The Internet was built as a kind of decentralized democracy. Change is slow and messy but it protects us from a single entity forcing their will on us.
When you move your data and social graph to a closed platform you vote for authoritarian rule.
Such choices never end well.
@lrvick nice thread Lance. I agree and bang on about this all the time.
It feels a bit lonely "out there" but there are many who do get this as well. If you've not done so yet, check out https://safenetwork.tech which has a great community, and I think ground breaking privacy tech. It's where I put most of my effort in this topic.
@adfeno the matrix protocol is public and many are implementing clients and servers.
XMPP while first of its kind, is also heavily XML based and was largely developed without universal end to end encryption, or battery budget in mind.
Matrix corrects a lot of the XMPP failings that made it ineffecient and expensive to scale which is exactly why Facebook, Google, and others abandoned it for their large scale deployments.
@adfeno They intentionally didn't go the IETF route until all the major use cases are covered, however the IETF itself is in the process of moving to Matrix for their own internal use to discuss new internet protocols soooo.... Yeah.
The argument that “it's bad becaus of XML” is moot. Sure it does consume more resources depending on the message, but with the #XMPP #XEP for push notifications, it provides incentive for account providers to make those push services available for their own accounts, thus no longer depending on #GAFAM and such like.
Synapse is the proof of concept server, anyone is can make their own server code, Dendrite is one such example.
They just need to implement the different specs. This issue is that matrix is growing really fast and servers like dendrite are fairly new. There will soon be a time when dendrite catches up fully and only needs to add new features as and when they come.
@lrvick @adfeno This is not true. XMPP works really well in resource constrained environments (and actually, it was developed for it, according to xmpp.org) It does scale far better than current matrix implementations. Missing E2EE definitely is not a problem, as the core XMPP protocol is deliberately minimal. Facebook and Google simply don't want compatibility
@lrvick I don't know why then #Matrix team didn't register the standards officially with a standards body such as #IETF, #W3C, #ISO or #OASIS. This is my major point. Without this, #Matrix team can change the specification as they see fit, without anyone even having a way to say no, nor a test period.
@adfeno Hi there, why wouldn't you mention this topic on Matrix's official forum? I think it must be worth doing so.
@adfeno we are seeing the test period right now. They want to see how the published spec works at scale before they take on the overhead of locking it in stone with IETF.
Meanwhile the IETF itself is using Slack and considering Matrix because there is nothing better atm.
@lrvick @adfeno Using slack is new to me in that context. The WGs I'm active in (CBOR, CoRE, ACE) still use EMail primarily, Jabber for chat during meetings, WebEx during interims and MeetEcho (which integrates Jabber) for the full meetings. Matrix and Zulip(?) got trials at the last full meeting, and at least the Matrix bridge is still up.
@bmann yes it is open in theory, but in practice if you run your own server you are not allowed to connect with the Signal network.
If you compile and distribute your own client with reproducible build accountability and external review etc, it is not welcome on the Signal network.
If you choose to write a custom client for a currently unsupported architecture like OpenPOWER or RISC-V it won't be welcome on the Signal network either.
Open source code you can't really use is just marketing.
@lrvick right. So federation not being built in is the core issue.
I’m simplifying obviously, but “go run your own separate network” is the current stance of Signal, vs the Matrix protocol which has federation built in.
Ok, thanks for the info!
@lrvick Don't forget about Keybase, a provider of E2E encrypted chat, being acquired by shady videocalling firm Zoom.
@lrvick I heard about the censorship, but didn't know about the private keys handover - can you share some details/sources?
@setthemfree china mandated all services that operate in their country must host all hardware and HSMs there and ensure a path exists for user monitoring.
Some left China over this. Apple readily complied. Some more evidence:
Apple can run different firmware with different rules on different HSMs, and even encrypt data to an extra special set of keys.
Apple web services in China are hosted locally and controlled by the CCP without question now.
@lrvick @alcinnz This is a great thread. I realize that #Signal isn’t a saviour, just like previous centralized services aren’t. I think of it instead as a manageable “jump” away from the likes of Facebook and company for people scared to leave.
One step closer, hopefully, toward becoming familiar and comfortable with using decentralized services.
Matrix has multiple clients in every platform and already exists. IRC and Matrix are all I use. The water is fine. You can even bridge it to Signal if you really want to. Code for this already exists too. ( though moxie haaates this idea and will fight you )
For me, I've found that the first step I need to take is to educate folks in the simple fact that the Internet *does not equal* Facebook. I think for many, it will be the same type of gradual realization and/or migration.
I think more people realize that corporations don't have users' best interests in mind. Switching to Signal is a big step in that regard even if our underlying technology is similar.
A decentralized or federated Signal (Matrix? Berty? Briar?) is my dream, but...baby steps!
(Note that I'm not speaking for Signal here; just my opinion.)
@EvanHahn @rd @lrvick @benk @alcinnz
I think Moxie has historically done a bad job of explaining why Signal is the way it is, and has been unnecessarily inflammatory at times—to the point where I wrote my own article attempting to explain to friends the tradeoffs made:
Yes, decentralized would be even better. But last time I tried encrypted XMPP it was a dumpster fire; and Matrix requires lots of servers for scale, and the non-interpreted server code is still beta.
@benk @EvanHahn @alcinnz @lrvick @mathew I haven’t had very good luck with #XMPP apps on #iOS. Some looked nice but couldn’t handle encrypted/OMEMO without giving me grief, some just didn’t look like they were updated in years, and others couldn’t handle groups very well. If there’s a client I should be looking at, I’m open to suggestions.
Still, it wouldn’t replace #Signal’s group chat feature for me anytime soon.
I know people who use Element on iOS full time with no complaints recently. That said I assume very few engineers that care about software freedom enough to contribute to Matrix clients also use Apple products.
That would make me expect it is a secondary priority target.
If you care about privacy why use products by a company that had no problem selling out users in China when the CCP asked?
Don't mean to start a flame war, but I never understood those arguments for Apple products.
Don't get me wrong, stock Android devices are often even worse. Neither represents a healthy direction we should be recommending imo.
@mathew A great post. I agree with this basically 100%. (I can't speak to our organization's motivations too well, but I think this is our tack as well.)
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