Libre Instant Messaging and Social Media BoF

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Let's discuss and test out various Libre alternatives to Slack, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Outcomes from the BoF =


  • Scott Bragg
  • Mikael Cluseau
  • Russell Coker
  • Jessica_
  • John Kristensen

Stuff we talked about:

  • Convenience and success of Slack against other protocols
  • The critical mass of other platforms such as FB and Twitter
  • Interoperability of open source federated social networks so that although they are small islands they can have a mass of users all their own.
  • How easy it is to set these open source services up

Stuff we did:

  • Demo'd Prosody XMPP Server with an IRC bridge to Freenode, and a bridge to a GNUSocial instance
  • Set up a test MatterMost chat server as an alternative to Slack. Mattermost is written in Go and is pretty straightforward to install either as a Docker image or following the setup instructions.
  • You can log in and check out our Mattermost Instance with this invite link which we will keep going for the duration of the conference: Team invite link


Let's start by spending half an hour discussing the problems and ways of solving them, during the discussion people are encouraged to play with software on their devices and do web research.

By the time the Linux Australia AGM starts I would like people to be working on installing and testing various software. People who are there just for the discussion can then attend the AGM. I believe that coding is more important than voting as the people standing for office are all good.

Topics to consider

This list is broad and we will probably run out of time but perhaps we will have some shared chatroom or group post tag to continue the BoF online.

  • Learning about being a user of libre IM and federated social networking, looking at the feature sets - those not interested in running their own instances or IM servers can create accounts.
  • Who to follow on these alternative social networks?
  • Connecting/extending networks - bridging with plugins/bots, or working with common protocols?
  • How to contribute? Which projects are looking for what help
  • Moving between networks

Here are links to various software

Social Networking


GNU Social


"a stream server that does most of what people really want from a social network."

Public instances people can register accounts at:

Or use to have one randomly select for you.

Instant Messaging | Group Chat

Tox – Decentralised IM and group chat (torrent-like DHT protocol)

Matrix – Decentralised group chat, WebRTC signalling

Mattermost - Slack-compatible alternative

Rocket.Chat - Web chat platform


How to Prepare

Have a phone, tablet, or laptop to use to access the services (preferably all 3).

If you are a sysadmin have a laptop to access servers and install software.

Test out some relevant software in advance if you have time. Ideally be ready to spend a few minutes talking about the software.

If you want a virtual machine to test software contact Russell Coker <> ASAP. Ideally send a GPG signed message with your ssh public key.

Birds of a Feather sessions (BoFs)
Autonomous Robots Emacs Ingress Interval Training Kerbal Keysigning Libre Social Media Parallelism Perl Queer Running Taswegian Bibleopoly