This Week in Matrix

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This Week in Matrix 2023-09-15

15.09.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Thib

Matrix Live

Dept of Spec 📜

TravisR says

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs proposed for Final Comment Period:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

  • No MSCs are in FCP.

Accepted MSCs:

  • No MSCs were accepted this week.

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

New MSCs in detail

In this new segment, we aim to give a bit more context as to why an MSC was opened, beyond what is available in the MSC's introduction.

MSC4056 stems from a conversation held back at IETF 117, where members of the Spec Core Team (SCT) were attempting to make RBAC work in Matrix. Thankfully, there was prior art in the form of MSC2812, but a problem with decentralization (and specifically state resolution) was discovered. Thoughts were had about how to fix it, and MSC4056 is the result of those thoughts. Implementation work is eventually planned for this MSC, but in the meantime it should see forwards movement with the SCT's involvement in the MIMI working group at the IETF.

If you have thoughts or suggestions about the very Discord-centric approach, please leave them on the MSC :)

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This Week in Matrix 2023-09-01

01.09.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Thib

Matrix Live

Dept of Status of Matrix 🌡️

Thib says

We’d like to thank everyone for their patience as we continue to work toward restoring the Libera.Chat bridge, and apologize for the continued inconvenience. We’ve heard from many people and communities who are impacted, who have confirmed that operating this bridge is an important service and we remain committed to getting it back online.

It’s been a month since our last update and folks have been reaching out, so we wanted to take this opportunity to provide a brief update.

The bridge team at Element is still actively working on the issues that led to the bridge being disabled in the first place. You can see some of the work that’s in flight through GitHub PRs: #1757, #1766, #1764, #1734.

We’re also looking into a way to transition responsibility for the bridge from Element to being directly run by The Matrix.org Foundation over the coming months - more details as we have them.

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a clear timeline for bringing the bridge back online. We’ll continue providing regular updates and will share more information as soon as we can. Thank you again for your patience! Please do not hesitate to reach out at #libera-matrix:libera.chat if you have any questions or concerns.

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This Week in Matrix 2023-08-25

25.08.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Hubert Chathi

Dept of Spec 📜

TravisR announces

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

  • No MSCs are in FCP.

Accepted MSCs:

Merged MSCs:

Matrix 1.8 is here!

If you haven't yet seen the blog post, check it out. Room version 11 is new in this release, and we've already got an idea for what Matrix 1.9 looks like :)

New MSCs in detail

In this new segment, we aim to give a bit more context as to why an MSC was opened, beyond what is available in the MSC's introduction.

MSC4049 is highly experimental investigative work into what it would take to support making messages as appearing to be sent by a room or server instead of a user. There are some use cases highlighted in the MSC itself, but the primary driving factor is a point of relatively minor feedback from the MIMI working group: "does sender really need to be a user ID?". The spike-shaped experiment overlaps heavily with both crypto IDs and pseudo IDs by accident, but might help inform those two projects via MSC4047 and MSC4046. Currently there is not a plan to push any of the 3 MSCs towards FCP, though feedback is very much welcome on how the stack feels.

MSC4048 is part of the crypto team's mission to improve encryption across all of Matrix, with this particular MSC looking to improve the trustworthiness of key backups. Watch this space for updates as the MSC progresses, and please provide feedback on the proposal itself.

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This Week in Matrix 2023-08-18

18.08.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix MTRNord

Dept of Spec 📜

TravisR announces

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

Accepted MSCs:

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

This last week the SCT has largely been preparing for the spec release happening on August 23rd, 2023 and working on getting some of the IETF/MIMI work into MSC shape. It's largely business as usual at the moment for the SCT :)

Matrix 1.9's planned work will be finalized on Monday as well, ahead of the Matrix 1.8 release on Wednesday. Please raise any MSCs or general feature areas to the SCT before Monday in #sct-office:matrix.org for them to be considered. The SCT will have limited/no bandwidth to look at things not raised for consideration.

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This Week in Matrix 2023-08-11

11.08.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Hubert Chathi

Matrix Live

Dept of Spec 📜

TravisR says

Spec

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs proposed for Final Comment Period:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

Accepted MSCs:

  • No MSCs were accepted this week.

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

We have a release date planned for Matrix 1.8! We're looking at Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023, and tracked as issue #1614. Currently the only release blocker is room version 11, which should land well in advance of August 23rd. If there's other things we should be considering please raise them ASAP in #sct-office:matrix.org.

August 23rd also begins the Matrix 1.9 cycle where we'll be sticking to our MSC review plan more strongly. Stay tuned to TWIM for news on the exact MSCs/features we'll be looking at for that cycle, and let us know in #sct-office:matrix.org if you think we should consider something in our planning.

The SCT has otherwise been thinking a lot about the MIMI working group at the IETF and how the protocol layering works there. About half of the SCT is going to take a break from MSC review over the next few weeks to ensure the protocol we're designing for MIMI will be fully compatible with Matrix - this will mean that some MSCs will move slower through FCP, sorry.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, complaints, etc then let us know in #sct-office:matrix.org 🙂

TravisR also announces

port 8448 has formally been registered by IANA 🎉

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This Week in Matrix 2023-08-04

04.08.2023 18:19 — This Week in Matrix MTRNord

Matrix Live

Dept of Spec 📜

Andrew Morgan (anoa) says

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

  • There were no new MSCs this week.

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

  • No MSCs are in FCP.

Accepted MSCs:

  • No MSCs were accepted this week.

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

No movement through the process on the surface for any MSCs according to the above chart, but some things have been happening! Other than the usual background hum of IETF work, conversations across many MSCs have been moving along. We also saw MSC3930 (Polls push notifications) have FCP proposed! The latter would stop a notification from being generated every time someone voted in a poll, which is sorely needed.

A reminder that in keeping with the spec's quarterly release schedule, Matrix v1.8 is due to release this month and Matrix v1.9 is due for November. We want to plan well ahead for the v1.9 release though, so if you would like to see anything in particular land in v1.9, please raise that concern in the Office of the Spec Core Team room!

See this message in the same room for more information including the currently planned v1.9 spec changes.

Random MSC of the Week

The random MSC of the week is... Refine and clarify how presence works!

This is a very old "MSC" (still on google docs), but it's come up and I've seen folks taking a look at revamping presence recently, so I figured it may be interesting to share.

The document lists a number of confusing behaviours that come with the current presence spec (at the time, though it hasn't moved much since then). There is also a bullet-point list of what a redesigned presence could look like.

Given the conversation on the GitHub issue, this document appears lost to time. But perhaps someone will find it useful today.

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This Week in Matrix 2023-07-28

28.07.2023 18:00 — This Week in Matrix Thib

Matrix Live

Dept of Spec 📜

Andrew Morgan (anoa) says

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

Accepted MSCs:

  • No MSCs were accepted this week.

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

We've been quite busy at IETF 117 this last week discussing MLS and MIMI in several contexts, meetings, and sessions. Overall things have moved pretty fast in the last week, but the short summary is we're working with MIMI to get (Linearized) Matrix used as the new-found "signalling layer". This layer delegates membership of the room to the crypto layer when the crypto layer (namely MLS) supports being used as such, and is responsible for enforcing all policies. Policies in the context of MIMI are things like join rules, history visibility, and power levels, but with an added twist: we're looking at supporting Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) in combination with power levels in MIMI, which should also bring RBAC to Matrix in the form of a currently-unwritten MSC.

All told, we've got several new documents to write and MSCs to draft, but we'll get there in time. The MIMI working group is expecting solutions in place by about September, so watch this space for more news as we progress. An architecture draft is also in progress on the MIMI side to further explain what all of these new layers mean. In the meantime, if you have questions then please visit the matrix-spec room on Matrix!

We're also looking for more Matrix 1.9 candidates. Currently we have just custom emoji and anything to do with MIMI on the agenda - if you'd like to add more, let us know in the Office of the Matrix Spec Core Team room on Matrix.

Random MSC of the Week

The random MSC of the week is... MSC3062: Bot verification!

This MSC describes a method for verifying (cross-signing) the devices of a bot user, and how verification of that sort could be done. Obviously it wouldn't make much sense to verify emoji with a bot. Instead, this MSC suggests that the bot provide a URL to present to the user. If the URL appears trustworthy (those who would control this URL should also be in charge of this bot), then the user can choose to continue the verification.

The user's Matrix client would then make a request to the URL with details of the verification. If the server responds successfully, some cryptographic magic happens, and your client will consider the bot verified!

This is essentially tying a bot's verification with control of a domain's DNS, which I think is a smart way to do things. But you do need to watch out for those pesky UTF-8 control characters when asking the user to verify the URL!

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This Week in Matrix 2023-07-21

21.07.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Hubert Chathi

Dept of Spec 📜

Andrew Morgan (anoa) says

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

  • No MSCs are in FCP.

Accepted MSCs:

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

This week we have been preparing for IETF117, Matrix 1.8, Matrix 1.9, and Messaging Layer Security (MLS) for Matrix. Most of our work on globally interoperable communications is ongoing through the More Instant Messaging Interoperability (MIMI) working group at the IETF, and will be making significant strides in the coming days as we head to the IETF117 hackathon and meetup.

Over the last few months we've been working on a version of Linearized Matrix which supports the simplicity of linear event history while being fully compatible with today's Matrix network, and while we think that the 03 draft we wrote up accomplishes a lot of this, there's further work to be done to make it cleaner and easier to use. We've also been writing implementations of it to prove the semantics (and find areas which need improvement), starting with our cleanroom eigen-server TypeScript implementation and interoperating it with a branch of Synapse. During IETF117 we expect more implementations to sprout and have their interoperability tested - watch this space for updates on how that goes.

Aside from IETF117, we're continuing to look at the previously-selected Matrix 1.8 MSCs for release in mid-late August 2023. This might be slow over the next couple of weeks while half of us are at IETF117, but expect more forward progress when we get back. Matrix 1.9 is scheduled to be released sometime in November 2023, and a few months ago we said we were aiming to plan ahead for releases a bit more deliberately. Starting this week, we're accepting submissions for ideas and specific MSCs which need our attention in Matrix 1.9. If you have an MSC (current or future) which will need Spec Core Team (SCT) attention between August 2023 and November 2023, let us know in the SCT Office room. Once Matrix 1.8 is released (exact date TBD) we will have limited availability to add things to the Matrix 1.9 target - please raise your MSCs & themes as soon as possible. The current set of MSCs up for consideration can be found on the SCT Intake Board.

If you've made it this far in our weekly update, congratulations, and thank you. We expect things will rapidly start to happen with IETF117 kicking off tomorrow (July 22, 2023), and we will do our best to keep folks updated. Next week's TWIM in particular will have a post-IETF117 debrief for your reading enjoyment :)

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about what we're working on, visit the SCT Office and let us know. We can't promise a prompt reply (particularly during IETF117), but we will take a look when we can.

Random MSC of the Week

The random MSC of the week is... MSC3105: Previewing UIA flows!

This MSC addresses a shortcoming in the current User-Interactive Authentication (UIA) mechanism where attempting to deduce the required authentication flows for an action will result in that action being carried out if it turns out no flows were required. This makes it tricky for a client to present a "are you sure you want to do X?" as a final step in completing an action that requires authentication.

The proposals aims to allow an OPTIONS pre-flight HTTP request to the same endpoint in order to retrieve the flows necessary, without actually carrying out the action. The proposal does note that using OPTIONS for this case is a bit non-standard though, and some clients may treat the typical 401 error code returned during User-Interactive Auth as a fatal error.

While this does address a flaw in the UIA system, it's worth noting that many other flaws exist! Matrix is planning to move over to an OpenID Connect-based authentication system in the not too distant future, which will likely have far fewer edge cases than our traditional, home-grown one. You can visit https://areweoidcyet.com/ for more information and to track the current progress on that front.

Continue reading…

This Week in Matrix 2023-07-14

14.07.2023 00:00 — This Week in Matrix Hubert Chathi

Matrix Live

Dept of Spec 📜

Andrew Morgan (anoa) announces

Here's your weekly spec update! The heart of Matrix is the specification - and this is modified by Matrix Spec Change (MSC) proposals. Learn more about how the process works at https://spec.matrix.org/proposals.

MSC Status

New MSCs:

MSCs in Final Comment Period:

Accepted MSCs:

  • No MSCs were accepted this week.

Closed MSCs:

  • No MSCs were closed/rejected this week.

Spec Updates

Not a lot to say this week. The Spec Core Team is humming along with review, while we also wait for progress of various MSCs from their authors. The full list of what's in flight can be found in this week's Tuesday ping in the Office of the Spec Core Team room.

IETF and MIMI work is still continuing on in the background. Look out for a TWIM in the near future for an update to progress on that front!

Random MSC of the Week

The random MSC of the week is... MSC3192: Batch state endpoint!

This MSC defines an endpoint to send lots of state (max 50 at once) into a room in one go. This sounds useful for all sorts of tasks, and it's a wonder that it hasn't come up before.

If that sounds like an endpoint you'd like to go, give feedback on the MSC linked above!

Continue reading…