Major releases, Release announcements

Zulip 1.8: Open-source team chat

Tim Abbott 7 min read

We’re excited to announce the release of Zulip Server 1.8, containing hundreds of new features and bug fixes.

Zulip is the world’s most productive team chat software, an alternative to Slack, HipChat, and IRC. Zulip combines the immediacy of chat with the asynchronous efficiency of email-style threading, and is 100% free and open source software.

Zulip 1.8 is a huge release, with over 3500 new commits since October’s 1.7. A total of 131 people contributed commits to this release, bringing the Zulip server project to 412 distinct code contributors. With 34 people who’ve contributed 100+ commits to Zulip and 100+ commits merged weekly, Zulip has the most active open-source development community of any team chat software, by a wide margin.

Huge thanks to everyone who’s contributed to Zulip over the last few months, whether by writing code and docs, reporting issues, testing changes, translating, posting feedback on, or just suggesting ideas! We could not do this without the hundreds of people giving back to the Zulip community.

Project highlights

Today marks a release of the Zulip server, but lots of exciting work has happened outside the server codebase, too. Key highlights:

  • Zulip has once again been selected for Google Summer of Code, and we expect to have 11 GSoC students this summer (plus a few more participating in Zulip Summer of Code, our program for great students who are ineligible for GSoC). We’ve been very happy with the impact our amazing GSoC and ZSoC alumni have had on the project over the last few years, and hope this year’s batch will continue the proud tradition.

  • The project survived my becoming a parent in December and taking 2 months off to bond with my baby daughter Lily. For me, it was a great stress test of Zulip’s catch-up experience; I was able to catch up on over 20,000 messages of chat history when I returned, following up on more than 100 conversations that needed my attention. Catching up on that level of traffic would have been nearly impossible with any other tool.

  • Zulip and the benefits of our unique conversation model continue to become more widely known. E.g. in December, an enthusiastic user posted Zulip to Product Hunt, a popular aggregator of technology products, and it ended up near the top of the front page.

Release highlights

Describing all the improvements in a Zulip release has been an impossible task for our last few releases, and this one is no different. Below are just a few highlights.

  • One can now set up a production Zulip server with just a few minutes of work! This results from a major rework of the Zulip server installer to fully integrate certbot and eliminate mandatory configuration options.
  • We now have beta support for importing a Slack organization into Zulip, including users, avatars, streams, uploaded files, message history, custom emoji, emoji reactions, and more. This has been a frequently-requested feature from organizations migrating off Slack, and we’re excited that our implementation shares a lot of code with our existing, robust Zulip→Zulip import/export tools.
  • We rewrote our API documentation to be much more friendly and expansive; it now covers most important endpoints and has code examples.
  • Zulip has a new night theme for dark environments.

  • You can now configure mentionable groups of users. So you can now mention @support and have that notify everyone on the support team.

  • We integrated video calls, powered by Jitsi Meet. We expect to integrate other video chat providers soon (e.g. there’s an open PR for Google Hangouts).

  • We overhauled our settings system, providing a slick system that auto-saves changes, and added a ton of useful user and organization settings.

  • Complete new translations for Turkish and Russian. Zulip now has complete or nearly-complete translations for German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, and Czech. Partial translations for Korean, French, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Finnish, and Polish each cover the majority of the total strings in the project.

See the detailed changelog for dozens of other notable changes. If you administer a Zulip server, we encourage you to read at least the list of added features at the top, since there are a number of useful new settings introduced in this release that you may want to take advantage of.


We highly recommend upgrading, since Zulip has made major improvements in the months since the last release. You can upgrade as usual by following the upgrade instructions.

Several of our largest installations have already upgraded to release candidates without issue, so we feel very confident in this release. But if you need help, best-effort support is available on You can also purchase commercial support from the Zulip core team.

We’d like to highlight one behavior change, to how private streams interact with organization administrators. Now organization administrators can remove users, edit descriptions, and rename private streams, even if they are not subscribed. However, organization administrators still cannot access message content on private streams they are not members of. See Zulip’s security model documentation for details.


As a final note, I’d like to advertise a few opportunities to contribute back to Zulip that don’t require coding:

Thanks again to the amazing global Zulip development community for making this possible! What follows is a summary of the code contributors to this release, sorted by number of commits.

—Tim Abbott, lead developer

tabbott@zaset:~/zulip$ git log --pretty="%an" 1.7.0..upstream/master | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr
    542 Tim Abbott
    348 Steve Howell
    334 Greg Price
    199 Eeshan Garg
    187 Vishnu Ks
    185 Brock Whittaker
    146 Neil Pilgrim
    133 Rein Zustand
    133 Rhea Parekh
    132 Yashashvi Dave
    127 Robert Hönig
    104 Shubham Dhama
     93 Rishi Gupta
     90 Umair Khan
     84 Cynthia Lin
     65 Aditya Bansal
     44 Harshit Bansal
     35 Rohitt Vashishtha
     33 Tommy Ip
     33 Balaji2198
     26 cPhost
     26 Xavier Cooney
     25 Callum Fraser
     21 Shubham Padia
     20 Alena Volkova
     18 Lyla Fischer
     17 Marco Burstein
     15 Tarun Kumar
     14 Aastha Gupta
     14 Gooca
     11 Nikhil Kumar Mishra
     11 Jerry Zhang
     11 Andy Perez
     10 Utkarsh Patil
      9 Akash Nimare
      9 novokrest
      9 Ricky
      8 sinwar
      8 Kiy4h
      7 Yago González
      7 Viraat Chandra
      7 David Rosa Tamsen
      7 Abijith10
      6 Sampriti Panda
      6 nyan-salmon
      6 greysome
      6 Puneeth Chaganti
      5 Sarah Stringer
      5 Armaan Ahluwalia
      5 Akash Nimare
      4 Sumana Harihareswara
      4 Shreyansh Dwivedi
      4 Privisus
      4 MadElf1337
      4 Joshua Pan
      4 fredfishgames
      3 Weronika Grzybowska
      3 Vishwesh Jainkuniya
      3 synicalsyntax
      3 Shivam Gera
      3 Priyank Patel
      3 Patrick Grave
      3 Jack Weatherilt
      3 ihsavru
      3 Garvit
      3 Florian Jüngermann
      3 Eric Eslinger
      3 Ben Reeves
      3 Arseny Chekanov
      3 Archana BS
      3 Angelika Serwa
      3 Abhigyan Khaund
      3 Aayush Agrawal
      2 XavierCooney
      2 VishalCR7
      2 Vaida Plankyte
      2 Sivagiri
      2 ryan
      2 Mohd Ali Rizwi
      2 infinitelooped
      2 Henrik Pettersson
      2 guaca
      2 civilnewsnetwork
      2 Catherine Kleimeier
      2 Anurag Sharma
      2 Anupam-dagar
      2 Aman Jain
      2 Aman Agrawal
      2 amanagr
      2 Alyssa Wagenmaker
      2 Abhishek Sharma
      2 Abhijeet Kaur
      1 ViRu-ThE-ViRuS
      1 Vaibhav Sagar
      1 Symt
      1 sreenivas alapati
      1 snlkapil
      1 Sivagiri Visakan
      1 Shivamgera
      1 Shekh Ataul
      1 sandeepsajan0
      1 sagar-kalra
      1 Roman Godov
      1 retsediv
      1 Reid Barton
      1 Priscilla
      1 pradeepgangwar
      1 Patrick Naughton
      1 Nick Al
      1 Mukul Agrawal
      1 Logan Williams
      1 kunall17
      1 KiranS
      1 Josh Mandel
      1 Jeremy Zhou
      1 Jack Zhang
      1 Ivche1337
      1 itstakenalr
      1 Ghislain Antony Vaillant
      1 feorlen
      1 Felix Yan
      1 elenaoat
      1 Dennis Ludl
      1 darshanime
      1 cg-cnu
      1 Axel Tietje
      1 AmAnAgr
      1 AlloulDorian
      1 Alicja Raszkowska
      1 aedorado
      1 Aditya Shridhar Hegde