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Re: Matrix and XMPP (was: hackint IRC channel for FSD)

From: David Hedlund
Subject: Re: Matrix and XMPP (was: hackint IRC channel for FSD)
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2021 04:08:00 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/78.11.0

On 2021-06-30 16:27, Adonay Felipe Nogueira via wrote:
Em 30-06-2021 10:01, David Hedlund escreveu:
Can you start a new thread on this discussion and suggest Matrix in
addition to XMPP?
I wouldn't be in favor of Matrix, various clients have accessibility
issues, specially for people like me that have subnormal monocular sight
(since many clients often impose font sizes, element colors or spacing
in a way that conflicts with system-wide preferences or with their own
styles). For example, for Element Web, if one tells the browser to force
system-wide fonts and sizes or when setting Element Web's font size to
20pt, the default style turns into a headache waiting to happen (see
attached screenshot), so one still has to learn how to program in their
browsers' native extension language, how to fiddle with CSS, and figure
out how to bring the style inspector and build the CSS selectors for the
right elements they want to tweak in order to have a
subnormal-monocular-sight-friendly Element Web Matrix client. For other
clients, like Revolt and Quaternium, the configurations for that are yet
to be known.

Also, contrary to XMPP which has at least two fully-functional
free/libre software clients, for Matrix there is only Element non-Web
has full functionalities of the protocol, and that is not even
free/libre, because at least in Element Web you can't use the client's
own search feature for conversation or media histories in encrypted

Furthermore, the Matrix protocol itself is not internationally
standardized (but rather auto/self-standardized, meaning that they can
change that at any time), and some clients allow for link forgery since
the Matrix protocol didn't dictate what would be the message format and
clients decided to implement Markdown formatting, which is dangerous in
the context of instant communications.

Discarding audio/video conferencing support, Matrix servers take up more
resources ([1]) than XMPP with all suites/parts of XEP-0443 ([2], again
discarding audio/video conferencing).

Also just like Matrix, XMPP servers and clients that support XEP-0313
for both individual chats and group ones (MUC or MIX, although MUC is
more popular) do provide ways for the user to catch room history
(messages received by the room while that person was offline)

While FSDG-fit distros have plenty of XMPP libraries, clients and
servers, Matrix-related ones are lacking there, so one often has to
thrust the single-language package manager installation instructions
given by the library/client/server that you want to install, unless
there is a FSDG-centric review of each of those
apk/pip/npm/gems/docker/flatpak/rocks/cargo/snap packages/dependencies.

To balance the sides, both Matrix and XMPP *do not* provide default
bots/puppets/bridges/transports to other communication protocols. I was
once lured by a person to investigate that since they claimed that
Matrix had bridges for IRC, XMPP, and others *by default*. But it turns
out that this is not the case, and you have to either trust the
centralized or risk installing one yourself through the
methods in the previous paragraph.

Finally, there is also the privacy and centralization issues regarding
Matrix, since it is mostly centered on (while there are
instances that do provide account creation, only has
bots/bridges/puppets which are clearly documented and exposed/discoverable).

# References

[1]: .

[2]: .

[3]: .

It seems like the FSF already has evaluated the possibility to use XMPP and Matrix, they declined both of them.

From "Despite its age, IRC remains a strong favorite of the free software community. Although we are optimistic about the Matrix protocol and remain committed to following its development closely, we were not able to justify a full relocation of the FSF and GNU's official channels to a Matrix server. Doing so would create the unacceptable situation of encouraging a large number of users to run nonfree software in the form of nonfree _javascript_, which is used by the flagship server to authenticate users.

At the same time, we could not commit to moving fully over to XMPP, which would impose certain technical limitations on both users and FSF staff, and which does not offer many compelling advantages over IRC. We've also definitely heard from many of our members showing renewed interest in the XMPP server the FSF provides as an associate membership benefit, and we are looking at the possibility of devoting more resources to it. To reiterate, though IRC remains a key venue for communication in and around GNU and FSF, we are keeping an open mind and eye towards other existing or new communication protocols and software, including Matrix and XMPP, that enable users to communicate in freedom."

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