Didn't know Matrix was VC-funded. Another reason to avoid it I guess :(

@pettter Yuck. Makes me wonder just how complex that stuff is, if such funds are needed. It's "just" a chat platform; it should be possible for a single person to implement it without too much trouble if it's supposed to be the future, IMO. (Using existing crypto/other libs of course.)

@pettter At one of my first tech jobs I made an XMPP client for a website. It didn't take so long. That was without OMEMO or other extensions but still. I was but a noob.

@owl @pettter i'm impressed! what do you do now that youre not a noob?

@mousebot @pettter I'm a perpetual noob. :p
Have accepted a job doing environmental/urban planning related IoT that will start soon.

@owl @pettter :) well, all the best with it. i think i actually perpetually start learning new things (and neglect what i already know how to do) just to keep being a noob. i think of it as wanting to play level 1 of lots of new video games.

Yeah I honestly don't understand what Matrix does that XMPP doesn't. Migration of channels between servers maybe? That could be added as an XEP no problem.

I dunno.

The q with VC funding is always "ok so you're going to go meteoric - how?" Because running sustainable is simply not enough for VCs.

The answer is usually either 'monopoly' (which needs enforcement mechanism, i.e. centralisation), or 'going bust and selling off all assets, including user data'.

For example: Soundcloud took VC funding massively and fucked over their users in so many ways. Bandcamp did once back in 2010 and never since then.

@pettter Yeah. I'm waiting to see how Telegram will monetise. 1 billion+ USD to pay back, "a couple of hundred million" more per year needed, sitting on a treasure trove of user data. Doesn't bode well.

@pettter @owl let cloudflare handle their tls for a few months in 2020, so potentially the data (like login-credentials) is gone already ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@pettter :ms_weary: I'm not even sure what VC is, but ah, probably best I don't know what the trouble is this time. Because heck, which chatting app even actually is *not* problematic in any way, but is still used by people? Basically every open source thing out there turns out to also be bad somehow, and that makes me understand why most people just don't bother at all and stick with Discord.

Venture Capital. The folks funding startups to the tune of millions or billions fully expecting 90% of their fundees to go out of business in a year or two but betting that the last one will be alibaba or Facebook.

@pettter Well ... how does that make Matrix bad? They took the money from companies that clearly wouldn't use it well, and are now doing something good with it.
Nothing can be done for free while capitalism still exists. The devs aren't all privileged enough to be able to give you something for free while getting nothing in return from elsewhere. And while a few people donate, it isn't nearly enough. This is better than ads and stealing data, isn't it?

They didn't take money, they took loans. That money needs to be paid back, or they go bust, and all their assets are up for grabs to the highest bidder. That includes user data', for example.

@pettter How much user data are they able to give? Most private conversations are encrypted, and while far too many rooms are on, they cannot do anything to those that aren't.
It was silly of me to assume they just got the money, that's for sure. But I still don't quite see a good alternative. They wouldn't have needed this much if it was truly possible to make something like this easily for free.

@Mayana That's always the question. Signal, for all the reservations I have, claim to have nothing but the last IP and time logged in from for each username, for example. I somehow doubt that Matrix is as prudent as that, but who knows.

I can highly recommend checking out the XMPP ecosystem if you think that amount of money is required for quality software. Prosody and Conversations in particular.

@Mayana Personally, my take is that Building The New Thing is always going to be more attractive to capital than Maintaining The Old Thing. Hence fancy garbage like the Hyperloop and every other harebrained startup scheme that just reinvents an existing industry but with more labour exploitation and tax/regulation avoidance instead of Just Building Trains.

Likewise with protocols (sorry, 'APIs'), especially in the chat space.

@Mayana Almost every existing system is going to look overly complicated and arcane compared to whatever you can whip up in your own head, simply because you haven't thought of even a fraction of all the cornercases and features you likely will need to deal with.

Sometimes starting over with a clean slate is actually good, but often you're just going to run into the same problems as the old system, and end up with a similar kludge after a couple of years of actual adoption.

@pettter Well, until recently Signal did have a problem with caching images that should've been deleted and then randomly sending them to people without the user's concent. No app is perfect, that's for sure.
This is one of the few recommendations of XMPP I've heard. Most people on Fedi seem not to like it all that much, although I can't remember why off the top of my head.
Ah, if only we could still safely use IRC ... that thing at least actually worked all the time. Though admittedly, at least Element is pretty accessible these days, where as there are surprisingly only a few IRC clients that are.

@Mayana Agree completely that IRC is a great protocol for the kind of unsecured chat that, honestly, is what most people and organisations actually need.

Hadn't heard about that Signal SNAFU, but I'm not terribly surprised. As you say, no app is perfect.

Matrix got into popularity about the same time as Masto took off, iirc, so I think many people who got into one also got into the other, and in both cases without knowledge of what existed previously (XMPP and GNU Social, respectively).

@Mayana And so, after hearing about things that already were there, from people on the new things, they are naturally inclined to take the views espoused by the people on the New Thing about the Old Thing (i.e. Bad, Outdated, Full Of Crap, etc.)

@pettter Can't speak for XMPP, but given GNU Social's userbase, I think the marginalized folks that joined Mastodon learned about it quite quickly, and also quite quickly realized why it would not be worth saving.
In addition to the userbase full of bigots and trolls, it also had a far worse blocking system, IIRC. Could that be fixed? Perhaps. But given what survived and what did not, I think they made the right choice in this case.

I agree that blocking tools could have been improved, and that Pleroma and Mastodon and many did work to improve that. I'm mostly referring to the incompatibilities introduced by Masto against solid advice, the reliance of Masto on the other servers also running Masto to actually function as intended (followers-only etc.), the move to ActivityPub, and shoddy incompatible reimplementing of things like Polls, Events and Groups that already worked and were standard in GNU Social/OStatus.

@pettter Not sure what else could've been done regarding followers-only given that I don't think this was a feature of GNU Social. It was either implementing it their way or not doing so at all, no?
Fair point about polls and such. From the little reading I did into it, some of the reasons for switching to ActivityPub did seem reasonable, but being able to support both it and OStatus somehow would certainly be ideal. As it stands, Mastodon is dominating the Fedi and everything else is obliged to adapt to it.

As for whether the current ecosystem is friendlier to marginalized people, I won't pretend like the GNU social times were a time of unbridled acceptance and tolerance, but I would note that neither is the current era, as rehashed numerous times and in many contexts.

Do I think things are better now? Probably yes overall, but they are not good enough. Not nearly. And that's just from my vantage.

@pettter And it does not look like Gargron has much desire to change that with the power he has over the project. Which leaves us with changing the community as best we can, or making yet another attempt at better software. I personally thin GoToSocial is an excellent effort; I'm assuming you'd prefer we try to fix what we have now, instead?
Edit: Misremembered the name. Fixed.

If it follows the same standard I am always in favour of more implementations. The main problems I have is with obsoleting other, competing software that still works well and even has more features, by doing Microsoft style proprietary or badly documented, discussed and motivated 'extensions'.

I dunno, I'm just grumpy and avoiding work probably.

@pettter Ah. Microsoft is definitely a great example of this. Hell, they keep abandoning and changing around even their own software ...
Right, fair point. I guess I understand your point. And besides, the more you try to implement new things, the more segregated the users will be. It's hard enough to get people on Mastodon; if I had gotten them onto GNU Social and then Mastodon came along and eventually stopped properly federating, I doubt many would have the energy to switch.
Ah yes. Avoiding work by being on Masto. I've never done that myself! :eyeless_blobcat_angel:

@blindscribe The question has already been answered and we even had a little of a debate -- mostly one-sided because I don't really understand these things -- but thanks anyway! :ms_smile:


no, I'll look at it closely now and in the future

What Element offers more that xmpp is user experience

That's why, I think, it's so popular

In order to build solutions that get adopted you need money

It's a loan, if they can make it, users are safe

And in the meantime it's probably a good idea to move your rooms on a server you control

Ok, so if there's nothing in the protocol and server software that needed changing I truly do not understand why they didn't just make an XMPP client.


I don't know for sure

I assume they wanted more control on the protocol

They have low bandwith versions of the protocol, they use json instead of xml, probably because they wanted to cater to certain ecosystems

I don't know

But if xmpp is equivalent why it wasn't adopted by the German healt care service or the British Navy ?

@AbbieNormal I think you might be surprised all the place XMPP is and has been used.

A low-bandwidth variant is something I could see adopted as a XEP.

The JSON craze is something I hope we're getting past soon, but yes, that was very fashionable back then.

I also assume that they wanted more control over the protocol (oh sorry, 'API'). I just question if it's a good thing that one particular VC-funded company fully controls the supposedly federated and open standard.


probably it's not a good thing

but a protocol under the control of the community that's a toy that nobody uses isn't a good thing either

The alternative to Matrix is not a community controlled protocol

It's Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal

In this world, compromises are necessary


I tried to propose the migration to xmpp from telegram to my local Linux club

One of them was frustrated by the poor experience and the others didn't even want to try

Honeslty, with Element I'd be less worried


a sane protocol is not enough

You need a business plan to make a pleasant experience and to conquer mind share

Otherwise you end up like "The GNU System"

Sorry, I love the idea of user freedom but I have known too many failures

@AbbieNormal Oh the horror to end up like one of the most widely used desktop and server software stacks that just silently Works and does its thing basically everywhere.

To be clear, what I'm saying is mostly that the Matrix people should just have worked on contributing and improving XMPP and XMPP clients instead of spending a lot of resources and effort reproducing the same problems and working around the same corner cases _again_.

As you say, control was more important than efficiency.


control was more important than efficiency, i could say, from your point of view

From the point of view of implementers they could have achieved more efficiency like this

As for the GNU System, come on

@AbbieNormal I don't think this conversation is going anywhere productive. Have a nice day.

@pettter got a link? Also, are you talking about matrix, or are you talking about apps like element?

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