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Matrix as a platform for communication

Chat

As a large network with very diverse and distributed participants, communication within "Fab City Hamburg" has a crucial role in how we work together. We rely heavily on the decentralized and open messaging platform Matrix and try to consolidate our internal and external communication there. In this guide, we explain the advantages of Matrix's chat technology and how you can get started right away.

Why Matrix?

These days, the landscape of messenger and communication platforms is huge and often overwhelming: WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Slack, Discord, Teams, Zulip, or Rocket.Chat are just a few of the better known options. Why, then, did we deliberately choose Matrix and not one of these other solutions?

  • 📡 Federation: The biggest differentiator of Matrix is its federated design. This means that all users on Matrix networks can talk to each other. This is similar to email, where any user with a mail address can write to any other email user, regardless of whether your account is with Yahoo, GMX or Gmail. This federation allows us to chat with people and organizations outside the Fab City Hamburg network as well.

  • 🔋 Open Source and self-hosted: In keeping with our values and ideals, we only consider an open source solution. Both the Matrix standard and most popular Matrix clients and server applications are open source. We can host the necessary infrastructure ourselves, and are not dependent on any American company’s corporate servers.

  • 📩 Choose your own client: Matrix is a standard that can be implemented by all kinds of programs, just like email or IRC. That means, just like with email, each user can choose which client application they want to use. The messenger Element is very popular, but FluffyChat or Cinny are good alternatives that many in the Fab City Hamburg community use.

Guide: Here’s how you can join the conversation

If you just want to get started quickly, here’s the fastest way, using Element messenger and creating a new account on the Fab City Hamburg server:

  1. Download the free Element messenger for the platform of your choice (You can use Element without installing anything right in your web browser, or download it for Windows, Linux, and macOS, or install the Android or iOS mobile apps).
  2. IMPORTANT: After starting the program/app, choose “Create Account” and “edit” in the next step. Enter https://matrix.fabcity.hamburg as your homeserver.
  3. Next, you can choose your own username and password.
  4. After registering, you’re automatically logged in with your new user account and you’ll also be in the welcome room.
18.10.2022 | Moritz Stückler