Installing Element (Matrix) desktop on Debian (alternative)


Currently, there is no element-desktop (matrix chat client, formerly known as riot) package available on debian repository. You may check ITP bug on for details and updates.

There is another alternative such as nheko, spectral, weechat-matrix and fews more but nothing can beat element-desktop for full features such as E2EE (End to end encryption), room administration, labs, session verification and more.

I tried to install element-desktop package from repository and it worked very well on my Debian 11 (Bullseye).

$ apt-cache policy element-desktop
  Installed: 1.7.30
  Candidate: 1.7.30
  Version table:
 *** 1.7.30 500
        500 default/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

Well if you curious on stuff about license and source code, you may check their repository here. I saw that it use Apache License 2.0.

How to (steps)

  1. Delete existing GPG key from riot-im
$ sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg
  1. Download riot-im PGP key and give correct permission
$ sudo wget -O /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg
$ sudo chmod 644 /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpgs
  1. Add riot-im.list repository
$ echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg] default main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot-im.list
  1. Update repository metadata and install element-desktop package
$ sudo apt update; sudo apt install element-desktop


Now you have fully features matrix client, register new account or login your existing account to use it. Don’t forget to join debian-malaysia (OFTC) and opensource-malaysia ( on matrix, you may join via searching the public room or send this command inside any chat message:


See you there everyone!

What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are. Come on. Stop trying to hit me and hit me. - Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)