Well, the AMQP Working Group finally emerged from stealth mode on June 20.
AMQP proposes a standard, interoperable protocol for message queuing systems. Such a protocol would enable any message queing system to interoperate with any other message queuing system -- assuming, of course, that the message queuing systems involved use AMQP. It remains to be seen, though, if the leading MOM vendors will adopt AMQP. I think it will breathe new life into the MOM market if they did so. I have to investigate this, but I also think that AMQP could be used as a standard protocol to support reliable messaging in SOAP -- e.g., WS-RX over AMQP. (AMQP is a binary protocol that has it's own typing system, but my guess is that an AMQP message can convey any type of message payload.)
Information about AMQP is being hosted by TWIST, a non-profit organization focused on developing standards for the financial supply chain market. (The AMQP Working Group is a separate entity, though.)
The AMQP Working Group has published a preliminary specification (v0.8). The authors include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Cisco Systems, Inc., Envoy, iMatix Corporation, IONA Technologies, Red Hat, Inc., TWIST Process Innovations, and 29West. The specification grants a very open license:
"a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, nontransferable, nonexclusive license to (i) copy, display, and implement the Advanced Messaging Queue Protocol ("AMQP") Specification and (ii) the Licensed Claims that are held by the Authors, all for the purpose of implementing the Advanced Messaging Queue Protocol Specification."
Given these free terms, it seems likely that the open source and startup communities will readily adopt the protocol. But if the major players -- especially IBM, Tibco, and Microsoft -- don't get on board, AMQP may follow the path of BEEP. We'll see.
Where's the Code?
I'm a little confused by the constant reference to "open source" when people talk about AMQP. As far as I can tell, there is no open source project currently implementing AMPQ. I grant that the licensing terms for the specification are quite open, but the process to develop the spec has been far from open. Besides... open source typically implies source code.