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
- 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
- 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"
- 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.
- 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.