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A serious question has been rattling through my mind lately. Which messaging protocol is better: or . And by better I mean more mature and user-friendly. Also, where can I find more people? 🤔

@michal XMPP is more mature, XEPs (extensions) process is healthy. Regarding which protocol is more user friendly depends on the users. I’m the one who likes XML 😹 so for me the choice is easy. But if someone is more familiar with Web(RTC)/HTTP then Matrix should be a better choice.

@michal To me XMPP is a sad tale of been thrown under the bus by Big Tech Companies that is revolting.

Matrix is promising alternative in this Discord-like era.
Still growing and flexible for new trends in IM.

@mcevnon I was afraid someone might say something along these lines about XMPP. I guess I won't bother with it then. And yeah, Matrix does seem to be very promising 👍🏻

@michal As a someone who always took XMPP's side like in a days of Jabber vs Gadu Gadu skirmish.
Its a bitter truth IMHO.

Saying that I hope Matrix furthers better that XMPP ever did.

By “more mature” XMPP wins easily: it’s an IETF standard deployed internally by many big orgs. Just checkout the list at https://xmpp.org/uses/instant-messaging.html

As for user-friendliness this is orthogonal to the protocol as UX is usually the domain of client software. While Matrix definitely has a lot of investor money to get the UX polished for long term I'd be wary of the entire enterprise. It’s just a proprietary protocol and looking through New Vector’s shares (https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/10873661/filing-history) it seems the majority of the company is not in the hands of original developers.

XMPP in that regard is more like a bazaar of companies and individuals working together compared to Matrix cathedral style of development.

@wiktor @mcevnon thank you for your answer! That's the kind of perspective I haven't even thought of.

For the record I’m using both XMPP (via https://dino.im/ + https://conversations.im/) and Matrix (https://element.io/ via webapp + Android) for years and it’s definitely good to have them both running to have more choice.

Matrix guys also have some interesting ideas (emoji fingerprint verification, device cross signing) but I’m still not sure about the protocol design. My Matrix server operator explicitly warned me not to join big rooms as this will overload the server (it did sometimes).

XMPP servers on the other hand can be run in full productive mode for dozens of users even on Raspberry Pis but if you’ve got friends on iOS then XMPP is going to be a world of pain (e.g. getting full-e2e-encrypted group chats or proper notifications).

Well, it seems it’s really hard to get something perfect in this world 🤷‍♂️

@michal I have heard XMPP is way more lightweight in terms of RAM usage (and perhaps then also electricity?)

@michal A lot could be said when comparing the protocols and implementations. Long story short, from a user(-friendliness) perspective, Matrix will currently make you more happy if you're looking for a Slack alternative, while XMPP is better at replacing WhatsApp (esp. Conversations/Quicksy on Android).

@holger yup, I definitely prefer the UI and UX of Element / Matrix. Still, it's not an easy choice.

@michal More mature: XMPP, more user-friendly: depends mostly on the software (both XMPP and Matrix allow you a choice). More people: hard to say, XMPP has a lot but many are on non-public servers. See also pl.thj.no/notice/9yueFpQaYGIzz for a random fediverse survey. There is a search for public XMPP communities at search.jabber.network/ - but I think many communities choose Matrix today, it has *much* more money for marketing :) For XMPP news see the newsletter/blog: xmpp.org/category/newsletter.h

@michal @mattj (disclaimer: I work for Element on Matrix, but this is my own opinion and not Element's or Matrix's) I don't think that Matrix has more money for marketing than XMPP. But in any event, there is a bridge between Matrix and XMPP which allows Matrix users to join XMPP rooms and vice versa. It isn't perfect, and development on it has been sporadic, but hopefully it will get to the point where people won't have to ask which one has more people, as both networks will be able to interoperate easily.

Communities choose Matrix today because it has clients with better UX than XMPP. I’m talking mostly about the web and iOS. Believe me I’m working for teams that look for a good E2E team chat that can be self-hosted and with Matrix I don’t have to first ask them if they happen to use Android and Linux ;)

This is not only marketing but also execution around one coherent vision. I believe Snikket would be comparable if it was more complete (not complaining, just thinking out loud).

@wiktor
Maybe I was wrong to pick out marketing specifically, sure. But the point still stands... they have a lot of money facilitating that "execution" you speak of. The kind of money that Snikket definitely does not have :)
@michal

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