So given the Matrix outage, I went and made an XMPP account.

People like to talk down flagship servers in the federated ecosystem, but honestly hunting down an xmpp server as a host with was a pretty needless exercise. I went with Are they any good? No idea!

It didn't help that out of the pro-XMPP posts boosted into my TL, not one of them recommended a particular instance to set up an account. Without recommendations, I default to wanting something authoritative.

More Matrix/XMPP blathering 

More Matrix/XMPP blathering 

More Matrix/XMPP blathering (end) 

@ishara XMPP is really geared toward setting up your own server, imo. That's when all the benefits of it shine. Worth checking out for a good guide on setting up Prosody with modern defaults.

The reason XMPP feels more personal is because it *is* more personal. It's not public. It's private direct messaging. Meanwhile, the majority of Matrix usage has been as an IRC clone, which focuses on public rooms that can be joined/left by anyone.

@ishara Although, seeing you chose, I'd have to say that yes they seem quite good as a public host. Because that's really what an XMPP server is. It's just like an email server. The reason it was harder to choose where to sign up is because there's no "flagship" or superior option. They're basically all the same, as long as they're up-to-date and configured properly. In the email world, most people choose Gmail or Outlook because that's just what most people are aware of.


@ishara There's a good article explaining the separation you feel between XMPP and Matrix, in the way they have ended up today:

tldr: all communication falls into 1 of 3 categories:
1) Personal (direct chats)
2) Private (group chats)
3) Public (room chats)

Historically, XMPP fills 1 quite well, even though it can do 2+3 with MUC (multi-user chats) -- it's just not as clean.

IRC was written to do 3, and to do it efficiently. That's why it doesn't really do 1+2 well.

@ishara Slack, Discord, and Matrix all inherit their main design from IRC (room/channel based) and thus naturally predispose themselves to case 3 better than 1 or 2.

I personally use IRC for 3, XMPP for 1, and only really need a clean way to do 2. I see 2 as a closer extension of 1 (i.e. direct chats that add more participants) than it is an extension of 3 (i.e. rooms with restricted entry). But you can certainly extend your metaphors in either direction.

@ishara Note: nothing in the protocol really prevents either XMPP or Matrix from addressing all use cases -- but rather, the protocol lends itself to certain client apps being created. XMPP's focus on delivery has caused more messengers to be written (and thus be terrible for handling big public rooms). Matrix's focus on rooms has caused Riot to look a lot like Slack or Discord (and thus be terrible for direct chats).

@trwnh That's a great article that articulates a lot of feelings I've expressed in much less eloquent ways.

I definitely think that it's OK to have different programs/infrastructure to handle those kinds of chats: you don't need fine-grained permissions systems in a 1-1 chat room like you do in a huge public IRC channel.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!