Synchronous communication tools have been taking a central spot in the way we interact with our friends, family, colleagues, and communities; therefore I would like to start a conversation about modern communication tools for the Ubuntu community.
There is a shared desire to encourage more interaction between Canonical teams and the Ubuntu, Linux and open-source communities. After all, most Canonical engineers are also community contributors, often involved in many open-source projects.
At the same time, we as the Ubuntu community should consider ways to cater to a wider, diverse audience and ensure that we are including less technical users and younger generations in our considerations. While doing so, we also need to make sure we stay true to the values that brought us to Ubuntu, Linux, and FOSS. When selecting the tools we use, we should always be focused on open-source, privacy, and freedom respecting software.
We believe that Matrix offers all the modern features we need, without compromising our values. It is open-source, it can be self-hosted, it supports end-to-end encryption and federation. Moreover, there are many integration tools, bots and bridges available.
Let’s take a look at the features and values:
Open-Source protocols, servers, and clients: Matrix is released as open-source software. Matrix is a protocol; there are already various implementations of both the server, and the client. Those are also released as open-source software. For now, we are going to focus on Synapse server, Element desktop and mobile clients, and Element web client .
Federation: Federation promotes inclusion, open dialog, user choice, and it greatly reduces risks of a single entity being able to control the whole platform. At the same time, federation provides convenience. If you already have a Matrix account registered under the Mozilla server, or any other federated Matrix servers, you can reach other communities directly from there.
Deployment options: Matrix server, Synapse, can be deployed on premise on small, single node, home installations. It can be deployed on Kubernetes clusters, and it can be hosted by Element and various cloud providers.
How can I get involved?
There are a few important questions that we’d like to ask the community:
Have you used or managed Matrix before? If so, what did you like, what did you not, and how does it compare to other chat platforms you have used?
Do you think that Matrix can be a great tool to interact with the Ubuntu Community?
We would love to read your stories. Give us feedback and let us know what you think about Matrix. Your contribution can shape the future of communication tools for the Ubuntu Community.