Modern communication platforms: Matrix testing

Communication is an important aspect of any community, getting people together to discuss ideas, issues, and make progress is vital to building a network of people interested in Ubuntu and Canonical. When a company is majorly involved in the community, working in the open makes them more approachable, which builds trust in the community.

In an effort to lower the barrier of entry for community contributions and build a bridge between Canonical staff and community leaders, we would like to move to a more modern synchronous communication system called Matrix. You can read more about this topic in this thread on the Ubuntu Discourse.

As part of our rollout, we’re inviting you to begin testing. There are several objectives we would like to achieve:

  • We want to ensure that we have a solid infrastructure and that all the fundamental features of Matrix are functioning properly.
  • We want to encourage you to provide feedback, ideas and feature requests. This Matrix instance is for the Ubuntu community, therefore it should be shaped by the Ubuntu community.
  • We are looking for moderators and synchronous communication experts to help us make this Matrix instance the best it can be.

Can anyone join the server? Can I join any external channel?

Ubuntu Members and Canonical employees can sign up for an account on the server and receive a Matrix id You can join rooms and spaces hosted on other servers via federation.

If you are not an Ubuntu Member or a Canonical employee, you still can help us testing the Matrix instance. Anyone with a Matrix account can join the testing server through a mechanism called federation. Even without an account on the instance you will be able to join any room on servers that have federation enabled.
If you are unable to join rooms and spaces on the Matrix instance through federation, please check the “known issues” section below, and report issues in this GitHub repository.

How to get started

Matrix is a standardized protocol, therefore there are a number of clients available for desktop, mobile and the web. If you have multiple Matrix accounts, your current choice is to use a different client or profile. Instructions linked contain information about this. When selecting a client, make sure to pick one that has SSO support, otherwise you will not be able to log in.

The onboarding instructions will give you more information on how to connect either with your own Matrix account or with your account.

Once you’ve joined, please look at the public rooms list:

  • Join room. This is where you can discuss issues or bugs.
  • If you want to discuss Ubuntu Matrix project with like-minded people, please join the room.

Test scenarios

Please note the Matrix instance we’ve set up is meant solely for testing. Please don’t rely on anything you see during this time, but if you’ve created something amazing we’ll do our best to port it over.

The more people join and have conversations, the better we can stress-test our instance. With your help we can identify bugs and feature requests that will make it easier to have conversations on this platform. We’re interested in feedback both from technical and non-technical groups!

  • Account Creation: Create your account via SSO and view your profile. Does everything look right?
  • Desktop & Mobile: Does logging in via Desktop, Mobile and the Web work? Are the messages in sync across all devices?
  • Basic encryption and account backup: Try backing up your keys and setting up encryption. Is it intuitive? Can you recover your account with the backup using these codes?
  • Unencrypted rooms: Join a few rooms. Create a public room that others can join, maybe others from your team.
  • Encryption: Create a private room or DM, with encryption. Does it work well across all devices?
  • Conversation: Start a conversation in one of the rooms. Share a meme. Tell us what you enjoy about Matrix.

What you might consider is moving a specific type of conversation to Matrix for a while so you’ll have a chance to test the features regularly. For example, the community team has moved their team room for the time being.

If you want to go the extra mile, you are welcome to run additional tests, get involved, and help us with this project. Please reach out to us via this discourse thread or the rooms linked above.

Reporting Issues

Please report issues in this GitHub repository. We will review the feedback regularly and use it to resolve issues or consider features to improve interactions between community members and staff.

Known issues

  • Element web client is not available on yet. We will send updates once the Element web client will be ready to test. You can use or a desktop client as noted in the instructions.
  • Federation functionality is limited. As we’re exploring ways to make federation work with our infrastructure, we have allow-listed a certain set of hosts that our instance can federate with. You will experience an M_UNKNOWN error when trying to connect from other hosts. Please reach out if you need your homeserver allow-listed. Common hosts such as and are permitted. There is a task in progress to enable full federation on the instance. Please stay tuned for more information.

What about other communication platforms like IRC and Mattermost?

We are looking to migrate our public chat platforms like the Charmhub Mattermost and you will be able to see more Ubuntu projects spaces and rooms on the Matrix instance starting in late November 2023.

Once we’ve validated functionality, we’ll also be exploring bridging between Matrix and IRC. We expect Matrix to be the main communications platform, but also want to provide a window for those participating via IRC to remain part of the conversation. Especially for those of you that have enjoyed IRC, we’d appreciate your feedback on how to create a smooth experience that is ready for the next era of communication.

What comes next?

Once we have gathered feedback from Ubuntu Members and Canonical staff, we’ll expand testing to the broader community, especially when full federation is enabled.

Ultimately, by the end of the 24.04 cycle, we aim for Matrix to become not just a communication platform, but the central hub for open collaboration on Ubuntu and all community-focused initiatives at Canonical. This will include seamless integration with our documentation, robust community support channels, and lively discussions to shape the future. Your help along the way is key to this transformation.