software, communication, matrix
With temperatures climbing to record heights, and me waiting for the final CI jobs to finish so I can release Arbor v0.7, I thought I might revisit Matrix again. One of the reasons for switching the Arbor community over to Gitter, is the fact that it became accessible over Matrix, our last best hope for
peace non Big Tech, open communication. One thing stands in the way of me using it instead of the Gitter web interface, and that is this.
Besides that, I tried a few clients a year ago or so, and was not impressed. Many clients were quite buggy and crashy. I settled on Quaternion, but it does not support the then new “Spaces” feature, nor E2EE. The recent news that Element comes with builtin (video)chat support now (soon without passing through jit.si), I thought I’d check the options out again.
- Element (Electron)
- It does everything.
- Whitespace heavy for my tastes.
- Neochat (Qt, C++)
- Flatpak works now!
- Shows spaces
- Can’t really use them though. All Rooms are grouped under a single header (and not by Space).
- Exploring Rooms in a Space is no very intuitive: go to search, tick ‘Global’, and then enter the URL of the Space (you gotta remember that, UI won’t give it to you, so e.g. matrix.debian.social, nltrix.net). It does work.
- UI does not really help you to use Spaces.
- No E2EE support.
- Fluffy (Flutter)
- Supports Spaces, but seems impossible to browse rooms in a space.
- nheko(-reborn) (C++,Qt)
- Can’t find some rooms, not clear if it searches servers or Spaces. Search does not seem very good either way, channels I know exist are not found by entering a substring.
- Spaces always give an overview of all Rooms, which is a bit cluttered. And perhaps related to the above: not all Rooms are shown.
- Cinny (Tauri/webview)
- Seems most complete/functional besides Element.
- Has clear Server and Spaces Room browsers
- Can’t search the Spaces Room browser.
- Had to struggle to add
#debian-space:matrix.debian.social, but I’m not sure it was the clients fault.
- Thunderbird 102
- Has encryption, no Spaces
I like snappy C++/Qt apps, but those options all have UI issues (plus a lack of E2EE in some cases). That leaves Cinny and Element at this time. Cinny is visually the best option to my taste, so I’ll stick with it for now. There no mobile version of it (not that I’m interested in that right now), and I hope when Element merges “Element Call” other clients won’t lag too much behind.