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Element
Other names
  • Riot (2016–2020)
  • Vector[1][2] (2016)
Original author(s)Vector Creations Limited[1]
Developer(s)New Vector Limited[3] trading as Element
Initial releaseJuly 2016 (Beta)
Stable release(s)
Android1.6.6[4] Edit this on Wikidata / 5 October 2023
iOS1.11.0[5] Edit this on Wikidata / 15 August 2023
Linux1.11.47[6] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 October 2023
macOS1.11.47[6] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 October 2023
Windows1.11.47[6] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 October 2023
Web1.11.47[7] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 October 2023
Repository
Written inJavaScript, Objective-C, Swift, Java, Kotlin
PlatformWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web platform
Available in25 languages[8]
List of languages
Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish
TypeVoIP communications, instant messaging, Videoconferences,[9] social media, and other App Integrations
LicenseApache-2.0[10]
Websiteelement.io

Element (formerly Riot and Vector[11]) is a free and open-source software instant messaging client implementing the Matrix protocol.[12]

Element supports end-to-end encryption,[13] private and public groups, sharing of files between users, voice and video calls, and other collaborative features with help of bots and widgets. It is available as a web application that can be accessed through any modern web browser, as desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and as a mobile app for Android and iOS.[9][14] Element is changing its license from Apache-2.0 to AGPLv3 only with CLA.[15]

History

Element was originally known as Vector when it was released from beta[1][2] in 2016.[16] The app was renamed to Riot in September of the same year.[17]

The letter "R" in a round blue shape.
Logo of Riot from 2019 to 2020.

In 2016 the first implementation of the Matrix end-to-end encryption was implemented and rolled out as a beta to users.[18] In May 2020, the developers announced enabling end-to-end encryption by default in Riot for new non-public conversations.[19]

In April 2019, a new application was released on the Google Play Store in response to cryptographic keys used to sign the Riot Android app being compromised.[20]

In July 2020, Riot was renamed to Element.[21]

In January 2021, Element was briefly suspended from Google Play Store in response to a report of user-submitted abusive content on Element's default server, matrix.org.[22][23] Element staff rectified the issue and the app was brought back to the Play Store.[23]

In May 2023, India's government banned 14 messaging apps, including Element. The ban was enacted on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs, citing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir as the main cause.[24]

Technology

Element is built with the Matrix React SDK,[25] which is a React-based software development kit to ease the development of Matrix clients. Element is reliant on web technologies and uses Electron for bundling the app for Windows, macOS and Linux. The Android and iOS clients are developed and distributed with their respective platform tools.

On Android the app is available both in the Google Play Store[26] and the free-software only F-Droid[27] Archives, with minor modifications. For instance, the F-Droid version does not contain the proprietary Google Cloud Messaging plug-in.[28]

Features

Element is able to bridge other communications into the app via Matrix,[12] including IRC, Slack, Telegram, Jitsi Meet and others.[29][30] Also, it integrates voice and video peer-to-peer and group chats via WebRTC.

Element supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE) of both one-to-one and group chats.[9][30]

Reception

Media compared Element to Slack,[1][2] WhatsApp[2] and other instant messaging clients.[31]

In 2017, German computer magazine Golem.de called Element (then Riot) and Matrix server "mature" and "feature-rich", but criticized its key authentication at the time to be not user-friendly for communicatees owning multiple devices. A co-founder of the project, Matthew Hodgson, assured the key verification process was a "placeholder" solution to work on.[31] In 2020, Element added key cross-signing to make the verification process simpler, and enabled end-to-end encryption by default.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Riot wants to be like Slack, but with the flexibility of an underlying open source platform". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Open Source und verschlüsselt: Das steckt hinter dem Slack-Rivalen Riot". t3n News (in German). Archived from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Copyright policy". Element. Archived from the original on 31 January 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  4. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  5. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  6. ^ a b c Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  7. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  8. ^ "matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk". GitHub. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Features | Riot". about.riot.im. Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.[primary source]
  10. ^ "Riot.im License". Github. Archived from the original on 28 February 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  11. ^ Paul, John (16 July 2020). "Decentralized Messaging App Riot Rebrands to Element". It's FOSS. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Riot: A Distributed Way of Having IRC and VOIP Client and Home Server". itsfoss.com. 18 April 2018. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  13. ^ "End-to-end encryption (E2EE) | Collaboration and messaging".
  14. ^ F-Droid. "Element (Riot.im)". f-droid.org. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  15. ^ Speed, Richard. "Matrix-based Element plots move from Apache 2.0 to AGPLv3". www.theregister.com. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  16. ^ Riot.im (9 June 2016). "Say Hello To Vector!". Riot.im. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  17. ^ Riot.im (19 September 2016). "Let's Riot!". Riot.im. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  18. ^ Riot.im (21 November 2016). "Riot releases end-to-end encryption: get ready to chat securely!". Medium. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  19. ^ a b Hodgson, Matthew (6 May 2020). "Riot Web 1.6, RiotX Android 0.19 & Riot iOS 0.11 — E2E Encryption by Default & Cross-signing is here!!". The Riot.im Blog. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.[primary source]
  20. ^ "Riot.im Android security update". 25 April 2019. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.[primary source]
  21. ^ Le Pape, Amandine (15 July 2020). "Welcome to Element!". Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.[primary source]
  22. ^ Amadeo, Ron (30 January 2021). "Google Play bans open-source Matrix client Element, citing "abusive content"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 31 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  23. ^ a b Davenport, Corbin (31 January 2021). "Google reinstates federated chat app Element on Play Store after wrongful removal". Android Police. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  24. ^ Sharwood, Simon. "India bans open source messaging apps on security grounds". www.theregister.com. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  25. ^ "vector-im/riot-web". GitHub. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Element – Secure Messenger". play.google.com. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  27. ^ "F-Droid Site". Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  28. ^ "FAQ-entry". Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Bridges". Matrix.org. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Element, hands on: Secure messaging for tech-savvy organisations Review". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  31. ^ a b Weisensee, Jan (7 March 2017). "Echtzeitkommunikation ausprobiert: Willkommen in der Matrix". Golem.de (in German). Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.