ubports.chat is shutting down on February 22, 2021.
The ubports.chat Matrix homeserver is shutting down on February 22, 2021. After this date, you will no longer be able to access your chats, groups, or account on ubports.chat.
If you do not have a Matrix account, or if your Matrix account resides on any homeserver other than ubports.chat, this shutdown will not affect you. You do not need to take any action.
If you have a Matrix account on ubports.chat, please migrate your account from ubports.chat prior to February 22, 2021. You can migrate your account by registering a new account on a different Matrix homeserver, then joining all of your chats with the new account. There is an experimental automated tool for this purpose at https://ems.element.io/tools/matrix-migration.
If you are not sure if your account is hosted on the ubports.chat homeserver, you can check your Matrix homeserver in FluffyChat by viewing your username on the Settings page. If the portion of your username after the colon is
ubports.chat, your account is hosted on the ubports.chat homeserver. If the portion is another domain, such as
matrix.org, this server shutdown will not affect your Matrix account.
Prior to the shutdown date, we will remove the Matrix-Telegram bridge from the groups where it currently resides. We do not currently have any plan for bridging these groups after the server shutdown.
The ubports.chat service was hosted by community volunteers who no longer have the time to keep it maintained. We apologize for any inconvenience this shutdown causes, but it is better than allowing the server to become unmaintained.
If you have any questions about the ubports.chat service or its shutdown, this thread is an appropriate place to ask.
What would it take to keeping it maintained?
What would it take to keeping it maintained?
That is an excellent question.
Ultimately, it's a question of priorities for money and effort. The short answer is: find a way to convince us that our value determination is incorrect.
I'll start with the money angle. In terms of hardware alone, this instance would require a server that retails for almost $1000/year on our favorite hosting platform. We can get a better price than that on other platforms that we have a relationship with, but we prefer to use those other platforms only when really required: their customer support leaves something to be desired.
We would not consider accepting sponsored hardware for a service like this. At this potential cost, it is far too easy for a provider to see us as more of a liability than a gain and leave us behind. I don't blame them, of course. Everyone has to make the numbers make sense. And, of course, that cost assumes that the people maintaining the service are free and have nothing more important to do.
Second is the assignment of priority of effort. Right now, we have the potential to take up or leave behind a burden that needs maintenance in three categories: server hardware, server software, and Terms of Service.
The server hardware needs maintenance as our current hosting provider is no longer interested in the burden of hosting the server. I estimate it would take 120 hours of effort to migrate the server to a new hosting provider, set it up for failover in case of a single server failing, and do everything else that should be done for the service to be hosted correctly. I base this assumption off of trouble that other open-source communities have had with hosting their Matrix servers.
The server software needs ongoing maintenance, as all services do. In good times, this maintenance probably adds up to 16 hours per month. When something goes wrong, 40 or more.
The Terms of Service maintenance is the ongoing cost of creating and enforcing rules for use of the homeserver that meet legal regulations in every country it can be hosted and used in. It is the primary reason that we stopped accepting new registrations to ubports.chat. This point seems particularly sharp after Google banned Element from the Play Store this week due to "abusive content". The Matrix foundation has a full-time team to maintain the matrix.org homeserver. I don't expect we'll have that level of burden, but it is an unknown amount of effort that I prefer not to have. That still ignores the fact that enforcing Terms of Service violation reports means that we need to read people's unencrypted messages, which I'm not comfortable with.
I look at the numbers on this service and they don't add up. We need to spend our money and time on the things that push Ubuntu Touch forward, and ubports.chat has not convinced me that it is one of those things. If we do things, I want them done right. This isn't something I think we can do right.
I understand that this is inconvenient and it makes us look terrible... The deal has been changed on you, a service which previously was to be supported indefinitely has a definite end date. Rest assured that we have learned from our mistakes with ubports.chat. We are now very sure that we are not interested in hosting consumer services. We will need a significant staffing change to make it make sense in the future.
With that said, this is a win for decentralized services... You don't lose all access to the Matrix network just because we decide that it doesn't make sense for us to be on it any more. At least there is that small silver lining in this bad situation.
Thanks for clarifying things.