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Add post about E2EE using Emacs matrix-client.el

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Gergely Polonkai 3 years ago
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Chatting on Matrix/Riot with end to end encryption from within Emacs
####################################################################
:date: 2020-03-09T11:48Z
:category: blog
:tags: emacs,matrix
:url: 2020/03/09/chatting-on-matrix-with-e2ee-from-emacs/
:save_as: 2020/03/09/chatting-on-matrix-with-e2ee-from-emacs/index.html
:status: published
:author: Gergely Polonkai
Iʼm a happy user and administrator of a `Matrix <https://matrix.org>`_ instance. Itʼs a pretty
lonely one (iʼm the sole user of it) but i faced a lot of pros and cons of it in the last few
years. In case you havenʼt heard about Matrix yet, itʼs a messaging framework which, for a few
years now, supports end to end encryption (E2EE). It also serves as the base of a federated chat
service you might know as `Riot <https://riot.im>`_.
Another thing iʼm also fond of is Emacs. Itʼs a great little UI for pretty much everything i do,
from note taking through managing email and calendar to software development. It even has a
Matrix client, `matrix-client.el <https://github.com/alphapapa/matrix-client.el>`_, written by
well-known (in Emacs circles at least) `Ryan Rix <https://whatthefuck.computer/>`_ (rrix) and
`alphapapa <https://github.com/alphapapa>`_. I tried it several times, but at the end i always
came back to the official Riot client because we use Emacs E2EE both at my company and in private
with some friends, and unfortunately ``matrix-client.el`` doesnʼt support it.
As this is the case with many other clients, like Fractal, some awesome folks of the Matrix
community wrote `Pantalaimon <https://github.com/matrix-org/pantalaimon>`_ to solve this problem.
It’s a Matrix proxy that can do E2EE for clients that donʼt support it natively.
Pantalaimon
===========
Setting up Pantalaimon is really easy: you ``pip install`` it, write a 4 lines long config fire, and
you are ready to go. Just make sure you have a valid certificate if you use HTTPS; Pantalaimon
wonʼt connect if not, and will communicate this problem poorly.
.. code:: dosini
[example-matrix]
Homeserver = https://example.org/
ListenAddress = 127.0.0.1
ListenPort = 8765
You simply start it with ``pantalaimon`` or, if you are a systemd fan user, you can use the
`service file from their repository
<https://github.com/matrix-org/pantalaimon/blob/master/contrib/pantalaimon.service>`_ with a
slight change in the path.
matrix-client.el
================
Coming up next, the Emacs Matrix client.
The fastest route for me was to add ``quelpa`` and ``quelpa-use-package`` to my config, and
install matrix-client.el using those. The only tricky part is that iʼm lazy, so i have
``use-package-always-ensure`` enabled which doesnʼt play nice with Quelpa installed packages that
are not otherwise available on MELPA (or any other repository you might have enabled), hence the
``:ensure nil`` clause.
.. code:: common-lisp
;; Don’t use it unless you are lazy enough to do extra work later
(customize-set-variable 'use-package-always-ensure t)
(use-package quelpa)
(use-package quelpa-use-package
:after quelpa)
(use-package matrix-client
:after quelpa-use-package
:ensure nil ;; you only need this if you have `use-package-always-ensure' set to non-nil
:quelpa (matrix-client :fetcher github :repo "alphapapa/matrix-client.el"
:files (:defaults "logo.png" "matrix-client-standalone.el.sh")))
Run it!
=======
At this point you are ready to go. In Emacs, run :kbd:`M-x matrix-client-frame` or use the
standalone script ``$HOME/.emacs.d/elpa/matrix-client-VERSION/matrix-client-standalone.sh`` to run
it in a separate process (might be a better choice if your server is lagging a lot).
When ``matrix-client.el`` is asking for your credentials, you just enter them: your User ID (MXID,
looks like ``@user:example.org``) and your password is as usual. Your server should be the one
you specified in your Pantalaimon config as the listening IP and port, so in my example it would
be ``http://localhost:8009``. If you donʼt need E2EE, then you can simply enter your homeserverʼs
address here (and thus you donʼt need Pantalaimon).
You are all set! Happy (secretive) chatting, enjoy doing everything from your favourite OS, Emacs!
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