This week the Matrix core team launched hosted Matrix servers at Modular.im.

This is excellent news as I expect it will boost the take-up of Matrix. I would like to see organizations using Matrix in place of IRC, Slack, etc. The early adopters are likely to be those into open source such as (I hope) the Apache Software Foundation, although perhaps commercial organizations are more likely to pay somebody else to run a hosted service.

But there is a catch, at present. Using your own domain name is only offered on Modular’s large plans. I think this is a mistaken policy.

My reasons for embracing Matrix can be summarized as “Own Your Own Identity and Data“. It is essential to identify myself using my own domain name — @julian:foad.me.uk — and not by choosing a username or subdomain in a domain controlled by the provider company.

I believe it is essential for the future health of Matrix that we encourage users to bring their own domain name. That will teach users about decentralization, empower them to change their hosting provider, and encourage developers of other software in the ecosystem to embrace decentralized design. If we expect users to default to registering on a large central server, then the system is in danger of degenerating into an almost centralized future where many bridges, integrations, and other ecosystem components would only support the the large central servers, and most users would feel like it was just another silo. That would be a failure.

If you register your interest in Modular’s future smaller plans, you may receive a survey invitation, as I just did. I took the opportunity to let them know my thoughts. If you care about this sort of thing, perhaps you could do so too.