XMPP vs Matrix

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Since both protocols position themselves as federated, both protocols are compared mainly in terms of federalism and freedom. In this review, only The Matrix is considered, and not its forks like Gridify and other. Forks of the Matrix protocol can have significant differences. Currently, the Matrix has a clear advantage in supporting client software for all OS, while for financial reasons XMPP dominates only on Android.

XMPP Matrix
Conversations for Android
Element a.k.a Riot web-client for all OS

Total active users ~ 2 000 000 000 , including non federated XMPP messengers - WhatsApp, Zoom and etc [1] [2] In Federated network no known number of active users, but probably more than the number of servers (> 85 000). Unknown (No independent statistics. Official statistics include inactive accounts [1] and users of transports from other messengers)
Total active federated servers ~ 85000 [3] Uknown (No independent statistics)

Open, extensible protocol? Yes. It is allowed to add the protocols of other messengers to the protocol XMPP (including the Matrix protocol). Anyone can write their own extension and add it to the protocol. An example of a comic expansion: "XEP-0183: Jingle Telepathy Transport" and fork protocol Signal "XEP-0384: OMEMO Encryption". Nobody obliges to use or not to use extensions, but if the extension is in demand it will quickly spread to actively developed XMPP clients. Registration by phone numbers has not gained widespread acceptance, although it has some popularity among lazy users [4] No. The protocol cannot be extended without the approval of the owners. The Matrix team has a monopoly on decision-making. Other participants will have to comply or be blocked by most of the network [2] . If tomorrow the Matrix team makes it mandatory to register by phone and set the spy program, everyone will be obliged to comply. The requirement to install a backdoor may occur under pressure from the regional government or under the pretext of fighting spam. Any unapproved change protocol implies the creation of another new incompatible fork messenger (Matrix 1, Matrix Reload, Matrix Revolutions and etc). Similar splits into hundreds of forks occurred in bitcoin after its popularity, which forces users to install a separate duplicate application for the new fork.

Commercial project? No Symbiosis Company New Vector Ltd (Element/ Riot) (provides paid services) London, United Kingdom + The Matrix.org Foundation C.I.C. (collects donations).

E2E encryption? OMEMO, OTR, OTR4, PGP ECC, PGP RSA (* It should be noted that OMEMO is a messenger Signal protocol integrated into XMPP as XEP) OLM
File transfer? All platform All platform
Videocalls? yes (Android [5], Linux [6]) All platform
Audiocalls? yes (Android [7], Linux [8]) All platform
Format XML (Extended HTML version), xml+zlib, JSON [9][10][11] JSON (base/servers) + HTML/JS (used frequently in clients side), don't support XML

Monopoly network? Many servers [12] and many clients [13]. Most users use only Matrix.org + Element /Riot (or forks) . Many of the private server owners also use "'element (riot)" domain hosting.
Fault-tolerant? Yes (2 000 000 device to 1 node)[14][15] (> 1500 users = 1 GB ram )

Cheap small VPS can accommodate the population of entire big cities

No (< 100 users = 8 GB Ram [16]). For big servers Matrix.org [[17]] and Element.io [[18]] use Сloudflare proxy to reduce the load

Cost of service 1 active device > $0.01 / mo ~ $1 / mo
Support for one cross-platform client? User-friendliness? No. Lack of funding. Clients exist on all platforms, but video calls only work well on Android. The commercial XMPP messengers Zoom and WhatsApp do not participate in the federation and do not open the source code The web client Element (Riot) is based on Electron (Chromium) and has support for all operating systems that support Chromium. There are no commercial matrix-based big messengers (except Element aka Riot)
Good sponsorship and advertising support? No. Most large XMPP servers with billions ([19] [20]) of users are not federated and do not invest in the development of the XMPP protocol Yes. Centralization around one messenger and client allows you to collect investments. The development of the Matrix is funded by both private and government sponsors. More: France (Tchat) & Israel company Amdocs & Donation $8 500 000

Usage in big network? XMPP is in usage by Google[21], WhatsApp[22], Zoom, IBM, LiveJournal, Nintendo[23], NSA, US military,Federal Police Germany [24] and etc... A federated network adapted for millions of private servers with any number of users.

Paid messengers
Can I keep the server on donations? Donations can pay for the maintenance of big amateur servers. The largest amateur federated server (xmpp.jp) with 886 487 accounts and ~ 30,000 active. . No. In the matrix, the main load of the network is located on super-nodes that a person with a small budget cannot create. The cost of maintaining amateur supernodes does not pay off the donation. Big supernodes must have commercial sponsors or government support to serve users. The largest amateurs servers host several hundreds active users. [25] The matrix has not found application in free big messengers, but there are examples of using the matrix in sofrware that require payment for use (remote access program Teamvier).

  1. The proof of this statement can be a weak activity in rooms of 15,000 people (few post in hour). One of the problems with large chats that existed in the 200s is that 15,000 active people can create from 15-150 post per 1 second.
  2. "Also, we highly recommend that you disable open registration or, if you keep it enabled, use SSO or require email validation to avoid abusive signups. Empirically a CAPTCHA is not enough. Otherwise you may find your server blocked all over the place if it is hosting spambots." - Official Blog Matrix.org.