When comparing BitlBee vs Riot, the Slant community recommends Riot for most people. In the question“What are the best instant messaging clients for Linux?” Riot is ranked 5th while BitlBee is ranked 9th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Public servers
BitlBee can be used without installing via community-maintained public servers.
Pro Supports multiple protocols and networks
BitlBee supports: XMPP/Jabber, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, ICQ, and Twitter.
Pro Free and open source
BitlBee is available for free and licensed under GPLv2 with source code available on GitHub.
Pro Web and mobile (iOS, Android) versions available
Pro Supports text, voice, video
Integrates with Jitsi for multi-party video chats
Pro Uses Matrix, the open communications protocol
Pro Very good and simple interface
Riot has a very simple interface, adding the ability for more unexperienced PC-Users to use it.
Pro Widgets support
Want to watch that flick at YouTube and discuss it at the same time? Have Grafana graphs stacked above your DevOps team chat? Collaboratively edit Google Docs and chat over without switching applications? This is possible with Riot.
Pro Bridges to other networks
You're not confined within Riot's or even Matrix garden, and you don't have to make users of other networks switch to Matrix.
While the help command is informative and includes examples, settting BitlBee up requires a considerable amount of technical knowledge.
Con Still in active yet early development
There is clearly a User Experience issue esp. in web version which the developers are aware of and are working hard to improve. They've got the concept concrete, so UX won't be an issue in no time. Most often used parts are functional, but some are yet not.
The success of riot depends on how fast the development is, or it'll get outdated too quickly as developers of Signal and Telegram have predicted.