Revolt (matrix)

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Avron
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Joined: 08/18/2020

Revolt is a Trisquel package described as follows:

Description: better desktop integration for Riot.im
Revolt is a small application which wraps the Riot.im webapp to provide better
integration with desktop environments in general, and GNOME in particular:
.
* Having Riot as a "standalone" application with its own window, launcher,
icon, etc. instead of it living in a browser tab.
* Persistent notifications (for desktop environments supporting them, i.e.
GNOME). Notifications are automatically prevented when the Revolt window
is focused.
* Status icon for desktop environment which have a tray bar applet (XFCE,
Budgie, likely many others).

I tried using revolt with the matrix server available within https://freedombox.org, it seems to work well and unlike the XMPP server within the same project, file transfer is supported.

I have read the nice explanations at https://trisquel.info/en/forum/matrix-client#comment-155204 about Element mobile and desktop clients including Electron that is non-free. Is revolt effectively making the same as Electron for the Element desktop client, while avoiding the dependency on non-free software, and not running any proprietary JS from matrix.org if one is not using matrix.org as the server?

Besides, I am wondering about mobile clients. https://matrix.org/clients lists a number of clients as having a free software license but the Element desktop and mobile clients are listed while saying nothing about the problematic dependency on Electron. Were other mobile clients checked from software freedom perspective? For instance, SchildiChat, Syphon or Nio?

Avron
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Joined: 08/18/2020

I reply to myself to report my findings on Revolt plus some other related things.

Revolt seems to access element web, so it is not the same situation like Electron (see [1]) and hopefully free software. I used Revolt, it works for chat and file transfer but not for voice or video calls. On my D8, it now has a blank window and I did not manage to solve that so far.

I tried other free (at least listed so on the free software directory) matrix clients: Quaternion and Nheko from Guix and Fractal as Flatpak. Only Nheko supports end-to-end encryption, it works fine to send and receive ciphered text messages but it crashes as soon as I press the button to attach a file. With Fractal and Quaternion, the other user was using Element on mobile (includes Electron, see [1]) and failed to send messages unciphered, then Quaternion reports "unkonwn event" and Fractal absolutely nothing. It was mentioned (see [1]) that Pidgin could use Matrix but I failed to find the related extension.

The only reason I persist with matrix rather than XMPP is that, with the Freedombox (that provides easy self hosting of matrix and XMPP servers), I can send files with matrix but not with XMPP as the related extension is supported by the ejabberd version installed but not activated by the configuration interface (but this is being considered, see [2]).

Until I have a solution with the Freedombox for hosting the server, I am using XMPP hosted by conversation.im. As XMPP clients on Trisquel, I tried Gajim and Dino (Guix versions), Dino looks good and simpler but it is currently impossible to configure sounds for incoming messages on Debian derivatives (I got it confirmed on the support chat group) and does not show a number of information that are visible with Gajim (like people join/leave a group or battery notifications sent via XMPP by MAXS running on a mobile phone). So I am using Gajim now.

Reference:
[1] https://trisquel.info/fr/forum/matrix-client#comment-155204
[2] https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/freedombox/-/issues/703