Short: A cross-platform open source solution designed for developers. You can create or join existing communities to collaborate and interact.
Almost every online user is familiar with Slack, Rocket.Chat, Trello, Nextcloud, and a few other solutions for communicating and collaborating at work.
We also have a list of open source Slack alternatives if you prefer FOSS for collaboration in your team.
But, as a software developer, what if you come across a community of developers?
Unlike communities on Reddit or any other social media, you have access to an open source platform where developers meet and collaborate on important open source projects. Wouldn’t that be exciting for social collaboration and interaction between other developers?
Gitter (now part of Element, also a collaboration/chat app) aims to do just that. It is a community platform powered by open-source technologies (Matrix protocol).
Gitter: community of developers connected using open source technologies
Gitter is an exciting discussion and networking platform that helps create or join existing communities. It is available for Linux, macOS and Windows.
You can also easily create your community without setting up an invitation service.
The strength of the platform is that the community is fully open and indexable by search engines. You are not locked into any pricing plan for community chat history, just check the archives.
And, there are many more features you get with Gitter.
Features of Gitter
Although Gitter is originally designed for developers, you can use it to build any kind of community if you think the features meet your needs.
- Powered by a decentralized Matrix network.
- Communities available to join publicly.
- Ability to restrict your community to selected users.
- Dark mode theme.
- Access archives to easily locate past conversations.
- Ability to export messages/room information.
- Add users from your network (for example, if you use Twitter to connect, you have the option to invite Twitter users to your community)
- Several integrations available (GitHub, Bitbucket, Trello, GitLab, Docker Hub, Discourse, etc.)
- Supports GitHub Flavored Markdown.
- Create additional rooms in the same community to keep things organized.
- Easily share/embed chat room link.
- Threading system to keep conversations clutter-free.
- Ability to delete/report messages.
Overall, Gitter provides a variety of features suitable for different communities.
And, with integrations available through GitHub, GitLab, and several others, it’s a perfect collaboration option for developers and teams.
Install Gitter.im on Linux
The developers mainly focus on the web application. So if you want to avoid installing anything on your Linux desktop, head over to Gitter.im and register/login to get started.
If you want it as a desktop application, you can download the DEB package from its official website or opt for the available Snap and Flatpak package.
I tried the Flatpak package in my brief test, and it worked fine on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. You can try the Flatpak/Snap on any of your favorite Linux distributions.
You can also use it on your mobile devices. Unfortunately, the official Gitter apps are no longer maintained. But, you can use the Element app to connect to rooms/communities, since both are powered by the same decentralized network (i.e. Matrix).
To learn more, explore the GitLab page or visit its website.
Have you tried Gitter? What do you think about it? Does it suit you as a developer? What do you use for that? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.