Should Flathub/Flatpak move to another communication channel? If so, where and why?

Currently there seems to be drama in the freenode.net community with many staff resigning. I don’t know how important that is but if it is then another platform should be considered.

From my POV :

  • Move to libera.chat (another IRC server) which is handled by the staff resigning from freenode
  • Move to matrix.org (a matrix server) since it seems to be becoming the platform preferred by newer contributors and it is gaining momentum in the free software world.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this subject.

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My personal take is we shouldn’t rush to Libera, they are very overloaded already and things need time to settle down.

I think moving to Matrix alone is just a downgrade in experience, all IRC users just left behind. Libera will be bridged to Matrix at some point.

There are other IRC networks like OFTC or GIMPNet which are options. I personally think GIMPNet is a good choice but that of course could be controversial.

moving to Matrix alone is just a downgrade in experience, all IRC users just left behind

Aren’t there bridges from IRC to Matrix?

Yes, but their UX is bad on both sides. As mentioned in other places, on IRC you’ll sometimes see just a link posted because someone wrote a longer Multi-line message, edits and replies look weird, etc. And on matrix you get kicked from a room because your IRC puppet didn’t talk to NickServ successfully before re-joining a room.

I recommend a look into GNOME’s summary about their gimpnet experience: IRC, Matrix, and thanks for all the kicks - Community - GNOME Discourse

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As I pointed out in my mail to the libravatar community today, I don’t think the goal should be yet another IRC network. Why? Because IRC channels don’t die. Moving people from there is very hard. On matrix there is no central server for a room. Each room is a local copy. Don’t like your current provider anymore? Switch the provider, rejoin the room, continue as before.

Further I wrote the following:

Why Matrix and not XYZ? Because Matrix is currently adopted by many
major free software organisations. As mentioned GNOME, KDE, Fedora,
Debian, Archlinux, … and so far, I don’t know any other messenger
protocol that managed that and remained federated. The integration with
existing communities that were on Gitter before or that currently remain
on Freenode, OFTC or gimpnet exists and allows everyone who wants to
participate in the libravatar community to interact with these projects
without any barrier and all while maintaining an account on a provider
of their choice.

I would say, the same applies to even more Flatpak. “Hey, flatpak XY doesn’t work for me” “No problem join #xyz:gnome.org because this is not a flatpak specific issue”. Same for KDE, Mozilla and friends.

All in all, I wouldn’t consider the whole freenode drama the reason to switch, but a notch to start the switch.

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Can you link something about this freenode ‘drama’?

Just a note from a random user, Matrix is under the control of huge entities with big dollars, it’s federated on the paper, but the reality is that only few can manage to put in place and pay for an infrastructure like that. Matrix is extremely gourmand in resources compared to alternative solutions based on XMPP or IRC.

So, why freenode is an issue, is it? Can we(you) rely on something that it’s more human size and that we can watch up?

Here are some links from people resigining (Note that I’ve not curated them and put them in a gist to avoid spam embeds) :
https://gist.github.com/lionirdeadman/47b7dcfd7c1b9065f4e3e5be67f3cadb

I have not seen that and all the servers that I’ve seen are free software.

IRC doesn’t do anything so that’s not surprising but there are many implementations of matrix server other than synapse which claim to be better if that interests you and it’s something that Matrix promotes, it’s all specced out for anyone to implement either server or client. I don’t think Flathub will be hosting the server either way as that was not the case for the IRC channel either.

First of all, no, actually many can, since rooms continue to exist even with New Vector goes out of service. Yes it’s not entirely cheap, but as long as one homeserver survives in a room, it stays accessible for everyone.

Yes, matrix has a huge scaling issue, which makes lots of admins mad. However, we see many organisations stepping up and providing own matrix servers, including many universities.

From my personal instance, I can say that without any optimisation or deletion of media data over the past 3(?) years, the resource usage resides around 30GB of storage, <1GB RAM and a some CPU time. All in all, if someone wants to invest ~10€ per month to host an instance for themselves and their friends/family, this should be in.

Obviously, not comparable to IRC where a Raspberry Pi can house half the population of the Netherlands. But from my perspective an acceptable alternative, especially looking towards the upcoming P2P features, which should allow better setups for low-profile users to run a homeserver on their phone or similar.


Either way, even with the fact that matrix is not perfect at all, given the restrictions the IRC has and how it simply doesn’t keep up with modern expectations towards messengers, I would say that matrix is our best bet, as it seems to be the most promising option. (e.g. see the rockchat experiment of the GNOME foundation linked above)

I was just told that a decision was made and matrix it is.

The new room will be without bridges and can be found at: #flatpak:matrix.org. :tada:

A thing to note is that we currently have more people connected to matrix now than we ever had on the old IRC and that there has been very limited confusion from people. We do have a fallback registration on librechat if required and remain open minded about how best to facilitate discussion between flatpak and flathub users and developers.