Kevin Smith for Council 2009

Jump to navigation Jump to search

I'm Kevin Smith, I've been serving on council for three years, and I'm reapplying to council to see if anyone wants me to stay for a fourth. I've chaired the council for the current session.

The easiest way of judging if you want me on council again is probably to look at the council history and see if what I do is something you want council members doing: I tend to turn up to all the meetings. I tend to read the XEPs before voting on them (despite peer pressure not to!). I tend to challenge and propose alternatives to when I don't believe a XEP's ready. I tend to let XEPs through when they solve a problem the community wants solved. I tend to change my mind when I see arguments from people smarter than me.


I've been involved with Jabber/XMPP as a developer through Psi since 2002, joining the JSF/XSF members sometime later, I was the project lead for Psi from 2004 until 2009. In 2006 participated in the Summer of Code program as a student, and in 2007 and 2008 as a mentor. I now develop the Swift client with Remko. I've served on council for the 2006/2007/2008/2009 period, chair for the 2008-2009 session and would like to serve for 2009/2010 if I'm deemed useful.

The Book

I'm one third of the writing team that brought you XMPP: The Definitive Guide, via O'Reilly. If I didn't have a fairly good grasp of XMPP and how to use it before, I think it's grown writing this with Peter and Remko.

XEP Involvements

As a member of council I've been responsible for reviewing all the XEP changes and proposals for the last years (that means I've read quite a lot of protocol, and am getting to the stage that I know even some obscure XEPs by number. I'm no Peter, though). I've been involved, to varying degrees, with the development of several xeps, such as metacontacts, chat threads, PEP, and contribute to the standards list for discussion of xeps throughout their development. My input is informed by my past involvement leading one of the large popular client projects and being on the front line of user requests, my server admin experience, and my general knowledge of the XMPP community and its needs.

Software Involvements

I've been contributing code to the Psi Client for several years, and, subsequent to Justin Karnege's abdication in Autumn 2004, was `project leader' until I handed back to Justin early in 2009 to go off with Remko to work on Swift. I've also been involved with the Sleek projects, writing code for the SleekBot that sits in several MUCs being useful. It has enough of an emulation layer for Eggdrop bots that we can 'natively' run some of the fun irc scripts (trivia scripts, hangman, 'personality' scripts etc) people enjoy; so far I've got enough to run a healthy number of scripts to some degree and it should be fun to see this develop. It also has a decent selection of native Python plugins. Most, if not all, of my XMPP dev time at the moment is spent on trying to bring Swift to release.


Reasons I can helpfully contribute:

  • I have a lot of experience of XMPP through Psi, Sleek, Swift, Council etc.
  • I have experience doing 'new stuff' and thinking ideas through, from a PhD, and a couple of R&D-related jobs.
  • I can read and write XMPP 'stuff' (re: book).
  • I still have new things to say about XMPP.
  • I'm one of the admins, so I've seen quite a lot of server use, both from users and abusers, and from the server pov (I've run at least five different server softwares in production).


Previously, I've said that important things for use to get sorted are

  • PEP - First we specced it, and now we're seeing it deployed. I'm happy about this.
  • Jingle - This year's council finally made the step of voting it through. Yay (Although we can't really take much more credit for this than that we voted "+1")

Things that're still important to me that need sorting:

  • Reliability - XMPP still has black holes of lost messages (particularly on unreliable connections), and I don't like it. We have the ability to change this, and I'm hoping to put my code where my mouth is about this one.
  • Social networking - XMPP has many of the pieces we need to tie together, I've chatted with a few people about the different things we can do here, I'd like to see more happen and I'm hoping I'll be around when it does.


I'd like to join the council this year because I think I can still contribute (despite the XMPP overload from the book, I'm not bored yet). I hope to meet people again at the summits, too. I'm also soon to start work at Isode, which will give me more freedom than before to work on XMPP things, and I'd love to spend some of that giving more time to Council items.


No, those weren't me. Don't let that stop you voting for me, though, if you liked them.

Kevin Smith

Other fun* facts: [*contents may vary from those depicted]

Outside the Jabber world, here are some facts about me:

  • Very little musical talent, but I make up for this by playing a handful of instruments badly.
  • TaeKwon-Do instructor.
  • My degree was in Computer Science
  • My PhD was in Computer Science (Simulated Annealing Techniques for Multi-Objective Evolutionary Optimisation).
  • I like pizza.