Recent intrusive changes in the privacy policy of WhatsApp (including the sharing of never before seen amounts of unencrypted user data with the parent company Facebook) have prompted a mass exodus of WhatsApp users to the secure and open-source alternative Signal. I have been hoping for a change like this for years. I wrote a non-technical blog post about the problems with WhatsApp in detail, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of other messaging apps as well.

https://output.ilonagabor.de/general/2021/01/11/Signal.html

Dessalines
admin
1714d

The pic @awa@lemmy.ml posted is the best here.

Signal is yet another US / 5-eyes based service, so loses a lot of points for that, and mandatory phone numbers. Matrix or XMPP-based things are going to be much more secure, and harder targets for western intelligence agencies.

I really only use Signal as a drop-in replacement for SMS. It’s not something I use to communicate with people who don’t already have my phone number. Signal is a nonstarter for that sort of thing.

Unfortunately everyone uses Discord for online communities now. Matrix? XMPP? Not even on the map.

@sia
413d

Unfortunately everyone uses Discord for online communities now. Matrix? XMPP? Not even on the map.

at least the Element/Matrix devs are aware of this and working actively towards replacing Discord. IMHO Discord is a UX hell, I’ve sadly been using it for years (lots of communities I frequent are there) but still misclick myself into an audio room or have to search for features.

SnowCode
213d

I don’t completely agree with this. Matrix is semi-decentralized, almost everybody uses the matrix.org main instance, and hosting matrix is kind of a pain.

@gabor
creator
1114d

Guys, I use and love both XMPP and Matrix however I don’t see masses adopting them in fact I can’t even convince my immediate family to use them. People want reliable push notifications and cute stickers :-) I think Signal is a good compromise, I know it’s US based (I discuss this in the post) however it’s zero knowledge. The code is open source if there were vulnerabilities we would probably know by now…

@nutomic
admin
1114d

The problem is that you as average user have no way to confirm that the app on your phone is actually compiled from the published source code. In that regard it would help if Signal was distributed through F-Droid, which compiles directly from source, but the Signal developers have explicitly forbidden that.

@je_vv
414d

Yeap, I thought Axolotl was promising, and it actually interacts with Signal servers with no issues (calls not encrypted so far), however AFAIK it only works as a secondary device, not the main one (I might be mistaken, but I understood that from another lemmy post). I could live with only a Matrix client (unfortunately only Element.io is as featrure complete) and a Signal/Axolotl client, on a pinephone or similar gnu/linux phone, but it seems not possible, and even a Matrix client for a gnu/linux phone is not that clear to me (the gnu/linux clients are desktop oriented ones).

At any rate, I was hoping one could replace Signal with Axolotl, since it does hook to the Signal servers, and interact with them, but I guess I was just hoping…

BTW, matrix alone, won’t allow me to connect with any but only 3 contacts of mine (whom I personally installed Element.io for on their phones and computers), but NO one else unfortunately, so I guess there needs to be a trade off, and Signal might be the one feature rich enough, and definitely safer and more private than Whatsapp. Other alternatives oriented to security and privacy might be valid as well, but I don’t see them as adopted for a trade off, neither as feature rich. I’m still hopeful a truly decentralized, totally FLOSS, feature rich and easy to use and adopt will get main stream. So far it’s having something (still far from perfect) for just a couple of contacts, and a trade off for the rest you still want to keep in touch.

@sia
413d

You can help educate people though. Try to teach people to use their computing devices instead of being used by corporations. Fewer and fewer people nowadays can really admin their devices, both from a technical and an educational viewpoint.

Ask around what the problems are for your family and report them as bugs or vote (don’t write +1! Use the emoji reaction feature on Github etc.) for them on their respective bug trackers. For my mom I found out that she doesn’t have issues with the software itself but can’t find or doesn’t know how to use the features it has. Fluffychat is an example of a slightly better Matrix client on mobile than the “default” client Element.

Stickers are already implemented in Element and other clients via third-party integrations, but they’re being reworked to be included in the base Matrix specification.

@onlooker
513d

I’m not particularly keen on directing my friends to an app that needs their phone number, is based in the US and is neither decentralized nor distributed. If the age of Signal does come about, I will not be taking part.

@e44nbe4
212d

deleted by creator

@sia
313d

The article is okay, but it could use some images or a comparison matrix. Apart from what @dessalines@lemmy.ml posted, I made a comparison like this (in German) here: https://wiki.tilde.fun/de/guide/messenger/start

Sadly it misses a few things and I didn’t translate it (yet). But the point is that there’s more messengers than Telegram and Signal as alternative to WhatsApp, most notably the already mentioned Element.io.

maybe it’ll be the age of jabber, who knows

riccardo
1014d

maybe it will be the year of linux desktop

@k_o_t
mod
414d

at last 🤗

finally, the 137 year wait be worth it :)

@Nevar
314d

We joke but in a couple years Deepin will likely be the most popular Linux desktop outside of North America and Western Europe.

poVoq
314d

This is actually a bit ironic as WhatsApp is “Jabber”. Even uses an inhouse customized version of Ejabberd as far as known (for sure that is what they started with).

I think that is cool, though. Still remember when whatsapp was new, it was a good app back then.

ufra
314d

I couldn’t quickly find a link to a site without ad cancer, but there are many stories of the WhatsApp creator calling out FB for destroying the app:

Reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin claims that the move came as a result of Koum’s disagreements with “Facebook’s attempts to use [WhatsApp]'s personal data and weaken its encryption.” The report describes how those issues gradually emerged after Facebook’s purchase of the encrypted-messaging platform for $16 billion in 2014 and how they led Koum to inform Facebook’s corporate leadership of his impending departure. From the sound of things, these disagreements began taking shape well before the company’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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