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    The elephant in the room (post?) is that the reason all these open chat protocols are failing is because of deliberate and serious damage done by attack from corporate software companies, especially Facebook and Google. Back in the day, I used XMPP to chat with people from all over the Internet, and so did a lot of my friends, precisely because it was easy to connect with people outside whatever walled garden you used primarily from a single desktop client software. Google and Facebook deliberately killed that model. That’s on them. Same thing with Slack, which had IRC and XMPP gateways for a long time.

    This is not a situation of market forces shaping markets to consumer benefit. A walled garden chat solution is by its nature a kind of monopoly - if I want to talk to all my friends and co-workers, I am required to buy into:

    • Facebook Messenger
    • SMS
    • Discord
    • Slack
    • WeeChat
    • Snapchat
    • Kik
    • Telegram

    at a minimum, not because I think any of those chat systems are good, but because that’s where my friends are, and they’re locked into them for the same reason.

    New chat systems are hard to build because there is minimal early adoption because nobody has an incentive to adopt because, in many cases, it’s impossible to build reasonable bridges - for example, such things are explicitly against the ToS of Facebook Messenger and Slack, and I’m not sure how one would go about building such a thing for Google Hangouts that didn’t require yet another level of self-hosting.

    Yes, there’s a gap in the open source market, and maybe we can do better, but it’s important not to ignore the deliberate anti-user practices of every chat company out there.

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      I remember the early 2000s, where everyone was on multi-client messengers like Trillian. We went through the dark ages, into the light, then the big players defected again and we’re right back where we started.

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        fwiw, Matrix is categorically not failing - our active user stats have gone up by about 40% in the last 6 weeks, and tripled over the last year. There are over 11M addressable users on the network and around 40K deployments that we’re aware of one way or another. The OP here is more than slightly frustrating because it’s based on a view of Matrix from a few years ago from when we were in beta, rather than all the work we did to get stable & more performant for the 1.0 release back in June.

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          I’ve only recently started playing with Matrix and I have to say that I’m impressed.

          It feels a lot like what I loved about the old IRC/XMPP days (anon signup, communities based on topic, bridging), but with the modern touch of mobile apps and e2e encryption. I do hope it picks up enough adoption to be viable long term.

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              the project dashboard you linked shows pretty clearly that almost all the privacy related issues on our radar have been fixed (the giveaway is that the issues are labelled “done” in green and greyed out). we should be releasing synapse 1.4 and riot/web 1.4 this week, which ships these to the wider world. it’s also worth noting that the vast majority of these issues are just changing the defaults in riot to not use identity & integration services by default unless the user has explicitly opted in; ie they are ideological rather than concretely impacting fixes.

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                Let’s see when it is shipped. You were talking about it for quite a long time.

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                  yup, as you can see from the length of the closed issue list it ended up being a pretty comprehensive project.

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              As a Matrix user and longtime host of my own Synapse server at nora.codes, I largely agree with you, but it remains the case that it is not an attractive option for most of my nontechnical friends, not through any fault of Matrix but because of the reasons I outlined.

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            I love Matrix but I’m sorely disappointed[0] that there are no really good clients yet.

            Sure, this depends on your viewpoint and I’m sure the weechat one is cool for someone, but I want to migrate non-technical users who are used to something like Miranda, Pidgin or Gajim.

            [0]: Could use some more ‘shut up and hack’ from my part, I know - but I’m probably a lot worse with UI and UX than the brave people who are trying to make clients right now. Quaternion and spectral look promising, but still need some work.

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              If you are technical enough to use irssi and screen in a console, IRC works quite well on mobile devices…

              I have been working on a forum-like system which relies on .txt files, git, and GPG, structured in a way that any competent dev can reimplement it and re-verify the entire “dataset” in their favorite language in a day or ten.

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                On Android, the mobile story is a bit dire […]

                I personally use Revolution IRC, which has been fantastic so far.

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                  I work on chat, fun read about the open protocols. You missed RCS (Rich Communications Services) which is a chat protocol designed to replace SMS. (mostly driven by google as far as i know)

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                    But RCS isn’t gonna cut it on desktop, right?