back to article Slack has entered the Matrix: Element builds a bridge to realm of encrypted, decentralised comms

Element Matrix Services is adding a bridge between hipster chat platform Slack and the open-source world of Matrix messaging. With recent events focusing the minds of users on what might be happening to their data on centrally hosted platforms, Matrix, which emerged from beta in June 2019, represents a more open alternative. …

  1. AJ MacLeod

    Nice to see Matrix getting some coverage - unlike Signal you can run your own server / network quite easily, and you can also choose to have it mesh with the wider Matrix world or stay entirely standalone.

    Their focus on interoperability is a very important aspect, one which gives me hope that Matrix might just survive and expand...

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      This is the first time I've heard of Matrix, but that sounds a lot like Jabber.

      1. ara4n

        The difference is that Matrix is basically a open replicated conversation database - more like usenet and NNTP than a message-passing thing like SMTP or XMPP/Jabber. Or put it another way, Matrix is to Jabber as Git is to Subversion: it's a fully decentralised alternative.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What the other poster says. Originally, Matrix was developed as a distributed, eventually consistent database. At some point, its use as a chat service became dominant but that's not primarily what it is (or wasn't anyway).

          I do not have personal experience with it but as I understand, the reference server ( vastly outsizes everything else out there and one potential disadvantage inherent in its model is that if you want to federate with, you'll be replicating gigabytes upon gigabytes of data. For an organisation-internal system though, it might well be a great solution.

  2. Elledan Silver badge

    Selling point over IRC

    Something that has always appealed to me and many companies I worked for is the ability to set up and run your own IRC servers, with secure point-to-point encryption possible, whether via the server or peer-to-peer using DCC. It's also completely free and has been around since the 1980s.

    There are various (free) bridges for Matrix, Slack etc. to/from IRC as well, if that's one's thing.

    I'm sure there's something in Matrix that IRC doesn't offer, though. Like inline images and stickers or something :)

    1. ara4n

      Re: Selling point over IRC

      The selling points over IRC include:

      * Signal-style end-to-end encryption

      * E2E-encrypted VoIP and Video calling

      * Typing notifications, read receipts, read markers

      * Server-side search and server-defined push notifications

      * Ability to embed arbitrary web content into chatrooms (called 'widgets') - e.g. for voice/video conferencing or collaborating on a document etc.

      * Inline thumbnails for images and videos (and stickers ;P)

      * Network partition tolerance... without netsplits! (because the history is synced, you don't notice netsplits)

      * Peer-to-peer support

      ...and I'm probably forgetting a bunch more :)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Selling point over IRC

        Most of your points are addressed by a combination of Usenet and IRC. The rest are glitter that are addressed by the johnnie-come-lately webby-pointy-clicky thingie and don't actually help get work done (unless you're a marketard, sucking at the eyeballs of the GreatUnwashed for nourishment)..

  3. jake Silver badge

    What does this newbie give me ...

    ... that I haven't had with the mature IRC and Usenet for decades?

    "“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”" —Santayana

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does this newbie give me ...

      Presumably you have both the skills and the time to take a look for yourself?

      As posted above, it is an eventually consistent database of essentially arbitrary payloads. Yes, at a basic level, so is Usenet, but its complexity (and attack surface) and overhead are orders of magnitude beyond Matrix.

      I do not use it myself, but I took a look (years ago, mind) and it is a fairly solid, and open, solution. The reason I don't use it is because it wasn't the best fit for my needs at the time, not because there was anything wrong with it. It is certainly worth a look and perhaps keeping it somewhere there in your toolbox.

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