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Moznet IRC is dead; long live Mozilla Matrix (matrix.org)
246 points by Arathorn 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 164 comments



Finally, this is going to be more accessible to more users to Mozilla since now they are using Matrix.

Well done to the Matrix team, The future is here!


I disagree, IRC is as simple as it gets. This might discourage some people from joining.


I love IRC but it is clearly not "as simple as it gets". Every non-technical person I've tried to introduce it to glazes over by the second or third /command, if they even get past "you need to pick an IRC network". Meanwhile they're all happily chatting away on WhatsApp.


https://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy/

Hickley argues that simple != easy. "Easy" is inherently subjective, and only tells us how easy something is for the actor attempting that thing; if you know more about a domain, things related to that domain become easier. If you knew how to tie knot A and I knew how to tie knot B, we would both find our respective knots easier. "Simple" is more objective, insofar as anything can be. We could judge the complexity of knots in a rope based on how many times the rope turns over on itself, and that complexity would not be dependant on your knowledge of particular knots. In principle we should be able to agree on which knot is more complex even if we still have an easier time tying the ones we are familiar with.

Of course you can mount an argument that simple is used as a synonym of easy, because it often is, but I like the idea of simple being the opposite of "complex" and "complex" meaning "many-folded" rather than "difficult."


Fair point, but in this case it's really easy that users want, not necessarily "simple". Going back to the points made earlier in this thread, IRC is a lot simpler than WhatsApp, but WhatsApp has a much larger user base because it's easier to use.


Perhaps, but it's a complete sidetrack. In the context of this discussion, "simple" was indeed being used as a shorthand for "accessible":

> Finally, this is going to be more accessible to more users to Mozilla since now they are using Matrix.

> I disagree, IRC is as simple as it gets. This might discourage some people from joining.


Some people consider vi a simple editor...


Does simple have to equal easy? An abacus is very simple, but its not easy to do advanced mathematics on it without prior training.


> Does simple have to equal easy?

laughs in Simple Mail Transfer Protocol


Well, it used to be. Before they discovered headers...


laughs even harder in lightweight directory access protocol


Any protocol with the words "lightweight" or "simple" in the name, is not. Looking at you, SNMP.


The protocols themselves are lightweight or simple, but using them may not be.

Imagine that your protocol for choosing dinner with your SO is:

You: What would you like:

Them: I don't care.

There, simple! Getting some useful information out of that is an exercise left for the reader.


Wonderful analogy - thank you for that.


if we're talking about it in the context of widespread user adoption then yes. At least it's a large part of it.

It's not really helpful when people try to describe IRC as easy simply because it resembles text based paradigms that developers are familiar with.


I think the missing subtlety here is simple design vs. simple to use or simple to learn. Vim is very simple in design, but not at all simple to learn.


Many people (myself included) consider vi to be a powerful editor. I've not heard many who would call it simple though.


yup. it's extremely powerful, super customizable (when it comes to vim/neovim), but simple? never.

i would never recommend vim to a someone that is just beginning when vscode is right there.


I think the point is that there is a sense in which you can say that something is simple that pertains to complexity rather than ease of use.

Vim is arguably simple in neither of these senses, but most Vi clones are much less complex than Vim or NeoVim.


Is somebody that is taking the time to learn Rust really going to struggle with a handful of commands though? Day to day I never need more than /join, /part, /msg, or the occasional /quit, and I'm using a terminal based client, some phone/web clients I've used don't require any commands.


Mozilla's chat is not just for developers.


Nor is IRC, which is what prompted me to reply.

I made a mistake though, nobody else in the comment chain was talking about Rust or developers. I had read a comment in another part of the thread which linked to Mozilla's forums [0] which mentioned more people in the developers channels on the Matrix instance, which I had mistakenly assumed was part of this comment chain, hence the question relating to developers.

[0] https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/synchronous-messaging-at-moz...

>The number of participants in our primary development channels has already exceeded their counterparts on IRC at their most active [...]


Professional developers mostly use Macs these days, and won't touch anything that doesn't have a nice UI that does exactly what they expect. Anything that looks too textual or "computer-code-y" that's not related to what they're working on, they will stay away from.

Case in point: virtually no one uses Emacs. Even Vim is diminishing; most devs now use Visual Studio Code.


> Professional developers mostly use Macs these days

> most devs now use Visual Studio Code.

You seem to live in some other world than I ...


Wouldn't the stack overflow developers survey be more valid than relying on your professional peers?

Around 30% use vim or Emacs. Linux is about as popular as Mac and windows is still as popular as both combined.

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019


The numbers don't add up to 100% so it must be non-exclusive (ie, people use VS.Code and Vim).

Worth noting that simply adding means that yes, Vim+Emacs ~= 30%, but VS.Code + VS ~= 80%


I'm guessing that overlap between different options might be hard to predict in some situations but easier in others. If raw data is available you could of course answer more precisely.

I'm thinking that plenty of users use both an ide and a text editor but few use more than one text editor. For example few use emacs because its required by their job thus emacs + vim probably IS 30% but VS.Code + VS probably has a substantial overlap.


No they don't. The stack overflow survey shows that the highest number of developers use Windows at 47.5% followed by Mac at 26.8% and Linux at 25.6% https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019


I vehemently implore you to spend some time outside the Valley bubble.


This is Hackernews. What's outside the Valley bubble besides desert and the occasional poor soul who undergoes the indignity of growing old rather than Renewing through Carousel? :)

I work on the East Coast at a company that's over 100 years old -- though they are modernizing their development efforts (something I'm heavily involved with). And literally everyone else in our portfolio uses VSCode to develop with except for legacy Java stuff which is usually manipulated with Eclipse.

A Triplebyte study from two years ago showed that most developers undergoing their interview process used Visual Studio Code: https://triplebyte.com/blog/editor-report-the-rise-of-visual...

While Triplebyte is Silly Valley, presumably they have clients outside the bubble.


Aren't Emacs, vim, visual studio code all in the same class of smart text editors with plug-ins that provide ide features?

I don't think different default functionality fundamentally changes its class.


Not really. VSCode has LSP and DAP support of of the box, for example.


There's a pretty good vim mode for vscode.


Any half-decent VIM user knows that there are no good vim emulators, only ones which do the absolute basics right. That includes vim mode for vscode which last time I used it even lagged when using it.


The only vim mode that didn't make me rage quit was evil mode in emacs. I use mostly vanilla vim, and there's always something that isn't implemented or isn't implemented properly.


Well, yeah, not sure why you even wrote this except to get some snark in. The point is the trade off of having the basic if imperfect operation of vi/vim, along with what vscode offers. That includes connecting with the large community of vscode users.


They do?

I may or may not be using a Mac at some point during the day (because Apple forces me to, to do iOS development), but usually whether my host is Windows or Mac, I have 3~8 Linux VMs running at any particular time.

Now, I will use SublimeText, instead of vi, from time-to-time (not often), but I don't think I am out of the mainstream...

BTW: I up-voted you because I think you have a point worth discussing, and that's hard to do when you are down-voted to hell, even if I don't agree with you...


Step outside your bubble sometime; we don’t byte.


I like this pun:D


Virtually no one uses Emacs because 1) Lisps are out of favor (excepting Clojure, which has excellent support with Calva), 2) the out of the box experience is bad and customization is not simple at all, and imo 3) chording as the primary means of operation is outdated.


Evil mode is easy to set up and org-mode is almost enough to get someone to move to emacs. I don't know tht numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if emacs was roughly as popular as vim.


How is living on Planet Mars? Go out of the valley once and you'll learn about a whole new world!

t. using vim, tmux, i3 and linux.


From the menu: Favorites -> irc.mozilla.org

    connecting to irc.mozilla.org...
/join #channel (or have it set up to auto-join a named channels)

bla bla bla

/part (or simply just (Q)uit from the menu)

If you did not (Q)uit from the menu yet, either do it or

/quit

If you preset some autoconnects and autojoins, there is no need to know any of the commands.


But now I have to know presets, and if my presets are lost also commands.


Just try a modern graphical IRC client. It's all menu/GUI driven.

You have a list, often preset with all the IRC servers, worldwide. Just choose the one you want and add it to "Favorites".

There, list all channels, search the ones, that cover your topic (via text input box) and add them to "Autojoins" or "Favorites". The preset gets created automatically, either globally or per network. In other lingo, it's called: an application's preferences.


you had to be registered


No need to register on many IRC networks. I do not need to be registered on Freenode (though, I am).


Mozilla's Matrix numbers disagree. Riot/Matrix is much more accessible than IRC.

"The number of participants in our primary development channels [on Matrix] has already exceeded their counterparts on IRC at their most active, and there’s no sign that’s slowing down."

https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/synchronous-messaging-at-moz...


There's no info on how the numbers were compared, but Matrix and IRC have a different approach to counting "present" users. On IRC, a user closing the client gets subtracted from active users count, on Matrix they don't. Thay may never even come back to Matrix ever again, but they will still bloat the number of users.

In this light, the number of users in a Matrix channel hardly ever decreases and is not representative of channel's popularity.


This may be true, but you can also just sit in the room and compare actual activity levels.

Every project I've seen that's opened up a Slack/Discord/<something like those> alternative to their IRC channel has had much more participation on the Slack/Discord. Elm's Slack is completely bustling.

This is something to take seriously when the goal is to actually build a community instead of hand-wring about IRC technical superiority.


IRC and Matrix don't count users the same way.

With Matrix, if you just create an account, join a room, and completely forget about it, you're still counted. There must be a bunch of Matrix channels that count me at least three times because of the different accounts/homeservers I used when trying to make something work.

Meanwhile on IRC you (or someone else) needs to have a client running somewhere to be counted.


Keeping in mind that generally technical people will join this server and may have a vested interest in the move from IRC? The issue around IRC is not a problem that can't be solved and really has been solved with the Web UI clients, for an every day user, to clients that make it simple otherwise.

See my other comment in this thread if you disagree but this is making something unnecessarily complicated because... reasons?


> Keeping in mind that generally technical people will join this server and may have a vested interest in the move from IRC?

I'm not sure what the implication is here.

> The issue around IRC is not a problem that can't be solved and really has been solved with the Web UI clients, for an every day user, to clients that make it simple otherwise.

The issues surrounding IRC are partly because of inconsistent client implementation of features, but I think an even bigger problem is the inconsistent feature set of servers, which end-users have no control over. Sometimes it's because the server simply hasn't implemented a particular feature, other times it's because there is no feature - and if you're lucky, you'll even be told condescendingly that you don't actually need that feature in the first place.

And of course, there's also the stuff that is implemented, but only accessible through bot interfaces that are incompatible between servers. Or the problems that are technically possible but require using a bouncer, and even still, that has inconvenient warts like having to grep through logs to search for stuff that isn't in your backlog, and the seemingly impossible-to-solve issue of persisting private messages across reconnects in a way that's useful in all situations.

In any case, Mozilla has mentioned their intent to make their Matrix server accessible from an IRC bridge in the future, so it really does seem like the best of both worlds - giving Matrix uses the advantages of the platform like editing chats and easy offline channel history, while allowing IRC users to continue using their comfy client. Personally, for me, it's the other way around - Matrix has almost completely supplanted the use of my self-hosted IRC bouncer, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can shut it off for good.


The bureaucracy expanded to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.


More numbers doesn't necessarily mean that it's more accessible though. I'm not trying to say that IRC is the most user friendly or accessible and I have no doubts Matrix wins on this front, but consider that the IRC server was just sitting there for years not getting that much attention, I only learned of its existence through Rust for instance. The switch to Matrix caused huge amounts of advertising for both the IRC server and the upcoming replacement and I saw articles and discussions on this way outside the normal Rust/Firefox/Mozilla circles, and it didn't just come at once either, as once Mozilla decided on Matrix as a replacement there was another set of articles hitting the rounds.

P.S. that post mentions internal engineering/ops teams switching from Slack to Matrix, that'd boost Matrix numbers if they weren't using IRC already. Perhaps that's an accessibility issue if Matrix was offering features that Slack had and IRC was missing.


IRC just isn't user-friendly to most internet users these days and its arcane prehistoric appearance is enough to spook them off to use something easier.

IRC still suffers from usability issues which WhatsApp, Slack, Discord and Telegram have already solved. However they are closed-source platforms, so Matrix is the best alternative for a truly free, open-source and more accessible platform for the general user to communicate from which should be IRCs successor.


> its arcane prehistoric appearance

IRC is a protocol, it doesn't have an appearance. And IRC clients can have very "modern" looks. See for example: https://www.irccloud.com/ or https://quasseldroid.info/

> Matrix is the best alternative for a truly free, open-source

While Matrix is certainly more free and open source than the other ones, Matrix clients depend on a non-free bit to work properly, and they don't plan on fixing that: https://github.com/vector-im/riot-web/issues/7757


> While Matrix is certainly more free and open source than the other ones, Matrix clients depend on a non-free bit to work properly

This is FUD.

a) Integration Managers are optional, and in no way required to "work properly".

b) There's a great FOSS integration manager over at https://dimension.t2bot.io/ if you don't want to use the default one.


> a) Integration Managers are optional, and in no way required to "work properly".

Do you have a link to a description of what integration managers do exactly?

> b) There's a great FOSS integration manager over at https://dimension.t2bot.io/ if you don't want to use the default one.

Noted, thanks. My search results for "Matrix integration server" are flooded with irrelevant results


> Do you have a link to a description of what integration managers do exactly?

Dimension's page at https://matrix.org/docs/projects/other/dimension gives a simple description.

Beyond that, there's a lot more info buried in:

https://matrix.org/blog/2019/06/30/tightening-up-privacy-in-...

and the subsequent:

https://matrix.org/blog/2019/09/27/privacy-improvements-in-s...


The blog posts don't really address what integration managers are (other than stating they are "the mechanism for adding hosted bots/bridges/widgets into rooms") only identity service (which I just learned about, though)

Dimension's description lists: "giving users a way to add bridges, bots, and widgets to their rooms and account"

I can understand widgets (they are iframes to a webpage served by the integration manager, right?), but mentioning bridges and bots confuse me.

My understanding is that bridges (aka. appservices, if I'm understanding this correctly) connect directly to a homeserver.

On IRC, bots connect as any other client to the server. Is this not true on Matrix? (ie. do bots use different APIs/protocols than "user agents"?)

Or are integration managers in charge of running bridge and bot processes, like an init daemon?

EDIT: I just chatted with someone else, and she tells me integration managers provide clients with a list of what bridges and "official" bots are available. And, I assume, links to enable them for a given room. Is that correct?


An integration manager is just a webapp which spins up and adds bots/bridges/widgets (collectively, 'integrations') for a given room - like a small appstore from which you can add extensions into a room. The available bots/bridges/widgets depend on the integration manager; i guess you could call the ones it chooses to provide "official" ones.


IRC is as simple as it gets for people who are familiar with IRC. New users expect certain UI features for chat apps anymore, and people able to connect via a browser without needing to worry about /commands is the way the world works these days.


That is a client/software problem, not a problem that needs to be replaced with complicated solutions. You're fixing the wrong problem and then shitting on the previous implementation without taking the effort to resolve the issues there.

Not to mention IRC has plenty of web UI clients that make usage simple, so that point itself is moot.


Basic auth processes varying wildly by server is a server/protocol problem, not a client problem, that also manifests itself as /command spam, even if IRC3 theoretically solves some of that. Web UIs don't fix that. It also doesn't terribly matter where in the IRC ecosystem the problems lie - the problems exist in said ecosystem, and they've not been effectively fixed. I've tried plenty of web UI clients, and have found them all quite unfortunately mediocre at best.

For my part, I've gone so far as to write my own custom IRC client from scratch at one point to fix clientside issues I had - and written my share of utility bots - so hopefully I have some credence when I say I've done my part to try and resolve issues. And yet, I've jumped ship to Discord. Single signin, plenty of customization through bots, history, emoji, inline code blocks... sure, these could all theoretically be solved in IRC with infinite time and energy, but in practice they simply haven't been - and based on the trajectory of the past decade, won't be fixed within my lifetime either.

Which leads me to think it's not entirely a technology problem, either. Switching away from the ossified IRC ecosystem may at least partially be a social solution disguised as a technical one. While I'm personally quite skeptical of Matrix as a solution, I applaud the attempt and the experiment. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong.


> That is a client/software problem

How, with existing IRC networks, and without requiring each user to have their own server somewhere or pay for a third-party service, do you get persistent history and the ability to message people who aren't currently online?

That's table-stakes for chat services; there are many more things where that comes from, but that by itself is enough reason.


By hosting a web client for free? Just like Mozilla contracts the Matrix folks (at least I think Modular.im is closely connected to core devs) to host a web matrix client at https://chat.mozilla.org/.

Or offer a full hosted bouncer a la IRCCloud (Although their default pricing wouldn't be tenable for this)


So it wouldn't be IRC anymore, it would be MozillaChat whose backend happens to be IRC, but that is irrelevant. If the functionality is only available in a single client, might as well use a proprietary protocol and client.

What matrix is providing on chat.mozilla.org is an easy to use interface for people who want simple access, but I'm pretty sure it's expected that in the longer term people use their own client on their own homeserver and just connect to mozilla.


It wouldn't be single client.

I don't see Matrix really solving anything. If anything, the non technical user will sign in and ge greeted with

> Welcome to the Mozilla community Matrix instance. You can sign in to connect directly to this server, or connect from other Matrix instances through federation.

Maybe they select a chat and have to read through the ToS as well?

This is a lot more convoluted than any IRC web-client I've seen the last decade.

And their 1k user chat room has as much activity as the 30 people IRC ones I'm connected to, and is the sahara desert compared to the larger ones. IT doesn't help to have a user list of 1k and no way to show the active users you actually interact with.


It is amazing that we are still having this conversation, after all the posts about IM softwares and protocols. I'll just post an older comment I made because I believe the arguments are still valid (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17833409):

> The UI is the easiest thing to fix and as you have shown already has been for some time. What separates IRC and the rest is all the features you would expect by default in a messenger of the 21st century:

- history

- with search

- logins

- simple bots

- automatic content fetching (wiki/youtube Links, pics and gifs)

- file transfers that just work

- image pasting

- message editing

And probably others. Yes, those features exist in one way or another in IRC. The point is not whether you can or not; the point is how much time and energy do I want to spend to install and maintain those. I may have had the patience to do it a few years back, but I value other things now.


You'd have some of that either way, since required accounts and people acknowledging terms is something Mozilla explicitly wanted here.


Mozilla hosting a client or a bouncer for people that do not run their own does not mean not allowing other people to use their own ...


But then you lose _all_ the features we're talking about, because they're all implemented in the client. Back to square one.


This is simply false, as proven by the numerous clients that have tried and failed to build on top of IRC.

Every single thread about this kind of stuff has an IRC devote crawl out of the woodwork. I get it: I grew up on IRC as well.

You gotta accept what people (and organizations, like Mozilla, who clearly outlined their reasoning publicly before doing this) need.


IRC has far more problems than just ugly clients. The largest one is that it requires holding open a connection constantly to work. This is fine in the age of desktop computers but totally unacceptable in the age of laptops and mobile.

People also demand the features that modern protocols provide such as image uploading, encryption, profile pictures, etc. While a lot of this stuff can often technically be done on IRC, it never works as well and requires knowledge of how to set it all up.

On matrix with the default client, it all just works. We can repeat the discussion about how dropbox is useless when you could just set up a ftp server on a vps or we could recognize that people like software that does what they want by default.


It is actually a people problem. The move away from IRC has a lot to do with abuse and harassment.


That's not my experience as a mentor (over IRC, Matrix and other communication channels). The experience getting started with Matrix removes one pointless barrier.


> This might discourage some people from joining.

It will however encourage way more people.


Yup IRC is a simple and robust technology with minimal cruft.


I wouldn't say IRC is easy to use (or easier than Matrix at least). I'd prefer Matrix to IRC any time.


technically simple, yes. UX simple, duuude.


What's wrong with the UX? If you don't like the client you're using, pick another, some are quite nice looking and don't require memorizing any / commands.


> If you don't like the client you're using

my point starts here...

> pick another

...continues further...

> some are quite nice looking and don't require memorizing any / commands

...but doesn't end here. how do I paste a screenshot or a photo or an animated cat video meme into an irc conversation?

you might start getting somewhere if you've given me iMessage for IRC preinstalled on iOS. maybe.


I followed one of the links, tried to register (which IRC does not require) and was declined, "registration disabled".

About the experience I expected, tbh.

I'll stick with IRC. Given up on Mozilla long ago.


You have to use the Mozilla SSO and use one of the login options there. Removing the registration link is an open issue.


A telegraph is infinitely more simple than IRC. Lets see how many people you can communicate with if you use that for a communication platform.


For a lot of us luddites, IRC is what stops us from joining realtime communities. I'd rather take gitter, discord or even slack anyday


also an hammer is simple, this does not extend to being useful for your job.

IRC is quirky and requires either a mentor to teach you the quirks or some study. this is not a deal breaker, as also email is in a similar situation and it works somehow there.


It’s as simple as it gets like C is simple. True for some of us, but not for most.


The only way IRC could be considered simple is if you are talking about the entire stack without any abstractions. You can technically open a connection to an irc server with NC and just type the IRC protocol by hand. You can't do that with Matrix because it sits on top of HTTP.

But this is an absolutely insane way to think about software.


I dunno. As someone who gets IRC and consider it proper mature, and thinks Matrix sounds like a mess I’d rather not have to look into, it probably means Mozilla will be less accessible to me.

Unless they keep a IRC-bridge around and then I will be happy, because then Mozilla is still on IRC and whatever overly complex Matrix-based IRC-backend they have, that’s not really my problem.


There's a lot of bias here. You consider something you use mature. On the other hand what you don't use only "sounds like a mess". You may want to give it a try before criticising it as probably less accessible.


> You consider something you use mature.

From Wikipedia:

    IRC was created by Jarkko Oikarinen in August 1988
A major, hugely successful product, that is in the market for 32 years, and has seen many implementations, both on client as well as on server side, must be "mature". No?!


I didn't say it's not. I just commented on the way the tech was compared. OP said that "as someone who gets it", they "consider" it mature.


If you're not saying it's not mature, why criticize the OP for saying it's mature? Hardly seems relevant to your point.


I criticised the "something I know/get is good, something I haven't used seems inaccessible" comparison only.


> A major, hugely successful product, that is in the market for 32 years, and has seen many implementations, both on client as well as on server side, must be "mature". No?!

No. HTTP/HTML are mature; IRC is just old :P

The IRC ecosystem is as if we’d reached HTTP/0.9 + HTML/1.0, and everybody collectively agreed to just stay there forever for some reason. “Mature” to me implies that a product has spent many years iterating on a design to reach, at the very least, a local maxima - ideally getting past that and evolving to keep up with the rest of the industry. IRC on the other hand, seems to have had a couple of years of work at the start, and then remained set in stone for 30 years...


At this point IRC is so mature its senile


You can semi-productively talk to IRC over Telnet and it's been around basically forever in Internet time. Anything's going to be an immature mess by comparison—whether the mess is justified by improved functionality, and whether the new kid'll be around long enough to care about (say, is it likely to still be alive and kickin' in 20 years), are the important questions.


You can semi-productively talk to Matrix over a few lines of bash & curl fwiw, as per https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20949477


> There's a lot of bias here.

Sure. I've been on IRC since the 90s. It's a tool I know and love.

> You may want to give it a try before criticising it as probably less accessible.

OK. What good terminal clients exists which I can run in a screen session on my home server? Are there any which acts more or less like irssi or weechat, which I've developed deep habbits for the last 20+ years? And are any of these packaged by Debian or Ubuntu?

If it's mature tech, like you say, there should be lots of clients and finding one which fits my niche should be simple, right?


There is, in fact, a tool for Matrix which acts like weechat.

It's called weechat.

https://matrix.org/docs/projects/client/weechat-matrix


Was it really necessary to add a second comment to the parent, repeating what the first one said but more dismissive?


as per elsewhere, just use weechat-matrix, which is excellent.


Can you name any other mature tech which meets those standards? Do you not consider the web mature?


Is this for Mozilla users or Mozilla developers?

From what little I've tried, Mozilla has way bigger issues with making their projects accessible to new developers than which chat system they use.


Just out of curiosity: there was a thread on Matrix, started by a dev of an alternate homeserver implementation[1] (also covered later by [2]). He pointed out (1) incomplete spec preventing 3rd party implementations, and forces reverse-enginerring of the reference (2) project/spec ownership problem.

I think (2) is already ironed out, but not sure how the protocol spec(1) is doing. How are community-based servers doing? I heard Matrix is intentionally putting implementation ahead of spec, which isn't exactly nice...

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19365968

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19417791


Speaking as project lead for Matrix, we of course encourage as many implementations as possible of all parts of the ecosystem, including servers. The issues raised by that developer are entirely due to their destructive behaviour rather than any illwill towards community developers, as per the thread at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19418111.

In terms of the spec being incomplete a year ago... yes, it was still a WIP and in beta. We exited beta with a complete spec in June 2019, as per https://matrix.org/blog/2019/06/11/introducing-matrix-1-0-an....

Since then, on the server side, development on Dendrite has resumed in earnest - and there is zero overlap between those working on it and the Synapse developers & team. Other community servers are making slower progress, but this is not due to antagonism towards the community, but because it's quite a lot of work. I suspect folks have also been scared off by fear & uncertainty from the kind of threads you linked.

Finally, "intentionally putting implementation ahead of spec" is absolutely critical for Matrix. We draft proposals, we implement them, and only if they are shown to work in the field do we merge them into the spec. We believe this is something that XMPP and others got monumentally wrong, and a very desirable and nice property indeed.


Thanks for the reply, and sorry if I reminded you of bad memories.

But now I can wholeheartedly say I support Matrix. I’m also glad to hear that there’s the diversity sprouting, since I believe it is the best way to put the specification on test. And I didn’t realized there are proposals openly being worked on[1]. I think I missed it while browsing through the site.

Anyways, thanks for all your hard work. Matrix will surely help a lot of people, including the open source community.

[1]: https://matrix.org/docs/spec/proposals#work-in-progress


np. btw, we publish a test suite (which is now approaching a full compliance test suite) at http://github.com/matrix-org/sytest for anyone in the community wanting to implement servers, as another way to try to support & accelerate server dev. Diversity ftw (when it's not destructive).


While I commend Mozilla for embracing Matrix, I do think it would've been worthwhile to set up an IRC bridge (I don't use IRC personally) before deprecating their IRC server.


I disagree. It's just more infrastructure to maintain and would allow for anonymous harassment which is what caused mozilla to move away from IRC to begin with.


Ironic; as one of the primary reasons I haven't set up a matrix bridge to my IRC network is that the moderation tools are very lacking. :\


hm, this may be stale info - we've worked loads on moderation recently: https://matrix.org/docs/guides/moderation/ etc. If there's stuff missing for your use cases please let us know (perhaps to security@matrix.org)


You can require accounts for IRC access though. I think today it's fair to require clients to support SASL.


Related from a couple months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21835749


Based on cursory research, it seems like weechat-matrix[0] is the smoothest path to transition from IRC to Matrix... Would others care to weigh in?

[0] https://matrix.org/docs/projects/client/weechat-matrix


This (and previously, https://github.com/torhve/weechat-matrix-protocol-script) has been my primary way of accessing Matrix for well over a year on PC-esque setups. It's amazing as long as you don't care about the video/call functionality. Much, much lighter than Riot yet more feature-full than most of the native GUI clients (nheko, fractal, etc.) IMO.


So how do you sign in / sign up without installing additional software on your machine?


Open up https://chat.mozilla.org in your browser. Although there are multiple apps, you don't need one.


I tried to register and was met with this message:

Cannot reach homeserver Ensure you have a stable internet connection, or get in touch with the server admin

https://chat.mozilla.org/#/register

It's trying to make a GET request to this URL and 404'ing:

https://chat.mozilla.org/config.chat.mozilla.org.json?cacheb...


You have to click on "Sign In" and use the Mozilla SSO. Hiding the registration link is an open issue.


I did so. Followed the steps to provide an email and then click the link in the email.

That brought me to this page:

https://mozilla.modular.im/_matrix/saml2/authn_response

Which only displayed the word

    Forbidden


It took me some tries to log in, because my first chosen user name started with a capital letter.

They mean it when they say "User ID can only contain characters a-z, 0-9, or '=_-./".

Is that really so esoteric?


Queue the "I don't have a graphical web browser installed, and I don't want to" comments.


For the people considering leaving such comments, there are terminal clients available https://matrix.org/clients/


Presumably those people can find their way to the weechat plugin :)


That link just tells me to go visit an AppStore.

I thought you said it was web-based?


desktop view shows me a full web client.


Click through to the desktop site.



How is installing a matrix client any different than installing an IRC client?


It's unclear to me whether any command-line based Matrix clients are in major package managers, for one thing. Going by Github the only one that looks like it's active is written in Python. Other, non-CLI desktop clients look variously half-finished or abandoned. Looks like mobile and web get all the attention.


weechat-matrix gets a lot of attention, works really well, has full E2EE support, and weechat at least is in major package managers. Matrix is evolving pretty fast though, so you'll probably have to install your own matrix plugin from https://github.com/poljar/weechat-matrix.

Meanwhile gomuks also exists and is usable and not abandoned.

On GUI Desktop, various clients are in active dev - e.g. Fractal for GTK/Rust, Quaternion for Qt/C++, Nheko for Qt/QML, etc. They are not as complete as Riot yet, but I'm sure PRs are welcome...


> On GUI Desktop, various clients are in active dev

... although if I'm not mistaken, unfortunately none of them supports Single Sign-On yet, which is required for joining the Mozilla instance.


Gomuks[1] is a maintained Matrix cli client that works well in my personal experience.

[1] https://github.com/tulir/gomuks


That looks less friendly then irssi.

Also straight from the readme:

"Basic usage is possible, but expect bugs and missing features."

Not very promising.


Can I "apt install" a terminal Matrix-client, like I can probably apt install more IRC-clients than I can count?


Nice to see Mozilla choosing Matrix. Rust project should do the same instead of Discord.


Until such a time there's a community-run Rust room on #rust:matrix.org.


And ##rust on Freenode.


which is #freenode_##rust:matrix.org on Matrix (although it's a mahoosive room, so don't join it if your server is underpowered)


Server meaning my own matrix server?

How much power is needed to comfortably join a massive room?

Is it just the initial sync load or is there constant heavy load for massive rooms?


Server meaning the one your client connects to.

The resource requirements of joining a busy room with lots of members is mainly RAM, and it spikes at join and initial sync, but does then occupy room in memory and the DB to maintain state for all the activity in that room. For something like ##rust you should expect to see an initial spike of a few hundred MB of RAM which then dies down again. This can be optimised massively, but we haven't got to it in Synapse yet. (Dendrite is looking way better though).


> How much power is needed to comfortably join a massive room?

"At least 1GB of free RAM if you want to join large public rooms like #matrix:matrix.org" https://github.com/matrix-org/synapse/blob/master/INSTALL.md...


Goodbye Mozilla. Does anyone know if they have an IRC bridge set up? The matrix-ircd is good but it doesn't seem to be implemented yet.


From the article:

> Finally, it's worth noting that the matrix-ircd project is seeing some commits again, many thanks to jplatte from the Ruma project - so if you are currently despairing the demise of moznet, never fear: you may yet be able to connect to the Mozilla matrix server via IRC (authing via Mozilla IAM, of course) and pretend that none of this newfangled Matrix stuff exists :D


> you may yet be able to connect to the Mozilla matrix server via IRC (authing via Mozilla IAM, of course) and pretend that none of this newfangled Matrix stuff exists :D

That sounds good. I’ll keep my irc-client then.


Is there a way to join the hosted version without having to sign in?


If I remember the documentation around the decision to switch correctly, having enforced sign-in for moderation was on the requirements list.

EDIT found it:

> While we’re investigating options for semi-anonymous or pseudonymous connections, we will require authentication, because:

> The Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines will apply, and they’ll be enforced.

http://exple.tive.org/blarg/2019/04/26/synchronous-text/

(Don't ask me why the article seems to pretend IRC has to be unauthenticated)


So I guess this is more for internal Mozilla discussions and not for random users to ask questions. Presumably IRC is still the place for that?


No. There's an internal Slack for that, which I avoid as much as I can. (Mozilla dev here.) Matrix just requires you to create an account, not be part of Mozilla somehow.

Besides, you already are a part of Mozilla. Or you can be: check out the bug database, submit a patch, and we'll happily land it. :-) Until you've been around long enough to land it yourself; commit privileges are not tied to employment.


Can I sign into matrix with my Mozilla bug tracker account? I don't really want to link my gmail / github /etc


Bugzilla isn't an option. You can just use an email address, you don't have to link it to another account.


As the post says, Mozilla IRC has been shut down. Presumably users are expected to create an account.


is matrix persistent, like, will the server send backlog when you come back online?

And are there good android apps for it


> is matrix persistent, like, will the server send backlog when you come back online?

Yes, that's one of the most important aspects of Matrix.

> And are there good android apps for it

Riot for Android is usable, but has some deficiencies and is in the process of being replaced.

RiotX is the slated replacement (a total rewrite in Kotlin), but it's only available in Early Access right now. It's already usable and works nicely, though.


RiotX is approaching 1.0 in the coming weeks and is highly recommended over Riot/Android at this point.


Except it doesn't have calls yet. Hopefully it won't take long.


Congrats Matrix, excellent choice by Mozilla.


Way to go Mozilla! Thanks for showing the way on how to do open chat in open source projects.


"Registration has been disabled on this homeserver."

:(


It actually is enabled, just a bug with the single sign-on which should be worked out soon. For now, click on Sign in and then you will be able to create an account.


> click on Sign in

You mean "Sign in with single sign-on"? Because right now the flow is

- Go to https://chat.mozilla.org/#/welcome

- Click on "Sign in"

- Options are "Sign in with single sign-on" or "Create account"

- "Create account" fails with "Registration has been disabled on this homeserver."

So if I "Sign in with single sign-on", I create an account, but if I "Create account" I can't?




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