Matrix is decentralized chat network similar to email. You can join matrix on any domain that provides a Matrix API to chat locally and with a global network. Conversations are end to end encrypted by default, there are several nice looking clients (full disclosure I also created one :) with all features you would expect from a modern chat application.
Nextcloud on the other hand is a personal cloud solution that provides everything you expect from a cloud service like syncing: files, calendars, contacts, bookmarks, a plugin system, file encryption, version history and so much more.
To integrate Matrix with Nextcloud you will need a server that runs the Matrix server API. The most popular choice is currently Synapse, created by the developers of the Matrix protocol. Most likely you also want a simple way to use Matrix by with a browser based client, configured to use your Matrix API. The most popular choice for a client is currently Element, also developed by the Matrix team. I will show the set up both of these applications, but I just want to mention that there are more server and clients to choose from.
In this context, in 2019, I got to implement in Synapse a feature that had been actively requested by the Matrix community for a while now: message retention policy support. It allows any server or room admin to define a period of time after which a message gets hidden from clients and eventually deleted.
This feature is fairly complex to implement and document, due to different moving parts needing to interact with one another. The current documentation is a good place to start, especially if you’re mainly interested in knowing how to configure a retention policy on your server or in your room. But I thought it might be interesting to get a bit deeper into its implementation and explain some design choices and shortcomings.
Imagine you could physically step into your favourite FOSS projects’ chatrooms, mailing lists or forums and talk in person to other community members, contributors or committers? Imagine you could see project leads show off their latest work in front of a packed audience, and then chat and brainstorm with them afterwards (and maybe grab a beer)? Imagine, as a developer, you could suddenly meet a random subset of your users, to hear and understand their joys and woes in person?
This is FOSDEM, Europe’s largest Free and Open Source conference, where every year thousands of people (last year, ~8,500) take over the Solbosch campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium for a weekend and turn it into both a cathedral and bazaar for FOSS, with over 800+ talks organised over 50+ tracks, hundreds of exhibitor stands, and the whole campus generally exploding into a physical manifestation of the Internet. The event is completely non-commercial and volunteer run, and is a truly unique and powerful (if slightly overwhelming!) experience to attend. Ever since we began Matrix in 2014, FOSDEM has been the focal point of our year as we’ve rushed to demonstrate our latest work and catch up with the wider community and sync with other projects.
Over the years it’s become a tradition to write an end-of-year wrap-up on Christmas Eve, reviewing all the things the core Matrix team has been up over the year, and looking forwards to the next (e.g. here’s last year’s edition). These days there’s so much going on in Matrix it’s impossible to cover it all (and besides, we now have This Week In Matrix and better blogging in general to cover events as they happen). So here’s a quick overview of the highlights:
Matrix is an instant messaging system similar to Whatsapp or Telegram, but uses an open and decentralized network for secure and privacy-protected communications. NeoChat is a visually attractive Matrix client that works on desktop computers and mobile phones.
We have a bit of an unexpected early Christmas present for you today…
Alongside all the normal business-as-usual Matrix stuff, we’ve found some time to do a mad science experiment over the last few weeks - to test the question: “Is it possible to build a serious Twitter-style decentralised microblogging app using Matrix?”
It turns out the answer is a firm “yes” - and as a result we’d like to present a very early sneak preview of Cerulean: a highly experimental new microblogging app for Matrix, complete with first-class support for arbitrarily nested threading, with both Twitter-style (“vertical”) and HN/Reddit-style (“horizontal”) layout… and mobile web support!
It’s been just over 2 months since we revealed that Gitter was going to join Matrix - and we are incredibly proud to announce that Gitter has officially turned on true native Matrix connectivity: all public Gitter rooms are now available natively via Matrix, and all Gitter users now natively exist on Matrix. So, if you wanted to join the official Scala language support room at https://gitter.im/scala/scala from Matrix, just head over to #scala_scala:gitter.im and boom, you’re in!
Reading the spec!
France’s armed forces were the first to adopt a Matrix-based system. In April last year, they launched Tchap, based on Matrix, with the aim of moving secure communications off Telegram, which had been the government’s previous choice.