Alexey Melnikov Application 2010

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My name is Alexey Melnikov and I'm re-applying for my XSF membership.

Feel free to contact me via email or jabber. Both are alexey (full stop) melnikov (the weird sign that delimits left hand side from the right hand side) isode (full stop again) com.


I am in my early thirties. I live in Greater London area in UK.

I have a master degree with honours in applied mathematics and computer science from Moscow State University (VMiK faculty). My diploma was about writing an extensible SMTP server which supported SMTP Checkpoint Restart extension (RFC 1845) and SMTP AUTH extension.

I am currently working for Isode Limited.

Jabber/XMPP Projects

Code (present and future)

  • I am one of the maintainers of the CMU SASL library [1], which is used for SASL support in various open-source XMPP clients and servers. I am spending too much time fixing auxprop API and writing GSS-API (Kerberos V5) and SCRAM SASL plugins lately.
  • I am currently reviewing and contributing some code to the Isode's XMPP server called M-Link. My work is mostly related to use of Cyrus SASL, configuration library, command line management tools and integration with LDAP.
  • Another project of mine is going to be about sending XMPP notifications from Sieve [2] upon new mail arrival (based on RFC 5437).

XMPP related documents, reviews

  • RFC 5437 (mostly done by Peter Saint-Andre).
  • I got acknowledged for my comments on XEP-0233 (Use of Domain-Based Service Names in XMPP SASL Negotiation) and for my review of XEP-0136 (Message Archiving).
  • I've commented on XEP-0257 (Client Certificate Management for SASL EXTERNAL) and presented it during XMPP IETF Working Group meeting in San Francisco.
  • I am one of the co-editors of the SCRAM SASL authentication mechanism.
  • I am reviewing updated XMPP documents for IESG telechat on December 2nd 2010.
  • I am the sponsoring IETF Area Director (see below) for TLS server identity verification document. But Peter is doing the hard work here. (Do you see a pattern now?)


I am quite active in IETF and have 32 RFCs published (5 more since the last year) [3].

In IETF I am one of the two Application [4] Area Directors (ADs), which means that every 2 weeks I am stuck reviewing about 15 to 20 documents before they are approved as RFCs. I am also responsible for various Apps Area Working Groups [5].

As an AD I am responsible for HYBI (Bidirectional HTTP) WG, which might affect XMPP BOSH replacement.

I am also active in the Kitten Working Group [6], which works on various SASL mechanisms.

Jabber - Why I like it

I used to use ICQ back in University. IM helped me to connect to friends and family while I was away.

Since then I've started using Jabber for virtual attendance of IETF conferences.

These days I am very keen on open protocols, so I refused to use AOL AIM, Yahoo! IM and other non standard IM protocols. Besides XMPP is relatively cleanly designed.

One can say that I am addicted to XMPP. I get very annoyed when I can't talk to somebody because the person is offline or S2S is down, or when the person I am chatting with is not responding INSTANTLY.

Why do I care?

In XSF I am hoping to contribute my IETF experience to make description of the core protocol and design of various extensions better. I am also hoping of bringing the best of XMPP back to IETF. (And as an IESG member I would like to review more XMPP document rather than SIP, I am forced to review every 2 weeks ;-))

I also like discussions driven by actual client or server implementors, and I like energy surrounding new XMPP developments.

Plans for the future

  • Finish detailed review of 3 IETF drafts describing XMPP
  • Finish adding channel binding facility to SCRAM, test it and commit the code to CMU SASL.
  • Work on replacement for StringPrep (which is independent of Unicode version used) to be used by XMPP and SASL.
  • Help HYBI WG to finish the WebSocket protocol in early 2011.