How to Install Element Matrix Client on Debian 11 Bullseye

Element is a free and open-source software instant messaging client implementing the Matrix protocol. It supports end-to-end encryption, groups, and sharing of files between users on this platform! If you’re looking for an open-source, encrypted messaging client that offers group chats and file-sharing functions, then Element is one of the best options.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to Install Riot Desktop or better known as Element now, on Debian 11 Bullseye using the command line terminal to import the Riot or better known as official repository and gpg key and install the desktop chat client editor, along with how to maintain and remove the software if required in the future.

Update Debian

Firstly, it is advised to update your system to ensure all existing packages are up to date to avoid any conflicts during the installation.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install Required Packages

The following packages must be installed to assist in installing the software.

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget -y

If you are unsure, run the command; it will not harm you.

These are the most common software packages found on nearly all Linux distributions.

Import Element Matrix Desktop Client Repository

First, you will need to import the GPG key to verify the authenticity of the installation package.

wget -O- | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg

Secondly, import the repository with the following command in your terminal.

echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg] default main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot-im.list

Install Element Matrix Desktop Client

With the source repository sorted, you must refresh your apt package manager sources list to reflect the new addition before the installation.

Run the following command in your terminal to reflect the newly added repository.

sudo apt update

Now install the software with the following command:

sudo apt install riot-desktop -y

How to Element Matrix Desktop Client

The best way to use the client for desktop users that prefer not to use the command line terminal is to open the GUI of the application by following the path.

Activities > Show Applications > Element


Once launched, you can sign in or create an account along with exploring rooms. Ideally, you may like the idea of Matrix hosting your self-hosted server in the long term.


Congratulations, you have installed the chat client.

How to Remove (Uninstall) Element Matrix Desktop Client

To remove the software from your system, run the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt autoremove riot-desktop --purge

Note that the –purge flag removes all data created with Element.

Next, remove the repository using the following command.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot*

For good housekeeping and security, remove the GPG key as follows.

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/riot*

Comments and Conclusion

The guide has shown you how to install the Element (Riot) desktop chat client on Debian 11 Bullseye desktop using the command line terminal.

If you’re looking for an open-source, encrypted messaging client that supports groups and file sharing, Element is a great option. The app is available on Android, iOS, and the web, making it easy to stay with friends and colleagues.

See also
How to Install PHP 8.2, 8.1, 8.0, or 7.4 on Debian 11 or 10

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