Revolt: An Open-Source Alternative to Discord - It's FOSS
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Revolt is a promising free and open-source choice to replace Discord. Here, we take a look at what it offers along with its initial impressions.
AceKat
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Since it doesn’t have any encryption the only advantage I see is the fact that it’s open source and that there won’t be (hopefully) any data collection, but conversations will still be completely unencrypted, which is not that great. Nothing tells me that whenever this revolt’s userbase grows in size, they won’t start collecting data, including every message previously sent. Encryption exists so you don’t have to trust anyone to keep your messages safe, I hope they implement some sort of e2ee protocol at least for DMs

@peppermint
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313d

It’s meant to be for large groups, isn’t it? Why would the threat model of discord users require each of 120 users to keep their chats secret from the server?

AceKat
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For the same reason facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world. Having access to thousands of users’ chat history is very useful for ad personalization and could be worth a lot of money. To fight this decentalization and encryption are crucial, you can’t trust that they will never use that data for advertisement purposes, maybe introduced in a privacy police change. Solid encryption algorithms are feasable for smaller groups, but as I said, at least DMs could be encrypted

@peppermint
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213d

I suppose it would prevent automation on some level indeed, but ironically I feel like this is nothing to do with the threat model.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@adrianmalacoda
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The only issue is that it’s not open source so they might get bought in the future by someone that changes that.

A proprietary centralized chat service is a bad thing, regardless of privacy policy. Revolt is already superior to Discord on that front.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@adrianmalacoda
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I said in my comment that the fact that they’re not FLOSS is an issue.

I think we may be on the same page, then.

Not everything that isn’t FLOSS is a conspiracy to get your data

This is why I think framing free software as a privacy issue is inherently flawed. Free software is a good thing because it gives you control over your technology. The fact that free software is generally more privacy respecting is probably a side effect of that, but some proprietary software companies at least nominally claim to respect privacy too. Discord can have the best privacy policy in the world, and actually stand by it, and I would still denounce it because it is a locked-down proprietary silo platform.

similarly not everything that is FLOSS takes proper care of your data

This is technically true, in that a free software license is not a magical ward against bugs or spyware, but in cases where a free software project becomes spyware - such as Audacity - a spyware-free fork often pops up soon after. This is why I value the four freedoms of the free software movement.

@dreeg_ocedam
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AceKat
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I agree with you that FLOSS doesn’t mean automatically better and there is no reason to wear a tinfoil hat. You ultimately have to trust someone if you don’t inspect the source code yourself. I was just saying that being revolt centralized and having access to every information isn’t the best design for a discord privacy-respecting alternative, but they do have a good privacy policy, so if you trust they respect it (atm no reason to doubt that) then it will be surely better than discord. Discord does collect chat history though. On discord privacy policy:

Information You Provide: We collect information from you when you voluntarily provide such information, such as when you register for access to the Services or use certain Services. Information we collect may include but not be limited to username, email address, and any messages, images, transient VOIP data (to enable communication delivery only) or other content you send via the chat feature.

They don’t say that they sell said information to advertisers (even if they send some data to third parties) and I don’t have seen any report about them getting caught doing that, I’m sorry I assumed. But I admit I get a bit carried away with doubts about companies who offer closed source software to a very large userbase. If there is a chance of making more money, they usually take it.

@dreeg_ocedam
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Bilb!
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I agree that encrypting a group chat beyond a small group of trusted individuals is pointless. It’s nice to have the option, though.

@SrEstegosaurio
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E2EE is planned. The app stills in alpha or public beta, idk

@dreeg_ocedam
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@Helix@feddit.de
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Matrix/Element does it pretty okay. Not perfect, but better than no E2EE.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@Helix@feddit.de
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That blog post is not about Element and doesn’t include any of the ways Element stores data and sets up encryption. Basically they’re just saying ‘there’s no sane defaults and websites want to spy on you’, which I totally agree to, but which still misses the point. It is doable, it’s just not done well. To just send everything in plaintext is definitely not the solution here.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@Helix@feddit.de
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it’s about the fact that you’re doing crypto to protect yourself from the server, using code that the server just sent you

Ah, yes, makes sense. Solutions to this may be to use client applications, local storage in browsers or checksumming.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@dreeg_ocedam
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poVoq
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This post specifically says that browser crypto can be great to protect the interest of the website owner… well if you self-host your own Element or e2ee encrypted xmpp webclient you are the owner of the website.

The entire argument against javascript and webapps is always serverly distorted by all sort of false assumptions and compared to random binary only apps downloaded and run on MS Windows, I would take a modern browser and webapp in most cases.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@Helix@feddit.de
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I guess very few people self-host their email or Matrix or XMPP.

You don’t need to self host email, Matrix or XMPP to use E2EE. I meant self hosting the web clients.

And it still doesn’t protect you against someone breaking the TLS connection between you and your server.

HSTS, Certificate Pinning, …

Every communication method suffers from this, it’s not exclusive to web-based communication.

proprietary, windows only apps are not generally designed with security as the number 1 concern

Yeah, Open Source software down to the OS itself is important for security. But even then, who audits their own software? It’s probably 0.01% of the 0.01% of the general population you mentioned.

@dreeg_ocedam
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@Helix@feddit.de
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That’s why you stick to software under high scrutiny and highly visible for security sensible stuff

So, like Element? scnr

@dreeg_ocedam
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@0x90
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How is it better than RocketChat, MatterMost, Jitsi Meet, Zulip, and all others open source self-hosted Slack clones?

@Zach777
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This is my thoughts exactly. Zulip even has really good threading as a feature above Discord.

Where is the federated version of Discord? Without that you might as well stick with Discord and Zulip imo.

@marmulak
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212d

Who has time to actually try all of these things? I tried RocketChat once and its main server seemed as dead as a doornail, and it otherwise seemed to not have such a great UI. As for the rest, I don’t know what makes them useful or unique. (Maybe you could give a quick run-down.)

Tmpod
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Indeed it does. I still think Matrix/XMPP/any other federated protocol will be better in the long run, but this is really nice nonetheless. Still very early stages but has potential as a more Discord-like rocket.chat alternative.

@LinuxBey
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It has no encryption:(

@0x90
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I tried it and it’s promising because the call quality is very good compared to Mumble, and push notifications means low battery usage.

It’s OPUS Codec (same used by Discord), and with very low latency, when they will add the Matrix bridge and e2ee (as stated in the roadmap), i think it will become a very good free as in freedom tool everyone can self-host!

Of course XMPP is a better protocol and every new messenger feels like reinventing the wheel, but at the moment all clients UI feels dated, and even worse, the good old IRC lack support for mobile internet reconnections, so everyone ends up using Telegram or Discord at the moment.

In conclusion I think Revolt has good potential, and it could even become a good alternative to all the above, eventually.

poVoq
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the call quality is very good compared to Mumble

You must have mis-configured your Mumble client. Mumble usually also uses the OPUS codec and voice quality is superior to Discord by far in most cases due to better noise cancellation and microphone calibration.

Edit: IRC does not lack support for mobile connections. It is just that the most popular IRC networks use terribly outdated IRC servers forcing everyone to use bouncers that in turn again do support mobile networks just fine. However a modern IRC server does it even without a bouncer.

@0x90
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111d

I swear with Mumble I had issues with echo and feedback noise, both on PC with v.1.3.4 and also on Android (with Mumla). I tried it on various devices and i wasn’t happy with the result, but maybe that’s just my experience.

But i also have to say that v.1.4.0beta has risoved all issues and has a very good quality.

Can you tell me one of those new IRC servers that do not disconnect when changing IP using mobile conntection? I’d love to try one just out of curiosity (at the moment i’m using matrix bride on Libera)

@marmulak
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I have to admit that this does look cool, even though I already enjoy XMPP and Matrix. I guess I’ll give this a try sometime.

flbn
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how are you hosting XMPP and Matrix? i’ve been struggling to get an efficient server for Matrix on my pi so i’ve been looking at Prosody for XMPP.

@ninchuka
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dendrite or conduit are alot lighter to run compared to synapse so if you have a pi4 with at least 2GB of ram maybe even 1GB if you join small rooms they will probably be fine

@marmulak
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I don’t host Matrix, but I enjoy using it anyway. For XMPP I use ejabberd, but for a personal server you could use that or prosody. The protocol is light enough on resources that you should be able to run it easily on any machine. (Lots of rpi users use prosody, I heard.)

@marmulak
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512d

OK I actually went ahead and tried this because I thought it looks cool. It does look cool. That’s about it. Aside from copying Discord’s UI to a T, it otherwise doesn’t seem to do hardly anything, and what it does do it seems to do poorly.

I want to like this since FOSS alternative to Discord are always welcome, but Matrix+Element is just light-years ahead of this. Like why even bother when Element exists and it’s amazing? (I know people who don’t like Element, but actually it’s amazing.)

Also, I get the sneaking impression it’s only named Revolt because of the name Riot, which Element used to be called.

@iDesmi
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211d

The name could directly reference “discord” too.

@marmulak
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111d

Oh man, you’re right

@Ferk
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I got all excited because I thought it was a new Matrix client designed to be more Discord-like (using Matrix Spaces and so). But I was disappointed when I discovered it’s implementing yet another different protocol (it’s not even federated?)…

They do have a Matrix bridge though. I do hope they come together and further work with Matrix, since I believe the Matrix protocol can do most (all?) of what they are already doing, it’d be easier to migrate discord communities to Matrix if the UI transition was as seemless as it seems to be with Revolt. Revolt could have potential to be the host of a new big Matrix instance to further move people away from depending on matrix.org central instance.

I guess if they do have an officially maintained Server-to-server bridge then it would be equivalent of it acting as a Matrix instance. And that would be great. But it’s unclear if that’s what they are doing / planning to do. The Matrix website claims to not be aware of any server-to-server bridging having been done before, which makes me think Revolt might be doing a “bridge bot” bridge (can someone confirm?), which wouldn’t be as interesting.

IngrownMink4
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I must say that I love it, it has a nice modern design and many features that remind me of Discord. It has the potential to surpass Discord. I hope that happens someday :)

@Echedenyan
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413d

Will It be data-saving (optional or not) for Cubans like Mumble?

@SrEstegosaurio
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112d

What does that mean? I’m interested

@Echedenyan
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Bandwidth and online data-exchange usage.

50 MB for a mail bag valid for internet is about 1 dollar where a lot of Cubans have a salary of 20-30 dollars average.

Mumble can use 3 KB/s over UDP while speaking as minimum which is good enough.

@murky
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I tried joining some communities, but somehow it took ages to join after like the 5th one or so… otherwise, everything I tried is running smoothly so far

@KLISHDFSDF
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212d

Anyone have an invite code?

@SrEstegosaurio
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412d

It’s in public beta

@remram
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213d

Does it have any instructions on deployment? Or is only their hosted version released in beta?

@onlooker
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313d

Looks like it: https://github.com/revoltchat/self-hosted

Docker seems to be the only option, though.

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