Current situation with Matrix & Libera

This is a retrospective post, summing the state of where our chat situation is at, and starting to think about the future.

Firstly, the history:

  • Matrix & Libera took a join decision to disable “portalled” rooms and only allow “plumbed” rooms. The technical details don’t matter too much, the TLDR is that almost all the Ansible rooms are portalled, so they needed to be recreated by Jul 31st
    • This work was tracked here and was about 50% complete when the tooling for making new bridges broke down entirely
    • Shortly after this, Libera and Matrix agreed a 2 week extension (to Aug 11th) on the deportalling deadline.
    • A few days later, due to identified security concerns, Libera requested the bridge be shut down entirely. We currently have no ETA on it’s return, but it is unlikely to be “days”. Weeks, or even months, are expected before it returns.
    • Libera have posted a retrospective on the last few months, which is an interesting read.

As a consequence, we have no IRC bridge, and no way to create one - running your own Appservice-IRC is no small matter, and Libera wouldn’t permit it right now anyway. That means:

  1. :-1: No communication between the networks, either in public rooms or DMs
  2. :-1: Not able to create meeting logs on Matrix (zodbot is an IRC bot)
  3. :+1: Nobody getting kicked from Matrix rooms for 30-day inactivity (the bridge does this to preserve the connection pool)

To combat (1) I have deployed Matterbridge on the Ansible bot host, and enabled it in a few rooms - it seems to be holding up. But relaybots are ugly so that’s really a sticking-plaster :adhesive_bandage: at best. To address (2) I am writing a new Matrix zodbot (in conjunction with Fedora) which can post meeting logs here in the forum (to MeetingBot Logs specifically). It will be ready for testing soon. (3) is clearly a nice side-effect :slight_smile:

The relay-bot may be with us a while, so I wanted to also share some of my data about the chat usage in Ansible. Here’s the picture right before the troubles:

The first (left-to-right) is the daily percentage of users coming from IRC. This looks high, given 2 years of Matrix, but it’s misleading, because we have one room (the largest, #ansible) which is still IRC-focused. If we exclude that one room, we get the second plot, which shows IRC somewhere in the region of 30% for the rest of our rooms.

The last plot is a trend (accounting for day-of-the-week variation, but not month-of-the-year because we haven’t enough data yet). It’s clear IRC has been slowly declining for some time, dropping around 35% in the last year. Until March, I would have expected Matrix to become bigger later this year - but the summer always makes FOSS go quiet, and that seems to have been felt more in the Matrix side (possibly because of presence & history? We expect to be able to return and catch up later…).

Right now, it’s clear we’re caught in the middle. I’ll be updating these scripts to work with the relaybot, and we’ll monitor it for the moment.

Questions? Concerns? Hit that Reply button :slight_smile:


Today, I added a few more rooms to the bot today and then it got kicked from all rooms for flooding. Not sure if that’s just traffic levels, or if it did something bad…

For now I have reduced the room list and restarted the container. Let me know if you see issues.

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I vote to drop Libera and direct everyone to Matrix proper. I’ve spent over 20 years of my life on IRC but the reality is that IRC is sadly dying a slow death. The hostile takeover of freenode simply shined a light on the situation as well as sped up the process slightly. :confused:


This forum couldn’t land at a better time :slight_smile:


For posterity, the latest update about the bridge situation: - This Week in Matrix 2023-09-01

Then, obligatory:

this one too:

Fragmentation hurts and we should be making it easier for people to talk to each other about Ansible things.

I think people will continue to prefer different communication platforms and Matrix is a good way to bridge them together. It’s not perfect but it has improved meaningfully since the implosion of freenode and it looks like they are willing to do what it takes to make it work.

I think if the IRC bridge works, that’s great. It removes a barrier and lets people talk to each other regardless of their chat preferences: diversity and inclusion++.

There’s even Slack and Discord bridges if we want ¯\(ツ)

  1. :+1: Nobody getting kicked from Matrix rooms for 30-day inactivity (the bridge does this to preserve the connection pool)

The fact to get kicked out from the Matrix rooms from time to time was really annoying for me as occasional Ansible chat user. Basically always when I wanted to use the chat again I realized that I’m kicked off. This leads also to the fact that I just avoid to use the chats in generally.

Thus I would also vote for completely dropping IRC as @maxamillion suggested. A good solution for the most people is better as trying to find something to target everyone.
Anyhow I’m too young or too less nerd to see the awesomeness in IRC :smiley:


Wild idea, and im not a web developer but a user. How about to implement the chat into hear? Then you have one landing page for Ansible and not multiple. Everything in one place.

Whilst I personally agree with @maxamillion, I don’t think we’re there yet (unless of course the bridge doesn’t ever return, which would force a decision - but I’m assured that it will eventually).

I land somewhere between that and @rfc2549’s point. The bridges are “fine”, but we currently try to maintain equal status for both IRC and Matrix. I suspect that once I’m done with all the forum setup, the next proposal might well be “let’s make Matrix the primary, and we’ll bridge to other things inclduing IRC where needed”. The implication being that we’ll get on with making things like Matrix-native bots, use reactions more, edits are more permissable, etc. In other words, use the features that a modern platform allows, and not worry so much about the impact across the various bridges. (FYI the Slack and Discord bridges aren’t free, although they aren’t much).

That’s not as wild as you think. Discourse does have chat, and you may find it on other sites (notable We have disabled it here for now, because our Matrix presence is more full featured (and has the option of bridges too, which this does not).

However, there is work to integrate Discourse’s webchat system with Matrix. I’ve mentioned to Discourse that we’d be willing testers if it gets off the ground :muscle:. So, who knows?!

It was the future, once :slight_smile:


Yes, I agree with this take and it’s kind of what I had implied by saying Matrix is the place where we bridge other things.

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My 2c, I’m not an IRC fanatic, though I do tend to prefer it, mostly because it has a LOT less annoying features/cat videos/emoji/meme postings than most other platforms. I’ve tried using matrix recently to no avail, too much visual distraction from the actual conversation (I can barely survive on slack).

So while many refuse to leave IRC cause of dogma, I’m going back because it is useful, no nonsense and least distracting medium for communication. I cannot concentrate on an issue if 1/2 the time I’m fighting sensory overload … I know most people like the decorations and extra things but I end up turning them all off (if i can) and making all chat systems seem like IRC anyways. if I cannot … i tend to find alternate clients/IRC bridges.

While I am very aware of my minority status in this topic, I know I’m not alone/singular in this issue, so before banning IRC I would ask people to reconsider for others like me that just find the simplicity refreshing and more productive.

PS. I’m not defending IRC or die fanatics … there is no discourse to be had there.


What is now the “official” Ansible chat place? Im now in Element, which I think is Matrix?

I’ve been there :laughing:

There are some settings in Element which might help:

(yes I realize the irony of my post here filled with link previews and images)

I’ve also heard good things about the gomuks client although I haven’t tried it myself.

Element is a client for Matrix. You can find other options here.

Currently, the official chat platforms for the community are Matrix and IRC. Things might change in the future, and it’s something we’ll involve the community in with discussions before any decisions are made.


I think @felixfontein is using a text-based Matrix client? Not sure if I’m remembering it correctly…


I’m using gomuks, which is a text mode client. It does not support every feature that Elements does, but it can be run in screen/tmux similarly to irssi and friends. It is a lot less configurable than irssi, it doesn’t support all the new features (like threads), it doesn’t store local logs (if someone wants that) or stores encryption keys to be able to decrypt messages from previous sessions (I need to look in Element for that), but for me it does the job. It manages to show some of the fancy things - you can see reactions, you can see images in a extremely reduced version, and nicks are colored, so maybe it’s already too much. The screenshot from the repository’s README shows how it looks like:

Images are often not so useful, for example the photos @cybette posted yesterday look like pixel soup :slight_smile:

But for images which contain some large things, like in the screenshot, the preview can be useful.


Someone in Fedora also mentioned the weechat plugin for Matrix, but I’ve never used it. I like having my email in my terminal but have always used web-y clients for Matrix and my IRC bouncer :person_shrugging:.

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yes, tried those settings, still too much

Just cutting/pasting a comment from another community I chat with from time to time:

Another option for people to try… It’s also clear the bridge isn’t coming back for a while, so we may have to discuss our options. I’ve been waiting for the forum to gain more adoption so we can have a wide enough discussion to consider it “quorate” - as more groups get on boarded, that time may come soon.

I know that this might not be the post popular decision, but without the bridge, and no timeline of it coming back. Might it soon be the time to have a vote/discussion on just moving to the current Matrix rooms and just pointing those on IRC there?

I know we just moved to the forums, and fragmentation is hard on everything, Having a single central server to work off of, may be, Long term the best solution, as painful as it is to do.

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Agreed. We’re approaching “rip the bandaid” territory.

The author of Quaternion happens to also be into Ansible, and is hanging out on this forum every now and then.

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