Instant messaging app
4

Hi, in the last weeks I’ve started switching to alternative apps to better protect my privacy. Regarding instant messages I’ve started using Signal: I know it’s not the best one but it’s still better than Whatsapp. I’m trying to find a better alternative to Whatsapp, hopefully decentralized, but I’m having trouble, could you guys help me?

The app needs to have end-to-end encryption, one-to-one call and video call support and possibly easy to use (to make switching easier for family members and friends).

@predator8bit
link
5
edit-2
1Y

I recommend Telegram, it might not tick all the boxes you are looking for. But it has in my experience a big advantage over any other app/service I have tried. That advantage being on-boarding, I can just tell people to download the app and if they have my number there is nothing else for them to do, I’m already added as a contact.

No registration process to speak of, which helps a lot with the less tech savvy friends. Even if you want to use it on the PC as well as on a phone, you can just install it, punch in a code which you get in a message automatically and you are up and running.

For me the friend list of people I have on alternative messaging apps, quite literally multiplied several times over since I started recommending telegram. Even reconnected with some people who had my number from ages ago and had the app installed.

BusyBoredom
link
41Y

+1 for XMPP. I use it almost exclusively now, and run my own small ejabberd server for my friends and family. Some clients even have video call support, but I’d say the lack of video call support in most clients is probably the biggest drawback (hopefully that will change this year).

@fruechtchen
link
31Y

Has changed, conversations has now audio and video call support

@fruechtchen
link
4
edit-2
1Y

I personally use XMPP. That works great, even in OMEMO encrypted group chats.

However:

  • if people use shitty clients, it won’t work that good. For instance, i have heard bad things about pidgin (because their implementation is not high quality). So basically, you should use the conversations android app, if you can. This is basically the reference implementation right now. I personally use also dino, which works mostly great.
  • I now use XMPP with like 20 personal contacts (-> OMEMO), 2-3 OMEMO group chats with 3-5 people and some bigger non-OMEMO groupchats for like 2 years. It is now my primary and prefered means of communication. As you can imagine, i have sent and recieved many messages.
  • I remmeber about 2-3 cases, where a message i sent wasn’t actually delivered. However, i usually noticed a lack of response quite early and resent my question. So it is actually not that harmful. The current master version of dino improves that by notifying you in a better way, i recommend to use that if you can.
  • I also rememeber some situations, where messages were only delivered to a specific device. As xmpp (for instance gajim can do that) allows sending to a specific resource of an account, that is, a specific device - i’m not sure if that is just an usability bug or a real bug. I also remember gajim not receiving MUC messages that dino receives. But this is again why i don’t consider gajim a good client at the moment.
  • Try to only sent messages if you have a known working internet connection. Otherwise, the message will be in a delivery queue, so your client tries to sent your message later and gives up after many unsuccessful attempts.
  • use a good server. Recently, someone in the XMPP community talked about jabber.org using quite an ancient server, which is probably the reason why people don’t have a good experience with xmpp. Use https://compliance.conversations.im/ for that. Choose your server wisely, administrating an xmpp server is not a trivial task, according to the admins of account.conversations.im. At least, check if the server you have choosen uses an uptodate version of ejabberd or prosody. If not, ask the admin why.
  • Gajim is slightly buggy. I think dino is slightly less buggy than gajim, but also gajim might have improved. Basically, i use only gajim to configure a new room, because dino doesn’t implement that yet.
  • So one thing i learned here is to use up to date versions of your software. especially the clients in debian are probably outdated since very interesting stuff has probably landed in master now, and people didn’t release a new version yet.
  • If you set up an OMEMO room, every member should sent a plaintext message first and after that, omemo should be enabled. Otherwise, in my experience, the clients have trouble to find the key of the room members.
  • There are clients who use their telephone number as an identifier, as a feature. So using this app, this works like signal, you don’t have to choose your own server if you actually don’t care that much. If you are administrating a public MUC, you might have such clients in the room. Beware, you should then make the room anonymous (in gajim: the participants list should be not made public, and the JID disovering should be only possible for moderators). This makes a lot of sense to protect the telephone numbers from users.
  • if you administrate a public MUC, trolls might join your MUC. The way to deal with that in the xmpp world is to mark regularly every participant of the MUC as member. That way, if a troll joins your MUC, you can kickban the user and limit the ability to speak to members. You have to do that in gajim, i think.
  • The security of XMPP using OMEMO (or gpg) is quite good. OMEMO is basically the signal encryption for xmpp.
  • matrix currently uses a lot more resources on the server than xmpp.
  • you can change the password of an account with gajim, in the account settings.
  • xmpp has also commandline clients like profanity, poezi, mcabber
  • Don’t use a server where you cannot contact the admin.
  • If you are an political activist, xmpp is a good choice. Especially, because you can and should use different identities for different things. like, you can use a different account, on a different server to only talk to your family and near friends. And you use a different account on a different server to talk to activists. This makes the only disadvantage of xmpp, metadata analysis, less dangerous.
  • xmpp works in the Tor network, which is great for activists.
  • ah, and since you said, the app needs call support: conversations is working on that, i’ve heard rumors that a first version of lands in may or june. But personally, i just use bigbluebutton or jitsi to do that.
  • to be explicit: my parents use xmpp to chat with me since 2 years, and it works great. However, it makes sense if you can sit down with them and explain things in person to them.
  • donate to the clients and servers you use!! I cannot stress how important this is. Like, for instance, on IOS the client situation is okayish, but not great (compared to other clients on android or linux), because you have to pay much money to have your app in the apple store. As far as i understand, you have to also do that for mac os, but i’m not sure. And people usually have to pay also the mailinglist, domain names, other kinds of hosting, etc. Even if it is just one euro per month, it helps greatly. And it is really motivating, because you show a client developer (for instance on the IOS or windows side) that you care and use their stuff.
  • for windows, i would recommend UWPX. Or if you’re an developer, dino - the developers say, dino may work on windows, but may also require some work, but not that much. It is on the TODO list, but they want to do more important stuff first.
@Defcon1
creator
link
21Y

I’ve tried XMPP (using conversations) and found it pretty good. Hopefully they’ll add call support soon so I can make a definitive switch. Thanks a lot for all the info, I didn’t knew that much about XMPP

@Shura
link
11Y

Thank you for your so detailed post. I see you are involved in xmpp, so maybe you know good manuals how to run own prosody server on raspberrypi with all modern xmpp features enabled? Like chat history, calls, muc, file transfer and so on? For family purpose.

@fruechtchen
link
21Y

Nope, sorry. However, i’d recommend to use an existing service for that. with the raspberrypi, you have no redundancy, etc. So if it fails, you can’t communicate with your family and maybe even difficulties to reconnect people.

@developred
link
4
edit-2
9M

deleted by creator

@k_o_t
mod
admin
link
41Y

lol, I’ve recently read a story about some criminals who were arrested, because they were communicating in snapchat, and thinking that because messages disappear they’re actually deleted :)

@developred
link
1
edit-2
9M

deleted by creator

@k_o_t
mod
admin
link
21Y

what’s a snap?

@developred
link
2
edit-2
9M

deleted by creator

A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

In this community everyone is welcome to post links and discuss topics related to privacy.

Some Rules

  • Posting a link to a website containing tracking isn’t great, if contents of the website are behind a paywall maybe copy them into the post
  • Don’t promote proprietary software
  • Try to keep things on topic
  • If you have a question, please try searching for previous discussions, maybe it has already been answered
  • Reposts are fine, but should have at least a couple of weeks in between so that the post can reach a new audience
  • Be nice :)

Related communities

much thanks to @gary_host_laptop for the logo design :)

  • 0 user online
  • 9 user / day
  • 24 user / week
  • 169 user / month
  • 571 user / 6 month
  • 3.61K subscriber
  • 1.95K Post
  • 8.82K Comment
  • Modlog