Skip to main content


On the demise of Slack's IRC / XMPP gateways

Say no to Slack.

Debian developer Gunnar Wolf writes:
I have grudgingly joined three Slack workspaces, due to me being part of proejects that use it as a communications center for their participants. Why grudgingly? Because there is very little that it adds to well-established communications standards that we have had for long ~~years~~ decades.
On this topic, I must refer you to the talk and article presented by Megan Squire, one of the clear highlights of my participation last year at the 13th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS2017): «Considering the Use of Walled Gardens for FLOSS Project Communication». Please do have a good read of this article.
Thing is, after several years of playing open with probably the best integration gateway I have seen, Slack is joining the Embrace, Extend and Extinguish">-minded companies. Of course, I strongly doubt they will manage to extinguish XMPP or IRC, but they want to strengthen the walls around their walled garden...
So, once they have established their presence among companies and developer groups alike, Slack is shutting down their gateways to XMPP and IRC, arguing it's impossible to achieve feature-parity via the gateway.
Of course, I guess all of us recognize and understand there has long not been feature parity. But that's a feature, not a bug! I expressly dislike the abuse of emojis and images inside what's supposed to be a work-enabling medium. Of course, connecting to Slack via IRC, I just don't see the content not meant for me.
The real motivation is they want to control the full user experience.
Well, they have lost me as a user. The day my IRC client fails to connect to Slack, I will delete my user account. They already had record of all of my interactions using their system. Maybe I won't be able to move any of the groups I am part of away from Slack – But many of us can help create a flood.
Say no to predatory tactics. Say no to Embrace, Extend and Extinguish. Say no to Slack.
See also @Carl Chenet, another Debian developer, post The Slack Threat.

Btw. I never used Slack, but some people still try to drag me into it. I stay with XMPP, and in IRC by means of the biboumi XMPP-IRC gateway.

#xmpp #slack #irc #walledgarden #federation #biboumi #debian
I would like to see a gateway between xmpp and diaspora. No native mobile clients for diaspora :-(

_"XMPP, and in IRC by means of the biboumi XMPP-IRC gateway" _- which client is the best to use it that way? Pidgin?

@Tomy Tani Biboumi is an XMPP server side component. The client does not matter, but you need to use an XMPP server with biboumi installed. I use for that, which also is a nice social network.

I dislike slack for its proprietary nature, but it is way more approachable for non-techy teams and even more convenient for techy teams (e.g. Unix + FOSS loving machine learning researchers I work with at my university), than IRC or XMPP. The web-based rich-text interface, offline messages, proper e-mail notifications and so just work a lot better. I will go for or mattermost, but claiming that slack has no serious benefits over IRC is just ignorant and will not help FOSS. I know that you can manually add all its features somehow to IRC and XMPP, but the whole point is that they are not there by default and it causes fragmentation and difficulties for newcomers/non-experts. I am not sure that diaspora is able to work in a similar fashion. I could not for instance quote code easily and are there private group chats?

Use #matrix or #rocketchat

If you want a polished UI with certain group features for an organisation go to Rocket Chat else Matrix and note the client name #Riot is the best alternative out there.

* Rocket can be self hosted but not decentralised.
* Matrix is decentralised by nature and there are official debian packages.
* Riot the matrix client is on #F-Droid and doesn't connect to google messaging.

@Pavithran S Ok, I knew, but didn't know matrix yet, thx :)