Which jabber clients should we make better?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f736e4164f8> #<Tag:0x00007f736e415d50>

Continuing the discussion from More in Mozilla being dissapointing / Spinning down IRC possibly in favor of Discord:

Mozilla can’t move to jabber, because jabber clients suck. Yep, I said it! I’d love to say it was a good move, but at this point I don’t think jabber is a good move for any large community.

Of course is part of a federated network of folks trying to change that, but it ain’t there.

How do we solve this issue?

Let’s go with that one! Here are candidates for each platform. It’s a wiki, so please edit!

  • GNU/Linux & BSDs
    • Gajim
    • Dino
    • KDE Telepathy
    • Empathy
    • Pidgin
  • Android - Conversations
  • macOS
  • iOS
    • ChatSecure
  • Windows - ??
    • Pidgin
    • Gajim
  • Um, Windows Phones? - ??
  • Be Bold, add weird platforms and keep it going!
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because jabber clients suck

I think this the problem is more multivariable than the client alone. But sidestepping that for a second; there really are only three traditional answers to that question from a FLOSS perspective:

  • Contribute to a FLOSS XMPP client, to help improve it: bugs, documentation, UI design, user support,code, etc.
  • Fork a FLOSS XMPP client to make an improved branch under your vision.
  • Start your own XMPP client.
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Let’s ID candidates for each platform; I’ll make the topic a wiki.

While I deffinitely agree that a lot of XMPP clients suck. I must confess, I am skeptical that they would choose XMPP even if the clients were allready improved. A lot of their conversation is wanting to use a “mainstream” non-niche platform with centralized authoritative identities for moderation.

I think in some ways protocols have lost for the moment. What people seem to want right now are platforms; and in that vein I feel like XMPP and the Fediverse and the like are for people riding out the storm maybe till the pendulum swings a new direction.


I feel similarly. See RSS. It’s hiding in a bomb shelter waiting for the fallout to pass before it emerges again as a powerhouse.

Can we know how many jabber servers are in federation? Users? RSS users?

How much are we overestimating the platforms? :thinking:

IM observatory might be a good place to look for some data:

Though getting at usage numbers is a lot harder than counting servers. Server user counts are not accurate either as lots of servers have stale users. A lot of people self host XMPP. I do for example. My server represents one regular user. Despite my prodding of various local friends, ive not gotten anyone interested in joining me on said server.

Jabber has lost a lot of mindshare to Signal and Matrix and others in recent years though. Also it suffered a lot of user hits when Google transitioned XMPP users to Hangouts pretty seemlessly back in the day. It’s only anecdotal but I suspect its numbers are not rising right now.

Usage numbers for RSS would similarly hard to find if not harder as there is no authentication no login. In principle hit counts to RSS feeds would have to be counted globaly for unique IPs. However a lot of cloud RSS services cache popular feeds, meaning lots of users might only be repsented by a single hit and a large percentage of the world is NATed so IP addresses are not garunteed to be unique in practice.

That made/makes me so upset still.

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I raged for months and even now continue to mourn. In some ways it was a very early very prominant example of google using " Embrace, extend, and extinguish". I lost a lot of IM friends I had been federatedly chatting with for years because I refused to move into Google’s walled IM garden.

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In the absence of hard numbers, I must confess I don’t think this problem is being overstated or if it is not by much. Simply because so many people are ringing the alarm bell, specifically on the subject of chat. This was a major topic at the FreeNode confrence this past year: YouTube


Libre Lounge just had an episode highly relevant to this discussion titled " The Rise and Fall of Instant Messengers". It discusses this in terms of ease of server deployment / client UX / communication culture / marketing as all being large factors at play.

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