Matrix

Changed 2016-02-23 23:31:06


    Wth is matrix? And what is to me? Why must I know this?

    Matrix is a new chat/communications protocol that is IRC-like. It has rooms, it is federated and open.

    Their FAQ explains more: http://matrix.org/docs/guides/faq.html

    Why do I care?

    I love group chat. Discussing topics, staying in touch, getting news, learning by lurking,staying up to date with relevant tech channels, and more. I don't want to be at the mercy of big companies, like Facebook, Google, or others to service me in that area, since then control is lost.

    Why not IRC?

    • All communication transmitted without encryption by default.
    • Many terrible run networks, I'm looking at you, EFNet. No patching for hearthbleed, terrible certs, no patching for glibc CVEs
    • Netsplits.
    • Terrible for new users.
    • Terrible for modern environments (mobile and web)
    • No support for long messages (multiline)
    • Client error or client net problems cause lost history
    • No persistant serverside history
    • Spammy defaults, clients show all joins/quits by default
    • Charset woes (although not as big problem as it used to be)
    • Nickname namespace collisions

    Why IRC?

    • It works.
    • Many veterans are comfortable with their current setup.
    • Not all existing clients can support new protocols (although viable proxies and bridges exist)
    • Change. Who likes it.
    • Will not disappear
    • Existing infrastructure in place, like bots, logs, stats, etc.
    • Clear culture of how it's "supposed to be used"

    Why Matrix

    • A more modern baseline and featureset. (Presence, search, history, server state instead of client)
    • Easy to use for new users.
    • Can self host and still federate with the global network
    • UTF8 everywhere.
    • Long messages, formatted messages (e.g. code paste)
    • Easy sharing of media, images, video.

    Why not Matrix

    • Not as mature as IRC (what is? :))
    • Fast moving API changes might lead to unstable clients, or differences between clients in behaviour and feature sets.
    • Self hosted can be unreliable especially if admin is SPOF.
    • Netsplit in matrix might not be user visible, servers can go down and no one might notice.
    • Slower than IRC, although IRC server2server-lag is not user-visible.
    • Maybe have to create new infrastructure, like bots, services, stats.
    • Self hosting can use quite a bit of RAM in current versions of server software.
    • Tries too hard to be too many things at once.
    • Might not exist in the long term.
    • Might not be enough gain for the collective work of switching.

    Ways forward

    • Continue using IRC
    • Be responsible for hosting a matrix homeserver for the friends, family, etc. And also hosting bridges and IRC-proxies for those that want minimal disruption to existing client and setups.
    • Have someone else, either someone in the community or matrix.org be responsible for delivering services.