Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

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webfork
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Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#1 Post by webfork » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:04 pm

First mentioned here (Midas), Signal is a frequently recommended secure messaging (video, voice, file, and IM) service:

The mobile app has been working very well for quite a while now so I was happy to see a desktop version come out.

Status: Untested, but it's Electron-based so it's very possible the program isn't portable yet. Discussion: https://github.com/WhisperSystems/Signa ... issues/807

License: GPLv3

Site: https://signal.org/blog/standalone-signal-desktop/
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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#2 Post by freakazoid » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:16 am

I'm going to keep using the Chrome app with Chromium until Chrome kills off Chrome Apps support.

I don't get why Chromium couldn't be used like a library similar to the .NET framework.

I hate all these Electron apps that have to bundle the entire Chromium engine to function properly.
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#3 Post by webfork » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:42 pm

freakazoid wrote:I don't get why Chromium couldn't be used like a library similar to the .NET framework.
I don't fully understand the difference between the two approaches but I get the sense that Electron is primarily in place to rapidly deploy cross-platform software. It also integrates web developers into the development process, which is a great idea and should have been made standard in Windows and Mac 10+ years ago.

I always thought this would happen on top of a webserver that you'd access with a browser interface, but I guess not.

More info: https://electron.atom.io/docs/tutorial/about/
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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#4 Post by Midas » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:07 am

Some good(?) news -- electron-based Signal appears to be deprecated:
(via https://androidcommunity.com/signal-fin ... -20171101/)

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#5 Post by freakazoid » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:04 pm

Midas wrote:Some good(?) news -- electron-based Signal appears to be deprecated:
(via https://androidcommunity.com/signal-fin ... -20171101/)
I think you mean that the Chrome Apps version has been deprecated.

The new version is Electron-based and is the one Open Whisper Systems will be maintaining going forward.
Last edited by freakazoid on Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#6 Post by freakazoid » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:08 pm

webfork wrote:
freakazoid wrote:I don't get why Chromium couldn't be used like a library similar to the .NET framework.
I don't fully understand the difference between the two approaches but I get the sense that Electron is primarily in place to rapidly deploy cross-platform software. It also integrates web developers into the development process, which is a great idea and should have been made standard in Windows and Mac 10+ years ago.

I always thought this would happen on top of a webserver that you'd access with a browser interface, but I guess not.

More info: https://electron.atom.io/docs/tutorial/about/
The difference is NET framework apps do not need to bundle the entire NET framework in order for them to work.

This is the opposite of what Electron apps do and that is to bundle the entire Chromium engine for each Electron app to function properly.

Imagine a scenario where Chromium was a library (much like NET framework) that you only install once on your computer, then Electron apps could look for this library instead. This would drastically reduce the size of Electron apps many times over.
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#7 Post by Midas » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:53 am

freakazoid wrote:The new version is Electron-based and is the one Open Whisper Systems will be maintaining going forward.
  • My bad, as I don't use Signal I got mislead from what I read briefly. Sorry. :oops:

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#8 Post by webfork » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:06 pm

freakazoid wrote:This is the opposite of what Electron apps do and that is to bundle the entire Chromium engine for each Electron app to function properly.

Imagine a scenario where Chromium was a library (much like NET framework) that you only install once on your computer, then Electron apps could look for this library instead. This would drastically reduce the size of Electron apps many times over.
Generally speaking, portable software seeks removal of dependencies and wants folks to throw everything in one folder. This generally means that you sacrifice a lot of space for tools that work on any computer you like. The only real exception to this is Portable Java ("jPortable"). It certainly doesn't have to be that way and we might in the future see something where the Electron framework gets a separate folder that multiple programs can reference, but no luck yet.
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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#9 Post by webfork » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:17 am

Given it's ongoing very positive reputation, I decided to give Signal another try, but was really disappointed that they haven't enabled audio or video calling features. The program has a lot of nice features despite this but ... not having even push-to-talk ability just seems like an oversight at this stage. It's hard to get people to stop using Skype without those tools.

Tested on Win10x64.
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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#10 Post by Midas » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:23 am

Have you tried Telegram? The portable Windows desktop client is officially supported (https://desktop.telegram.org/; I haven't tested it yet, though.).

EDIT: I can see that you did... post post. Duh. :|

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#11 Post by smaragdus » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:32 pm

@Midas
Telegram is far superior to Signal- Telegram is native (no JavaScript), slimmer (3 times), lighter, portable (and stealth), has more features and offers more customization, looks better (in my opinion) and does not require installation on mobile device to use the desktop version, while Signal is just another Electron flop.

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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#12 Post by webfork » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:54 pm

The Wikipedia page carries some criticism for Telegram (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_ ... )#Security), but I'm sure it's more than secure enough for what I'm using it for. The main thing is that they're not selling user data (like WhatsApp) and not using ancient encryption (like Skype).

I'm still frustrated that they require a phone number to login, but so does Signal.

I definitely prefer the interface to many similar tools, including Discord.
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Re: Signal - cross-platform secure messaging

#13 Post by Midas » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:46 am

smaragdus wrote: Telegram is far superior to Signal...
Yep, Telegram's my choice, too (for years now). :)

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