back to article Matrix for the masses platform Element One goes live: $5 a month with WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram bridges

Element, which makes Matrix-based communications and collaboration tools, has launched a consumer-oriented version of its messaging platform, complete with bridges for WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. The firm's Matrix Services (EMS) has been the acceptable corporate face of the Matrix network for some time now, charging …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Regulators

    Well, regulators are taking our tax money and do what? Protect companies that don't pay taxes?

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    Moving target...

    As someone that spent a stupid amount of time, effort and the companies money to get Lync to talk to our SIP phones and PBX's, all it takes is them to decide to get bored and move on.

    Lync > Skype > Teams is just one scenario.

    At one point we had a rack full of gear just converting from one "standard" to another.

    1. Gringo99

      Re: Moving target...

      As my old manager used to say: standards are great, there are so many of them to choose from!

      Or as XKCD said:

      https://xkcd.com/927/

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    Why?

    Just... why?

    1. hypnos

      Re: Why?

      One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

      One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them...

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    It would be quite handy occasionally to be able to send a message to say whatsapp but I would want to be certain there is no chance of infection from anything farcebook related.

    There are reasons why I am not on them.

  5. VicMortimer
    Flame

    WHAT?

    Ok, what? Seriously?

    They want me to pay $5 a month to make Signal less secure? And they're trying to make iMessage less secure too?

    Does this not just scream REALLY BAD IDEA to everybody?

    1. sev.monster Bronze badge

      Re: WHAT?

      Increased adoption for Matrix is definitely a plus. They are also planning E2EE for all bridges, though I don't think it's done yet. You can still do E2EE on Matrix communications.

      Signal and iMessage are still controlled by third parties on their servers and at their discretion. At least with Matrix you have the option to roll your own.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, pass.

    The quickest check if a company is really addressing security well is to look at which jurisdictions they're present in, and not just where the company has its HQ. This sidesteps any BS about privacy being a Human Right and other marketing guff that could cover up painful realities.

    I find checking where their email lives tends to be the quickest way to establish if they have a clue of the legal issues they're exposed to, and I have some bad news: it all lives in the US. Not sure where their data lives, but by default exposing internal comms is IMHO not the brightest of moves from a trust perspective.

    So no, thank you. Fundamentals are pretty important in the age of wannabe authoritorian regimes and no, just having an office in Switzerland á la Silent Circle really isn't enough to escape the clutches of US federal law, especially not after Microsoft helped establishing the Cloud Act.

    Your mileage may vary, but if you have a need to protect your communication (which doesn't immediately mean you're a criminal but simply have to protect information), make sure you check everything.

    That you should never trust marketing statements is, of course, a given :).

  7. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

    We have seen similar before

    It only takes one of the receiving service to change their software, and it would break the connection.

  8. Gringo99

    Matrix user with bridges here

    I'll add my thoughts to the conversation as I've been using (self-hosted) Matrix services for a few years, and recently added the whatsapp bridge.

    I decided to switch to Matrix because I really liked the e2ee thing. Also, at the time the video call quality was so much better than skype or whatsapp (as you would imagine with a dedicated server and absolutely no bandwith/quality throttling - I once went through 500mb of mobile data in a few minutes).

    Yes, I still use whatsapp, Matrix is only between me, my wife and my parents (which ARE grandparents now, so yes, grampa is on Matrix).

    Do I have to pay for this? yes, in the form of hosting (TURN does not work behind a nat and so can't self host at home). And it's pretty much the equivalent of $5/month. I still do it because a) it's not much really b) I like it and most important c) I control the data, ALL of it (well, the one in Matrix anyway).

    Recently I've added the whatsapp bridge, as I was tired (read: too lazy) to have both the Element client and Whatsapp client on my computer and having to switch between the two. And since the only people that I have video calls with are my wife or my parents, the lack of that integration is not much of a bother. Yes, it will be nice when it comes so I can call my sister too (I am not a monster, I use a predefined jitsi room with her).

    And now whatsapp is allowing to share up to 4 devices, so I think I'll try to virtualise android and let whatsapp run in there instead of my mobile. Not sure it will work (actually I am pretty sure I understood wrong what whatsapp means, but being wrong never stopped me from trying - that's how I got married, I think).

    Maybe I'll add the FB bridge as well so my wife can use it, and maybe the signal one for the two people I have in there (and actively use it)

    Will whatsapp and FB make breaking changes in the future? Most likely, but not suddenly as there are a lot of businesses using those services, so they will be announced, and I won't be the one who has to implement them, I only need to remember to do a docker pull when it's ready.

    What' the point of all my rambling? Well, not much really. But a) I would _maybe_ consider switching to a managed services if it was cheaper b) there are people/use cases for such a thing and c) I got you hooked up to this point, didn't I?

    Cheers!

    1. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

      Re: Matrix user with bridges here

      Admit it, you are the Architect.........

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Bridges? Maybe not.

    It's a real shame they keep trotting out the open bridges line. They have a bridge to libre chat IRC but it you can't connect to Matrix from IRC at all. All the control is for Matrix users to embrace extend extinguish - IRC users cannot join matrix, only the other way around.

    It doesn't seem like an 'open' bridge if you only give power to the one set of users and put the onus on the rest to create put up with their bad netiquette.

    1. sev.monster Bronze badge

      Re: Open Bridges? Maybe not.

      That's kind of unfair. The whole point is to give Matrix users the option to better centralize their own communication network. If you want to join a Matrix room from IRC, then become a Matrix user yourself: set up your own server and bridge and do it. It's not hard, did it myself like 3 weeks ago and it took me an afternoon. How else do you expect this to work?

      ...Also, if your response to this is "well I prefer using simple/command line clients", Element is surprisingly simple and clean, and there are multiple options for CLI Matrix clients, including one for Weechat. With the latter, you'd be able to IRC while you Matrix, without the need for a bridge at all.

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