I’ve been using Matrix/Riot heavily for the last two weeks.
Much like I run FreeBSD on my desktop, I am a happy user of Matrix/Riot on mobile (Android) and the web app, despite its flaws, because I support the idea more than the implementation. All-in-all, I don’t find the service has any deal breakers in it for me and I find it to be a worthy competitor to Slack. But it is still too rough for mass migration and I don’t think people who don’t share the ideology or have someone else acting as a forcing function will willingly move there. I’ve moved most of my communication to it and am off slack entirely.
- Open standard!
- End-to-end encryption.
- Mobile and web clients that work mostly fine (see The Bad).
- Experience is pretty similar to Slack and IRC, so people will feel comfortable moving over there.
- Federated, so I can play around in my local sandbox or build competing software and still interact with the main system.
- While it’s a web API, it feels like a spiritual successor to IRC. I know IRCv3 exists but I think it probably has too much baggage for adoption like Matrix does.
- The UI is pretty rough. There are nitpicks like lots of wasted space on the web app, to the padlock shows on every message for encrypted chat, I’d really just like to see when messages are unencrypted.
- E2E Encryption works flawlessly on mobile but the web app still has some bugs in it where it, sometimes, cannot decrypt what someone says. What works for me is if my mobile app has verified the keys it will decrypt them for my web app and I can see them in the web but they show up as unverified.
- You have to verify keys for each new device you have encrypted chat with. I know this is technically correct but 99% of the time I simply cannot do anything with this information and will hit Verify. It would be nice if the default was less intrusive but still let power users do what they want.
- The web app has a bug where if I’m using it heavily it will lock the tab up and I have to kill the tab and start again. It’s just annoying.
- Like any open source project, don’t expect your pet bug to be fixed anytime soon unless you do it yourself.
- The matrix.org server is slow. Nothing has every failed for me but latency is noticable. The upside is being federated offers room for people to compete on server implementations if they so desire.