Back when the GNU project was starting, among the first things they rewrote as Free Software were:
- text editor / IDE (Emacs)
- assembler, linker, and compiler
- make

IOW, they made tools that they needed to further develop Free Software without relying on proprietary tools.

They wanted their project to be self-hosting.

Nowadays, we have more free software than ever, but we develop it using github and Discord...

@Wolf480pl this is issue with people. People tend to stich with a single solution which everybody uses. There are lots of quailty source "forges" (i.e. Gitlab, Gitea, SourceHut), but people stick with GitHub for a reason that "everybody uses GitHub".

At the moment, when everybody will use open and free forge. Especially when the #ForgeFed will be adopted.


But it is harder instant messagging systems. Every one of them has one issue that makes it harder to use.

IRC - lack of history *on server*. I don't see reason to chat if the history is not saved even for several minutes.

XMPP - it's high entrance point. Too much clients and servers supporting different featuresets.

Matrix - it's pretty young and suffers from it.

RocketChat - AFAIK it was buggy as hell, when last time I was using.

Gitter is very tight coupled with non-free software

@alexcleac yeah, network effect.

And you're right about the issues with current chat systems, but IMO that's a symptom, not a cause.

If eg. Mozilla was trying to build a Free chat solution, as hard as Stallman et al. were trying to build a free compiler, we'd already have something that can compete with the proprietary chat apps.

@Wolf480pl I think even if Mozilla started doing this, there is a non zero (and pretty high) that it wont make it, a least from the first try. Do you remember the Firefox OS? I am afraid that the user base would be pretty low.

However it would be a nice first step out of a FOSS info bubble towards other people. But it is the hard way. This could also be done the way guys at purism did with librem one 😉

@alexcleac But the goal would be to make a chat _for_ the FOSS bubble. Even if only Mozilla devs use it, that's already a success, if it means they don't depend on Discord.

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac was this not a Mozilla goal several years ago? An integrated chat solution for FF and TB?

@jack @alexcleac
I don't know... I don't even know whether Mozilla's stated goals are still actually their goals...

@alexcleac @Wolf480pl network effects are a very real and very dangerous thing.

If only there were some possible way to cap usage of any particular instance at something under a million users, no matter the technology.

@RandomDamage @alexcleac
Well, one way is to make sure your software doesn't scale vertically.

But then, it'd be hard to make a protocol such that no implementation could ever possibly scale vertically.

And even if it was possible, I'd feel bad for designing a protocol this way.

The software is supposed to be a tool in user's hand, not a way for its author to control the users.

@RandomDamage @alexcleac

I could make a protocol with a 10-bit number serving as user id, so that there can't be more than 1024 users on a single domain.

But that'd be stupid and unethical.

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac and ineffective.

I meant for *any* instance of *any* protocol to max out at a million users, even e-mail.

Not possible, of course, but it would be so much healthier than what we've got.

@RandomDamage @alexcleac hm, I know only one mechanism that would allow sth like that to apply to all past and future protocols: law.

Ofc it may be a vefy bad idea, but I think sth like Article 13 but without upload filters could have a similar effect... something that exponentailly increases the probability of getting sued as you gain more users...

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac it might. Of course existing big sites would fight it tooth and claw.

@alexcleac @Wolf480pl with messaging, compromises have to be made right now. It’s unfortunate. I’m enjoying Matrix.

IRC has always been a ghost town. That’s not going to change. XMPP has always been a skeleton when you need a body.

We need to get over clinging to ancient tech like those two.

@jack @Wolf480pl the compromise for me is a telegram in fact :)

However, I really want to move to matrix in time.

@alexcleac @Wolf480pl I actually love telegram. By far my favorite. But trying to talk someone into trying it is ridiculous

@jack @alexcleac
I'm not sure what you mean by ghost town, but from my experience, IRC was very lively 10 years ago.

Either way, it's clear that these days we need something better than that.

My problem is that instead of being like "IRC is no longer sufficient for our project, let's make something better", many FOSS projects are like "IRC is no longer sufficient for our project, let's use some proprietary chat app instead".

Which is the opposite of what GNU was doing back then.

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac IRC has always had a very specific user type, and never chosen to expand. That’s 20 years of using it. And quickly stopping, seeing that there’s been no change.
@Wolf480pl @alexcleac I’d love it if there were a great open source chat app that was accessible, fast, and not entirely pointless.

Matrix is the closest thing to that I’ve ever used.
@alexcleac @Wolf480pl I prefer a proprietary app, telegram, but I love the matrix server I’m on. I tried XMPP when it first came out. You had to register a company through Jabber to use it. It’s no different now. Like 15 years later. I won’t stay with stagnation. Simple. :)

@jack it seems that we are totally on the same page here. I use telegram too and look and matrix for some time

@alexcleac it’s just a shame that matrix servers don’t interact with a large system, as pleroma instances do. The lack of people is a problem. It’s nice on this server, because I know I can trust the people there.

Telegram is a great all-in-one. Plus all the IFTTT actions. Video. Audio. Groups, channels. Nothing else does it.
@alexcleac I’m actually kinda happy to see at least a couple of others say the same. :)

@Wolf480pl @jack well, nobody can stop you from developing your own server. In fact, I want to try making a matrix server in scala when I have a bit more of free time :)

@alexcleac @jack I've heard it's unscalable at protocol level...

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac I’m not as savvy as I once was with this stuff, so that is quite possibly the case.

It’s just kind of awful to need so many apps for messaging just to stay in touch with an average number of friends and family.

@jack @alexcleac
IMO, this is better than "one IM to rule them all".
Diversity and healthy competition are good things.

Where I live, there's an expectation that "everyone is on facebook", and when you're that one guy who is not on facebook, you're basically a second-class citizen.

That sucks.

Please don't teach your friends to expect that everyone uses the same communication medium.

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac I agree, but we are just too scattered now I feel. I have messengers just because 1 person I know does. Most of the services, have 3-4 contacts. It’s just kinda ridiculous.
@Wolf480pl @alexcleac

what I’d like to see is something like Federation. Where interaction isn’t server/client dependent.

@jack @alexcleac @Wolf480pl I keep toying with the idea of a lightweight general-purpose messaging network. My problem, as always, is one of time.

Making a system that is decentralized, secure, and lightweight (in terms of network usage) is an extremely difficult thing to accomplish; most projects or protocols only place value on two of the three as a result.

@SuperFloppies @Wolf480pl @alexcleac it would be a lovely thing. I’ve just been alerted to a security issue with Matrix. Which was leading the ranks. Now...

@SuperFloppies @jack @Wolf480pl isn’t there a theorem telling that you cannot get fast, reliable and easy to support system whatever you do?

@alexcleac @jack @Wolf480pl It’s a general principle. Reliability costs performance, and security requires trust analysis which incurs overhead. I can process half a billion transactions a second in a system written in assembler that doesn’t care about networking or security. That doesn’t make it good.

But how much you want to bet that it’d still sell well? “Half a billion txns/sec on a four year old system! Buy now! Be faster than everyone else!”

@alexcleac @jack @Wolf480pl Furthermore, consistency is always eventual between multiple systems, just on a timescale small enough that we often do not really see it.

@jack @alexcleac @Wolf480pl Makes me want to try to get a bunch of people together to create the “Sane Software Alliance,” promising to make high-quality, high-performance, secure systems without bloat.

Someone pass the pipe... I’m clearly in enough discomfort that I’m spewing BS...

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@jack @alexcleac yes, a federated protocol would definitely help, but IMO that's only part of the solution.

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac

Oh, it definitely needs voice, video, channels, integration of other services.

My ideal would function is a similar method to discord, or slack, but be open source, and decentralized.

@jack @alexcleac @Wolf480pl Bingo.

What’s needed is an IRC-like network that is binary, self-forming, and provides end-to-end security. If it self-organizes in a mesh, then only endpoints with SPOFs will be unreliable.

@jack @alexcleac @Wolf480pl It can be done!

But someone will probably do it in Ruby with XML and JSON at multiple points in the system. Ideally what I’m talking about would be a ~500 KB or less dæmon.

@Tarheel @Wolf480pl @SuperFloppies @alexcleac

well, aside from it being hackable at every turn, email has become a Pandora’s box for average people. Everything wants it and wants to fill it full of shit and people seldom exchange theirs outside of other social media.
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@Tarheel @jack @alexcleac @SuperFloppies
- it has high latency
- it has spam filters, which amke it unreliable

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@alexcleac @Wolf480pl i'm really curious because i hate pretty much all chat software i am willing to use and would love to be able to chat with people with free software and protocols with a nice gui so i could hopefully make it easy for my discord friends to be willing to trying something besides discord so i can still talk to them without needing discord anymore. matrix clients in my limited experience are probably the closest to being able to replicate my tiny server of around a dozen close friends from around the world with similar interests but the real reason for responding to this post with the list of chat sw is i need to know is there some inherent problem with tox i don't know about or do people just not use it or what? i've never once found someone i could test out tox clients with so i have no idea how well or poorly they do at what things. frankly, from what it seemed like having it open in an empty room like it should at least be as known as rocket chat.

one day i might learn how to not to ramble but i can't make any promises. sorry. just confused about tox i guess. :kyuHide:


Thanks for mentioning @forgefed - very excited about that!

What I would like to see is a low-footprint implementation with minimal features (single-user; leaves repo access etc to existing tools like gitolite). Maybe it shouldn't even have a web frontend and just pub to ActivityPub and forward Sub to email?

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