This Week in Matrix 2018-07-13

Welcome to TWIM for Friday the 13th! Nothing too scary, but lots of client updates and news.

Quaternion

kitsune:

Quaternion has gained a new /html command that allows one to send raw HTML. Note that an actually displayed HTML subset entirely depends on the receiving client; no HTML validation or sanitation is done; a plaintext version is automatically created by stripping all the HTML tags.

neo

f0x is working on Neo again:

added emotes, working localecho and /rainbow

rainbows :D

matrix-logger

A useful tool from CromFr for anyone who wants to archive logs of rooms.

I wrote a small matrix “client” for logging messages in joined rooms, and store them in a format very similar to Weechat logs.
Source code (Rust) Binary release (x86_64 windows & linux)
Please open issues if encounter any bug or need specific features.\nAlso I’m new to rust, so any review / advices would be appreciated :)

Matrique client progress

Black Hat has been working on Matrique, and it’s looking really good! Screenshot below.

Matrique now has support for sending/receiving messages (plaintext, markdown, HTML, rainbow), emotes and notices. It also supports receiving images, videos, files and states. I am still working on file receiving functions.

I love that all clients include rainbow messages.

fluffychat for Ubuntu Touch

New to me, fluffychat is a “Simple Matrix Messenger for Ubuntu Touch“. The design philosophy for this app is focused on simplicity, and the hope is for it to complement uMatriks, another Ubuntu Touch client.

Why are you not just contributing to uMatriks?
uMatriks is great and it’s superb, that someone has created a Matrix Client for Ubuntu Touch. But sometimes you have a so detailed vision of a user interface, which you want to implement, that you can not just contribute to an existing project. However, I would like to work with the uMatriks developers together. We could use the same push gateway for example.

Riot/Web

  • Welcomed Bruno onto the Riot/Web team! (and said farewell to Luke)
  • Lots of bug blitzing
  • Riot 0.16 due next week, with Jitsi-everywhere (at last) and Slate for composer.
  • We now have an end-to-end test harness (via puppeteer!) at last – being applied at first to fix onboarding bugs.
  • Lazy loading members in progress

Riot/Mobile

  • Major perf work ongoing
  • Decoupling members from state…
  • …and then lazyloading members.

Synapse 0.32.2 available

v0.32.2 is now available, which includes the m.room.server_acl security feature discussed in a previous blog post.

  • If you’re not running 0.32, please upgrade!!
  • Python 3 progresses!
  • Quite a lot of ops work to keep matrix.org alive. Status page coming soon! (We promise!!)
  • Looking at metrics and quotas for better experiences on limited-resource homeservers.

Spec

  • State res fix
  • Version bump
  • Lots of omission PRs landing
  • TravisR S2S work
  • Work on both IS & AS API too
  • Uhoreg work – .well-known, and 3pid logins
  • Some internal discussions about improving the proposal process; particularly having a 5 day ‘final comment period’ similar to Rust’s. Once we’ve got alignment within the core spec team we’ll MSC it.

Dendrite

  • Anoa & APwhitehat continue to blitz onwards on AS and federation
  • thirdparty protocol support for application services in the works.
  • continued progress on getting the AS query APIs supported. PR for /alias still being reviewed, PR for /users happened this week and now being reviewed
  • Timestamp massaging for application services ready and in review
  • APWhiteHat did a good chunk on federation, now migrating to supporting the various EDUs, starting with m.typing events.
  • …running out of low hanging fruit…

AS

  • matrix-appservice-irc 0.9.1 is here with perf improvements!
  • Lots of work on trying to make it start up sooner

E2E

  • UISI stats
  • Device list syncing
  • Encrypted backup

Debian Packages

andrewsh has packaged synapse 0.32.2 for Debian

uhoreg has packaged quaternion 0.0.9.2 for Debian

That’s all folks

Watch Matrix Live below, and see you next week!

Security update: Synapse 0.32.0

Folks, Synapse 0.32.0 is an important security update: please upgrade as soon as you can.

The release focuses on security; fixing several federation bugs and adding new features for countering abuse. Notably it includes the ability to blacklist & whitelist servers allowed to send events to a room on a per-room basis via the new m.room.server_acl state event: see MSC1383 for details.  This also closes out https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-doc/issues/709 – one of our oldest feature requests from users who wish to be able to limit the servers allowed to participate in a given room.

It’s important to understand that server ACLs only work if all the servers participating in the room honour them.  In future this will be handled better (as part of ongoing work in making it easier to incrementally version and upgrade the federation protocol).  This means that for the ACLs to work, any servers which don’t yet implement ACLs (e.g. older Synapses) have to be ACL’d from the room for the access control to work.  Therefore please upgrade as soon as possible to avoid this problem.

This ongoing flurry of security work is in general all part of moving towards the long-awaited stable release of the Server-Server API. In parallel we’ve been working on the other main outstanding point: State Resets (i.e. scenarios where you get unexpected results when resolving conflicts between different servers’ copies of a room).  There will be a few more major changes and upgrades on the horizon as we fix these, but then we’ll finally be able to cut an r0 release of the Server-Server API and Matrix will be one massive step closer to being out of beta!

As always, you can get the new update from https://github.com/matrix-org/synapse/releases/tag/v0.32.1 or any of the sources mentioned at https://github.com/matrix-org/synapse.

Changes in synapse v0.32.0 (2018-07-06)

No changes since 0.32.0rc1

Synapse 0.32.0rc1 (2018-07-05)

 

Features

  • Add blacklist & whitelist of servers allowed to send events to a
    room via m.room.server_acl event. (merge)
  • Cache factor override system for specific caches (#3334)
  • Add metrics to track appservice transactions (#3344)
  • Try to log more helpful info when a sig verification fails
    (#3372)
  • Synapse now uses the best performing JSON encoder/decoder according
    to your runtime (simplejson on CPython, stdlib json on PyPy).
    (#3462)
  • Add optional ip_range_whitelist param to AS registration files to
    lock AS IP access (#3465)
  • Reject invalid server names in federation requests (#3480)
  • Reject invalid server names in homeserver.yaml (#3483)

Bugfixes

  • Strip access_token from outgoing requests (#3327)
  • Redact AS tokens in logs (#3349)
  • Fix federation backfill from SQLite servers (#3355)
  • Fix event-purge-by-ts admin API (#3363)
  • Fix event filtering in get_missing_events handler (#3371)
  • Synapse is now stricter regarding accepting events which it cannot
    retrieve the prev_events for. (#3456)
  • Fix bug where synapse would explode when receiving unicode in HTTP
    User-Agent header (#3470)
  • Invalidate cache on correct thread to avoid race (#3473)

Improved Documentation

Deprecations and Removals

  • Remove was_forgotten_at (#3324)

Misc

This Week in Matrix 2018-07-05

matrix-synapse for Docker and k8s

Ananace has been working on configuration files for Synapse:

So now the K8s stuff has configuration examples for Synapse + Riot + mxisd + coturn, all runnable on your very own Kubernetes cluster – though with some manual tinkering required at the moment.
I’ve updated the Kubernetes configuration examples to include everything you need for a full Matrix stack; Synapse + Riot + mxisd – using the built-in K8s ingress
And + coturn of course, not to forget

Take a look: https://github.com/ananace/matrix-synapse

mautrix-telegram is now the primary Telegram bridge on t2bot.io

TravisR:

t2bot.io is now running mautrix-telegram as the primary Telegram bridge. Feel free to join the other 10k users on the bridge and bridge your own Telegram group to your room: https://t2bot.io/telegram/.

We should give a big shout of thanks to tulir for his consistent and continued work on mautrix-telegram.

Docker images for the matrix spec

uhoreg has released dockerfiles to build the spec docs into html. This is going to be useful for watching the spec development accelerate over the summer.

For Docker fans: I’ve created a couple of Docker images (https://hub.docker.com/r/uhoreg/matrix-doc-build/ and https://hub.docker.com/r/uhoreg/matrix-doc-watch/ ) for building the Matrix spec HTML.

Debian packaging

andrewsh:

I’m packaging Circle IRC/Matrix client for Debian and backporting synapse to stable.

Google Summer of Code

The second evaluation for GSOC 2018 is nearly here, so we have some updates from the student participants:

apwhitehat is working on Dendrite

Dendrite updates for TWIM (before GSoC 2nd eval):
This month we’ve got most of the federation APIs working on Dendrite. These are:

  • State APIs #486
  • Get missing events API #516
  • Query user devices #498

We still need to figure out pagination for backfill API.

On applications services, we’ve got a lot of APIs working, thanks to anoa. Authentication now acknowledges App services, though lot of other stuff is under review. I am eagerly waiting for it to land.

On the same topic, anoa says:

We’ve had a PR from fadeAce/dirichlet_zby for the server-side implementation of end-to-end encryption support in Dendrite. Will be looking forward to seeing that land as well.

There is an explanation of the endpoints required for this in the CS API docs.

Zil0 is working on E2E in the Python SDK

Sounds like Zil0 has been going great guns on the matrix-python-sdk:

Encryption in matrix-python-sdk should now work fairly well.
The biggest parts to write were device tracking and key persistence. All the PRs are now opened, and the code is fully tested and documented.
It is possible to try out the implementation before it lands by refering to instructions written here.
Also a special thanks to poljar for some great work on new Olm bindings, which allowed the project not to get stuck with packaging issues.
Further work include encrypted attachments, device verification and key sharing.

koma, kotlin client

Last week I mistakenly referred to Koma as being written in Rust, then Java. This was all incorrect, though being written in Kotlin, Koma does run on the JVM and use JavaFx.

sideboat:

This week in koma, we are improving the room info window used for viewing and editing the name, icon, and aliases of a room. In the upcoming release, user power levels will be taken into account, so that editing options will only be shown when the user has enough power.

Synapse

Neil says:

We’ve just cut the next release candidate for Synapse: 0.32.0rc1.
The upcoming release focuses almost entirely on security; fixing federation bugs and adding new features for countering abuse.

Riot

This week we welcome Bruno to the Riot team, he’s off and away working on getting integration tests set up.

Otherwise:

  • More work on the Jitsi integration
  • More work troubleshooting E2E failures
  • v0.15.6 and v0.15.7-rc.1 now available

Self-reference

This week was only six days long, but to make up for it we’ll have a bumper eight day edition next time! Come join us in #TWIM:matrix.org and share what you’ve made.

This Week in Matrix 2018-06-29

Welcome

Welcome to This Week in Matrix, let’s see what updates the community has to offer this week!

koma

Announcing his update nearly a week ago, radicus released v0.7.3 of koma.

There have been quite some changes since updates of the project were last posted, but the major ones are:

  • Upgrade to JavaFx 9
  • Experimental support for infinite scroll on message list
  • Rewrite ListView to improve performance and reduce jar file size

dialogflow connector

vurpo has released matrix-dialogflow, which allow the use of DialogFlow agents as chatbots:

I’ve written a little bot for connecting a DialogFlow agent to Matrix as a chatbot. I did this for my own personal purposes but I know someone else might find this handy as well.

mautrix-telegram

tulir:

New stuff in mautrix-telegram:

  • A basic telematrix database import script
  • Improved config for relaybot message formatting, including the option to use Matrix displaynames (instead of just mxid localparts)
    I’ve also been planning an improved Matrix->Telegram formatting converter and a provisioning API for integration managers like Dimension.

jmsdk

ma1uta has been working on a matrix client this week. To that end, he has implemented jmsdk, a “very early version of the matrix sdk and common classes (client, bot, …)”

Currently implemented the matrix client on the java with full support of the C2S API. It still under development and contains bugs.

He has also been working on a “bot sdk with core classes to write custom bots and appservices.”

matrix-appservice-voip

Max has been working on VoIP bridging between Matrix and regular phones using Freeswitch:

We have successfull VoIP bridging between Matrix and regular phones using Freeswitch, for 1:1, both directions! a v0.1 is scheduled in a few days once configuration is possible and a getting started doc is written.

Next steps:

  • more voice backends (think Jitsi, etc.)
  • SMS support with Twilio and/or OVH initially
  • mxisd integration to automatically invite bridge users if needed and suggest bridge users
  • mxgwd integration to auto-join HS regular users if a VoIP bridge user invites them, so > calls are directly seen
  • And much more in later releases

Join #matrix-appservice-voip:kamax.io for more info, or visit the Github repo

transform

A wild bettiah appeared, announced a completely new homeserver implementation in TypeScript:

I have been working on a homeserver implementation over at https://github.com/bettiah/transform . It is fairly basic at the moment, but the development experience is straight-forward and even fun.

I’m interested to see a TypeScript backend running, and of course it’s great to have more homeserver implementations! Some highlights from the readme:

Transform is a matrix homeserver built using Typescript and Redis. It is not fully functional yet.
Status: Register, Login, CreateRoom, Invite & Join seem to be functional with riot web client. But quite a lot of functionality is missing and the software is definitely not ready for deployment in a public facing role.
Design: A lot of the code is auto-generated from the excellent swagger specs for the client-server api.
Contributing: It is early days yet. However, Typescript has enabled safe & rapid progress. Redis streams too seem to have a very well thought out api and the whole thing has been a fun experience so far. Contributions are very welcome.

dsn-traveller source code released!

Good news for those following the progress of dsn-traveller, the source is now publicly available!

From Florian:

I received permission to publish the source code of the DSN Traveller bot (https://dsn-traveller.dsn.scc.kit.edu/) prior to handing in my thesis: You can find it at https://github.com/florianjacob/dsn-traveller, it’s written with ruma-client and Rust async/await.

Room remains at #dsn-traveller:dsn-traveller.dsn.scc.kit.edu.

E2E for Python SDK

Late breaking, but not itself broken, &Adam has news from matrix-python-sdk:

first olm-centered E2E PR for the python sdk merged to master (finally). Lots of great work from Zil0 still to be merged waiting on PR review. https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-python-sdk/pull/224

Fractal

From Tobias:

No new Fractal release this week. Development was quite active nevertheless, with Jordan’s new inline audio player landing in master, Julian getting close to landing the first part of the new room settings, and Eisha working on improving the image viewer.

Riot

New Rooms

And so…

All good things must come to an end, so it is with this blog post! Watch this week’s Matrix Live (hosted by yours truly) below, and come see us in #twim:matrix.org!

This Week In Matrix 2018-06-22

[Ben is away today, so this week’s edition is compiled again by Matthew]

libQMatrixClient 0.3.0.2 and Quaternion 0.0.9.2

kitsune writes:

libQMatrixClient 0.3.0.2 has been released – no new features, just small fixes including one for an unlucky typo preventing 0.3.0.1 from generating .cpp files with GTAD.

Quaternion 0.0.9.2 is out, another step towards 0.1. Aside from bugfixes and using the latest libQMatrixClient, it features an entirely new timeline layout similar to that of Riot (the old one is still around too). Also, you can now change some settings through the menu rather than by editing a configuration file or registry – including switching timeline layouts on the fly!

Loading Artist sticker packs!

TravisR says:

The Official Loading Artist sticker pack got added to Dimension 🎉

It also got added to Modular (aka Scalar), the default integration manager for Riot :)

releasetracker

Ananace writes:

Decided to actually start pushing code I’ve been slowly prodding at for the last while, ever since starting the Ruby Matrix SDK in fact. Working on a Sibbell like system that tracks new releases on GitHub projects, posting them into a specified Matrix room.

The release tracker now tracks both full releases and just regular tags, though only one or the other at the moment.

Spun up a proper room for the release tracker, in case people want to help development / feel like using hosted alpha-level software more than running it themselves. #releasetracker:kittenface.studio

jeon and jmsdk updates

ma1uta writes about his jeon Java HS, jmsdk and Matrix spec work:

I reorganized my projects and extracted the sdk from the api. So, today I have one project for the api (https://github.com/ma1uta/jeon), another for the sdk (https://github.com/ma1uta/jmsdk) but last is very early and non-usable.
Also I covered the code with the swagger-annotation and now I can generate the swagger schema from the code. There is an example: https://github.com/ma1uta/jeon/blob/master/client-api/generated/swagger-ui/swagger.json
And there is an example of the spec was generated from swagger: https://ma1uta.github.io/matrix-api.html (plain and without sorting or grouping, I’ll maybe fix it).
Everyone can ask me in the #jeon:matrix.org (matrix api) or #mxtoot:matrix.org (matrix-mastodon bridge).
Then I want to cover the remaining api (appservice, push, identity but not federation because it isn’t completed yet), write sdk (client, bot). And publish api and sdk on the maven central repository.

CI/CD for Plasma!

Nico gives updates on Plasma, the new Scala/Akka homeserver:

I’ve setup CI/CD for plasma HS. Now every time a push occur on the repo, the pipeline builds and deploys a plasma HS instance on a test server.
This test instance is reachable at http://matrix.beerfactory.org:9000. For now it is very modest and can only reply to a few C2S endpoints like GET /_matrix/client/versionsPOST /_matrix/client/r0/login and POST /_matrix/client/r0/register are also available for testing registration and login flow. POST /_matrix/client/r0/createRoom is also available with the TEST_TOKEN auth token value, but it’s only a mock.
I’m now working on implementing the concept of room servers: each room will be managed by a dedicated room server (an actor), so they get fault tolerance and scalability by default (through akka clustering).
There’s also a dedicated room for this project : #plasma:beerfactory.org

matrix-python-sdk 0.3.2

&Adam says:

v0.3.2 of matrix-python-sdk released. See the github release for list of changes. (v0.3.0 and v0.3.1 are substantially the same with small formatting errors). There are a lot of hugely annoying bugs fixed in this one, so upgrading soon is recommended.

There’s also been a lot of work on adding E2E to the python-sdk from Zil0 and his GSoC project!

gomatrixclient

Black Hat writes:

I am currently writing a high-level API on top of gomatrix. As gomatrix is suitable for bots but not for clients, I decided to write a layer above it.
(The motivation is to provide a backend for Matrique)
It will have similar API as libqmatrixclient, but in Golang.
It is currently under heavy development, and API breaking changes are frequent.
Sources are available in Gitlab: https://gitlab.com/b0/gomatrixclient
P.s. It is a library for writing clients in Golang. But it also provides useful APIs for basic functions, e.g. getting avatars.

Fractal 3.29.1

Tobias says: New Fractal release 3.29.1, which includes a Eisha’s new image viewer [implemented as part of GSoC]!

It looks like this (screenshot being a screenshot of, uh, last week’s screenshot, for maximum fractalception…)

Terraform Provider

TravisR writes:

I’ve been working on a Terraform provider for matrix. It is still a work in progress, however I plan to have the basics completed in the coming days. The provider gives you the opportunity to create users, rooms, and other objects on your homeserver, making your homeserver part of your infrastructure. This could be useful for people who want to set up a monitoring room, or for setting up default rooms on a homeserver instance. In particular, this provider will be used by the monitor bot (see last week’s post) to set up the test homeservers for seeing how the bot scales with increased server counts. Source and information available on Github: https://github.com/turt2live/terraform-provider-matrix

mxtoot 0.4.3

ma1uta says:

I’ve fixed a few bugs and added some new commands (show status by id and show n-last statuses), and now mxtoot 0.4.3 (Matrix-Mastodon bridge) can send public, private, unlisted and direct messages.
There are 4 features left to go:

  • show, add and remove follows;
  • show threads;
  • show notification, public and federated lines (and optionally merge them with the home timeline);
  • show account info by id.

Also I think to implement a bridge Matrix-ActivityPub as S2S. For example, a room – is a ActivityPub’s actor. Room participants is a bot corresponds to actors you follow to. Room timeline is a Inbox+Outbox. Reactions is a likes/favorites. Pinning message is a boost. Replies will be very useful.

mautrix-telegram now puppets via user-specific relay bots!

tulir sneaks in at the last minute with:

mautrix-telegram now supports logging in with your own bot. It means that you can look almost like a real user and even use direct messages without logging in with your real Telegram account!

And finally…

On the core team it’s been an irregular week; as mentioned in last TWIM we spent most of it in workshops working through spec issues as part of the mission to finally get to an ‘r0’ stable release of the spec across all APIs – not just the Client/Server API.  The majority of this was spent making up for lost time on the S2S API, analysing its various holes and designing solutions to them.  Things are looking promising – we’re keeping the work under wraps though given the potential for abuse, although we should see more gaps being fixed in the coming days.  Meanwhile we’re aiming to get the r0 stable release out by the end of August.  We also unblocked a few longstanding MSCs (.well-known URIs and media limits), although in the end the S2S stuff took priority.  On the client side we did a lot of design sessions on Riot/Mobile (working out how the new app design should work on Mobile – watch this space for details!) and also how to speed up app launch (the concept of Hybrid Sync; somewhere between an initial sync and an incremental sync – basically an initial sync which can be interrupted in order to let the user use the app whilst the initial sync is still ongoing) – we’ll write up the notes and publish these asap.

We also announced the Open Governance work which we’ve been doing in order to extend control of the Matrix spec to properly include the wider Matrix community – the plan is to get the Matrix.org Foundation legal entity set up roughly around the same time as the r0 release of the spec in August, and formally decouple control of the Matrix spec from New Vector (the company we set up last year to hire the core team).

We’d also like to welcome mujx (developer of nheko) and kitsune (developer of Quaternion and libQMatrixClient) to the new core team as we start trialling the new governance structure (which mainly amounts at this point to getting review approvals on spec proposals and changes from the relevant domain experts on the new team).  This brings us to a full complement for the team: Erik (servers), richvdh (servers, crypto & clients), Dave (clients & push/identity) and uhoreg (crypto, general) from the current core team; and Anoa (servers, AS API), TravisR (integrations, AS API; acting with Dimension hat on), mujx & kitsune from the community.

Otherwise, spec work has taken priority over writing software, with the exception of: APwhitehat doing as much federation work in Dendrite as part of GSoC as the current unstable state of the API allows; Michael (t3chguy) has been blitzing through P1 Riot/Web issues.  Next week should be back on the normal (if not better!) trajectory however.  No Matrix Live this week however, as we’re all exhausted.

Towards open governance for Matrix.org

Hi all,

Since we created Matrix.org back in 2014, the majority of the Matrix core team has worked for the same company – originally subsidiaries of Amdocs, and then since August 2017 for New Vector; the startup we incorporated to rehire the core team and support Matrix after we parted ways from Amdocs.

Despite working for a for-profit company, our prime directive has always been the long term mission to successfully run Matrix as a non-profit initiative for the benefit of the whole internet: to create a ubiquitous secure open network which gives users control back over their communication and avoids them ever being locked into silos again.  And even though Matrix.org hasn’t been a formal non-profit foundation, we’ve treated it as such in all respects (e.g. gathering donations to support development on Matrix)

Running Matrix.org as a non-profit means prioritising to neutrally support all players in the whole ecosystem without ever giving unfair advantage to any individual participant (particularly New Vector) – where that ecosystem includes end-users, client devs, testers, spec devs, server admins, companies building products on Matrix, bridge devs, bot devs, widget devs, server devs, distro maintainers, moderators, even end-users who are using Matrix indirectly via bridges.

That being said, having the core team work for the same startup is still a somewhat unorthodox model for an open source project building an open standard, so we’d like to explain the main reasons for doing it up to this point:

  • To ensure that Matrix is fit for real-world usage and to force us to dogfood it. To ensure that it is a protocol that works well enough that you can build a commercial startup around it if you so wanted, and to motivate us to build Matrix as something more than an academic or nerdy exercise in protocol design – rather one which can be commercially viable.
  • To help ensure the core team is aligned and pulling towards the same goal, especially during the process of actually designing and “giving birth” to the initial protocol and getting it to an ‘r0’ release across all APIs.  We strongly believe that when a project is in the design phase you get faster and better design from a bunch of people who are collaborating together towards the same goal, rather than independent factions who might pursue their own agendas at the expense of the overall project.
  • Because we believe the value of Matrix lies in the size of the ecosystem, and if Matrix realises its full potential (i.e. it grows as big as the web), it only makes it more useful and valuable for *everyone*. We realise that it might be a leap of faith to believe that we don’t have any incentive to sabotage Matrix by privileging specific players (after all, there are so many companies out there in it just for the cash), but the fact is that this is where we stand, and we’re doing our best to prove it. To spell it out: it is in New Vector’s interest (and also in the interests of other Matrix-focused companies) to grow Matrix to be as big, open, unfragmented and as neutral as possible.  Matrix should be big enough for a multitude of wildly successful companies and projects to benefit from it, and everyone wins – just like the web.

However, this approach is not perfect and comes with some major problems:

  • Without clear separation of responsibilities and incentives, we have to ask the community to take it on faith that our efforts are never intended to privilege New Vector ahead of the wider ecosystem. This leaves room for doubt, especially when our reasoning is unclear or our conclusions controversial.

    A good example of a controversial decision is the lack of investment by the core team in the Server-Server API.  For the last ~2 years (since Mar 2016) we made the judgement call to prioritise user-facing features and experience.  The rationale was that to grow Matrix we need to provide a viable alternative to Slack/Discord/WhatsApp etc, and doing that means providing a Client-Server API which lets clients do just that, and server implementations capable of running at scale. This is why the CS API has had a stable release since Dec 2015 (currently at r0.3.0) and why we’ve put so much effort into server scaling/perf… but the SS API itself still has bugs and has still not yet made it to a stable release.

    This is obviously incredibly frustrating to server devs who tried to implement the SS API despite it being unstable and unreleased. In retrospect it might have been a mistake and we could probably have turned off signup on matrix.org and diverted the resources to the SS API work instead.  However, this is a case of making the judgement call to prioritising the overall ecosystem over one class of stakeholders (server devs) by focusing on providing users usable and featureful decentralised communication apps. Indeed we strongly believe that users are the main means to grow the ecosystem (others have failed without them): no one joins a network with no friends, however popular it is among devs.  Nonetheless, we are finally in a position to hire spec maintainers and get to a stable S2S as fast as we possibly can, and frankly feel relieved to be able to unblock this situation.

    Another good example is the recent 0.31.2 security update of Synapse: this was a defensive patch to the protocol that we added to ensure that even if bugs occur when authing events over federation, it should be impossible for a random user to ever hijack a room again.  We specced this out as a formal proposal and are gathering feedback, but expedited implementation in Synapse to protect the overall ecosystem. However, it turns out that the change breaks a small number of highly custom rooms, and so we find ourselves accused of privileging NV.  The reality is that we made a judgement call to protect the vast majority of today’s ecosystem (and hope to provide a longer-term fix in the relatively near future which /will/ be compatible with more custom room use cases).
  • Another problem is some companies find it a turn-off to participate in Matrix unless they have a well-defined process for influencing the direction of the protocol.  Now, sometimes this could be seen as a feature rather than a bug; the last thing the ecosystem needs is a greedy corp trying to subvert the protocol to its own competitive advantage, and we don’t want to be locked in that kind of battle either.  However, there are also lots of well-meaning and constructive companies who want to participate too, and there’s an argument that they want a well-defined process for doing so.
  • The other main problem is simply one of checks & balances.  Even though NV may be a good guardian today, what if something changed in future? e.g. if NV got bought by Microsoft, or if someone on the team had some crisis and changed priorities?  Whilst one could always fork, such things are incredibly disruptive and fragmenting and it’d be good to engineer Matrix.org’s governance to be resilient to such eventualities as much as is possible.

To address these problems, in March of this year we started work on a long term proposal to establish an open governance model for Matrix which ensures the neutrality of the protocol, lets the community contribute as widely as possible, and incorporates a dedicated neutral non-profit Matrix.org Foundation separate to New Vector.

As work progressed on the proposal, it became clear that actually transitioning to a new governance model would seriously slow down the sprint towards a stable r0 release. We therefore decided to put completing the governance model on hold until after the r0 release (scheduled for the end of August).

With the end of r0 now in sight, completing work on the governance model is back on the agenda. We obviously want to ensure that the proposed governance model is going to work for everyone, so we’d like to introduce the first draft of Matrix Spec Change 1318: a proposal for open governance of the Matrix.org Spec.  This is quite an early draft; the idea is to gather feedback over the next few months and we’ll then incorporate the Foundation and deploy the new governance model to coincide with the long-awaited stable release of all APIs of the Matrix Spec (assuming the release doesn’t slip).

The main points in the proposal are:

  • To adopt the new governance model once all APIs have had a stable r0 release.  For S2S API, this means fixing the remaining flaws in the federation protocol and closing the spec omissions such that compliant independent implementations can be written purely based on the spec.  For the AS and IS and Push API it means just closing spec omissions (if any) and doing a final review.
  • To define the mission of Matrix: to return control of communication to users by building a standards-based open secure decentralised communication network.
  • To define the mandate of the core team to act as a neutral custodian of the Matrix Spec, prioritising the long-term success and growth of the overall network over individual commercial concerns.
  • To define the guiding principles of the core team, e.g. collaboration rather than competition and contrarianism.
  • To restructure the core team to incorporate members of the community as well as the founding core team.
  • To propose succession logistics for the core team
  • To propose the role and governance structure of the Matrix.org Foundation legal entity.

Feedback would be much appreciated on the MSC1318 Google Doc – or come talk about it on #matrix-spec-process:matrix.org (which we might as well use for governance too).

It’s exciting times as we finally move towards an initial stable release of Matrix across all APIs – we are firmly on the road to a 1.0, and improving our governance model is a massive part of that process.

thanks,

Matthew, Amandine & the core team.

This Week In Matrix 2018-06-15

[Ben is out this week, so this week’s TWIM has been hastily assembled without the usual love and care by Matthew instead]

TravisR joins the core team!

First off: we’re super-excited to announce that TravisR is joining the core team on July 3rd, hired to work fulltime on maintaining the Matrix spec and improving Riot/Web (including helping implement the new redesign!). Travis has been one of the most prolific independent contributors to Matrix, between his own 40 personal projects and massive bug & PR contributions to matrix-react-sdk, riot-web and the spec), and we can’t wait for him to be able to finally work on Matrix full-time.  Between TravisR and uhoreg we now have two more people who can focus on improving the spec and help fix the backlog we’ve accumulated there – exciting times :D

Nheko now supports E2E Encryption!!!

In other massive news, mujx has an initial cut of functional megolm E2E encryption working on the e2ee branch of nheko!  This also inclues a massive refactor of the whole app into a generic boost::asio based (and e2e-capable!) mtxclient library. There are still a lot of edge cases to sort out before the branch is merged to master, but the core tech works as you can see in the video below (which we’ve had to speed up by 3x because matrix.org is so overloaded this afternoon :|)  Massive congratulations to mujx and everyone else who has worked on this – it’s incredibly exciting to see 3rd party implementations of Matrix’s E2E encryption evolving.

Seaglass

The elegant macOS native client entered the second week of its existence!  Seaglass is now released under AGPLv3, and has lots more refinements – Markdown support, UTF8 bugfixes, Bubble UI and more!
There’s also experimentation on the horizon to use NSWebKit rather than NSAttributedString for rendering. For more info, join #seaglass:matrix.org.

Fractal

Tobias Bernard tells us that Fractal 3.29.0 was released: “our first release following the GNOME versioning scheme. It includes Eisha’s redesigned room directory, and the all-new account settings by Julian. Daniel worked on adding a message queue, which makes Fractal much more usable on slow internet connections.”.  And here’s a pic of the new room directory!

 

Useful Gists!

TravisR shared a bunch of useful gists for including in upcoming guides rework:
* https://gist.github.com/turt2live/f7e33017e72a83905f7f6acae31f4143 <– how to set a default ‘tint’ colourscheme on riot
* https://gist.github.com/turt2live/697d5b3781fb7ab7e11d704ea90e3dbe <– how to set custom tags on a room
* https://gist.github.com/Matrixcoffee/73e84990c29a2f26ece7f09e0bc39bfa <– how to configure RSS bot without a client

hacklab.fi

Vurpo says: I successfully set up our hacklab.fi Matrix server (+ invite registration links using ZerataX’s system that we saw here a while back) and demo’d it to our crowd here at Helsinki Hacklab – also got some people on the server and testing it out, and I’d say it was in general a success! https://matrix.hacklab.fi/register.html

gomuks and maubot!

Tulir says: 🌈 TWIM: Its pride month, so I added font tag support and a command to gomuks!

I’m also working on a plugin-based matrix bot system. It’s not very usable yet, but I did just get a hello world type bot to be loaded at runtime and respond to my ping. https://github.com/maubot/maubot

It’s plugin-based (as in load at runtime) and I’m planning to make the message formatting/ui better than what go-neb does currently

Neo

f0x announces Neo Release 0.07, with HTML and Markdown support, both sending and displaying. Usability fixes such as entertosend on mediaImprovements with sending replies.

It looks like 90’s mIRC aesthetic colour codes are here to stay in Matrix if folks want them ;)

Alias Bot

TravisR says: Alias Bot got a v1 release this week, whatever that means to you. More information can be found in the changelog: https://github.com/turt2live/matrix-alias-bot/releases/tag/v1.0.0

matrix-monitor-bot

More from TravisR: https://lag.t2bot.io/ shows end-to-end message latency within Matrix as seen from different hosts. The Matrix.org HS is missing from the list currently due to concerns over the additional load that the e2e traffic could produce – for more on the load problem: people may be generally interested in watching this issue: (which, when will eventually have all the raw data available for people to play with)

mxhsd

Max says: mxhsd is no longer a thing within the Matrix world and will follow a fork of the protocol instead.

Synapse

Lots of time spent looking at federation auth behaviour after Monday’s hijack on #matrix:matrix.org.
Security bug release for 0.31.2 in order to fail-safe rather than fail-deadly in the event of any further hijack attempts.
GDPR erasure work continues…
Lazyloading membership proposal now has full sytest coverage; just needs a solution for calculating room names serverside (MSC688)
hawkowl has been working away at improving our unit testing in order to have more confidence in ongoing python2->python3 porting work
Security work is taking priority over performance work though, so apologies that Matrix.org is going to keep being overloaded for a while longer :|

Dendrite

Breakthroughs on implementing the AS API!
Anoa has first traffic flowing back and forth between Dendrite and Discord!

Meanwhile, APwhitehat is filling in gaps on the S2S API where possible (and is as anxious as all the other HS implementers out there to have a fully documented S2S API release at last!)

Riot/Mobile

Implementing E2E key requests is almost finished on both iOS & Android
Lots of perf work ongoing – e.g. Realm on Android and UI thread profiling on iOS (turns out read receipt animations are way slower than they should be)

Unfortunately the GSoC project for implementing alternative push mechanisms (i.e. free alternatives to GCM/FCM/APNS) hasn’t worked out. We would love contributors to pick it up however – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ULOMnR7YehCJD-VCYplWC3e9KRZynSgUo5wk-nwnzds is a Google Doc which lists various possible approaches.  This is a really important project; please get in touch with Matthew or Dave if you want to help make it happen!

Riot/Web

Residual GDPR erasure work ongoing and generally distracting from everything
Lots of E2E-capable antivirus work (more details coming soon)
The big PR to replace Draft with Slate for rich-text editing is reviewed and almost ready for merge
Lots of P1 bug fixing from t3chguy
matrix-search is pretty much ready to go!

E2E Crypto

uhoreg is making good progress with adding PKI APIs to libolm to support better key verification, incremental megolm backup, and encrypting keydata when doing serverside antivirus scanning of e2e attachments!
zil0 is also making good progress with adding E2E support to matrix-python-sdk in GSoC, gluing together libolm’s python bindings with matrix-python-sdk to all the intermediary key management and device management required to make megolm actually work with python!

Spec

Lots of work from TravisR on the spec, including a new proposal for managing ASes via API
Lots of new MSCs and PRs:
* MSC688 Proposal to calculate room names server-side
* MSC1301 Proposal for improving authorization for the matrix profile API
* MSC1304 Proposal to simplify the auth rules of m.room.power_level events.
* MSC1306 Proposal to filter out traffic to Appservices based on filters
* MSC1308 Proposal for speeding up review of simple spec changes
* MSC1309 Proposal for for an application service management API

Controversy over process and the fact that S2S API has stagnated.

There have been some accusations from displeased HS implementors that the lack of S2S API progress from the core team is malicious and some kind of attempt to disadvantage independent server implementations.  This is categorically not true.  Instead, it is a case of prioritising user-facing and client-dev facing stuff (scaling, performance, keeping matrix.org online, CS API, client features, bridging, AS API etc) on the basis that the network is nothing without users, and that we had to prioritise thanks to the core team shrinking by ~5 people during the funding crisis at the end of the last year. Matrix is an open network, and an open standard, and we want to build the world’s biggest open network for realtime communication – ideally as big as the web itself.  There should be room in that network for many companies to exist and thrive, just as on the web, and we would never ever risk sabotaging the success of the wider Matrix network in order to give any single company an unfair advantage.

However, it’s certainly true that S2S API has ended up stagnating for way too long, which is why we’ve been hiring folks to help with spec bandwidth (uhoreg & TravisR), at which point we finally have bandwidth to make consistent progress again.

On that note, lots of work spec work (especially S2S API) planned next week.

And finally…

Here’s me and Amandine chatting through the core team bits of the above for those who prefer a podcast format to a blog post: Matrix Live S02E23!

Security update: Synapse 0.31.2

Hi all,

On Monday (2018-06-11) we had an incident where #matrix:matrix.org was hijacked by a malicious user pretending to join the room immediately after its creation in 2014 and then setting an m.room.power_levels event ‘before’ the correct initial power_level for the room.

Under normal circumstances this should be impossible because the initial m.room.power_levels for a room should be set before its m.room.join_rules event, meaning users who join the room are subject to its power levels. However, back before we’d even released Synapse, the first two rooms ever created in Matrix (#test:matrix.org and #matrix:matrix.org) were manually created and set the join_rules before the power_levels event, letting users join before the room’s power_levels were defined, and so were vulnerable to this attack. We’ve since re-created #matrix:matrix.org – please re-/join the room if you haven’t already!

As a defensive measure, we are releasing a security update of Synapse (0.31.2) today which changes the rules used to authenticate power_level events, such that we fail-safe rather than fail-deadly if the existing auth mechanisms fail. In practice this means changing the default power level required to set state to be 50 rather than 0 if there is no power_levels event present, thus meaning that only the room creator can set the initial power_levels event.

We are not aware of anyone abusing this (other than the old #matrix:matrix.org room) but we’d rather be safe than sorry, so would recommend that everyone upgrade as soon as possible.

This of course constitutes a change to the spec, so full technical details and ongoing discussion around the Matrix Spec Change proposal can be followed over at MSC1304.

EDIT: if you are aware of your server participating in rooms whose first power_levels event is deliberately set by a different user to their creator, please let us know asap (and don’t upgrade!)

This work is all part of a general push to finalise and harden and fully specify the Server-Server API as we push towards a long-awaited stable release of Matrix!

As always, you can get the new update from https://github.com/matrix-org/synapse/releases/tag/v0.31.2 or from any of the sources mentioned at https://github.com/matrix-org/synapse.

thanks, and apologies for the inconvenience.

Changes in synapse v0.31.2 (2018-06-14)

SECURITY UPDATE: Prevent unauthorised users from setting state events in a room when there is no m.room.power_levels event in force in the room. (PR #3397)

Discussion around the Matrix Spec change proposal for this change can be followed at https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-doc/issues/1304.

This Week in Matrix 2018-06-08

GSOC Updates

With the first evaluation date coming up, let’s take a look at what some of the GSOC students have been working on.

Zil0 on the matrix-python-sdk

I am working on implementing end-to-end encryption in the Python SDK. As of now, I have done a good part of the encryption and decryption work with Olm and Megolm, enough to allow communicating with Riot in an encrypted room. My next goals include device list tracking and key persistence, which are the main steps left before the implementation starts being usable in a real environment.

apwhitehat on Dendrite

My aim is to achieve feature completion on Dendrite. Have got lots of help from anoa, for which I’m very grateful.

Features worked on this month:

  • we made a transactions cache/table for idempotency. So now dendrite will not reprocess events as far as client-server api is concerned.
  • added request authentication function which recognises an application service user (partially landed.)
  • username auto generation, which let’s you register without username (will be used for guest access later.)
  • We also added a tokens library based on macaroons, however we might not be using it anytime soon. Since it’s been known to be very problematic (on synapse).
  • Other small bug fixes not big enough to mention.

Clients

We are rich in client announcements this week!

palaver

Arne has announced v0.1.0 of Palaver:

More news from the JVM-world: I’ve just released the first Alpha version (v0.1.0) of Palaver, a Desktop client written in Kotlin: https://github.com/MrCustomizer/palaver/releases/tag/v0.1.0. As backend it uses the matrix-java-sdk, the GUI is written in TornadoFX, a Kotlin-Wrapper for JavaFX. The room for this client is #palaver:matrix.localtoast.de. The current features are listed in the changelog: https://github.com/MrCustomizer/palaver/blob/v0.1.0/CHANGELOG.md. And there is a little demo video on youtube, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuGuxAPuRIM.

I enjoyed this video enough that I’m embedding it here:

matrique returns

Black Hat is working on Matrique:

a matrix client using golang and QtQuick controls 2.
It is not ready…Yet. PRs and issues are welcomed!

neilalexander has a new macOS Client: seaglass

neilalexander has begun work on “seaglass“, a client for macOS using matrix-ios-sdk, he’s only just begun, but for now see the screenshot below:

kitsune: GTAD and libQMatrixClient

kitsune has announced GTAD v0.6 and libQMatrixClient v0.3. We’ve covered GTAD before, but I think it’s worth including this note from the readme:

GTAD (Generate Things from an API Description) is a generator of code from a Swagger/OpenAPI specification. Initially made to generate marshalling/unmarshalling C++ code for Matrix CS API, it can be extended to support other API descriptions and other programming languages with static type checking.

kitsune regarding the GTAD 0.6 release:

A new version of API code generator, GTAD, 0.6, has been released today, adding support of variant types, proper dealing with definitions referencing other files ($ref) and more options to override schema names – even defined inline. Most importantly, GTAD has got extensive README.md that describes (most of) the things needed to start writing your own templates! As usual, kitsune will be happy to help those who would like to try it (both with C/C++ projects and other languages).

libQMatrixClient has been benefiting from GTAD over the last 4 months or so – but this is the first release where GTAD is stable and feature-complete enough to be shared with other projects.

#gtad:matrix.org is the new room for GTAD chat and support.

and libQMatrixClient 0.3:

A new version of libQMatrixClient, 0.3, comes out this weekend. This is the first libQMatrixClient release to include (almost) all CS API requests and supplementary (non-event) definitions, thanks to GTAD 0.6. Notably, it now includes jobs to register users, manage devices and keys on the server (no local key management yet – E2E work has just begun). This version also gains centralised request error handling so that clients could deal with problems in a unified way, and support “Consent not given” errors of GDPR fame, so that client authors could automatically open consent pages. You can also trigger logging out of all devices through libQMatrixClient thanks to a very recent addition to CS API spec from TravisR.

Fractal

Last week we linked to Julian‘s blog notes on the User Settings panel – this has now landed in Fractal master.

nheko

nheko v0.4.3 is now available, from the release notes:

  • Overdue fixes for some regressions with regard to widget height introduced in the previous two releases
  • The matrix id will be shown on hover on the display name.

riot-web

Riot-web: released an RC for 0.15.5. This RC includes some small bugfixes.

riot-android

We have been working on Riot stability: fixing crashes and adding more tools to control code quality
The community on android adds a more readable display of keys and a floating actions menu is coming.

riot-ios

Working on perf. On stability too (like killing build warnigs). Users can now re-request keys when they have UTCs.

Other projects

anoa on dendrite

We’ve got a shiny new application service component which runs as a separate process (if you’re doing multiprocess dendrite) that handles all outbound communication to application services. Last week I got event sending working. This week I’m hooking up an internal API for other components (roomserver, c-s api) to talk to the app service component, as we occasionally need to ping AS’s to ask about existence of rooms or users. Getting those two endpoints covered is the goal of this week.

ma1uta Full Spec Implementation in Java

ma1uta appeared with an extremely ambitious piece of work. His goal:

I want to create a full spec’s implementation on java (all 5 specification). After that I want try to write a homeserver (2 variants: distributed on java+kafka and simple which can run on a ligth vps). But it’s a long-term goal.

So far work has begun on an implementation of the Matrix API in Java:

https://gitlab.com/ma1uta/jeon – another java implementation of the matrix api (client-server, server-server, application server, push server, identity server) using jax-ws. It corresponds the specification on https://matrix.org/docs/spec. On the next step I want dive deep into synapse to parse it’s api and fill the gaps of the spec with sending pull request. May be I will write something like a TCK (test compability kit).

And an SDK for which there is a sample bot for mastodon:

Also this project has a very early sdk (client, bot). I will fix it after finishing works with the spec.
https://gitlab.com/ma1uta/mxtoot – matrix-mastodon bridge.
With this bridge you can invite a bot and read your home mastodon’s timeline, post messages, reply and boost messages.

There are rooms to follow progress on these projects:

Also find updates on Mastodon: [email protected]

The Continuing Adventures of Half-Shot and the Discord Bridge

Half-Shot has been at work on matrix-appservice-discord, and has made a v0.2.0 release! Looong feature list below is taken from https://github.com/Half-Shot/matrix-appservice-discord/releases/tag/v0.2.0:

  • Support Node v10
  • Option to disable @here and @everyone on the bridge – Permission based mentions coming soon.
  • Sending large files over the Discord limit now sends them as URLs
  • Added support for external and animated emoji – Thanks @Sorunome!
  • Initial support for m.sticker
  • Sender avatars are now thumbnailed – Thanks @turt2live
  • Support for message edits. Thanks @anoadragon453
  • Support for custom and animated discord emoji parsing M->D. Thanks @anoadragon453
  • Throw discord.js logs into our logging to help debug connection issues
  • Warn when turning on encryption that the bridge will no longer work.
  • Clarify where to specify protocols in the registration config. Thanks @anoadragon453
  • Add attachments into the event store and fix up some of our Inserts. Thanks @eeeeeta
  • Fail if the event.content.url is not present.

+ lots of testing and fixes

t3chguy matrix-search including e2e

t3chguy, straight out of exams, went back to working on matrix-search, now with a working release, including e2e chats!

a local Full Text Search engine for Matrix, which will index the events locally and then provide a search api interface for matrix clients to query it
matrix-search mimics the standard /search API

toml has already been looking at this and has created a docker container for it: https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-search/tree/toml#to-run-in-a-docker-container

Ananace on Kubernetes

Switched the Kubernetes-oriented Synapse image over to running on the official one as a base, seems to still work quite well. Even if there were some issues at first due to Alpine and busybox.

I’ve been building slightly specialized Synapse docker images since 0.25.1 – and running them on my Kubernetes cluster at home. Moved them to being based on the official images now instead of building them on CentOS as I used to.

Synapse 0.31.0 and 0.31.1 released

Changes for Synapse 0.31.0

  • Most notable change from v0.30.0 is to switch to python prometheus library to improve system stats reporting. WARNING this changes a number of prometheus metrics in a backwards-incompatible manner.
  • There are still many changes being made relating to the Python 3 migration.

For Synapse 0.31.1

v0.31.1 fixes a security bug in the “get_missing_events“ federation API where event visibility rules were not applied correctly.

andrewsh has been packaging synapse for Debian.

Guides index

I’m going to start making a list of guides from around the web to be linked from https://matrix.org. If you have, or know of, useful guides relating to matrix, please let me know or share in #twim:matrix.org.

New rooms

other points of interest

The end is nigh…

And here it is. As you may have noticed, I’m leaning much more toward quoting wherever possible, rather than trying to paraphrase. The aim is to keep the content authentic and community-driven, rather than a narrative from one fairly naive observer. The risk is it makes the post awkward to read as it switches voice too frequently. Come to #twim:matrix.org and let me know if you have opinions on this.

Check out Matrix Live:

Synapse 0.31.1 Released!

Folks,

v0.31.1 fixes a security bug in the “get_missing_events“ federation API where event visibility rules were not applied correctly.

We are not aware of it being actively exploited but please upgrade asap.

Sorry for the inconvenience, Synapse and the Matrix spec are still in beta and we still ironing out gaps such as this one.

You can get the release here.

Changes in synapse v0.31.1 (2018-06-08)

v0.31.1 fixes a security bug in the get_missing_events federation API
where event visibility rules were not applied correctly.

We are not aware of it being actively exploited but please upgrade asap.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fix event filtering in get_missing_events handler (PR #3371)