We are trying to evaluate Matrix as a modern, user-friendly alternative to IRC and an open-source, privacy-friendly alternative to Slack / Google Chat. There is a public instance (matrix.org) but it's extremely overloaded which makes it at times almost unusable; also since it's an instance used by everyone, we can't have anything Wikimedia-specific on it (such as SUL login), so we want to have our own instance for evaluation. T193961: Set up Matrix.org homeserver on the Wikimedia Cloud VPS is the task to set it up locally, but as a less time-consuming alternative, let's just get a hosted instance managed by the Matrix developers (Vector.im) first.
See pricing here; it's $75 per month for up to 50 users (that's active users, not total registered accounts).
Rough testing plan:
- set up & test basic instance + Wikimedia SUL SSO (if feasible) + LDAP integration (if feasible) + communities (Matrix.org user groups) based on Wikimedia or LDAP groups
- test bridging with IRC, Slack, Google Chat (maybe Telegram, Zulip if we feel like it)
- ask some IRC/IRCCloud/GChat/Slack users, designers, user researchers to evaluate
- convert an IRC logger bot, have it use rich text
- convert an IRC chatbot
- ask a Slack team to evaluate for fixed period (month? 3 months?)
- ask an IRC team to evaluate for fixed period
Overall, length of the testing period is expected to be somewhere between 3-6 month. After that (maybe after step 3 as well if there is enough feedback) we make a go / no-go decision; if it's a no, try to turn the feedback into concrete blockers, otherwise we make a proposal to the executive team and if there is at least conditional support for Matrix as a canonical chat solution, ask ops for a self-hosted instance. Possibly pay for a couple more months until the transition happens. So low cost estimate = $225, high cost estimate = $900 (12 months). We can enforce a shorter test period + have the testers return to their previous chat medium after the end if cost is a concern.