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An instantaneous chat platform for the ROS community

Maybe I’m a bit late in this conversation, but here is a suggestion of a tool that was made exactly for that purpose of instant messaging over an open-source projet, with the ability of saving and accessing useful conversations:

I discovered it when ApolloGraphql chose to move away from Slack in the favor of Spectrum, after considering “tools like Discourse, Discord, Gitter, etc…” :

In a nutshell, it is

“a nice blend between realtime communication and threaded forum like discussion”

with some advantages:

  • free and open-source
  • has long-lived channel history (as opposed to Slack)
  • accessible to search engines crawlers: you can find Spectrum discussions from a Google search
  • it also means that you don’t need to have an account, as opposed to Discord or Slack
  • easily searchable: if the discussion you’re interested in already took place, you’ll find it

Here is Apollo’s Spectrum chat if you want to see how it is: Apollo’s Spectrum

Recent, related discussions in the Rust community:

To add to the discussion that @wjwwood points out, here is a link to the genesis topic form Rust Internals that gives some more background. I linked to a particular comment regarding accessibility issues with Discord, as for others in the community with disabilities (also discussed in the reddit thread above) this has been a long standing barrier with Discord.

Hi all, this thread seems to have a lot of suggestions and discussion but from what I can tell it doesn’t seem to reach a decision. Is there an official chat platform for ROS? If so I’d like to start a navigation2 channel.

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The current consensus seems to remain IRC

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OK, a couple questions:

  • What servers / channels are being used?
  • Is there a recommended web based IRC client?

#ros on Freenode is the place - I don’t think there’s been enough chatter to warrant multiple channels to date.

The Freenode web client works well
I am personally using Riot web client to connect, it’s also got mobile clients which is nice (note: channel name through Riot is - thanks @ruffsl for the suggestion, it works really well

Also I connected successfully on the first try using HexChat native client on Linux - which is much more than I can say for most IRC clients I have tried

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IRC (#ros on freenode) is still the default, as @emersonknapp said. The TSC discussed it and it seems that nothing will be changed:

Though there are several unofficial ones now, including a discord server, I believe it was posted above.

Unfortunately IRC is kind of a dead end now (in my opinion) since the bot we used to have which posted the chat history online is now defunct. So if your client isn’t online 24/7 your likely to miss parts of the conversation.

Ironically discourse was in read-only mode when I was trying to reply and could only use our internal slack ask why :stuck_out_tongue:

logging an irc channel should be a solvable problem.

Yeah, but it’s something someone has to maintain. And has many of the same privacy and accessibility issues as the other platforms (in my opinion). We were piggy backing off of ( but it’s hosted service is gone now. There weren’t many hosted options when I last set that up. If someone wants to set that up and the rest of the people in the IRC channel are ok with it, then I’ll help with any channel permissions or w/e, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of time monitoring or fixing it if it goes down.

As I introduced to @emersonknapp, you can use the matrix/riot as personal IRC bouncer, so you can later view/search message history while your client was disconnected, thus making the IRC channel immediately more usable:

FYI, the IRC server will stick kick you off if you remain inactive for more that 30 day.

@mjcarroll , in the #ros FreeeNode IRC, you mentioned correctly setting your nick through Matrix so it worked correctly with Riot:!$

Could you expand upon what you did, or what the process should be? It might be helpful for others who’d like to use more modern clients while retaining @-mentions capabilities across the IRC/Matrix bridge.

Yep, so to change my nick, I opened a chat with and used the following: !nick mjcarroll. I think that the command may vary depending on which connection to Freenode you use (I saw used in other places).

After that, you can open a chat with NickServ, which is and authenticate with the standard mechanism by sending a message to the NickServ such as identify mjcarroll hunter2

If you haven’t previously registered a nick, you can do so by sending register <password> <email>

I think tha tyou can also message with !storepass <password> so that you don’t have to keep messaging NickServ.

Finally, I think that matrix sets +R by default, so you won’t get messages from users that aren’t registered to IRC. I think you can change your mode but I haven’t experimented with that at all.

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I’m not sure if this was intended, by we can actually see your pw here.

Thanks, but it was actually a nod to the old quote

Rest assured, my password is not actually hunter2.

Perhaps I should’ve added a :wink:

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Well there goes an hour of my time, lost to nostalgia.


Some of the discussion here deviated into an instantaneous chat platform discussion. Linking it here for err … completeness?

Let’s do that. I need to get better at searching history to look for context. I am going to table slack discussions at this time. One thing I want to think about is perhaps a way we can support real time discussion in the future. I think some sort of real-time support office hours could scratch a community itch but I need to talk with a lot of people about ways we could perhaps make it happen.

I have used slack in the past and it is perfect thing for discussions.