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    It’s sad to see so many privacy respecting companies become what they were created to counter. We’ve now lost Startpage and Wire.

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      What happened to Startpage?

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        It looks like an advertising company has invested in Startpage.

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          They are now reportedly partially owned by an advertising company. It’s sad to see them go as they had the friendliest UI by far, out of the, well known, privacy-respecting search engines.

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        The big lesson here is that you should never invest in platforms that aren’t open source if you can avoid it. Pretty much every closed sourced project ends up diverging with the needs of the existing users sooner or later. They might add features you don’t want to attract new users, pivot in a new direction to make more revenue, get bought out, go out of business, and so on. Once that happens you have no recourse because the company owns the code, and only they can decide what they want to do with it.

        Open source mitigates this problem because people can always take the existing code and fork it. As long as there’s a community of users who want the software to work in a particular way, it will keep working the way they want. Open source is much more reliable than commercial software because it’s open and it doesn’t require profit to continue to exist.

        Open source is the only type of software that fully respects user rights, and can be relied upon long term.

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          FYI, wire is indeed open source


          you could host your own instance if you want.

          the main issue for now is for those relaying on wire servers

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          It’d be sad to see wire go. Their UI and some features were better than signal for everday users, also they did stuff like opensource their server software and experiment with a rust client. (And I know people were verifying their crypto core.) Really wasted potential, and I’ll have to move part of my family to another client again.

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            and I’ll have to move part of my family to another client again.

            any good alternatives?

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              Out of the box it’d be signal if you want to stay in the same encryption/app scheme (desktop app,mobile clients, uses “the” signal protocol), but I’ll also take a look at matrix/riot.

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                Signal is effectively yet another walled garden, and moxie insists on keeping it that way. I would avoid it at this point.

                I recently set up my own XMPP server and successfully migrated friends and family to using it. Some even registered with other servers! We are all using OMEMO. There were a few hiccups but it has gone pretty well, and now we are using a federated protocol that has been around for ~20 years.

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                  I’ve seen some stuff regarding that, but, I’ll be honest: I’ve never tried XMPP and Matrix, I’ve only watched it from the outside. There still seem to be many hiccups, and I’m really keen on having a solution that works and where I don’t have to do the support from long distance when something breaks. In my experience you’ll otherwise loose people over to stuff where it’s “just working” and then you don’t have any saying in that decision anymore. (Friends moving to telegram/whatsapp, or people only being reachable there because all other systems just have a broken push notification system for them and/or won’t get re-installed next time the phone is wiped.)
                  So I’m ok with signals walled garden if it’s working.
                  Because the sad truth is that most people don’t have the time or nerves to get things working again, even though it may seem simple, but you’re also just used to that. It’s why google wins on android, everything else is subtle but annoyingly harder to maintain or set up.

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                    TLDR: signal just works currently and specifically moxies “walled garden” isn’t that of a problem from my perspective.

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                      Wire’s walled garden wasn’t a problem until now. I say it’s only a matter of time for Signal.

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                        Wire is a venture-funded for-profit corporation. Signal Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit.

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                        I like signal, but I’ve been hesitant to hand out my phone number to “unvetted acquaintances” online, mostly due to the fact that many companies (like banks!) wrongly rely on sms based auth mechanisms. If signal allowed the use of email as a “contact” instead of a phone number, I would find it usable for many additional use-cases.

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                          Depending on your use case you might want to check out telegram with correctly set privacy settings, if you’re not talking about sensitive data but want a simple way to contact people without revealing your phone number.

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                            I have a dedicated, 2eur/month contract, dumb phone which I use only for these kind of things.

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                    Depends on what you need.

                    If you can live with the security of Telegram that is an excellent option ux-wise. Excellent clients for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows and I guess Mac as well (I haven’t tested it but AFAIK it is not just another Electron wrapper.)

                    It is however not e2e-encrypted though. Client to server is encrypted like gmail and my bank and they seem to care a lot even if some of the things they say or do doesn’t make sense to me.

                    I use it for a lot of my messaging.

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                      It is however not e2e-encrypted though

                      Secret chats are.

                      The paranoid crowd likes to dunk on Telegram for not making secret the default/only way to chat, but I like the convenience of non-e2e chats (search all the history on any device without any problems and so on)

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                        Good point!

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                      I’m still rooting for Matrix because they’re completely open source, federated (I think this is a really important point many overlook) and end-to-end-encryption. The company behind Matrix has a good reputation and even created the Matrix foundation to prevent this kind of corporate takeover of the communication platform. Just be aware that while e2e-encryption was implemented from the start and you can use it today, there are finishing touches being done to the UI right now so that it gets more usable/practical (cross-signing of new devices you log in to). The encryption stuff is a little harder to implement because Matrix is federated but there is a clear plan of how to solve all the issues and I hope they are finished soon :)

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                      They couldn’t fix a 100% CPU bug on iOS that has been plaguing anyone who uses it for VOIP calls over the last 2+ years. I lost faith in their talent a long time ago.

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                        There are similar outstanding problems on (older?) android devices too. On my old Samsung S4 your UI would hang for up to three seconds upon sending an image or loading high-through chats. Signal catches up in some aspects but still feels much more MVP. (I’ve had huge issues with random message-timers going on/off in bigger groups and messages never getting delivered or only partially, as well as people getting personal notifications about failed message receiving, which never got existed. Stuff that never happened on wire.)

                        Edit: Also signal really needs a progress-indicator which shows how many more messages to load, I sometime wait for ~800 upon opening the desktop app.