FreedomBox for Communities/Messaging and VOIP

A service hosted on FreedomBox for a community can replace the need to to use WhatsApp like messaging solutions. FreedomBox brings in a decentralized solution know as Matrix. Server component of Matrix known as Matrix Synapse can be installed on a FreedomBox server with ease. Accounts created for FreedomBox can login to this service can communicate with each other. End-to-end encryption can be enabled to protect privacy. Users can also make voice and video calls among one another. Rooms can be created to send messages across large groups. Best of all, Matrix is a decentralized and federated service. This means that user of a community will be able to participate in conversations and rooms with any other Matrix user on the Internet. This process works somewhat like email. When a mail is sent from a user, it first reaches the server where the user has their account. Then it is sent to the target server where the target user has an account and from there the message is delivered to the target user. This is the reason why Matrix accounts look a lot like email addresses with a slightly different syntax.

Setting up Matrix Synapse


In FreedomBox, setting up Matrix Synapse is quite straight forward.

  • First ensure that FreedomBox is setup as described in the FreedomBox Setup section.
  • Then ensure that FreedomBox server has a proper domain name configured as described in the FreedomBox Setup section.
  • Visit the Apps page in FreedomBox UI. Click on Matrix Synapse.
  • When prompted for installation, proceed to install.
  • The interface will then ask the domain name to be used by Matrix Synapse. This domain name can't be changed later. This is also the reason why this application can't be installed and configured beforehand in pre-made images.

After the domain name is chosen, Matrix Synapse service will be running and ready for use.

Creating Accounts


Each user of FreedomBox will also be able to login and use Matrix Synapse. If you wish to all users on the Internet to be able to register their accounts by themselves in this community instance, then you can Enable Public Registration from FreedomBox's configuration page for Matrix Synapse.

Client Apps


Each user needs to install apps on their mobile device or laptop to be able to use Matrix service effectively. Riot, a fully featured Matrix client, is available for most platforms. Alternatively, it can also be used from a web browser.