Experimenting with Matrix spaces

Hello community!

Not so long ago, our Matrix instance gained Spaces support :ringer_planet:

You might be familiar with our Matrix directory and how to explore it already. The directory is a flat structure listing all the rooms that opted in. It is fairly well supported in most clients.

Spaces on the other hand are groups of rooms (and if we wanted it, people). It is a more convenient way to organise rooms per type of activity you want to do at some point.

Only Element supports Spaces so far. But their behaviour is now documented in the Matrix Specification, so any client can support it eventually. Yes, Fractal could too in the longer run but it’s not a priority right now.

To try and join the GNOME Community space, make you to enable the Spaces beta feature by clicking on that large circled plus on the left of Element

Big plus button

Element will then offer you to Join the beta. When you click on the green button, Element will reload with Spaces support enabled. Pack your space suit :woman_astronaut: :man_astronaut:

You can then go to any room and type /join #community:gnome.org, which will make you join the GNOME Community space!

Important note: this feature is in beta, and its support is very experimental. While Spaces are a convenient way to organise rooms, they are not yet very good for room exploration. In particular, you will not be able to see all the rooms in a Space for the moment. For the people interested in the technical side of it, this merge request is going to fix it. I’m following it and will update this post when Spaces are better for exploration. In the meantime, make sure to browse the room directory to have a better view of how active we are!

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I think this could be a great feature for orientation in the vast space of GNOME.

Some nitpicking: Is it a good idea to list Circle projects as “GNOME Projects”? And I think, especially for non-technical users, it could help to separate apps and libraries?

Thanks for the feedback Sophie! The Spaces may be experimental, but the way we organise rooms is spaces and subspaces also is likely to change. All ideas regarding what is a good or a bad solutions are very welcome.

To complement on the answer: GNOME Projects does not only contain GNOME Circle applications, but everything GNOME that has code. If you have better ideas for a name or a way to organise things, suggestions are very welcome!

I was referring to the efforts to define GNOME Projects, which will exclude GNOME Circle projects.

I think I would give up the GNOME Bindings in favor of a general GNOME Libraries space. So maybe

  • Apps
  • Libraries

would be possible. But having a GNOME prefix would be difficult again.

I think a differentiation into GNOME Projects and GNOME Circle would be complicated right now, because it is not event defined what a GNOME project is and there would be many apps and maybe also libraries that don’t fall into either category right now.

The naming is unfortunate then. For example, Pika Backup is in the GNOME Projects subspaces :slight_smile:

I tried to go with GNOME Core and GNOME Extras at first. Indeed, not every Circle project has a Matrix channel, and not every project made for GNOME is in Circle.

I’m still trying to find the best balance between “is it clear to find things” and “is it easy to maintain in the long run”

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Considering that Spaces are rooms, what happens if one joins a space from Element and then switches to a client that doesn’t support them yet such as Fractal?

Some people have joined Communities (that are not necessarily GNOME related) with their matrix account. Spaces aim at replacing Communities and as I understand it there are places where they can’t be enabled at the same time. What are those places? Element, the HS… ?

Joined as i saw you wrote about in the GNOME channel on Matrix

Very good question, and I suspect you’re asking it while knowing the answer so others can benefit from it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Spaces indeed are a special type of room. Clients which don’t support Spaces can use two strategies here:

  • Some clients handle them like regular rooms, like Fractal (at the time of this writing)
  • Some clients hide the “space room” completely but display the already joined rooms of this space (like Element iOS)

On the Element (client) side, you definitely cannot have both communities and spaces at the same time. For the homeserver side I couldn’t say for sure. I’ll look that up and keep you posted :slight_smile:

No. If I had known the answer, I would have shared the info immediately instead of asking the question.

Can this be a problem, apart from being a source of confusion? Do these rooms members that joined them to send messages there, and if so what happens then?

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MSC3173: Expose stripped state events to any potential joiner has been merged in the spec :tada:

Now the clients need to implement the solution, and Spaces will be more useful for exploration: people will be able to see all channels which are part of a Space. I will keep this post updated when there is a release of Element which supports it.