Regarding Jabber on Dreamhost


#1

One of the areas of improvement on Dreamhost I’m most interested in at the moment is the Jabber service - I was thinking it’d be keen if those of us interested in using Jabber touched base regarding what features would yield the most improvement, assuming we can convince the DH guys to implement them. :smiley:

For the uninitiated, Jabber is an instant messaging protocol, like AIM - it allows you to find out when people you know are online (if they’ve OK’ed it), engage in multi-user chats, etc. The Jabber protocol, XMPP, is used in Google Talk, and most Jabber servers also allow you to access instant messenger accounts on other networks (AIM, etc.) through your Jabber account.

Presently, Jabber support on Dreamhost is a bit limited: account creation on your Jabber server can only be done through the panel (which makes it impractical to grant Jabber accounts to users of your website), and we don’t have the ability to restrict various kinds of operations - for instance, anyone with any Jabber account could create a multi-user chat room on your Jabber server, and then lock you out of it, by setting a password on the room or making it invite-only…

Ultimately, one of the things I’m most interested in using the Jabber server for is to host multi-user chats on my website, without requiring users to have a Jabber account elsewhere to do it. In other words I’d like to be able to use the Jabber service in a role where someone might otherwise use something like addonChat or ParaChat. For that to work, at a minimum we would need either the ability to grant Jabber accounts through our own website interface, or be able to create a single Jabber account whose usage is restricted enough that people can’t use it for things other than joining the chat room…

Another feature that’d be tremendously useful IMO is support for BOSH, also known as HTTP-bind - the ability to use the Jabber protocol over HTTP in a manner with greater efficiency and less latency than polling. This feature would allow the use of Javascript-only Jabber clients like jwchat.

One problem with all this, and with the Jabber-related suggestions on the list, is that a lot of the suggestions on that list might address part of the problem, or might be good suggestions but without adequate information about the benefits and difficulties related to the suggestion. Some of the suggestions solve the same problems in different ways. I’m not entirely sure, myself, which of these is the best way to go. For instance, most of the compelling possible enhancements depend upon upgrading the Jabber server from jabberd 1.x to one of the newer alternatives. The decision of which upgrade path to take (ejabberd, jabberd2.x, etc.) may depend on the desired feature set - and unfortunately the requests for a jabber server upgrade don’t go into details about what one would want out of such an upgrade… This is where I’m not sure the regular suggestions queue can be effective in producing a good decision - if Jabber support is to be improved then the next decision that has to be made is which server software to use - and when/if Dreamhost finally does upgrade the Jabber server software, it’s unlikely they’d then be willing to do it again if somehow the wrong choice was made…

Anyway, if you’re interested in Jabber, I want to hear your input on the situation.


#2

For all I know after many support issues with Jabber on Dreamhost, is that they seem to want to get rid of Jabber ones and for all. My whole issue started when Dreamhost was so smart to register my domain with google. I found out because of the connection problems with gtalk. After a lot of back and forth with both google and dreamhost I finally got my google-apps account deleted. Off course did din’t solve my gtalk connection problem, but I just gave up on that.

Then another problem came up. Newer clients got an error when asking for the service discovery from the jabber server. A lot of back and forth again with Dreamhost support who always claimed that they didn’t have any problems on their end. Found out later that they used a stone-age version of psi that doesn’t even run on my mac anymore. The last support mail verified what I suspected a long time. Already knowing they don’t support the jabber transports, they finally confirmed that they actually don’t care about fixing Jabber issues at all. So my guess is that they want to let Jabber die slowly.

Read the mail below I got from Dreamhost support.

"
[i]Hello,

There really is no use in being able to " see " the results of service
discovery. Since its not functional. The logs indicates that packets are
dropping. We have no immediate plans to upgrade jabber either. Since we
ran into hiccups during the last attempt. ( this was just confirmed with
an admin ). Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

20101004T17:58:44: [notice] (yahoo.com): bouncing a packet to
myaccount@yahoo.com from stevebob@jabberlive.org: Server Connect Failed
20101004T17:59:47: [notice] (yahoo.com): failed to establish connection

20101004T20:53:35: [alert] (-internal): Error processing packet! USR 9
TWN S
ct=1286225615,rver=5.5.4182.0,wp=FS_40SEC_0_COMPACT,lc=1033,id=507,ru=http:%2F%2Fmessenger.msn.com,tw=0,kpp=1,kv=4,ver=2.1.6000.1,rn=1lgjBfIL,tpf=b0735e3a873dfb5e75054465196398e0

Thanks![/i]"

So I guess that was it when it comes to Jabber on Dreamhost.


#3

Our Jabber support has definitely seen less love than it deserves, and we’re sorry it isn’t quite up to your standards. :confused:

Transports are probably going to be disappearing in the long run, though. As far as I’m aware, the only Jabber server that supports them at all is jabberd, and we’re planning to switch to ejabberd at some point. That’s the failed upgrade your support reply was mentioning, actually — we ran into complications converting contact list data. It’s been our experience that, even when transports are set up correctly, they often don’t work anyway (either because surprise upgrades to the network have rendered the transports nonfunctional, or because jabberd has blown up again, or because users’ IM clients don’t correctly support transport discovery).


#4

Most of the time the problem lies not with users client as I have experienced and explained 100’s of times to Dreamhost support. Take a look at this thread from these forums. The problem is the stone-age version of the jabber server uses at Dreamhost. The Dreamhost jabber servers doesn’t support the latest XMPP-specifications.

As I already explained in my previous post. Older clients that work with the dreamhost jabber server can’t even be run on my mac anymore without installing rosetta. That’s how old the jabber server on Dreamhost is.

Lets face it. So far the Dreamhost Jabber policy is one of not taking action and just let it be.