back to article Slack cuts ties to IRC and XMPP, cos they don't speak Emoji

One of the virtues of cult messaging app Slack was its gateways allowing integration with the venerable IRC and XMPP messaging protocols. Note that "was" we used back there, because Slack has announced it will close the gateways and apologised in advance for messing things up for users and those who built customisations using …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Slack? IRC?

    My money's on IRC to last the longest.

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Obligatory XKCD reference

      https://xkcd.com/1782/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slack? IRC?

      "My money's on IRC to last the longest."

      Our money has already moved to MS Teams / SfB. If you use O365 it's a no brainer.

      1. sorry, what?
        Stop

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        @AnonCoward, I assume by SfB you mean "ShiteForBusiness"? The fact that this (like Lync before it) can't (or couldn't when I last used it 7 months ago) handle offline message store and forward makes it totally rubbish.

        1. Ilsa Loving

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          SkypeForBusiness, AFAIK, IS Lync. Microsoft rebranded it thinking that would somehow magically make it more attractive despite the fact that it was still a steaming pile of festering donkey smegma.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Slack? IRC?

            @ lIsa Loving: You are correct, Skype for Business *is* what Lync Server was renamed to- it's the same horrible, complicated underpinnings, it's absolutely *not* compatible with the consumer version of Skype, and it's a dumpster full of poo on fire.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          I assume by SfB you mean "ShiteForBusiness"?

          We switched to Teams after the shiite experience we had with Skype ... for an all new level of user satisfaction (not!).....

          So, Teams ... in the history of Teams development/QA, has anyone, ever, tried to copy a subset of a message to the clipboard and reported the issues encountered ? Thought not ... no, I will not report that, coz that would help slurp.

          Teams sometimes disables video on my box inviting me to "update my graphics drivers", needless to say, I have the latest ... a reboot fixes it, but then I lose state ... simply nuking Teams does not work.

          Another issue that plagues teams is it freezes, well, not really, the ui still works, somewhat ... but you get no new notifications ... worse, you do not even get emails of missed messages, well, not until you have bounced Teams, which of course does NOT mean you click Quit from the context-menu, no, that is not enough, in this case .... although that appears to work, you still have a Teams process in task manager that needs to be taken behind the shed ....

          The fat app is so useless and unreliable that I also like to have a Teams open in a browser window, so I do not lose out on important messages ... however, it does not like Firefox, so I ended up installing Slurp Jr, aka Chrome ... Thanks, MS ....

          I could go on for ever ... got work to do ...

          John Cleese style" BAAAAAASTAAAAARDS!"

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        Our money has already moved to MS Teams / SfB. If you use O365 it's a no brainer.

        The no-brainers are the company behind these pair of ridiculous products. I thought nothing could out-crap Lync (SfB), but then I saw Teams.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          "I thought nothing could out-crap Lync (SfB), but then I saw Teams."

          Well SfB is way better than the Cisco client suite which is the other main option in that space and Teams is better than Slack - ditto. And the good news is that SfB is becoming part of Teams so there will be one unified client application:

          https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/faq-journey

        2. Alistair Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          @ Dan 55;

          Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I set fire to the Teams Servers. They were under the desks of the Teams support team.

      3. nijam

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        > ... it's a no brainer.

        I've never been quite clear what that is being used to mean. Is it "the obvious solution", or is it "only something a person with no brain would do"

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Considered Harmful

        MS Teams is like someone looked at Slack and tried to do everything it does only slightly worse.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Considered Harmful

          Teams is completely unsuitable for enterprise usage. It is utterly unmanageable. Forget Linux being a cancer; This is the T-Virus which re-animates the corpses of random information and user-designed and created infrastructure leaves it wandering headless all over the Cloud, with limbs falling from the sky and landing in Outlook.

          Can central admins create Teams? Yes, but they get full access to all the data. What, like the CxO's chat with his team? What happens when a Team admin-creator's account is deleted? Er... it get's orphaned. What happens with all the data on the sharepoint sites which get created per team? Who knows? When will MS start charging for all those sharepoint sites? Who knows? What happens to to the "Audrey's Baby Christening Party" group? It shows up in the GAL? Can you can't stop people creating random stuff? No.

          I had a chat with MS to talk about collaboration and they were asking us what the use-case was for Teams. We had none and MS really had no viable suggestions. That was a funny meeting. As far as I can see, the only use-case for Teams is "people are using Slack and we're hoping that MS might do something with Teams in the future which makes it different from what it is now."

          If you are a small dev with no compliance requirements where the content of Teams/Slack is utterly unimportant because your real work is on github, then great.

          Otherwise, run away!

          Then nuke it from orbit, it is the only way to be sure.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        >>Our money has already moved to MS Teams / SfB. If you use O365 it's a no brainer.

        Yep, Teams is quite an improvement on Slack. Slack are not surprisingly getting a bit desperate and have started copying features from Teams like Threads.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          Slack are not surprisingly getting a bit desperate and have started copying features from Teams like Threads.

          Yes, Teams is the first conversation software ever to feature threading. No software ever had that capability before the brilliant innovators on the MS Teams ... team ... came up with it.

          I don't like Slack and its clones (I still don't see much value in Slack, to be frank). Nor was I ever much of an IRC user. I'm more a Usenet man myself; I'd much rather see a bias toward longer-form, more substantive posts than one-sentence-and-a-link followed by twenty idiotic emoji-encoded me-toos.

          But if I must use a conversation-software package, for the love of god let it not be one of Microsoft's half-assed black-box piles of crap. Currently in my neck of the woods we're using RocketChat, which I would rate as moderately terrible; but at least it's open source and thus there's some hope of getting things fixed. (Now if the RC devs would only quit fucking up the UI and actually provide some value...)

      6. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        Well, I don't use O365, so it's not a no-brainer for me. What is MS Teams? ... Ah, a quick web search says it's... Skype?

        Oh God No Please Not Skype. I hate Skype. For one thing it tries to be my Best Buddy and take over the entirety of my computer and my phone. I can keep it from auto-running on my PC, and kill it when I'm finished talking, but any time it gets on my phone I have to kill it with fire to get it to STFU and leave me alone.

      7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        Our money has already moved to MS Teams / SfB. If you use O365 it's a no brainer.

        A "no brainer"? Why, I'd even call it a negative brainer.

    3. tfb Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Slack? IRC?

      I am sure IRC will outlast all of these proprietary horrors. But at any point along the way, almost everyone will be using (or will be forced to use) whatever is fashionable this week. This week it's slack, I suppose: next week it will be something else. Everything that was talked about in the now-unfashionable system will be lost when the company that runs it dies and the infrastructure goes away. But no-one cares about that because its *weeks* away, and weeks are forever when you're 18, and all developers are, if not 18, carefully simulationg the thought-patterns of 18-year-olds.

      1. sorry, what?
        Devil

        Re: Slack? IRC?

        @tfb, I agree with all but the "all developers ... simulating the thought-patterns of 18-year-olds". I, for one, am a significantly older developer and have an 18 year old whose thought-patterns I would NEVER want to simulate.

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Slack? IRC?

          I am too, but I suspect the way you only get to work on fashionable things is by behaving as if you were 18. I have arguments with people about why supporting tools for more than six months might be a good idea. it is the CADET (cascade of attention-deficit teenagers: I did not invent this term) model of software development.

    4. sorry, what?
      FAIL

      Re: Slack? IRC?

      I totally agree. My experience of Slack was that it was (s)lacking in usability especially around search, comment linking was poor, image insertion/sharing and thread updates were not great and it was generally pretty carp.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    "Good luck meeting that deadline, Slackers"

    You can cut stuff that people depend on because you don't like it and it's the agile thing to do. The people who paid you for your product and have to pick up the pieces who are also using agile will implement half a fix, test half of that, put the rest in Jira tickets, and close them in a year or two due to age.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: "Good luck meeting that deadline, Slackers"

      You, Sir, are wise.

      Prophetic, even.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. MatsSvensson

    Encoding error, symbol not found for:

    =0 - - - - <=8

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

    Emojis are like a cancer. They started with those stupid sideways smiley things and grew into a hideous mass of toxic waste. It makes me want to *vomit* (and there's no emoji for vomit, and if there were, I wouldn't use it anyway because it's funnier if I just type out *vomit*)

    icon, because, I'm facepalming. And it's not an emoji.

    1. The Mighty Biff

      Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

      On our IRC channel we settled on m) as a smiley facepalm. It gets a lot of use.

    2. ratfox Silver badge
      Angel

      There you go

      Face Vomiting was approved as part of Unicode 10.0 in 2017 under the name “Face With Open Mouth Vomiting” and added to Emoji 5.0 in 2017.

      You're welcome!

      1. brotherelf

        Re: There you go

        For a moment, that tried to parse as a composite noun, and I'm boggling where else you can vomit from. Though it occurs to me that "arsevomit" has a nice ring to it, as in "the new change approval process is a stinking puddle of arsevomit". I wonder if I can hire Richard Ayoade to say "arsevomit", it feels like a very Moss phrase to use.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

      There is a vomit emoji in Skype and unicode.

    4. OrangeDog

      Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

      There is, but apparently El Reg doesn't do Unicode.

      > The post is required, and must contain letters.

      > The post contains some characters we can’t support

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

        Perfectly sensible. We're not supposed to be jobless teenagers after all.

      2. stephanh Silver badge

        Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

        "The post contains some characters we can’t support."

        Suggest changing it to

        "The post contains some characters we can’t condone."

        \U0001F60B

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

      > I'm facepalming. And it's not an emoji.

      The irony being that when you get right down to it, every single symbol that you have used to convey your thoughts on emoji started life about seven to nine thousand years ago as what you call an emoji (and linguists call "pictograms").

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Emojis... where's the one for *vomit* ?

        The irony being that when you get right down to it, every single symbol that you have used to convey your thoughts on emoji started life about seven to nine thousand years ago as what you call an emoji (and linguists call "pictograms").

        Yes, and then we got better at written language.

        And now we're getting worse again.

        (One of the features of RocketChat that I do appreciate: individual users can turn off emoji rendering, and see the text equivalent instead. The text equivalent is still stupid, but an order of magnitude less annoying.)

  5. Joseph Haig

    Accessibility

    I have a former colleague who is blind and so uses IRC to access Slack. I understand that Slack have a team working on accessibility but unfortunately it is still not quite there yet so by cutting support they are unnecessarily introducing a barrier to blind and partially sighted people.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Accessibility

      He should write something which sounds legal and threatening with liberal use of the word Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, copying to Twitter. You'll see how fast they row back.

  6. SniperPenguin

    Best Twitter response ever to this news

    In other news:

    "Angry Greybeards leave Slack"

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Best Twitter response ever to this news

      Were there any greybeards still on slack ?

      I dumped it when they started insisting on using just a couple of supported browsers. That way lies IE3.

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Best Twitter response ever to this news

        I'm pretty sure most folks looking at Patrick Volkerding would call him a greybeard, despite the lack.

  7. pakman

    If its bridging you want....

    .... try https://matrix.org/ It may not be completely ready for prime time yet, but seems to be moving in the right direction.

  8. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

    What now?

    Never heard of Slack.

    IRC, well thats obvious. I even connect to twitch chat via IRC sometimes.

    XMPP, yep know that too.

    I initially thought that this was an article about Slackware Linux dropping support for IRC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What now?

      I can tell you're an old git, because I thought the same.

  9. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    Oh, the humanity.

    "...emoji reactions...that the IRC and XMPP gateways aren't able to handle"

  10. I said the red button Igor!
    Devil

    Emojis ...

    ... spawn of the devil!

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Emojis ...

      Isn't that U+0666?

  11. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Big Brother

    IRC ftw

    IRC is the vastly superior communication medium.

    I know people are jumping onto Discord because it's "hot shit;" but I read a news article the other day which says they recieve requests from the government and Law Enforcement Agencies and hand over information... which didn't surprise me in the least.

    Hence why I'd never use a platform like that.

    1. jason.bourne

      Re: IRC ftw

      Exactly. Discord brag about never losing a single message. They log hundreds of thousands of chat messages per day into Cassandra and they will save them forever. Self hosted IRC chat retention is up to your users bots and only for channels of which they are members.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm part of a remote team... mostly developers, around the world.

    We've tried Slack - the "native" app makes visual studio look like a finely tuned assembler program from the demoscene.

    All the features of Slack that IRC doesn't support is a feature of IRC.

  13. ScissorHands
    Mushroom

    Walled gardsns as the eye can see

    Hey, Facebook Messenger also used XMPP once... But when users are the product, you don't want anyone to access "your" users without paying your toll.

    Simples! Back to IRC.

  14. Name3

    IRC is going strong

    IRC is going strong, most open source projects rely mainly on IRC for devs, and a forum like phpbb for community.

    All these proprietary chat solutions are a short fad, get unpopular very quickly and die a slow long death after a few years. Or is anyone using one of the following chat services for dev work in 2018? ICQ, AOL, AIM, Baidu Hi, BlackBerry Messenger, Google Allo, Google Hangouts, Google Talk, GroupMe, Hike Messenger, HipChat, FaceTime, IBM Sametime, IMVU, Palringo, RetroShare, Ricochet, Ring, Wickr, Wire, Yahoo! Messenger

  15. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    'our priority is to lock you in'

    Now that we've grown our market by being open, we think you can't easily switch elsewhere, so we're going to turn the thumbscrews and lock you in. If we keep the gateways going you might find it easier to switch, and frankly we're starting to run out of product ideas.

  16. cmaurand

    Slack?

    What's that? Yawn

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