Mattermost-Jitsi: Open source, self-hosted alternatives to Zoom and Slack

Mattermost and Jitsi—open source, self-hosted alternatives to Slack and Zoom—now integrate! 

With the Mattermost Jitsi plugin, Mattermost users can now instantly launch secure Jitsi voice, video and screen-sharing calls, either on-prem with the self-hosted Jitsi software or via the cloud with Jitsi Meet.  

Your collaboration can now be 100% private on an open source, highly extensible platform where you can integrate your most important workflows and tools while owning your data and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Screenshot of open source Jitsi voice and video meeting started in a Mattermost channel via the Mattermost-Jitsi integration.

What to learn more? Read on to learn about the Mattermost-Jitsi plugin, including:

  • Mattermost-Jitsi demo recording – Watch Mattermost co-founder Corey Hulen demo the latest integration to Jitsi founder Emil Ivov.
  • History of Mattermost-Jitsi – The Mattermost-Jitsi story was a winding open source journey. We tried open source WebRTC and failed, went to closed source Zoom and now open source Jitsi has us back on course—and our community led the way. 
  • Founder’s views – Founders of Mattermost and Jitsi, Corey Hulen and Emil Ivov, share their thoughts on integration and why open source collaboration platforms are more important than ever before. 
  • How to get started with the plugin today

Mattermost-Jitsi plugin demo recording

Watch a demo of Mattermost launching Jitsi inside a channel in an integrated experience on an open source platform. See how Jitsi is brought up in a single click, how the video screen can move around the Mattermost interface, go full screen, tear off into a new browser tab, and enable real-time collaboration scenarios. 

Mattermost-Jitsi demo recording with founders of Mattermost and Jitsi. 

History of Mattermost-Jitsi

The Mattermost-Jitsi story was a winding open source journey. We tried open source WebRTC and failed, went to closed source Zoom and now open source Jitsi has us back on course—and our community led the way. 

While Mattermost is an open source company, we were using Zoom due to its popularity, and even had Zoom as the default voice/video/screen-sharing plugin for Mattermost’s open source, self-hosted Slack-alternative that installs as a single Linux binary under MIT license

That’s because in 2016, we tried WebRTC as the open source solution for native voice/video but after two years we ended up switching to a plug-in based approach in 2018 due to the limitations of WebRTC. Zoom became the most popular plugin and eventually our default. 

Under this new plugin approach, Sean Sackowitz from North Carolina, U.S., created and open sourced a Mattermost-Jitsi plug-in and later contributed it to Mattermost, Inc., the same way hundreds of other open source features found their way to our project. 

After being adapted and maintained by Mattermost, the Mattermost-Jitsi quickly became the second-most highly used plugin in our marketplace. When we tweeted about it, the tweet racked up 60,000 views almost instantly.

Wow! 

The market had really spoken. Today, Mattermost, Inc. is running Jitsi Meet side-by-side with Zoom internally and we’re looking at doing more with Jitsi over time. 

Founders’ views on open source collaboration tools

While Mattermost-Jitsi was in development, we had some good conversations with Emil Ivov, founder of the Jitsi open source project. We recorded a recent conversation between Mattermost co-founder Corey Hulen and Emil on the topic of open source in the collaboration space, and we’re sharing it here as part of the Mattermost-Jitsi announcement.

Founders of Mattermost and Jitsi, Corey Hulen and Emil Ivov, discuss open source alternatives to Zoom and Slack. Running time: 34:07

A few thoughts from the conversation to highlight: 

The world needs an open source alternative to Slack and Zoom. 

With the whole world moving to online collaboration, the need for privacy, flexibility, and choice is more important than ever. Mattermost and Jitsi providing an open source platform lets organizations own their own data, adapt their collaboration platform to the specific needs of their users, and avoid betting the future of their business on any one vendor. 

More customization

As more enterprises adopt DevOps practices, the ability to customize workflows is essential to productivity. Corey and Emil’s conversation shares how open source tooling gives vendors the flexibility to customize their collaboration stack to fit their needs—rather than relying solely on integrations a vendor decides to offer. 

By their nature, open source tools lend themselves well to third-party collaboration. This allows anyone—from individual contributors to enterprise teams—to build and update the integrations they need to get work done. 

“I think people really get excited about that,” said Corey, “because there’s two open source projects on either end, there’s an integration in between, so then there’s all the variability of what they can do with that flexibility.”

Balance privacy and security with usability

The latest generation of open source tools, including React and React Native by Facebook, bring the cutting-edge of usability and design to open source technologies. Combine that with thousands of automated and manual security reviews run through our open source code—including the U.S. National Security Agency’s review of Mattermost for government telework—and we can now deliver best-of-breed tools used by the most innovative internet-native organizations to secure and private working environments. 

During the demo of the new Jitsi plugin, Emil stressed that open source collaboration tools like Jitsi and Mattermost have put more work into making their platforms not just secure, but also user-friendly. 

“Whether it’s document editing, chat, or anything, people would say, ‘Well, I want that, but I want it secure.’ Usually that implied sacrifice, right? It’s like, ‘Well, okay, so we can give you the secure thing, but it would be so complicated in knowing to use it,” said Emil. “And that’s where we’ve decided to make a difference. Which I believe is what Mattermost is doing as well. You don’t have to sacrifice any of the usability in order to use Jitsi. In fact, I think with Jitsi, I would say to a large extent with Mattermost as well, you’re actually getting better usability than you would with other competing products.” 

Innovation upstream and downstream

With open source, innovation comes both “downstream” from project developers releasing new features but also “upstream” from users of open source platforms contributing back improvements they’ve created. Hundreds of features have been contributed to Mattermost by its community.

In the context of innovation, Corey and Emil discussed where videoconferencing and collaboration software are headed. With the acceleration of remote work, there’s even more urgency for teams to adapt to solutions that give them the ability to work remotely and asynchronously. 

Emil noted that his goal isn’t just to provide a proxy for face-to-face meetings but to help improve the collaboration experience. 

“I hope that we will actually help with the meeting itself. We wouldn’t be just a simple replacement of the medium, replacing the physical meeting with a video one. I hope that we would actually start facilitating the meeting, because if you go out there and you ask people what their main problem with meetings is, universally, there’s too many of them,” he told Corey.

By opting for open source tools, enterprise teams can take advantage of cutting-edge functionality contributed by other organizations or by members of the open source community. 

“That’s one of the great things about open source, right? If an area of innovation isn’t moving fast enough, you can go contribute and help and push it along,” says Corey. 

Get started with the Mattermost-Jitsi plugin

Ready to start making secure Jitsi voice and video calls within Mattermost? Read more about the Mattermost-Jitsi plugin on our blog or get started using it today by visiting our Plugins Marketplace to download the plugin.

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Ian Tien

Ian Tien is CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc., which delivers high trust collaboration and messaging to leading enterprises on an award-winning open source platform. Thousands of companies trust Mattermost for vital communications across web, PC, and phone, with archiving, search and integrations with hundreds of business applications.

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