Reflections: The ecosystem is moving

At Open Whisper Systems, we’ve been developing open source “consumer-facing” software forthe past four years. We want to share some of the things we’ve learned while doing it.As a software developer, I envy writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Unlike software, whenthey create something, it is re…

This post from the Signal blog is old (2016) and not about the fediverse (more about Matrix) but the arguments raised seem interesting.

I’ve already stuff on the fediverse similar to what is mentioned in the blog post. Some ActivityPub sites support stuff like markdown, while some others don’t. I wonder how quickly we will face issues with ossification in the fediverse.


gotta share the response from matrix devs, which really frames it more about values; like, they know they could make yet another communication silo, because the same dev team had done that. federation is a significant extra burden. but it does have extra benefits.


This is more relevant to the Fediverse than Matrix, in fact, while Matrix spec is very detailed with as many use cases as possible, the same is not true for ActivityPub. We need a Fediverse spec on top of ActivityPub, like Freedesktop for GNU/Linux.


“So long as federation means stasis while centralization means movement, federated protocols are going to have trouble existing in a software climate that demands movement as it does today.”

Sounds to me more an organizational issue than a technology one. “The idea of federation is great, but not many people will sync with it, so federation is not a good idea” indicates where the primary focus for Moxie is – practical adoption, not robustness of decentralized protocol.

Dreeg Ocedam

indicates where the primary focus for Moxie is – practical adoption, not robustness of decentralized protocol

To be honest I think that it is a good thing. Free software has not managed to become standard for end users because most of free software put UX way behind other stuff. Signal made a lot of stuff available for everyone with a very good UX, at the cost of not being decentralized.

I was able to make most of my family switch to Signal, however. If Signal didn’t exist, we would be using something else, like What’sApp or telegram, which is way worse.

In the context of instant messaging, I think that Moxie is right. I don’t know where I stand in regarding social networks though. Because stuff on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the likes is mostly public, you can’t implement E2E. When that is the case, I think that a decentralized system shines. The only information that needs to be protected is personal account information, which could be encrypted but then it makes it much harder to build a consistent web experience (the key needs to be stored by the client, and the web isn’t really the realm of client side persistence). In that context, the freedom, and the possibility of having multiple business models within the same network is much more significant than in the context of instant messaging.


The matrix client Element has E2EE and is very usable. I think Signal is a good messenger and since it is open source I think it has a lot going for it, but ultimately I think Matrix is a better solution to the problems with messaging.


Agree, this might’ve been true a few years ago, but element really is slicker and easier to use than signal now.

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