Michael Sippey (of Stating The Obvious and responds to my XML syndication notes by mentioning Jabber. The underlying Jabber protocol supports subscriptions (aka buddy lists, complete with online/offline checks. A useful feature for node-to-node communication.), streaming XML (oh baby baby), and dumb clients (ie Jabber implements the transport and the client just lies back and thinks of England). Read this first: Jabber Technology Overview. Also to read: Jabber developer documentation, and details on the Jabber XML protocol.

What do I make of all this? It's stunning. Once again I can barely believe that people give so much of their time and intelligence to construct such beautifully abstracted technology. They're building the greps, makes and perls of the networked era. To give this kind of thing away for free, libraries, documentation -- I love it and I want to be part of it. (Which reminds me: I must dig out my notes on co-operatives and do some more research.)

But what do I think in a technological sense? There are certain things that the syndication system has to do which aren't directly involved with syndication. One of those is keeping track of other nodes (another is propagating information about new nodes). Jabber would make a lot of this easier. But, and this is the biggy, I'm not experienced enough to know whether it's a good thing to bind as much as possible to the transport layer. This syndication system could quite easily by a 'Jabber app'. Perhaps it could also be a 'World OS app'. Should it however just bounce around xmlrpc and implement everything else itself? I don't know. I'm very taken with the xml streams. Processing...