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We’ve decided to rename Riot (riot.im)
349 points by anotherevan 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 225 comments

This is welcomed. Matrix is very cool. However, the lack of Matrix branding in clients always felt like unnecessary self hobbling.

I get that the environment is heterogeneous. It just felt a bit too lacking in clear branding compared to something like Signal.

“Is that Matrix?”

“Yes! Although technically matrix is the protocol. This is FluffyChat connected to my local HackerSpace’s Matrix instance.”

To be clear: Riot's new name is not going to use the word Matrix - any more than Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge etc use the word "Web". Riot is just one client for Matrix, and it'd be completely unfair if it tried to hijack the name Matrix for its own purposes - and I'd hope that the Matrix.org Foundation would take steps to stop such a thing from happening.

So I'm afraid the whole "Is that Matrix?", "Yes, I'm using FluffyChat/Riot/Whatever to connect to Matrix" conversation is still going to be there. Just like someone might say "ooh, what Web Browser is that?". This much is a feature, not a bug.

I think this feels disappointing because you’re saying that my anecdotal evidence — that the matrix ecology of proper nouns is confusing to newcomers — doesn’t bear true in the wider world. That feels surprising to me.

If I could wave a magic wand, formatting matrix usernames as “alice@alice.com” instead of “@alice:alice.com” feels like a similar opportunity to make things more friendly to newcomers.

It’s these little things that make a huge difference to success. TL=com/ORG=ycombinator/HOST=news addressing vs news.ycombinator.com. Or calling Outlook an “MUA” instead of just saying it’s a “mail client”.

It’s technically correct. Some people say that technically correct is the best kind of correct, but often it feels like the most convincing strategy is the one where you don’t need to add explanation or bon mots to win over opinion — people can just see it’s right.

I’m surprised that Matrix didn’t think they would benefit from trying to become well known as Matrix first, then diversify into FluffyChat etc second.

I totally agree that at first it's confusing that Matrix the protocol has different clients, with unrelated names like Riot/FluffyChat/Nheko/Ditto etc. However, I really think this is unavoidable, just as it is with the Web, Email, IRC, XMPP, NNTP, whatever. And just as it would be incredibly arrogant and bad form and confusing for any of those projects to call themselves "Web browser" or "XMPP chat" or "Usenet" or "Mail client", the same is true for Matrix. Yes, it's more cognitive load than a system like Slack or Discord where there's one official client which bears the same name as the service, but it's a fundamentally different beast.

In terms of Matrix IDs, we very very deliberately made up the @user:example.com format to avoid folks ever confusing them with email addresses like user@example.com (and to hint at a federated form of @mention notation, a bit like ActivityPub subsequently did). We find it super confusing that SIP URIs and JIDs look like user@example.com if you drop the scheme prefix (as often happens), given there's zero reason why user@example.com on email should be configured to correctly route to the same entity as sip:user@example.com or xmpp:user@example.com - and in fact the chance of it working in the general case are incredibly low (thanks to aliases, filters, routing rules, etc).

That said, we do not expect Matrix IDs to be used in the general case - we've always wanted people to discover each other based on their existing identifiers (email, phone number, etc). In practice this hasn't gone smoothly as nobody has properly solved decentralised identity (or if they have, they haven't hooked it up to Matrix yet), so we're in a bit of a limbo. But the solution is definitely not to make Matrix IDs look like email addresses.

So, my point here is that this is not "technically correct is the best kind of correct". If we renamed Riot to be "Matrix Client" we'd be quite rightly crucified by every other Matrix client developer out there. Just like Mozilla would if they renamed Firefox to be "Web browser" (even though they were effectively responsible for the modern web browser as Netscape).

However, we absolutely have made things even more unnecessarily complicated by maintaining separate brands for Riot, Modular and New Vector, hence consolidating them together. But we simply can't get away from the fact that the end result will be a Matrix client, not the Matrix client.

That seems like a missed opportunity. If you're renaming anyway, why not make it easier for people to understand what's going on?

I mean I don't think the browser analogy is that great, it seems more the exception than the rule. Eg most IRC clients have the word IRC in them, or something very close (eg mIRC, irssi, etc). Most email clients have the word "mail" in them. Torrent clients, same. Why shouldn't a Matrix client have the word Matrix in it?

Just call it iMatrix or uMatrix or something like that, and you're removing a lot of confusion. If mIRC and uTorrent and Gmail can get away with that, so can you.

If there's a class of Matrix clients, naming one of the Matrix is more confusing than not. Probably call it Spoon, or Kung-Fu (as in "I know Kung-Fu"), but probably not LotsOfGuns.

I don't think anybody is confused that Deluge and PicoTorrent are both Torrent clients.

(and I also think PicoTorrent will get more downloads because it's easier to Google for)

> Most email clients have the word "mail" in them

Such as thunderbird, icedove, mutt, gnus, mew, outlook, outlook express, etc?

Most of those are very niche products. The big mail clients are: Gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail, Apple’s “Mail”. Outlook is really the only outlier.

Thunderbird is absolutely not niche.

Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail are email services first and foremost. Most native clients do not have mail in the name.

At this point, probably most (non-mobile) native clients other Outlook probably can be considered niche. For consumer email, webmail has won.

We could quibble over how we're defining niche, but looking to our less technical friends that still use a variety of consumer & enterprise tech products/services daily is quite clarifying. My close friends, whether they work @ Impossible Foods on supply chain, @ a CA high school teaching history (now remotely), or @ SMB SAAS company (Hubspot competitor, forgetting name) HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THUNDERBIRD IS.

And they likely think that the computer monitor is the actual computer.

Is Yahoo Mail or Apple Mail really that different to Foobar Matrix Client (shortened to Foobar)?

Irrelevant to what I said. We talked about most products.

I guess the better point would be that they used to have, when email wasn't as widespread as it is today.

>Most email clients have the word "mail" in them.

Yes, but mail isn't the same as SMTP or IMAP or POP.

When I speak about email, I don't say "I'm sending you an SMTP message". I say "I'm sending you an email (message)". For all intents and purposes (besides writing code involving these protocols), the name of the protocol is "email".

In public communication, it almost never helps to start a sentence with "well, technically".

What I mean is that "mail" was a thing before email protocols existed. "Mail" and even "email" has meaning beyond any specific technology.

The name told you what you could expect the technology to do. That's why it made sense to include these words in the name of email clients.

The same is not true for "Matrix".

What is the equivalent? One of these: instant messaging, group messaging, teamware, groupware, team chat, group chat ... ?

Chat seems to be closest?

So MatrixChat might work?

Genuinely asking.

> I don't say "I'm sending you an SMTP message". I say "I'm sending you an email (message)".

Well, that's only sensible—you're not sending an SMTP message. SMTP isn't a message format. It's a wire protocol for passing along pre-formatted messages. What you're sending is a MIME message, over SMTP. (Just like you send HTML over HTTP.)

The distinction is even clearer in the email case, actually, because those same MIME messages also show up in other transfer protocols (POP, IMAP.)

There are actually a few email clients that use "MIME" in their names. But it's pretty rare.

Conveniently, though, "MIME" is short for "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions", so "Mail" is actually in the name. ;)

Oh boy, just wait til you see how many protocols make up an IPSec implementation :)

Those get named after the overall framework (if they're not just named "fooVPN" or simply "foo") even though there's no single IPSec protocol, and many many different underlying protocols.

Most IRC clients? Weechat, Hexchat, Quassel, Konversation. Torrent clients? Transmission, Deluge, Vuze. I padded my lists a little, but I really do think "most" is an extreme and strange claim here. Weechat and Hexchat are the most-used IRC clients among people I know, just as Transmission and Deluge are the most popular bittorrent clients among people I know. irssi and rtorrent are also pretty popular, but it's no less common for things with names seemingly unrelated to their protocol to be used.

Ok, maybe this doesn't apply to most clients, but I think op still has a point. If there are at least some email clients with the word "mail" in their name and at least some torrent clients with the name torrent in their name why shouldn't riot use the word "matrix" inside it's name? It's not that they must, but like op said it would make things clearer, in my opinion something like MatrixChat would be OK.

Or call the exemplar client Matrix and refer to the others as The Matrix Protocol and The Matrix Foundation, license the trademark to third parties so they can call themselves Matrix FluffyChat, and let the 1%er curses Haskell client call itself frogwibbler safe in the knowledge that the odd name isn’t going to hold back general adoption.

Indeed. This is going to be one of the maany missed opportunities by Matrix in a series of missed opportunities. Just call it Matrix Web/Mobile/Desktop.

My vote is for “RMatrix”.

In English, the R makes for a good pun.

Indeed. I hope the name is somehow related to Matrix, however, so that the connection is a bit more obvious. Perhaps Transform or Neo.

that's no reason why it could not be again reused

Name collision in general is not good, but also in this specific case they've had issues being confused with the game company called Riot, so I can't imagine they would want to go with an already-used name again if they could help it.

Neo would be. Eh. Weird.

There are decent terms in the screenplay of the Matrix movie to draw from.

Despite nobody being able to spell most of them, the ship names would be good. Nebuchadnezzar, Logos, Icarus etc.[0]

There’s also other terms such as “construct” (the local Matrix instance /site before you enter the real matrix)

[0]: https://matrix.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_hovercraft

Most of them have gone already - e.g. https://github.com/matrix-org/go-neb was the first ever Matrix Bot, and https://github.com/matrix-construct/construct is a C++ homeserver...

Well, poop.

Only 2 problems in computer science I guess.

Naming things, cache invalidation and off-by-one errors?


I would love to be able to say "I use Nebuchadnezzar to navigate Matrix".

I use neo as the hostname of my Matrix server.

What about phone-related names: "Protocol 8110" "Model 1500" "Project Landline" etc.

Could use some linear algebra terms. Pivot? Eigen? Nullspace? Kernel? Determinant? Trace?

I think Kernel is already taken

It's not the same context, not the same scale and not the same times. It should be pertinent to have a client name reflecting the proximity with the protocol.

Wasn't one of the original Web browsers named as "World Wide Web"? So the analogy doesn't seem appropriate here.

The original Web browser was named WorldWideWeb; that's where the name for the web (and our WWW prefix) come from.

Yes, the first web browser was WorldWideWeb. one of the first mail clients was /bin/mail. the first IRC client was irc. the first jabber server was jabberd.

And the first Matrix client was called Matrix Console. Much like all of the above, it sucked - it was a first generation thing I wrote in Angular on the Caltrain the day before we launched Matrix at TC Disrupt 2014.

So I'd say the analogy is pretty good. Riot (originally Vector) is a second gen client designed to make Matrix mass market - just like Netscape did for the Web. You can get away with the first crappy experiment being named after the protocol, but beyond that point it's just gauche.

Notice how Gmail sounds almost exactly like Email.

If they had called FluffyMail they probably wouldn't be the juggernaut they are today.

Branding matters.

To be fair, unlike Signal, Matrix forces users to manage their own encryption keys across devices (or at the very least, be aware of them), so a client-protocol confusion is relatively a lesser concern. It hasn't proven too confusing for many people to form a distinction between "the web" and their choice of browser.

> It hasn't proven too confusing for many people to form a distinction between "the web" and their choice of browser.

That’s because swathes of people simply conflate the two. To a lot of people the icon for their web browser may as well just be called “The Internet”. I’ve heard that some single digit percentage of Google searches are people searching for Facebook.

I think you give too much credit to the level of technical knowledge of the average person.

There’s a good reason to search your preferred search service for ‘Facebook.com’ or your internet banking website:

You’re a lot less likely to try to browse to an incorrect spelling of the domain name.

Because Google search results are the absolute truth and can in no way be gamed by nefarious third parties, right?

Bookmarks, the solution you are looking for is bookmarks.

I think you give too much credit to the level of technical knowledge of the average person.

The average person can't figure out bookmarks now? Do you suppose they also don't know how to tie their own shoes? Most people aren't imbeciles and using bookmarks is well within their capabilities.

Shoelaces are a strawman. We've had laceable shoes for at least a century.

Work any sort of tech support and you'll find that many people who are otherwise intelligent, capable, and at the top of their field look at a computer as a box that they do certain specific things to, and it does those few things that they understand. They've never needed to delve, so they don't, and things even as simple as Windows shortcut keys outside of Ctrl-X/C/V, or any browser use beyond open it, type in the search box can be utterly mystifying.

Then take a person at that level of understanding who is paranoid that if they do something wrong they won't know how to get back, or that they'll lose their very carefully memorized workflow, and try to teach them something new. Even one small change that would save them surprising amounts of effort.

Most people _aren't_ imbeciles, but when it comes to things they don't know on "that box", the edge of the world is very sharp and bottomless.

Apparently you have never done support to non-technical users.

They understand mouse, keyboard, screen,... and Internet, which is their browser.

This is not to make fun of them. I drive a car and only know where to pour gas. I have zero interest in anything else in the car, I just want it to work. Carburator? Spare tire? Not interested.

"Doing support" gives you a very obvious selection bias: The people who come to you are the people who need help. The people who don't need help don't come to you and go unnoticed. I strongly encourage you to reflect on this and rethink your misanthropic attitude.

If you like car analogies so much, the car equivalent of bookmarks is programming the radio's bookmark buttons to tune your favorite stations. I am not a car mechanic, but I sure as shit can do that much. For that matter, I also know that my car doesn't have a carburetor but has a spare 'donut' tire in the trunk. You too probably know these things of your own car. Again, I am not a car mechanic and neither am I some sort of polymath genius with advanced general knowledge across a broad number of domains. Cars interest me about as much as American football, which is to say not even remotely. I'm just a regular Joe who's not a complete imbecile.

Look, I do not know your experience but I am glad you can say that I am a misanthrope. This helps in the discussion.

I work for 25+ years in IT in huge technological companies. I can tell you that in these technological companies the level of knowledge about things above the very basics (and how to use a bookmark is way above that) is poor to say the least.

This is something I know very well, not some kind of vague deliberation. If you have managed IT operations in a large company you would know. I therefore assume that you do not.

Now - expand this to the whole population.

And as for the car - I had to check if I had a spare a few weeks ago, when the car mechanic who was coming to fix my punctured tire asked me. He had to direct me as to where to look. I am probably an idiot, of the kind of idiots who are not interested in cars. But I do not call the ones who are not the same.

There is no doubt that not all facts are known by all people, and that all people are incapable of some things. The contention here is a matter of degree. One one extreme, one might say that any person is capable of performing brain surgery without training. Anybody who takes that position is clearly optimistic to the point of derangement. On the other extreme are statements like "most people can't tie their own shoelaces" or "most people don't know how to bookmark a webpage". These are excessively cynical outlooks on humanity. It's misanthropy.

If you were stranded with a punctured tire in an area without cell service, would you have died from exposure? Or would you have figured out how to change your tire? I don't think you're an imbecile, so I think you would have figured it out. It's an easy sort of problem for an adult human to solve using little more than common sense, even if you've never been taught how to do it and never cared to learn anything about it before. The general population is capable of much more than you give them credit for.

Capable, yes. Unafraid to try something new in an area they believe they can't understand? Much more rare.

You introduced the shoelaces level unnecessarily at the start of this whole debacle. Computers are, to the people we're holding under discussion here, a BAZILLION times more complicated. You can't make your shoes vanish by holding a lace slightly wrong. You can make your work 'disappear' in any of myriad ways, by accidentally mistaking a single keystroke, or leaving out a step, or doing something 'extra' as one person put it to me.

And the tire analogy is also skewed. Tires are another thing that's phenomenally less complicated than computer use, to someone who hasn't studied it yet.

You're holding up much simpler concepts and saying that if people can figure out a 10^3 complicated situation, they can figure out a 10^50 complicated situation.

> The general population is capable of much more than you give them credit for

So yeah, you indeed never worked in IT then. Never mind, this discussion is already beyond ridiculous.

Reflect on what I said about selection bias.

both of the arguments here are pretty laughable.

> It hasn't proven too confusing for many people to form a distinction between "the web" and their choice of browser.

Though "the web" and "the Internet" are harder to keep apart for many.

> I’ve heard that some single digit percentage of Google searches are people searching for Facebook

50% of the time when going to Facebook I mess up the typing and end up searching for it instead. I suspect that means I’m in those stats.

Or worse, you mess up and end up on some phishing site.

For people like my mom, I've explicitly told them to search things rather than type in URLs directly.

I consider myself quite experienced in technology, and I do that whenever I go to a popular website that it's not in my browser history. I simply don't trust the variety of .com, .org, .net, .io, .tv... domains to know which one is the right one, but Google organic first results below the ads are usually accurate.

For downloading software for which I don't know the publisher's name, I usually look for the Wikipedia article and check the "official website" external link. Sometimes I even double-check the article's history, just to be sure.

A lot of people who are not particularly computer literate do not really grasp the difference between the web, the browser, and the search engine. Generally it's all just "the google" or similar. At least from my limited tech support experience.

This is welcome news. Some groups in Hong Kong have been considering it as an alternative to Telegram but the name has been discouraging as in this climate it could be used as evidence against anyone involved in protesting activity.

Hope the new name is either more abstract or closely aligned to what the software actually does.

The name of the mobile app is Riot.im. If that in itself is enough to be used as evidence against an innocent person, then the party doing the accusing is clearly comfortable with much more underhand techniques and it hardly matters.

Some lazily searched synonyms for groups of people which would fit the criteria of being more closely aligned include:

pack, mob, crowd, crew, gathering, rabble, syndicate, family, gang

Most of those have some negative connotations in the right (or should that be wrong) context. It's depressing to think about a chilling-esque effect on something as mundane as a chat app name.

If a country has a jury system then it's not just about the authorities but their ability to convince people. A random juror will sure find someone having an app named "Riot" as indicating that they wanted to participate in a riot. In practice, that means the defendant needs to provide proof that the app is innocent rather than the prosecutor providing proof that it's not.

I guess you are lucky that you don't live here then. At the moment, just seeing the Telegram icon on the home screen will result in police scrutinising you more. Having something called "Riot" on your phone when people are currently being accused of Rioting for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is just a liability. This is especially true with the new National Security Law which is being past imminently now.

I completely understand your point. I just can't imagine a scenario where some state authority takes the time to look at your phone and then:

- gives you a bad time if they see the word Riot.im on your phone

- or, lets you go about your business if they don't, or sees [generic chat app name]

If someone is intent on abusing their authority, then they will abuse it. There's no reason [generic chat app name] won't become the new "evidence" for tomorrow's abusers, even if it does accurately describe the app's function.

I appreciate the argument about not giving them cause to abuse their authority. But, as you say, if simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time is enough cause, then it is completely impossible to stay safe by keeping a low profile. The system has been designed to give citizens little control and blur the lines of criminality.

edit I want to clarify that I don't want anyone to suffer, especially over something as mundane as an app name. The realist in me is happy for any measures to prevent abuse to happen. The idealist in me finds it disheartening that the motivations of abusive regimes and cynical legal systems even have to be given a moment's thought.

Protests are always a battle for the hearts and minds of the general public. Accusing protesters of violence, painting them as criminals as opposed to citizens exercising their rights, is absolutely key to justifying any crackdown.

Symbolism matters. The tongue in cheeck nature of a name such as Riot can easily get lost or deliberately mischaracterised in a heated propaganda battle.

When authorities decide whether or not to ban an app, it matters what the main purpose of the app is, and it matters what the broader public belives its purpose is.

Using an app called Riot is simply unhelpful if you're constantly defending yourself against accusations of rioting.

You are presuming everyone is acting in good faith. In interpersonal communication presume good intent and best efforts. But with media, war and politics, presume bad-faith and self-interest.

We're talking about a city where a woman was convicted for attacking police officer with her breast.

> I just can't imagine a scenario where some state authority takes the time to look at your phone and then:

> - gives you a bad time if they see the word Riot.im on your phone

> - or, lets you go about your business if they don't, or sees [generic chat app name]

In my Beijing experience, the police are not out to abuse authority, just to cover their behinds. Not reporting having seen the word "Riot" on your 'phone could get them into trouble, so they will report it - which means pulling you through the mill first.

Yes but life isn't all or nothing. One can choose to reduce their risk and one of the ways to do this is not use an app called "Riot".

vict.im ?

Patriot? And then make sure in the Chinese App stores it is given a very communist-patriotic version of that name.

It's not about evidence, per se, but about normalization. People from all walks of life might find a need for it in HK, and it's easier to convince someone to download an app they haven't heard of if it's called "Messages" or something than "Riot".

I mean, branding matters. Discord has one of the best voice chat implementations, but asking my coworkers to use it feels a bit iffy just because it has gaming-focused branding.

Branding does matter, but doesn't your example demonstrate the opposite point - overall brand experience is more important than a name?

Riot.im's potential brand association with the act of rioting stops with the name. There is no other reference to riots, or rioting, and violence is not a core part of the brand identity. There is no rioting community that it is appealing to, or normalising.

Discord actively affiliates itself with the gaming community in all aspects of its branding. The gaming community happily embraces it despite the (universally?) negative connotations of the name. You said that you would feel iffy about recommending the app because of the gaming-focused branding, rather than the name.

I get that this is a bit pedantic, after all the decision has been made and Vector, Matrix, etc. are all fine by me anyway. I'm all for changing insensitive, inappropriate names where they refer to specific cultural/historical events/figures which society feels should no longer be celebrated. But in my opinion this is much more superficial.

The word discord itself means:

disagreement between people

Even Facebook didn’t get their brand that wrong.

My argument is nothing to do with political correctness or the current cancel culture, which I shall not express an opinion on.

I'm just saying that if I am arrested and at the trial it is stated that "xyz has an app called Riot which she used for coordinating illegal gatherings", some people in the jury may understand this as proof of intent. This is especially true in a multilingual society where the app name will be translated into Chinese for the benefit of the jury.

This is why I would not use an app called Riot in Hong Kong. If you are unable to understand or emphasize with our situation then you will indeed keep arguing against me and there's nothing I can say to convince you.

This is the first I've seen branding considerations described as "chilling".

Your definition of that word seems absurdly broad. Is it "chilling" that Coca-Cola can't name a soda "Rebel Red" because it would remind people of the Confederacy?

Or is it just that brands have to be pretty tame and appeal to the lowest common denominator, and issues of free speech are secondary to people actually liking the brand?

Who is trying to make ideological points through their brand anyway? And what point is "Riot.im" making that society is now losing?

Companies pour a lot of time into naming, colors, numbers, etc - all of which have various meanings in different culture and evoke various feelings.

I don't know what that has to do with my comment. It seems like you agree with me.

My point was just that choosing a universally inoffensive name is a very common and practical part of branding.

Uh, names matter.

Good! I always thought it was a stupid name as it was associated with violence. I would mostly view the term in a negative light. Why use it for an app you're proud of?

I would object to it being called Matrix though as it's only one of the many Matrix clients. It's already becoming too major IMO :) This is probably a result of most Matrix development being done by Modular, but it should remain a multi-client network as that's one of its strengths.

They already called it Vector before, not sure what was wrong with that. Was a much better name IMO. Strong link with the name of the Matrix network.

Anyway I wonder what the new name is.

> I would object to it being called Matrix though

Something like MatrixClient though...?

Just call it Rix.

Shares the first two letters with "Riot". Make some funny "crossed out the "ot" with an "x"" logos for the transition.

Rix is like "rixe", which means something similar to "riot" in French.

The ad campaign for the new easier UI practically writes itself: "Come home to simple Rix."

Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland are clued up enough on tech that you might even get an endorsing short with R&M.

That's a great name idea. I like it.

Thanks, great to see they feel that way too!

Too far in the other direction -- too generic. Not catchy at all and could easily be confused with other Matrix clients.

Matrix Messenger



there are many matrix messengers, that's like renaming Outlook to Email client

But...that's what it is, in Windows 10, essentially...

Also, they can have the "most obvious" name, because they were first, and set the standards - literally.

Actually, windows 10 has a built in mail client, that I think is called... Mail ?

but you don't need to look for it somewhere on internet, so it does not matter it has so common name, because it is built in unlike whatever will be named new matrix client you have to download to your mobile device

Inlook, no wait Imlook! wait... nevermind...

Vector is super generic, not so great. Its also think of Mathy which may scare some people off.

Yeah but consider other brands that are mainstream now. They sound kind of stupid too..

I mean.. Google? Yahoo? Go Daddy? Duck Duck Go?

Really I wonder how these made it past initial adoption sometimes :) I think the name is not so important as long as it doesn't have a negative context. It's more about the overall brand identity. And now they're household names.

Those are all very distinctive, not generic, and not overloaded, though. If you name your product vector, when a consumer google's your name they're going to get a Wikipedia page about linear algebra.

Well yes but that's all part of the popularity.

When a consumer would google "Go daddy" before the company was popular, they probably wouldn't find much unless they had safe search off ;)

A "Yahoo" is kind of a weird person if I understand the term correctly, or a statement of joy. Searches for that wouldn't have turned up anything else until the company got big.

And Google, it would probably turn up a wikipedia page about strange looks. In fact it's quite a weird term when you think of it. Though of course wikipedia wasn't around when Google was founded.

My point is, this goes for all brands until they're popular.

But anyway we know it's not going to be Vector again. Looking forward to seeing the new name.

Not to the same degree, though. Before Google, Google was not a common page. When Google was just a medium sized company (ok, when Google was a medium sized company SEO wasn't a thing since they were making it, but y'know, pretend), they would already be at the top.

Same for Yahoo, or Go-daddy. I'm sure there are things besides those companies that would get hit, but it wouldn't take long for them to beat them in pagerank.

>Searches for that wouldn't have turned up anything else until the company got big.

I disagree, I think they would shoot up there considering the pretty barren wasteland of other pages about Yahoo the expression.

Vector is super overloaded. It's a very important part of mathematics. It's also an MLM that sells knives. It's also a robot.

Vector the Matrix client would have much, much more work comparatively.

ironically, if you google Riot right now, we're the 4th hit (behind Riot Games)

When I hear riot usually the first thing that comes to my mind is a “riot of colors”.

Do they have a new name or was the purpose of this announcement so The Deciders can review suggestions on Hacker News and decide which is the best name for the project going forward? :-)

I think this is very good news: it strikes me that the platform is maturing to the point that it's going to be around for a very, very long time and having a "good name" is part of that. Along with OBS it seems that the app soon to be formerly known as Riot/Matrix became a critical tool during the quarantine and will be even more so if there's an encore quarantine this fall or winter.

What is OBS used for?

If it's Open Broadcasting Studio, streaming or desktop recording, mainly.

> However, we are extremely confident that now is the right time to fix the name. We’re in the process of landing gigantic improvements to Riot’s user experience and usability which will unrecognisably improve the app. So unrecognisably, in fact, that we can shed our skin and celebrate our long-awaited transition into being a truly mainstream-usable app.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with on the name and the improvements in the user experience. I don’t know anyone in my circles using Riot/Matrix, and I’ve been hesitant to push it aggressively because the UI on mobile isn’t that great compared to the more popular apps. In some ways, this will be good riddance to the phone number based centralized platforms.

I didn't know what "certain large games company" prevented a trademark on Riot. A Wikipedia search seems to suggest this company is large (I haven't heard of them, tbh): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_Games

I'm curious what name they have or will pick. I've been using Riot for around a year now, it's great!

Riot makes league of legends, the biggest esport game in the world for quite a while now. They're a giant company, getting into a legal battle with them would not be fun

Riot is absolutely huge. It's estimated to be worth around 20 billion dollars.

riot is huge and video games is a huge market for instant messengers - there's a lot of overlap there. i'm honestly surprised that it hasn't gone beyond riot games blocking riot.im's trademark applications and progressed to riot games suing for trademark violation.

It'd be funny if they went back to its original name, "vector", which IMHO wasn't too bad.

So, we're not going to go back to Vector (although it has a very special place in our hearts :). It was a great name for a techie-focused comms client (and I'm not surprised HN likes the name :D), but feedback was pretty unanimous that it was too techie for a more general-purpose audience.

Also, heads up that we consciously did not optimise for a made-up name like WhatsApp or similar. Just as Matrix (and Riot, for that matter) has ended up with high search engine scores, we believe the project is strong enough to support us borrowing an existing dictionary word. If nothing else, it'd be consistent with Matrix ;P

So, apologies in advance to anyone who's hoping Riot will end up being called Sporkle or Vroomio or Flibblr... :)

I for one don't think the name Vector is any more "techie" than Signal.

What about 'Eigen'? There only seems to be a C++ library of that name yet, so not too much overlap. And I like its nerdy implication of 'yes, we are only one Matrix client, but we strive to be an important one' ;)

Eigen is a cool name, but very geeky, and we actually know the folks at https://eigentech.com who might object a little if we borrowed the name ;)

I for one will be immediately renaming my local nuRiot icon as Flibblr

Sporkle 2.0: Glitter Edition

Yeah it was an excellent name. Strong link with the "matrix" network and no weird associations with violence like Riot.

I always assumed it was some trademark crap that made them drop the name Vector but I don't think they ever communicated the reason. It's very hard to find some name that's not trademarked by someone somewhere, or even a close resemblance to it.

Consider the eelo Android distribution, they had to change because one tiny consulting company had a trademark for something resembling it (not even the same name, and not the same industry at all!)

ITT: people who disagree because searches for "vector" and "matrix" is going to be overly encumbered with mathematical references because they don't understand how SEO works.

Only a single search engine hit on the first page resolves in the mathematical definition of matrix. The others include the movie franchise, a hair products company, several dictionary pages, a computer warehouse, a vehicle tracking device, and several other non-math refrences to the word matrix. On google, riot.im shows up at #26 for me.

then just add messenger, same as Signal does it - Vector messenger or Neo messenger

No, both Vector and Matrix are terms too widely used in computing to be considered good names, makes it harder to search for without getting results about linear algebra. A better name would be something unique (or at the very least orthogonal to anything directly computer-related) in some way.


Vector.im already seems to be the parent organization of Riot.im, so it might be confusing.

Ah right, they took the "vector" brand for the company after they renamed the client, forgot about that.

That's actually a good name

Please no. It's not unique enough for a Google search. There's a reason all the major brands are unusual or made up names.




The irony is that a google search for Vector first comes up with Vector Marketing, which sells Cutco Knives.

> Cutco Knives

God I remember that shitty company. They recruit University students to sell their knives to their friends and family. They're not really good knives either, just slightly better than most store knives and sold at a markup near that of really high end commercial knives.

That's an awfull name as it is used all over the place in technical documentation. As soon as you'll look for help in a search engine you'd get bazillion of unrelated results.

If you founded you company in the 1980's for sure you can choose any good sounding name, even a very common fruit and it willl be alright.

But in 2020 please don't hurt the community of devellopers that deal with graphical element by reverting to such a generic random name...

I mentioned in another comment, Vector Marketing firmly holds the top spot in a google search for "vector".

Even if the Deciders called it Vector.im or Vector Messenger, and did some SEO, it wouldn't be that hard to find.

In fact Riot.im shows up at #8 on DDG and #6 on Google (for me) when "riot" is searched, even when "riot" is a very hyped up search term. (https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=riot)

And that is still awful but for other people. Vector is a commonly used term in tech. If you lookup for help about using (mathematical) vector you'll now have to narrow the search using other tag otherwise you gonna get spammed with marketing crap about that technology.

Another definition for vector is "an organism that transmits a disease". Perhaps this is not the best choice of name during a worldwide pandemic.

Ironically that was the pun we were making back in 2015 when Riot used to be called Vector. Not only is a Matrix made up of Vectors, but also Vector would be the vehicle for virally spreading Matrix throughout the internet :D

Agreed it's not the best parallel to draw these days, though...

I still think Vector was a great name for a Matrix client. I don't think it would put off non-techies really, but I'm looking forward to seeing what you're coming up with!

So it isn't even renamed yet. This is news about upcoming news...

> The new name will be announced in a few weeks once we’re ready, but we wanted to give everyone a heads up so it doesn’t come as a shock.

Feel transparent and understandable. I am fine with a teasing like this.

Did you read the article? They state why they are announcing news about upcoming news.

This is a good way to do it, very upfront, no surprises.

Without a strong and supportive community, renaming a company is hard. Riot is in a place when they can afford doing it (not money wise... community wise) Good project, I'm curious to know what the new name will be

Thank you ! This is exactly what I wrote about a year back


Matrix/riot/modular has the potential to be hugely disruptive. This was much needed.

Probably a good move as the whole Matrix ecosystem has just too many names for its own good.

Think of email - there's Postfix, Sendmail, Exchange, Dovecot, Thunderbird, Mutt, Pine, Outlook, TheBat and many more, and nobody died over it.

Matrix should aim at becoming the email of IM and video calls, by being somewhat less obscure than XMPP. Skype and Telegram should die like Microsoft Mail and Compuserve.

That said, "email" — "electronic mail" — pretty clearly conveys in its name what it's about.

If I hear the word "matrix" out of context I'm probably going to think of mathematics or material science or something else first. In other words, "matrix" is already an overloaded term, and its other meanings aren't going to go away any time soon.

Now "email" is synonymous with "Internet E-mail over SMTP" which was not always the case by any stretch of the imagination.

It used to be there were many systems/protocols and even self-hosted in isolation email systems and bulletin boards. Some still operate to this day, though mostly delivered over the internet, but through different channels than general SMTP internet email.


That said, email is a better term than matrix, but any other term still wouldn't be the same meaning... "matrix protocol" vs "smtp" might be more narrow/accurate.

most of the world not speaking English use loan word "email" despite having no clue it has something to do with electronic mail in English

> Think of email - there's Postfix, Sendmail, Exchange, Dovecot, Thunderbird, Mutt, Pine, Outlook, TheBat and many more, and nobody died over it.

for the end user it's just an "email client" - the problem with Matrix is that people referred to Riot as Riot being the network instead of Matrix, as Riot was the main client implementation (there are more, of course, but typically less mature).

Even the Riot app page says "Decentralised, encrypted chat & collaboration powered by [matrix]" - it's not powered by Matrix, it connects to Matrix instances. The way it's described is confusing.

> email client

I hear a lot of "my email", as in "I opened up my email" or "where's my email?" Sure they could mean their email inbox, but they also mean the email client with that phrase, and don't differentiate the two at all. Much like how a web browser is still, to many (most?) people, "the Internet" (or "my Internet", as in "I clicked on my Internet").

I have to ask. Why Telegram specifically? I was under impression it is comparable to Signal.

Telegram is pretty bad from a privacy point of view. Only secret chats are end to end encrypted, everything else is sent in plaintext. Even if you do use secret chats they rolled their own crypto and their algorithm is controversial in the security community.

Both Signal and WhatsApp are much better if privacy is a priority for you.

It's ok to espouse your dislike for something but please do it correctly: "everything else" is not sent in plaintext. "Everything else" is encrypted to the server.

I don't think I said anything that was factually incorrect. If you read the Telegram FAQ they say that secret chats are end-to-end encrypted and regular chats are only client to server encrypted. That means the plain text of your messages is accessible to the server by default. Anyone with access to the servers including Telegram employees, governments, and cyber criminals can read your messages.

Hacker News for example is also client to server encrypted using TLS (as are most websites) but obviously our comments are still accessible in plain text.


You specifically wrote "sent in plaintext", which is factually incorrect. Telegram messages are never sent in plaintext.

But to address your digression: Cloud Chats (as opposed to E2EE Secret Chats) are both encrypted in transit and at rest [1]. The difference between the MTProto implementation between Cloud Chats and Secret Chats are, at a very high level, that part of the encryption key is held by Telegram.

To be unequivocally clear, at no point are Cloud Chat messages ever stored in plaintext or sent in plaintext.

[1] https://core.telegram.org/mtproto#authorization-and-encrypti...

Neither Signal nor Telegram are federated. You can't have an organizational or private Telegram server. Your account is managed by a party you have no control over.

Signal isn't federated because Signal tried to learn from the failure of XMPP to catch on in any meaningful way, in large part due to that federated nature. However, Signal is open source and its devs have said that anyone is perfectly free to fork it and run their own instances, as long as they remove all Signal branding and servers. In this respect, its unwillingness to allow federation does not negate it being free and libre.

Suggested new name: Loud. With respect to colors "loud" has the same positive connotation as "riot" ("loud colors" are rich and vibrant), and it also has the connotation of making one's voice heard.

I know nobody asked, I will suggest it anyway: Factor

we considered it, but got dismissed as a bit too techie - similar to Vector.

vector is perfect.

"too techie" is only too techie if you are too techie otherwise it is just an appropriate name

I am very glad you are moving away from riot. makes it easier to talk about.

A subtle nod to cryptography, I love it. If not Factor, Prime? Oh, perhaps not :-)

Comma.ai is commandeering "prime", why not Matrix clients?!

Factoring is the point at which a lot of people start truly hating math. As in going from having a weakly negative or even somewhat positive opinion of the field to hating it. I'd avoid the name.

I can only see this as good. MATRIX is awesome, but people don't get the connection between riot and matrix. I think of it a bit like IRC and mIRC. It lowers the bar of entry(a 9 year old could have setup mIRC when it was commonly popular) and lowers the bar of protocol discovery.

Oh, boy... I understand their reasons, but my relatives already annoyed by me for asking them to install Riot and then RiotX on their devices. Now I'll need to explain (which will fail and I'll end up saying "trust me") why they need to switch again!

I would assume renaming the app will be transparent to the user that already has it install. Is that not the case?

The plan is...

Riot iOS will be transparently renamed.

Riot Android will be transparently renamed and upgraded to be the app currently called RiotX.

RiotX will nag users to switch to using the new app (sorry :/)

Riot Desktop will be transparently renamed

Riot Web will continue to work on the existing URLs, but also exist on the new canonical URLs.

Will RiotX be at feature parity by that point? I think calling is getting closer to landing these days?

that's the plan. calling landed yesterday.

I literally just got everyone switched to RiotX.....

It is quite clearly marked as Beta. Betas don't last forever :((

Never heard of riot.im before. And after reading this I still don't know what it is.

I mean you could literally go to riot.im and see what it is

Matrix chat client

I hope the name they pick is distinctive enough to create confusion when googled.

I hope the rename will be considered a change of identity, which will allow the new client to be offered in the Chinese app store again. Please think of the ocean of actual and potential users there.

This is indeed good news! I am excited for a new name and hopefully more resources put into making the client better and on par or even better than Slack

Yes this riot matrix naming was really confusing.

It took a bit of searching to figure out that the selfhosted version of Matrix is labeled Matrix Synapse but I guess the name kinda make sense when you look at the idea of a federated system.

Synapse is just one Server capable of providing a self-hosted Matrix server. Just like for self-hosted Web servers you have options like Nginx and Apache and more.

Will this change affect the apps on mobile as in a if we have to install new apps and start all over with key verifications?

> Firstly, the biggest by far has been from a certain large games company that has consistently blocked us from being able to trademark Riot or even Riot.im

Using that logic would leave us to believe that they are changing the name "matrix" as well. After all, more than just "a big game company" will try to block you from trademarking it

if there was a big litigious tech company called Matrix threatening everyone who tried to use the word Matrix in their name, then yes - it might be a similar situation. luckily there doesn't seem to be one.

Oh yeah good idea. I thought this was the game company for half the time i was reading.

What was the name of the other P2P IM client/net that was renamed every year?

Are you thinking of Pidgin? It was only renamed once, so maybe you have something else in mind... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin_(software)

might be SFLphone -> Ring -> Jami?


Agreed, Riot is very discouraging name for any adult especially now in this climate in US, HK and other places.

Considering Telegram and Signal are taken, protocol is Matrix, Neo would sound quite modern. Neo is using Matrix protocol is quite logical conclusion.

Why specifically adults?

because teenagers and people in early 20s are in general more impulsive, less responsible and more prone to solve things by violence than older adults?

Matrix Kerfuffle!

Chatty McMatrixFace

YES! Keep Boaty afloat!

That's my favourite suggestion, but I suspect trying to type "kerfuffle" too often will make your hands seize up.

will the name be in english, or are you considering something more international-sounding, like an esperanto word?

ironically the name is a dictionary word in many different languages... including both english and esperanto :D

nice, well done!


english is probably seen as the world language by the english-speaking world, but the actual reality is very different. do you know what is the real percentage of people in the world who can understand english, let alone speak it? it is less than 20%. most people in the world speak only one language, and it is not english.

in parts of the world where the language diversity is more present, some people prefer choosing a more neutral name. esperanto is sometimes used for this, especially in the free software world. example of projects you may have heard of that use an esperanto name: [krita](https://krita.org/) (means “chalk”), [monero](https://www.getmonero.org/) (means “coin”), [klavaro](https://klavaro.sourceforge.io/) (means “keyboard”). it also increases the chance to find a more unique name.

english pronunciation is a mess, and if you would hear how non-english people pronounce “riot”, you would think twice before going for an english name.

> Secondly, we picked the name “Riot” to evoke something disruptive and vibrant - like a “riot of colour.”

Really? This reminds me of "newspeak".

It is a real usage recognized by various dictionaries (Merriam-Webster, Oxford, et. al). Doing a search will find said usage in the definition listings, and "a riot of color" seems to the typical example given by such. If I had a copy of the Shorter Oxford to hand, I'd be able to say which usage came first, and if one derived from a figurative use of the other, or if they both evolved from a common, now obsolete definition. But I don't have a copy of the Shorter Oxford to hand, so we'll just have to be happy that the definition itself is attested by various dictionaries.

It's not quite the Old Oxford, but Merriam-Webster is easier to search online and seems to appear that it's a confusing mix of both. "Riot" is a Middle English borrowing from French, where it meant "public debauchery" (now considered an obsolete meaning), but even in French at the time had associations with violent debauchery. The first uses of the word in English were as a noun and for "debauchery". The first uses of riot as a verb were figuratively in the "riot of color" sense, but even then implied violence may have been part of the figurative imagery?


I know it is a possible real usage, but it is not the most common. You cannot ignore that when branding a project/product.

Matrix Matrix Revolution!

How about Matriot?

glhf refactoring and changing repo name..


The change has nothing to do with BLM, or the US police.

New Vector is British-French.

This is satire, by the way. Hopefully that part is clear to everyone..

I don't think it was. Nor would it be clear or obvious. It's not any different in tone/believability than the claims about master-branch being insensitive.

There is a company called Riot that doesnt make League of Legends?


Also, that company is owned by China, so...

They could simply call it "Matrix", and leave the ambiguity resolution for those who care.

Matrix-app-%platform% and Matrix-server doesn't seem unreasonable....but yet...

There are multiple Matrix server implementations, just like there is Apache, Nginx and more for Web server implementations.

The announcement misses the best reason to change the name: squatting the namespace of an existing open source project: http://www.riot-os.org/

Good move. The name has actually discouraged me from recommending the software to friends and family. People who want privacy shouldn't have to frame themselves as dissidents.

> The new name will be announced in a few weeks once we’re ready, but we wanted to give everyone a heads up so it doesn’t come as a shock.

Uh, thanks for caring so much, but you could've just announced that when you are ready. "We are going to do something in a couple of weeks, we won't tell you what now, but we wanted to give everyone a heads up so it doesn’t come as a shock." is not very informative and sounds more like mockery.

Announcing Annoucements is all the rage right now...

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