📗 Matrix and Element / Riot Manual

Riot has now been rebranded Element. Some links have changed (example: login at app.element.io), but at least for me the change was smooth, no need to sign in again.

To do: update the documentation.

Hi @matthias, I’m having trouble signing in to element (it’s saying my password is incorrect). Can you do a password reset? Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience!

Done :slight_smile: See your e-mails for your new password.

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hi Matt, on the same note. I am still using the old version because I keep getting the message “Invalid homeserver discovery response” (on Chrome) when I introduce my username. Is there a cure? :slight_smile:

You probably have a browser extension installed that blocks requests to our Matrix homeserver. We saw that happen, with the same error message, with the Privacy Badger browser extension already (see).

For me it works:

  1. Using Chrome, I visit https://app.element.io/#/login
  2. I enter into the field “Username”: @marina:edgeryders.eu
  3. I click into the field “Password”.
  4. Now the line under “Sign in” changes to “Sign in to your Matrix account on edgeryders.eu”, which indicates a successful homeserver discovery.

So try to disable all your privacy enhancing extensions, ad blockers, etc. one by one and see if it helps. For a quick first test, open a new Incognito Window in Chrome and try there. Because usually, all the extensions are disabled in Incognito Windows – except you explicitly allowed them to run there.

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can not find mine there

That’s because the list needs some updates … . I just added you in, at least.

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After talking with @nadia about the challenges of the instant messaging setup in our company and having a night’s sleep over this topic, I did a bit of research and found that (1) our Matrix setup can be improved to meet many of the justified complaints people have about it right now and (2) with these improvements, Matrix is still the best available instant messaging system for us. Not sure when I can get to these improvements, but if anyone want to help, feel free to take over.

And now, my internal notes about my findings in more detail:

Matrix will not be great for audio or video group calls in the foreseeable future, but for that we’re using Zoom anyway. It has however voice messages integrated into both the Element web and Element mobile clients (and maybe other clients as well), and voice messages are better than calls anyway because they are asynchronous.

There are just no better alternatives around for us, compared to Matrix as it is right now:

  • Zello (voice messaging platform) is commercial and SaaS only

  • Mumble does not have a proper chat system (no read notifications), does not intend to migrate to XMPP or Matrix for their chat, and does not have a replay option for voice messages one has missed. That is, it is rater an alternative to Zoom, not to Matrix.

  • Rocket Chat is open source, but their only mobile apps are Electron based. While Matrix has native mobile apps by now, and also alternative lightweight web apps that would bring Matrix on parity with Rocket Chat otherwise (where Rocket Chat is more performant and less bloated than Element Web).

  • Signal is open source but we’d have to run our own server and compile and update our own clients (both a nightmare; see) and new server code seems to no longer being released open source. Also the only functionality it adds is audio and video calls, and for that we use Zoom anyway. It does not support federation, so we could never get away from an own client application even if we wanted, while with Matrix that would work if suddenly people started to use it for other purposes as well.

  • The Telegram client is open source but not the server, and the unofficial servers that exist are early stage (see).

  • XMPP is rather on the way out, as it was not able to integrate essential features like read notifications into the standard yet. They were not even able to integrate a feature for delivery notifications, let alone read notifications (see).

  • Discourse is moving a bit into the instant messaging realm, with its typing notifications in topics and read notifications in group messages. However, it does so far not intend to be an instant messaging replacement, as (1) there are no read notifications in topics (but that would be tolerable), (2) mobile notifications are not usable for instant messaging and (3) desktop notifications are also not very useful for instant messaging as they create a popup but no sound.

Matrix on the other hand has developed into a nice ecosystem recently (see), with a native Qt based desktop client and native mobile client applications. There is also a token based self-registration option for servers without public signup. The only issue left is the need for Google Push Notifications on mobile, and even that might be solved in an alternative mobile client already, or could be solved by placing a bug bounty on it. It really seems that Matrix could become the XMPP successor as it originally intended, that is, an open source and public standard for instant messaging. And even audio and video calls, if they get around to improving that functionality.

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Welcoming the newest members on our Matrix instant messaging system: @clairedvn @ivanv @lylycarrillo @jean_russell

This document here is the fabled manual, so you can figure out where to get the apps and the browser version, how to log in and how to use the whole thing. Of course, just ask if something does not work as intended. Putting your question in a comment below is fine, I’ll see it there.

On Matrix, you’ll see that I already invited you all to our common meeting room “Campfire”. We’ll add you to project rooms etc. as needed over time. And of course you can also request access to rooms yourselves, and start direct chats with anyone on that chat server. A list of users is found above in the manual (last section).

(cc @nadia)

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How critical is it to Edgeryders that I add another app to my communication systems? Is this a must?

Not a must, if you’re happy with using “only” this forum, which does not have an option for more chatty / quickfire communication style. When getting deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of an Edgeryders project, it may become a practical necessity to also use Matrix / Element, but at this time you’re fine without it I think.

About “adding another app”: yea, I know. Not your fault nor ours, chat protocols are an incompatible mess since companies abandoned the open XMPP standard in pursuit of … better emojis, I guess? Since Matrix is kind of positioning itself as the follow-up standard to XMPP, also being open source, I still think we’re doing the right thing on the long term by pushing for Matrix, even though on the short term it’s “yet another app” as it’s such a niche thing so far.

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