking forward to seeing Snikket and the whole XMPP ecosystem evolve! 😊

@snikket_im @mattj
Is Snikket an alternative to Signal? I tested it a few days ago, and it seems to target team chats and other closed groups by requiring invites on the one hand and putting all people into the same room on the other hand.

Isn't @blabber the Signal alternative that uses XMPP as it provides a product with security by default, nice UI/UX and a free of cost server with easy signup.

I would like to see Snikket as a one-to-one messenger, but currently, this seems to be a non-goal.

Alternative? Yes. Clone? No.

We believe in a network of small, independent servers (federated, of course!). We believe people should use servers run by people they know and trust. Invites make signing up a group of trusted people to your service (e.g. family/friends/other group) quick and easy.

Team chat is not a goal right now. It requires different UI/UX and social considerations.
@mattj @blabber

Your goals always sound like you want to provide an messenger, which is THE client for xmpp or at least one App that one can recommend to avoid talking about protocols instead of Apps (so it can be installed without first understanding the need to find an app for a protocol).
But your solution does provide something else (what you just described). I like your project, but I am confused by the difference between the goal stated in blog posts and so on and the actual project goal.

@snikket_im @mattj Thanks for writing it up. I enjoyed reading it. We've also been trying to strike a balance between building an ecosystem and building a product. Best of luck with your efforts, and I hope that you succeed in enticing people away from walled gardens.

@hubert Thanks! Yep, I see Matrix/Element as a good example of trying to strike this balance. Slightly different relationship, but also interesting is ActivityPub/Mastodon and the recent decision to develop an official Mastodon iOS client.

It's tricky stuff, but I think if we can be aware of the issues we can all of us make progress on bringing open protocols to the masses without falling into the weeds 🙂


> There is a significant difference between developing and promoting a protocol (such as XMPP) and a product (such as Signal). Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

I was going to read but if it starts on a false premise (that products and protocols are mutually exclusive) then we're not going to get very far, I regret to say.



I will, eventually.

During breaks, I scan a number of publications and make a decision on what to read or not based, amongst other things, on the lede. As mentioned, yours appears to start off on the wrong premise which would of course invalidate the entire argument, regardless of the validity of the conclusion itself.

So I took the time to read it. Skip if you don't like criticism 


1 Your TL;DR boils down to a) the signal guy is right (btw, he isn't) so b) use #Snikket?

2 I went to and I'm none the wiser. What it is that you're trying to promote. A rebranded #Conversations?

3 A #CIC is still a company. How do you intend to make money in order to realise the Benefit?

4 Please provide the required info on the website:

And for the record:

I do agree with your general goal, and at least you're trying. That said:

- Are you attempting to rebrand #XMPP as #Snikket? Whatever you think of the acronym, it is widely recognised amongst people who work in communications. That's goodwill you don't want to throw away

- One way to tackle the issues you describe is to certify implementations in the way that e.g., #Bluetooth, #WiFi, #Zigbee do

- You need a business plan. See previous point for a viable approach

@0 @snikket_im @mattj

Saying there is a difference between developing a protocol and a product is not the same as saying protocols and products are mutually exclusive.

You @0 seem to be jumping to logically inconsistent conclusions here.


> Saying there is a difference between developing a protocol and a product is not the same as saying protocols and products are mutually exclusive.

Agreed, however that's what that post infers throughout, starting from its title (“this versus that”). I believe that is so because it falls in the trap of trying to debunk a malicious argument (the one made by Benham in promoting his latest startup).

I don't question the author's intentions. I critique the result.

@snikket_im @mattj

@snikket_im @mattj
Nice to see Signal mentioned in a positive way for a change :)

I wish you success as iiuc you're addressing the main area (imo) hindering the growth/proliferation of xmpp.

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