Moving from Slack to Matrix (formerly Gitter)

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Ankur Sinha

Apr 15, 2024, 4:54:59 AMApr 15
Dear all,

It was great to meet lots of folks from the COMBINE community at

One of the things that came up there was the possibility of moving away
from Slack to the Open Source Matrix (formerly Gitter) chat

Slack on a free plan has various limitations, for example:

- one cannot see older messages
- people need to be invited

Also, Slack is not FOSS.

What do people think of moving to Matrix (what used to be Gitter)? It's
FOSS and has pretty much all the useful features of Slack. It also
doesn't require people to invite others, so it's much better for "drive
by" queries/discussions. As with Gitter, it allows one to have channels
linked to GitHub organizations and repositories too.

We have the NeuroML channel here (currently bridged to the channel on
the COMBINE Slack instance) and it works very well:

Ankur Sinha (He / Him / His) |
Research Fellow at the Silver Lab, University College London |
Free/Open source community volunteer at the NeuroFedora project |
Time zone: Europe/London

Frank T. Bergmann

Apr 15, 2024, 5:05:02 AMApr 15
to COMBINE discussions
Having lost most of my own slack history as well, I can only second this recommendation. 

It'd be great to see combine adopting matrix. 


Paola Di Maio

Apr 15, 2024, 12:20:48 PMApr 15
to COMBINE discussions
yup, I joined already, never really liked slack bug grew used to it

Herbert Sauro

Apr 16, 2024, 12:04:33 PMApr 16
to Paola Di Maio, COMBINE discussions
Ultimately it depends on how easy it is to use and set up. If it's hard then you won't likely get critical mass. 

Agree with losing slack history, in the end we bought an academic licence. 


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Ankur Sinha

Apr 16, 2024, 12:29:45 PMApr 16
to Herbert Sauro, Paola Di Maio, COMBINE discussions
Hi Herbert,

There's no infrastructure set up required. One logs in to and
creates a new channel for the community. It's hosted by the
Gitter/Matrix folks. It's very similar to modern chat apps (like
Slack/Mattermost) so it's also easy to use.

Folks are welcome to test it out in the NeuroML channel to get a taste
of it:

One can login using the usual login providers: GitHub/Google/GitLab etc.

Ankur Sinha (He / Him / His) |
Time zone: Europe/London

Lucian Smith

Apr 16, 2024, 1:27:29 PMApr 16
to, Herbert Sauro, Paola Di Maio, COMBINE discussions
Having just tried it, I can say that the first thing it did was ask me a question I had no idea how to answer:  what client I wanted to use to view the discussion.  I didn't want any client at all; I just wanted to view it in my browser!  However, after I picked 'Element', it turned out that there was indeed a browser version; first select the 'Continue' button for Element, then click "Continue in your browser".


Ankur Sinha

Apr 16, 2024, 2:15:22 PMApr 16
to COMBINE discussions
Hi Lucian,

Yes, Element is the "web client". There's a whole ecosystem of
desktop/mobile/web clients for the Matrix protocol now (similar to IRC),
so they put up that page to allow folks to use other clients.

There's also a complete list here:
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