Julian Sparber is rewriting Fractal to support GTK 4 and end-to-end encryption

Purism developer Julian Sparber is rewriting Fractal so the Librem 5 will have a Matrix client that supports GTK 4, end-to-end encryption, Matrix “rooms” and the matrix-rust-sdk engine. It should have better performance and be more maintainable in the long term than the current version of Fractal. Julian is also working on the API for matrix-rust-sdk and has added API functions for Matrix rooms and avatars, and is planning on adding Matrix events to the API.


I pre-ordered the Librem 5 to support this kind of dev work, and I just wanted to say that I appreciate Julian’s hard work to give Linux users a good Matrix client.


Right on!

I’m still not 100% on board with Matrix. I have found server performance in general really lacking and the need for a native server to be the first real issue the protocol has.

Still chat lives and dies by the quality of clients, so happy to hear about this!


High level API for matrix, such a great potential. Appreciation is shared!
Over here my librem5 runs Revolt for Matrix. Its acceptable with some usability problems (no way to save images). and no video or regular calls. Would love to see the variety of clients increased.:partying_face::partying_face:


matrix-rust-sdk should help a lot with the backend performance and GTK 4 with hardware acceleration should speed up the interface a bit in desktop Linux. It sounds like it will be a while before we get hardware acceleration for GTK 4 in the Librem 5.

I believe the Matrix team is also working on rewriting the server component (currently called Synapse, but the new version will be called Dendrite). If it’s successful, it should also boost performance.


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Synapse and Dendrite < like the neural connections in the human nervous system … not bad guys !

For people that criticize Matrix let me add that (for us as Mathematicians) this is our only hope to have the ability to write Mathematics using TeX notation. There is already a version/fork of Riot/Element that supports this. Since Fractal is re-written let me add this wish: Please support math through TeX notation. It is very useful for helping out students.


I would be very careful with adding complicated types of content. We already have the mess with HTML mails which can be a attack vector and track the user.

When I see Signal there is no markup and style, only plain text. Sometimes I which that I would have simple styles like bold etc…

So I am not totally against this but I think developers should be very very careful about this and don’t add to complicated stuff that’s hard to validate.

I can’t judge how complicated TeX is. Isn’t there another way for math notation like Unicode characters or so?

Unicode is a set of characters. It is not a method for typesetting. Unicode will not help you write the square root of x+y+z, and if you think to bypass it by writing the root symbol followed by (x+y+z), then Unicode is of no help if you want to write and integral with endpoints.
In any case it does not need to have a complete support for TeX. I use matrix as a tool to communicate with my students quickly. Simple things like exponents and indices, roots, sums, products and integrals plus commands that directly point to Unicode symbols (eg \langle x, y \rangle which should give ⟨x,y⟩) is enough. The main thing is to understand the names of symbols. People can not learn to type ⟨ by remembering that this is u27e8.

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You are both right. “Complexity” and “richness” are potential attack vectors but not necessarily broken by definition.

One way to look at it is that a messaging protocol and application is a transport mechanism. What the recipient does with the message is up to it.

A safe way to tackle this may be:

  • the transport mechanism allows the sender to specific a MIME type attribute for the message
  • the recipient display mechanism supports an enable/disable control for each recognised MIME type
  • the recipient display mechanism supports plug-ins for niche MIME types (as well as built-in support for more common MIME types)

So TeX may not even exist by default but if you install the right plug-in and enable the corresponding MIME type then voilà.

And @prolog can disable HTML.

Yes. Any image format. :slight_smile: But that won’t work if the intention is to edit the maths back and forth.

End of April I’ve replaced matrix-synapse with matrix-dendrite at my home server and it is working just fine :slight_smile:
Very small userbase though (just my family)

I’m not sure I understand why one cannot do that with unicode: (x+y+z)²

Or am I missing something?

Well, GNU Social v3 will have a server-side LaTeX to SVG rendering for status updates.

(I think Gajim and Pidgin have plugins that support LaTeX in XMPP clients? No idea how any of them handle it.)

I’m glad Fractal is still actively developed. I’ve given up on the Qt based applications because they’ve fallen behind Element. I hate that it doesn’t fit with the rest of my DE though :neutral_face:

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Yes. @antonis wanted sqrt_x_y_z

That aint easy to do as Unicode, if it is even possible - and with the full power of something intended for typesetting equations and the like, it rapidly becomes impossible if you don’t have specific support for it.

Exactly that. I chose to refer to the root since I knew it can not be done :grinning: But even powers are difficult. You wrote the square. OK, now how about
It is not so easy to do with Unicode. Keep also in mind that TeX has an accuracy in positioning glyphs which is less that 10^{-7} where Office apps usually are around 10^{-3}. The 2 raised to the 2 to the n can not be nicely done even with MSWord…

Ha! I knew I was missing something, thanks! :sleeping:

Ehm, +1 for TeX :wink:

Alternatively, just send a LaTeX generated PDF. You know, not everything needs to be at your fingertips :slight_smile: .

There is a common practice in mathematical and physical journals to write equations without too much decorations (ie variables under the roof of square root), such as : (x+y+z)^-1/2 . sin^-1 x, etc. LaTeX supports that too and is, in fact , preferred style.

LaTeX -> PDF is pretty terrible for accessibility I heard.

In what sense?