comparison between various popular chat apps.

Hint: is the winner. If were there, I believe it would be the winner as well.

Photo: flying_kell

@heavenly_general Well done, Signal. 🎉

It's definitely better than others. But it still needs a phone number. I'd be so happy if I could use it without giving away my personal phone number, or at least share a url or id instead of my number for others to chat with me.

I believe they're currently working on bringing support for usernames (or similar anonymous identifier) rather than phone numbers.

@syntax That's great. Even if that's just for adding the contact or send a message, that's enough. I can then add it on a contact page of my website without sharing my number.

Another possibility is aliases. What if we can create aliases for contacting us, without revealing our real username? In case someone decides to spam to our username we can just disable that alias.That'd save us from lots of potential problems.


To me and gives me equal amount of . If Signal becomes a winner Telegram becomes one too.


According to the picture, Telegram didn't win because it may collect these information and link the data to our identity:
1. Contact info,
2. Contacts,
3. Identifiers.

On the other hand, Signal may collect contact info but does not link the data to our identity.

Thus, based on the picture, is far superior than .

@abloo @redstarfish

That is indeed true. Signal, unfortunately requires phone number.

But, according to the picture, it does not link the data to our identity.

@heavenly_general @redstarfish doesn't it also lock you out of regestering with a linux phone because of how it works with the numbers?

@abloo @redstarfish

Unfortunately I do not know about that, especially since I have never used a GNU distribution on mobile phone before.

@heavenly_general @redstarfish the desktop(electron) app they have doesn't look like it allows for account creation (at least I don't think so)

Again we have to take their wrd for it. Unless we can run our own signal server which can communicate with other signal instance how can we trust them?

Also Signal is hostile towards forks. If I remmber correctly once someone tried to use a fork signal and have fdroid version, they threatened that pers.

Even Debian doesn't include signal in any of the repos. Not included in any Debian version, let alone other GNU FSDG distributions like parabola.

@redstarfish @abloo

About the server, yes, that is true. Both of and are centralized systems. We cannot host the servers. In this case, is the answer.

About Signal hostile toward forks and repository, I am sorry, I know nothing about these. I am going to learn about these subjects later.

@heavenly_general @redstarfish @abloo what about #Gnu #jami ? It doesn't require a phone number and it looks completely decentralized

@paoloredaelli @redstarfish @abloo

Unfortunately, I also have never used GNU Jami, thus I have no any experience using it.

But, since it is a GNU package, I have 100% trust with the app. It is a libre software, decentralized and it does not require phone number as well.

I am also curious with the adoption as well.

@paoloredaelli I've used GNU Jami before. It's a great idea. But I couldn't connect to my own test devices when I first tried it. On my second attempt, I was able to connect both, and I was able to send messages back and forth. I thought about using it. But due to how it works, it can't store messages when you're offline. And for my use case it was a deal breaker for me.

It's a nice project for people who has other means of communication and can both stay online at the same time.


I want to clarify that I didn't mean Signal is hostile towards Debian. But that it didn't pass Debian standards to be packaged. And when people asked for signal related help in Debian irc channels they didn't get any as it's not officially supported.

On the other hand, Telegram is officially packaged in Trisquel, Parabola.

Here's a detailed list of problems regarding Signal:


Ahh yes, actually I meant to write two separated things:
1. Signal hostility,
2. Debian repository.

I am sorry for my "wonderful" English :)

@heavenly_general @redstarfish@social.linux

Contacts are opt in on both Signal and Telegram so saying 'this app may collect data will scare the user thinking it happens by default' Signal is based on PINs and you control the passcode used to encrypt the data but it is tied to you via your phone number. There's no annoynmous signup like session or some Matrix servers.

@heavenly_general could you please share the source of this comparison?

By the way, what do you think about Session Messenger

Thanks in advance.

#FreeSoftware #GNU #Linux


flying_kell is the owner of the photo. That is his Twitter handle. It seems he has no Mastodon account.


About , it seems a great chat app. I have never used it before, thus, I have no any practical experience using the app.

It is also a libre software as well, which is definitely a huge plus value.

Unfortunately, just like , it is not yet available on F-Droid yet. And according to the FAQ (, it has plan to put the app into the repository.

But, that is currently only existing on paper (just a plan).

@heavenly_general @ademalsasa Inclusion in f-droid would definitely be a welcome thing.

Thankfully they have an APK download. Signature needs to be checked manually though, which wouldn't be needed if it was on fdroid.

@adnan360 @ademalsasa

Inclusion in F-Droid official repository is a game changer. That means, the app has no any kind of tracker. The app does not depend on any of Google services too.

But of course, sometime an app cannot be included in the repository because of other legitimate reason as well, such as F-Droid has no support yet for Xamarin app.

@heavenly_general Good points. I've seen an option on Session to use either Google notification services, or use without it. It asks when starting up first time.

So I think it should run fine on phones with or without Google services. I've tested on my Android phone without Google notification service and it works fine. Fingers crossed.

@ademalsasa Thanks. It seems to be what I needed. Doesn't need registration whatsoever. Has #appimage too for desktops. 👍

@adnan360 hey, Adnan. You are welcome. I am waiting for your experience in Session Messenger if you don't mind. Just like what @x shared with me long time ago (a video of him showing that it cannot be screenshoted).


According to the picture, Telegram didn't win because it may collect these information and link the data to our identity:
1. Contact info,
2. Contacts,
3. Identifiers.

@heavenly_general is this competition explained somewhere? Many people would like to read more about it


Yes, I got the photo from @flying_kell. That is his Twitter handle. It seems he has no Mastodon account.

@heavenly_general Conversations and XMPP are the real winners :blobcool: .

@heavenly_general It's so much more complicated really. Telegram has pretty good privacy policies but from a technical standpoint you have to trust them. What apps are accessible enough for non tech friends? How are they financed? What features do you need, like multi device support or group features for example. Signal is actually pretty good but Telegram, Wire, Matrix or xmpp clients all have different advantages/disadvantages.


I agree 100%. Chat app is very complex matter indeed.

Even Signal which can be said "secure" and "private", it has some other problems as well, as have been mentioned by @redstarfish

Investigating a chat app is not really different with investigating a research paper. The whole information behind the product is utmost important.

@heavenly_general I am just curious and never got it clear: in signal groups, all member's cell phone number are visible, how is it going to be safe and private?


I do not really understand as well. But from the article below, I learned:

1. The group is private only from the view point of non-members. Means, it is still public from the view point of its members.

It is similar with secure email. The recepient and sender both are able to read the messages, but not for the others.

2. The data of the private group is always encrypted. Thus, even Signal (the company) cannot read the data.

@heavenly_general why exactly is there a Chinese flag on WeChat but no country flag on other apps? How is Facebook comparable to a state? That picture is very confused...

@heavenly_general also, Signal requires your phone number, in terms of privacy that's literally illegal


Unfortunately I am not the creator of the picture. But, I think the creator intended to convey these messages:
1. The first three, albeit these are different products, but they are all owned by Facebook.

Thus, by using Whatsapp, we are also using Facebook, albeit indirectly.

2. The Chinese flag is to signify that the app's developers are from China, thus, it cannot be trusted at all (from the view point of a *possibly* US citizen)

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