Re: Matrix IRC bridge considered harmful

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 4:23 pm, Georges Basile Stavracas Neto via desktop-devel-list <desktop-devel-list gnome org> wrote:
The Riot application is hard to use. It took me days to figure out how to connect
to a GNOME room. It doesn't allow me to log out of the servers.

These are all problems with the IRC bridge, not with normal Matrix. I agree the quality of the IRC bridge is catastrophic. Joining rooms is extremely difficult, and it is a Hotel California bridge (you can check out, but you can never leave! that's why we have all these trap ghost accounts from Matrix who never see the PMs you send them, basically the inverse of the problem I started this thread to complain about).

Anyway, normal Matrix has none of those problems. Please don't judge it based on the quality of the IRC bridge.

It is a shame that the Matrix developers continue to operate IRC bridges that are clearly serving to harm the reputation of Matrix. I know there's value in bridging to IRC, but it should be done well if it's going to be done at all. No doubt the Matrix developers have limited time and competing priorities, just like we do ourselves....

Fractal is nice,
as I really like native clients, but Polari feels more polished. Matrix apparently doesn't allow turning off federation, and to me that's a no-go aspect of it. At last, I have a strong impression that Matrix suffers from feature bloat.

Fractal needs some love, for sure. I wouldn't want Matrix to be judged by the quality of Fractal today. (In particular, all PMs you send to users are silently discarded until the other user joins the room, and there is no UI to indicate the user has joined the room. You really have to create PMs from Riot, which is pretty awful.) But Fractal's problems are all well within the skills of our community to solve.

Jan-Michael also likes the Chatty app from Purism. I didn't realize that was a Matrix client until today, so I haven't tried it and can't vouch for it myself, but it looks similar to Polari or Fractal. So it seems we have two GNOME clients for Matrix, zero for Rocket.Chat....

Rocket.Chat has been apparently more responsive to out contact, and even accepted a few pull requests from us. I believe it has a brighter future, specially
if a native GTK client shows up.

I've never seen any core Rocket.Chat developers flying to us to give talks at GUADEC, like Matthew has done. I think Matthew has perhaps stopped focusing on GNOME due to perceived lack of interest on our side (and competing time pressures; I guess keeping Mozilla and the France government connected is not easy. ;)

Basically my opinion would be: there's a pretty clear industry leader here, other open organizations are selecting Matrix after investigating available options, why not go with what everybody else is doing? Goal should be for GNOME developers to only need *one* chat app to do their jobs. Let's go with whatever has the best chance of obsoleting IRC, which looks like Matrix.

That said, I don't know much about Rocket.Chat. Honestly, I don't think I'd heard of it before I rediscovered a couple weeks ago. So if Rocket.Chat really is open protocol like Matrix -- a backwards-compatible protocol that encourages the creation of diverse clients, rather than something we just have to hope doesn't change and break a future GNOME client -- and if we really seriously plan to write a GNOME-style client, then I guess that might turn out just fine, and allow us to finally move on from IRC. (I really want to see a GNOME client though; a web client is just not good enough.) But Matrix is good today. I guess all we need to do is redirect to, turn off GIMPNet, and call it a day. Bonus points if we can keep the string "poop" out of any of the domain names.


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