KDE now has its own Matrix infrastructure

Paul Brown paul.brown at kde.org
Wed Feb 20 12:36:37 GMT 2019

Hi all,
KDE has been looking for a better way of chatting and live-sharing of 
information for several years now. IRC has been a good solution for a long 
time, but has centralized servers KDE cannot control, it is also insecure and 
lacks features users have come to expect from more modern IM services. Other 
alternatives, such as Telegram, Slack and Discord, although feature-rich, are 
centralised and built around closed source technologies and offer even less 
control than IRC. This does not sit very well with KDE's principles that 
require we use and support Free Software-based technologies.

That is why we are collaborating with Matrix to set up and deploy a KDE's own 
Matrix infrastructure.  Matrix is an open protocol and network for 
decentralised communication, backed by an open standard and open source 
reference implementations for servers, clients, client SDKs, bridges, bots and 
more.  It provides all the features you’d expect from a modern chat system: 
infinite scrollback, file transfer, typing notifications, read receipts, 
presence, search, push notifications, stickers, VoIP calling and conferencing, 
etc.  It even provides end-to-end encryption (based on Signal’s double ratchet 
algorithm) for when you want some privacy.


All the existing rooms on Matrix (and their counterparts on IRC, Telegram and 
elsewhere) continue to exist. This update provides a dedicated server for KDE 
users to access them using names like #kde:kde.org.

You can try KDE's Matrix service right now by checking out https://
webchat.kde.org or installing a Matrix client like Riot and connecting to the 
matrix.kde.org server.

Some aspects of Matrix which make it particularly suitable for KDE are:

    • Transparent bridging to IRC (as well as XMPP and many other chat 
platforms like Slack, Discord, Telegram, etc).  This means that people who 
want to use IRC can keep doing so today.  To be clear: our Freenode IRC 
channels are here to stay. If you access them via Matrix rather than IRC you 
will get nice things like code formatting, rich messages, typing notifications, 
presence, read receipts etc. from other Matrix users - but the core 
conversation is shared with IRC.  If it helps, you can almost think of Matrix 
as being a big decentralised IRC bouncer. You can join anywhere on Freenode by 
looking in the room directory or typing /join #freenode_#channel:matrix.org - 
or for that matter Moznet, GIMPnet, and many others.

    • Unlike IRC, Matrix is an entirely decentralised public network and 
anyone can run a server.  We’re providing one at https://kde.modular.im 
(kindly supplied by https://modular.im), but anyone can connect via their own 
servers.  This is because chat-rooms in Matrix are replicated across all the 
servers which participate in them (very similarly to how a git repository is 
cloned across all contributors), which means the rooms are not trapped on any 
single server or chat provider.  If the kde.modular.im server goes down, the 
rooms continue without disruption until it comes back.  In other words, 
ownership of the rooms is shared equally by all their participants - not by a 
central chat server or service.

    • As an open standard, Matrix is incredibly developer friendly (sending or 
receiving a message is literally a single HTTP hit!) and anyone can write 
their own clients, bots, bridges or servers and participate in the system. The 
flagship client today is Riot (which also powers https://webchat.kde.org), but 
there are also native Qt clients being developed such as Quaternion, Nheko, 
and Spectral for those who want something more KDE-friendly. Konversation is 
also planning Matrix support!

So please head over to https://webchat.kde.org (or matrix.kde.org via any 
other Matrix client!), grab an account and join #kde:kde.org.  For more 
information, check out our Matrix wiki page which includes details on how to 
configure desktop clients (https://community.kde.org/Matrix).

Let us know how you get on!


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