Fedora and Slack

I have loved Slack and have used it for a very long time. It is the standard by which I judge all other chat platforms. While it's certainly not perfect, it's as close to perfect as any of the options out there, and the mobile client in particular is stellar. I don't have much to complain about Until March 2022!

Slack ending support

WTF does that mean?

It sounds horrible when an app's support is dropped on your platform. In reality, it really just means that the current app you have running will continue to run, but there will be no updates for it. In terms of Slack, it's pretty complete, so barring any security updates, there probably isn't that much that is changing anyway. But, that means if there is a security issue that is updated, Fedora folks won't get it. This is certainly not ideal.

Shitty Options

So what are Fedora folks to do? There are a couple of options, but they all kind of suck.

Browser

As an electron app, it's all web based anyway, so you could just use the web version. But there are a couple of issues. First, logging into the web version prompts you to download the desktop version. So great, I'll be reminded every time I login that there is no real option for me to download and it will just add to the shit sandwich. I prefer to not use a google-based browser that tracks and reports everything back to google, so Firefox is my browser of choice (another app that I love that seems to be in a downward spiral of trying hard to suck, but I digress). And while I don't personally use either of these, on the supported browsers page, there is this lovely note:

Only chrome gets "all the things"

"Upgrade" my os

They only support 2 Linux distributions: Ubuntu, and RedHat Enterprise Linux 7 and up.

Yes, I have chosen Fedora and have used it for years for many reasons, but let me go ahead and upend everything to "upgrade" to ubuntu so I can get slack app updates. Yeah, no. That's a hard pass for me.

"RHEL7 and up" is at least related to Fedora. Since it is just electron, installing the RHEL7/8 package will probably just work, but it's still a little less-than-ideal. I mean, how many people are really using RHEL on their laptops? (I don't know the answer, but I'm guessing not many)

Flatpak

It seems the general answer is "just use the flatpak". But that is also not "officially" supported by Slack. It is also probably "good enough" since they are just re-wrapping the elctron app in a flatpak, but again, not ideal. Also, apart from the universal support, I dislike Flatpak. RPMs delivered via DNF is superior in so many ways, but Flatpak does at least get an easy entry point. Just not my cup of tea.

Other Options

I'm not willing to upend my desktop experience, but drop slack for something else on a whim becuase their support matrix sounds scary? Sure, I'm in for that. Ultimately I have been working on moving things to Matrix for a few months now. We have all of our alerts channeled through Slack, and most things already have slack support baked into them, so it's a really easy endpoint to configure for notifications. I have [my own fork](https://github.com/kellya/matrix-webhook) of [matrix-webhook](https://github.com/nim65s/matrix-webhook) that I have extended to make use of a config file, add multiple API Keys, and broke out the formatters into their own plugins (kind of).

This was all part of a bigger plan to allow bot integration to do two-way interaction where I could kick off processes, or interact with private things that I wouldn't want to do on a public bot. So I was already heading down this path. This dropping-support-for-fedora thing is just pushing me towards that. Are matrix clients as good as Slack? No. Not yet anyway, there are fundamental differences in how matrix works that makes it impossible to replicate everything in Slack, so I don't think it will ever be exactly 1:1. But it's a million times better than the shitfest that is MS Teams!

Summary

I have been (and still am really) a fan of Slack for years. Due to their dropping support for Fedora and offering no good options, plus the fact that I was already heading that way, I am putting all my messaging eggs in the Matrix basket. It is not quite as good as slack, and there are no mobile apps that I have found that work as smoothly as Slack does (at least on iOS) and I will definitely miss that. But overall, I think it offers a wealth of interesting integration options and is completely self-hostable with full End-to-end Encryption. So I think it will be an overall good thing, but I would have liked to hang on to Slack for a little while longer.


Written by kellya in misc on 2021-11-09. Last modified: 2021-11-09 13:45:45.960165-05:00