Software Freedom Conservancy

Come chat with us at general@chat.sfconservancy.org 🎉

by Daniel Takamori on June 21, 2021

Last Thursday we launched our new chat platform chat.sfconservancy.org! Conservancy's main chat room, which used to be on Freenode, is now available at the following locations:

  1. The primary room, on XMPP at general@chat.sfconservancy.org (also via the web)
  2. A bridged IRC room, at #conservancy on irc.libera.chat
  3. The bridged room that Matrix provides, at #xmpp_general_chat.sfconservancy.org:matrix.org

We've taken the opportunity of leaving Freenode to change technologies to something we think reflects our ideals. XMPP is a decentralized, open standard and widely used chat platform that supports many of the common features we've come to expect in the new era of chat. Given that we've been using IRC, almost anything would be a strict upgrade when it comes to features. We also wanted to make it as easy as possible for newcomers to start chatting.

We evaluated and tested a multitude of options: XMPP, Matrix, RocketChat, Mattermost, Zulip, ircv3, etc and permutations of bridging support. Given the near parity of features that we care about (we even support reactions now 👍), some reasons we chose XMPP over the others are the longevity and fundamental independence of the XMPP protocol, that we found the matrix-bifrost bridge to work better with Matrix users coming in to XMPP than XMPP users joining Matrix channels (but hope in the future to see this support get better!) and staff familiarity with XMPP. There is also a really healthy and growing ecosystem of XMPP clients and you'll find some recommendations below.

Note: similarly to IRC, your connection to the XMPP server is encrypted, but due to the nature of chat rooms, we cannot provide E2E encryption of the channel itself. Nevertheless here are a list of clients that support OMEMO (which is the standard for E2E encryption for XMPP).

Clients 💻 📱

Server 🖥

And here are some other tools which I think are interesting:

  • Biboumi allows you to connect to IRC channels from your XMPP client. We are using this instance.
  • matrix-bifrost allows you to bridge from Matrix to XMPP. It's a bit hard to run yourself but Matrix runs one for you!
  • matterbridge is what we're using to bridge from XMPP to IRC. It has a plethora of options and is a great tool if you want to bridge yourself into walled garden platforms but use your own FOSS client.

We're excited about the possibilities of what XMPP will bring our community. Specifically helping our projects use more free software where possible. Communication is one area that we particularly think is important to remain free and in our (collective) hands. The proliferation of chat software over the years is a well noted problem, and this is one area that free software both outperforms proprietary options and promotes interoperating standards and giving back the freedom of users to use the software that works for them.

So which ever client and connection you choose, we're excited to hear from you 💻🌉💻

Tags: conservancy, resources

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