In which Matthew & Amandine discuss The Matrix.org Foundation, go-live for the French Government deployment for Matrix, and some exciting random diversions into post-1.0 Matrix features which should land once once 1.0 is out the door!
Before, there was a jarring cut when new messages were loaded, but now you can just scroll upward and older messages are loaded continuously.
The part I’m most excited about is the new “new message divider”. When the user opens a room they can directly start reading the conversation from the last seen message and they don’t need to search for the new message divider. Not only has the UX gotten a lot better, but also the underlying code is much cleaner now.
I also spent some time on making message rendering faster. I replaced the RegExp with more efficient code, this made the rendering much faster (from ~10ms to ~ 1ms) for every single message.
In summary, all of these things improve Fractal’s UX a lot and make it feel more like a modern messaging app.
0.34.0rc1 is out – please test it! 0.34.0 will be the first to officially support python 3. We’re still working on the debian packaging but 0.34.0 proper should be out next week.
Brendan has been getting on with Dendrite development:
Started auditing Dendrite’s codebase to identify what is left to implement, along with what hasn’t been implemented correctly. Still a lot of work left to do on this, but it’s looking promising so far.
Modular is a Hosted Homeservers product, check out modular.im. This week:
Currently working on the website (based on t2bot.io, thank you travis for making that available on github!) and making things nicer in general.
I will be adding more bots shortly. Please let me know of any issues with the HS or anything surrounding it.
Informo is a project to create a specification and implementation for distributing information and news. This week they have been working on merging changes to the specification:
Work on the Informo specifications has slowed down a bit in the last couple of weeks, though since the last update we did manage to get some relatively big SCSs merged into the specs, including SCS #9 (rendered here) which specifies how information sources must publish their information through the federation, and SCS #11 (rendered here) which describes how sources must register themselves in order to be picked up by clients, and handle localisation. 🙂
There’s still a couple of big items to take care of before we can cut a 1.0 release of the Informo specs but this is definitely a huge step towards this goal.
I started working on a Minecraft bridge pretty heavily based on Travis’s old project, but using Minecraft-protocol instead of mineflayer.
You need a bot Minecraft account that can join and idle in the server, it then uses /tellraw to post messages.
As Qt 5.12 was released a few hours ago, I am porting Spectral from 5.11 to 5.12. It will utilize QtQuick’s new DelegateChooser to bring a faster timeline. Lots of code refactoring and cleaning are also going on.
I plan to drop Qt 5.11 support as soon as Qt 5.12 gets into major GNU/Linux distributions’ repositories.
libQMatrixClient 0.4.1 has been released today, with small fixes in the stable branch. Meanwhile, active work is ongoing on lazy-loading support in the library, with ETA for the feature landing in master being in about a week or so.
Redesign progress: all resizeable sections are now persisted, (slow) progress on improving read markers
A new developer joined us to help maintaining Riot: Valere Fedronic
Keys backup PR in review
Privacy Terms acceptance in login flow in review
FCM issue investigation/troubleshooting by Valere
François Off (sick :()
New theme is coming soon
druig has been working on Koma, a JavaFX Matrix client:
This week in koma: implementation of json library switched from runtime reflection to compile-time code generation
The matrix api is implemented manually in the project, retrofit and moshi are used to interact with the rest api.
As we mentioned in TWIM last week, MTRNord has been working on designs for SimpleMatrix, a Matrix client for Android in development. This week he has made a video showcasing the new design.
Redecentralize meetup in London
Last night Half-Shot & Neil & Brendan went to see the Redecentralize folk at their meetup:
Beer! And pizza! And also Redecentralize
We chatted to a nice bunch of folks both demoing their decentralized projects and talked to the likes of scuttlebutt, BBC, IPFS and more. Was a interesting experience having around 8 minutes to quickly explain to newcomers what Matrix is and why they should use it in a speed dating format. We chatted (and demoed) bridges, new-riot and generally how it all fits together. There were a lot of very interesting people with different profiles and backgrounds, and diversified questions which lead to a lot of interesting discussions.
Note for the confused: the format of the meetup was comparable to speed dating. There is no suggestion that Matrix should be used at regular speed dating. If you do find such a use for Matrix, come tell us in #twim:matrix.org.
This week it has been winter-in-Europe kind of weather, but that’s ok, it happens every year. TWIM on the other hand happens every week, so if you have something to share, and would like to share what you’ve been working on, come chat to us in #twim:matrix.org.
Longer than usual episode of Matrix Live this week. Amber talks to Neil about the works she’s been doing over the last few months to port Synapse from Python 2 to Python 3. Recommended for anyone who’s been following along the progress of Synapse, or who wants a good intro on the benefits of Python 3 over Python 2.
an open-source smartphone that can be assembled for 50$ in parts. It is Linux-powered, with UI software written in Python.
Currently, ZeroPhone is based on Raspberry Pi Zero, SIM800L GSM modem and 1.3″ OLED screen and button interface.
I stumbled across this blog post which mentions a matrix app in a project to create an open, hackable phone out of a raspberry pi. It’s old news at this point I guess, but I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned here, so I thought it might be a neat thing worth featuring: https://zerophone.github.io/newsletter/ZeroPhone-Weekly-No.-16/
The creator of the Matrix app, derivmug also arrived to tell us about his work:
Hey everyone, I have been suggested to post about the Zerophone project here. I have written a basic matrix client for it. It’s basically a simple phone based on a raspberry pi zero, focused on privacy, security and hackability.
Matrix (or more specifically, Synapse) servers are now visible on the The Federation info website at https://the-federation.info/matrix%7Csynapse. The website collects lists of servers for various federation protocols (like Matrix, ActivityPub, Diaspora, etc). If a server outputs usage information, it also shows some historical information for servers and projects. Currently the information available from Synapse on the site is just version, availability of registrations and (obviously) domain name. If you want to register your server, check https://the-federation.info/info for more details. Tips also welcome on how to register other Matrix server projects and how to get more data out of servers.
I made a rss plugin for maubot and added a fancy log viewer in the maubot management UI.
mautrix-telegram 0.4.0 was released, though it has no changes since the release candidate. I also copied mautrix-telegram’s HTML parser into mautrix-python. Hopefully it’s now generic enough so that when mautrix-telegram switches to mautrix-python, it can drop most of the built-in HTML parser.
matrix-appservice-discord received a lot of work these past days.
Not only the usual small bugfixes, but also some rather big changes:
The parsers for both Discord->Matrix sending and Matrix->Discord sending were re-written completely to properly handle things (and thus, at the same time, crunch a bunch of edge-case bugs!).
In addition, the long-awaited highlighting issues with @ everyone and @ here (on discord) and @ room (on matrix) were addressed.
Some of these things are still in PR stage, but expected to be merged soon!
Half-Shot also provided a great screenshot of everything working well:
is just showing off having IRC+Matrix+Discord+XMPP plugged together. XMPP being the one purple is bridging
This week our focus has been to work through some final bugs blocking 0.34.0 which will be our first official python 3 release. Expect a RC rsn. For a sneak peak see this week’s Matrix Live video at the top!
That’s it for this week. If you have anything to share with us, and you’d like to be included on the blog, please come talk in #twim:matrix.org!
In one month from now, many Matrix-acolytes, including myself, will be at 35c3. If you’ll be there, come chat to us in #matrix-35c3:matrix.org!
A little delay to the release of this week’s TWIM, expect us to resume normal schedule on Friday.
Spec & Foundation
Two workshops happened with the Foundation lawyers to work on MSC1318 – basically fleshing out a proposal for the details of the foundation governance in terms of how the Guardians (i.e. directors of the foundation board) should interact with the Core Spec Team to act as a back-stop – and working out how to port the MSC (once finished) into formal Articles of Association & adjunct documents. We’ll get the workshop notes written up as a rewrite of MSC1318 very shortly.
MSC1730 Mechanism for redirecting to an alternative server during login
…and an alternate to MSC1730: MSC1731 Mechanism for redirecting to an alternative server during SSO login.
These three SSO-related MSCs are derived from work being done for a large-scale Matrix deployment for a New Vector customer which we should be able to talk about in future. Improving SSO and other auth/identity work in Matrix is vital, and needless to say we’re trying to ensure all the resulting work ends up in the spec to the benefit of the whole ecosystem :)
matrix-media-repo has received a lot of updates in the last few weeks. Although mostly bug fixes and improvements, there’s added support for streaming downloads from remote servers. This is mostly useful when someone posts a 100mb video in a room: previously the media repo would download the entire thing then send it over to you. Now it’ll send you the video while it also caches it.
the ability to set up a public server and the ability to make use of Synapse’s \”auto-join\” feature. Until now, the playbook was only suited for setting up a private server, but with this, setting up public servers is now a possibility. Thanks @anadahz
I’m quite happy that the playbook is getting more contributions from others now and is improving in such diverse ways!
Additionally, the #matrix-docker-ansible-deploy:devture.com support room in Matrix is now bridged to the #matrix-docker-ansible-deploy IRC Freenode channel, making it easier for people to get support when they don’t have a working homeserver.
the work on lazy-loading in libQMatrixClient has advanced to the point when client authors may start trying to integrate it in their applications (welcome to #qmatrixclient:matrix.org for details – it’s a bit rough around the edges yet).
This week Black Hat has been working to give Spectral a more Material design oriented UI.
SMSMatrix now has a room (#smsmatrix:matrix.org). SMSMatrix is a simple bridge between Matrix and SMS, developed by tijder. You install an android app and register a bot account which will invite you to direct chats under the name of anyone who sends you an SMS, which will then act as a normal SMS conversation.
I had a very quick play with this tool and it works great – a good way to quickly bridge SMS to Matrix.
Modular.im provides Hosted Homeservers for Matrix.
Modular now has full support for Custom DNS (letting you point your own SRV records at it)
Lots of work on a migration tool to allow folks to easily shift Matrix accounts between servers, as well as (in future) migrations from HipChat, Slack & others.
Apologies for the delayed release this week – please expect an episode of Matrix Live in the week, and back to a normal schedule for TWIM as of Friday. As always, come talk to us in #thisweekinmatrix:matrix.org and tell us what you’ve been doing.
This week we continue Matrix Live Season 3 by talking to community member axx, Axel Simon from La Quadrature du Net, a French advocacy group that promotes digital rights and freedoms of citizens. We talk about the work La Quadrature du Net do, with a focus on the importance of decentralisation and how Matrix helps support this.
mxisd v1.2.0 released
Max has been giving updates on the road to mxisd v1.2.0, which was released this week:
A new stable version of mxisd is out: v1.2.0. It comes with:
The ultimate identity store that lets you run any command on the system to fetch info, making it the most generic yet. The sky is now your limit!
The ability to send email notifications about room invites when done using a Matrix ID regardless if their users is already provisioned on synapse, using emails found in an Identity store. Targeted at onboarding/migration to Matrix for any org/corp.
The maubot management UI is now ready, which means you should be able to install, update and configure plugins with just the UI.
Half-Shot has been working on important work for his final undergrad year. Just kidding! He’s been working on bridges as you’d expect:
I’ve been working on matrix-appservice-purple, and the community immediately rallied around and helped me get it into shape. We’ve got automated builds for both the bridge and the libpurple binding modules. In features land, group chats are now working at a basic level and I will be working on supporting profiles next. #purple-bridge:half-shot.uk is now a room where you can tell me why your favorite protocol doesn’t work with the bridge. (It’s also used for updates.)
A couple of SCS (Specs Changes Submissions) have been merged into the Informo specs, notably SCS #2 which introduces a complete technical description of the network’s nodes and their expected behaviour, and SCS #4 which changes the duration of the call for public review period, shrinking it from 14 days to 7 days, in order to speed specs work up while letting a decent amount of time for people to give a look at new SCSs and voice their concerns.
aside from mundane bugfixing, Quaternion’s timeline scrolling has been improved in the master branch. Along with that, the native scrollbar can now be used instead of the shuttle scroller that is loved by some and equally hated by some others. Unfortunately, all that work has a side-effect that under some circumstances the timeline backlog is no more loaded. This will be fixed later this week.
Together with the ongoing work on refactoring room state cache and lazy-loading this makes Quaternion quite prone to regressions: unless you want to help to iron them out, it’s advised to stick with Quaternion 0.0.9.3 and wait for further announcements.
By the way, the latest Quaternion release is now available in OpenSUSE Tumbleweed rolling distribution.
Synapse has a new release candidate – 0.33.9rc1 – If you’d like to help us test it, you can get it here.
This week in Koma, I have been working on a correct implementation of the user registration process. Currently waiting for a small issue with synapse to get fixed
For kotlin programmer who might be interested https://github.com/koma-im/koma/pull/6
f-droid.org has set up a new matrix (synapse) server
An implementation for Push-to-Talk for Jitsi calls in Riot has now been completed and is in the review phase. This was a result of multiple weeks of work, with code changes across many different repositories. Will hopefully make a difference with background noise or many participants. Look forward to seeing it land in /develop sometime shortly! Works with both Scalar and Dimension setups.
Half-Shot: “The events API update for Slack was released on riot.im/develop a little while ago, which let you do more than webhooks could let you do. The UI scalar/integration manager bits were left on /develop for testing but got rolled out to /app this week.”
We continue the new format for Matrix Live season 3 by chatting with Francois from New Vector, to get a sneak preview of the work he’s doing on a new version of matrix-android-sdk, and how that will impact Riot:
Dendrite and Brendan
Welcome to Brendan, who has started working on Dendrite as his new day job at New Vector:
There’s been some progress on Dendrite (🎉), with a couple of bug getting fixed along with some progress in the implementation of Matrix endpoints, such as the /backfill federation one (documented here), which has already been merged, and the /messages one from the client-server API (documented here) for which a pull request has been opened and is currently under review.
TWIM (but actually over the last few weeks), thanks to the efforts of a new contributor, matrix-puppet-slack v1.7.0 and v1.8.0 have been released, fixing a number of old and new issues and adding support for new types of Slack events, including bidirectional @-mentions, Slack-to-Matrix typing notifications, fixing Slack-to-Matrix image/file uploads with comments, and more!
The matrix-puppet-bridge projects have gotten relatively quiet over the past year or so, but there’s still plenty of bridges with plenty of features to implement and plenty of bugs to fix (and, even more importantly, bugs to report!) for any would-be-contributors who’d like to use a trusted Matrix homeserver as their double-puppetting Slack/iMessage/Facebook/GroupMe/iChat/Skype/Hangouts/Signal/Tox client from which to brag to their friends on the other platforms about how great Matrix is.
tulir has been making big progress on his maubot management UI:
The maubot management UI has progressed well, but isn’t quite ready yet. I think it should be usable by Next Week in Matrix.
It can be used to set up and configure a maubot instance and plugins. Once it’s ready, it should be possible to do everything except installing maubot itself through the UI: installing and updating plugins, adding matrix clients, configuring plugin instances, viewing logs, etc.
HK Bot is an anti-abuse bot
Coffee continues his streak of TWIM mentions by bringing a new bot to combat abuse:
HK Bot is an anti-abuse bot for public Matrix chatrooms.
This is a bot that really shouldn’t exist, but since some people just like to make others’ lives more difficult, here we are.
The purpose of this bot is twofold. It can automatically oversee rooms and respond to abuse, based on programmable pattern rules, providing a stop-gap measure in case no human moderators are nearby. It can also automate some tedious tasks via its command interface, the primary one being the complete redaction of all of an abuser’s messages.
HK Bot is still under construction and contains dangerous features. Use with caution.
X-SAMPA to IPA bot
Dandellion “made an X-SAMPA to IPA bot based on matrix-bot-sdk and discord’s conniebot”. This bot essentially lets you use ASCII characters to get an output in IPA. The advantage of this is that you can much more easily type and transmit pronunciation (because you don’t need to find the characters).
I’ll just have to make it a bit more configurable, but then I’ll throw the source up
When making constructed languages and talking about linguistics, it’s nice to get an easilly readable IPA representation of a word, but it’s really hard to write IPA, which is why x-sampa exists as a way to input IPA with a normal keyboard!
vabd, the unknown organiser of Informo provided an update about the spec:
A handful of SCS (Specs Changes Submissions) to the Informo specifications have been happening over the last week and a half, with some of them still open to public review for at least a few days before being merged into the specs. The list of SCS open to review can be found here, and people can track new SCS and status changes to existing ones through our specs bot that’s living in #discuss:weu.informo.network 🙂
I increased message rendering performance in the room history. Also the history doesn’t move it’s position anymore when older messages are loaded, which results in a much better experience. All the changes are in master, but we didn’t make a new release.
I have made a video about Riot which could fit in the Guides on matrix.org. It’s for beginners, in French. It’s 6 months old, but I just uploaded it on youtube. Also it’s available on peertube.
More Things This Week
ma1uta introduces a new client built on JavaFX: no code yet, but it’s built on the previous Java Matrix work he’s been doing. “It will be cross-platform (linux,windows,osx I hope) client with supports of the multi accounts.”
Half-Shot also continued work on bridging via libpurple: “I’ve nearly got group chats working, with invites (and hopefully people joining and leaving them showing up properly) as well as user’s having profiles.”
Since the last TWIM update, koma is updated to kotlin 1.3, experimental coroutines are replaced with stable ones. The changes are being tested and should be merged soon. A new contributor has joined, so expect development to speed up a bit.
in preparation for the upcoming Matrix 1.0 release, we’ve been moving ahead with the rest of the open governance plan – and we’re happy to announce that as of a few hours ago, the initial incarnation of The Matrix.org Foundation exists!
Watch this space over the coming weeks as we announce the Guardians and finish bootstrapping the Foundation into its final long-term form! Meanwhile, any questions: come ask in #matrix-spec-process:matrix.org
Just wanted to let everyone know that changes are coming to the server list: I’ve put up a notice on the site that starting Nov 16th I will only show a curated list of servers I would recommend to join.
This reduces the workload for me quite a bit and avoids me becoming some kind of arbiter on what encompasses the Matrix universe… I think it is also more useful for users who are looking for a server to join.
And there is always matrixstats.org for those who are looking for a more complete-ish list of known homeservers.
However, if you have ideas on how to continue the project, or would like to step up and get involved in maintaining a list using data and tools from Hello Matrix, please contact me. Alex told me:
if you find someone willing to take up the project of a more automated, self-service and complete list at a later date, I am more than willing to hand over all the stuff I currently have and might also lend a helping hand myself (if I have time then).
maubot management API
tulir has continued work on the revamped, now-Pythonic maubot, and has added a management API:
The maubot management API I mentioned last week is now mostly ready. It should be possible to use it to set up a maubot instance and plugins without filling the database manually. There’s no UI yet though, so it still means curling manually.
The management API also supports the fancy plugin reloading stuff which was the > reason I rewrote maubot in python: You can POST an updated plugin to the API and it’ll install it without having to restart.
I also made a bunch of plugins while working on the API that I used to test the API: a dice rolling/calculator bot, a bot that replies with the MXC URI of images you send it, a simple echo/ping bot and an xkcd bot
Next steps are making the management UI, a few more plugins and making setup and development instructions so that other people could run it and make plugins
My lightweight bot/client framework, matrix-client-core, received its first tag ever. Version 0.0.1 is relatively stable, and lies on the doorstep of some refactoring work (ongoing) which should keep the master branch backwards compatible for now, but could make things less stable as I add new commits.
It turns out this isn’t strictly a new project:
[it has] been there all along, quietly powering FAQBot and all of my bots. 😁 Maybe I have failed to explicitly indicate it as such up until now. (oops)
Always good news to see more bot-creation tooling!
Max has updates on mxisd, Identity Server for Matrix:
mxisd v1.2.0-rc.1 is out with support of all features for the Exec Identity Store, allowing connectivity to totally custom/arbitrary backends. Feedback is extremely welcome!
Half-Shot interfaces with libpurple
It’s a job that someone needed to do, and that someone was Half-Shot (who else?)
I’ve been reviving node-purple (a library for communicating with libpurple) and making a brand new bridge service to make use of it called matrix-appservice-purple. Today I got it to the point where you could link your XMPP account to your matrix user and have it bridge PMs over.
Work is ongoing to make it bridge group chats, profiles, contacts lists and support other protocols better in the coming weeks
NSFW image detection API (on Matrix)
Black Hat is often found working on Spectral (previously ‘Matrique’.) This week, he has been building @nsfw:encom.eu.org, which is a bot designed to give scores for how likely an image should be classified as NSFW. It’s a simple mechanism, you give it an image, it gives you a JSON object with the result. For example:
My avatar returned less than 1% probability of being NSFW, which I was actually a little offended by.
kitsune is forced by his employers to use Viber, so is thinking of creating a Matrix bridge.
I spent some time this week repeatedly installing Synapse, then working with Stefan to create a new, hopefully definitive installation guide (available soon). I can also personally recommend Slavi‘s matrix-docker-ansible-deploy project, this is a great way to get a Synapse installation (and more!) running.
lately in #twim:matrix.org posters have been providing much clearer and atomic updates, which I like a lot
Matrix Live, season 3 episode 2
We continue the new season of Matrix Live. This re-booted season has a slightly different format to previous: in each outing, there will be a single deep-dive topic. This week, Matthew and recent-Matrix-arrival Nad discuss UX for E2E encryption key handling. This is an unsurprisingly complex design question, both in terms of how it should behave and how it should look. Nad shared his latest thinking in a blog post earlier today, and you can watch the video below.
Enjoy your week. We’ll see you back here next week, but if you are working on something using Matrix, come chat with us in #twim:matrix.org!