Using Signal on PinePhone in mid-2023?
#1
Hello community,

since I realized yesterday that adding new contacts or create/join groups doesn't work anymore in Axolotl (development is dead for months now, so it's good that at least sending/recieving messages in existing conversations STILL works for me... at least for the moment... Wink ):

How does the community use Signal today (if you use it) on your PinePhone?

- Still using the not further developed Axolotl like me?
- Using Signal-"Desktop" for Linux (self-compiled or pre-compiled like here)?
- Using Flare?
- Using something different?

Every Linux compatible Signal client (also Flare) I'm aware of NEEDS a Android/iOS device (which I don't have) with official Signal client for linking... except Axolotl... which was awesome but doesn't work completely anymore (and without developement it will becoming worse and worse for sure).

How do you use Signal (if you use it)?
Are there any alternative Signal clients I'm not aware of?
(Please don't mention stuff like Telegram, I'm the reason a few of my friends use Signal now, I can't come up with something different again now... Wink )

Best Regards & thanks for any suggestions,
dante404
Using encrypted Mobian (bookworm) on pmOS CE Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) as Daily Driver, and Beta Edition Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) with encrypted Mobian (bookworm) as Backup device.
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#2
I don't have a Pinephone, but I've already worked out how I would do it if I did:
Use Signal Desktop.
Get a burner phone that will work with the sim card normally used in the Pinephone.
Register once with the burner phone.

I'm in the same boat with Signal. I still use it because I convinced everyone else to use it. But it really stinks that they made it so it doesn't do SMS anymore.
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]
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#3
i use signal-desktop

on manjaro phosh  and mobian phosh

ezik
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#4
Thanks for your replies!

(06-13-2023, 07:06 AM)shulamy Wrote: i use signal-desktop
on manjaro phosh  and mobian phosh
...but how did you activate it/get it running? Also with Signal for Android on another phone, like KC9UDX suggests?
Using encrypted Mobian (bookworm) on pmOS CE Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) as Daily Driver, and Beta Edition Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) with encrypted Mobian (bookworm) as Backup device.
  Reply
#5
(06-13-2023, 02:42 AM)dante404 Wrote: Hello community,

since I realized yesterday that adding new contacts or create/join groups doesn't work anymore in Axolotl (development is dead for months now, so it's good that at least sending/recieving messages in existing conversations STILL works for me... at least for the moment... Wink ):

How does the community use Signal today (if you use it) on your PinePhone?

- Still using the not further developed Axolotl like me?
- Using Signal-"Desktop" for Linux (self-compiled or pre-compiled like here)?
- Using Flare?
- Using something different?

Every Linux compatible Signal client (also Flare) I'm aware of NEEDS a Android/iOS device (which I don't have) with official Signal client for linking... except Axolotl... which was awesome but doesn't work completely anymore (and without developement it will becoming worse and worse for sure).

How do you use Signal (if you use it)?
Are there any alternative Signal clients I'm not aware of?
(Please don't mention stuff like Telegram, I'm the reason a few of my friends use Signal now, I can't come up with something different again now... Wink )

Best Regards & thanks for any suggestions,
dante404

i start to think signal may not be good enough for serious use, however, arguments are little weird. signal's privacy and security is good enough for medium security, and is good enough for friends and relatives. definitely better than whatsapp. i don't recommend signal for high security purposes though.

in my view signal tries to be whatsapp alternative too much. it relies on android and ios platforms. that also includes google play services, although signal wihtout dependecy on google play services is possible here https://signal.org/android/apk/ . basically, installing signal on other platforms than android or ios is painfully difficult.

i start to think that platform-independent solutions are way to go. maybe https://matrix.org/ . matrix has some catches, like encryption may not be activated.

(06-13-2023, 05:33 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: I don't have a Pinephone, but I've already worked out how I would do it if I did:
Use Signal Desktop.
Get a burner phone that will work with the sim card normally used in the Pinephone.
Register once with the burner phone.

I'm in the same boat with Signal.  I still use it because I convinced everyone else to use it.  But it really stinks that they made it so it doesn't do SMS anymore.

you probably mean bugs in axolotl, axolotl has registration issues.

(06-13-2023, 08:28 AM)dante404 Wrote: Thanks for your replies!

(06-13-2023, 07:06 AM)shulamy Wrote: i use signal-desktop
on manjaro phosh  and mobian phosh
...but how did you activate it/get it running? Also with Signal for Android on another phone, like KC9UDX suggests?

signal has signal-desktop and signal-app. signal-app is a primary app and required. signal-desktop can be linked to signal-app.

putting shortly, signal-app requires ios or android. waydroid can run signal-app, also in x86-64 machines like laptop. but waydroid does not have camera support, and linking requires camera support.

short: signal is designed too much for normie android and ios phones!
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#6
I share your criticisms regarding Signal. Unfortunately I still "need" Signal to stay in contact with relatives and friends.

I use Signal-Desktop from here. When I first installed it on my PP I used my old Android phone to link Signal on the PP.

But since I don't use Android anymore I'm now using the signal-cli to link Signal-Desktop on my computer and PPP (see Installation, Usage - Register a number, Linking other devices - Add another device).
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#7
i use it with secondary sim (for a car - without internet) for testing, so i think it will be a problem without android phone

ezik
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#8
@zetabeta I actually know nothing about axolotl. A few months ago, Signal Foundation made the decision to stop letting the android app act as an SMS/MMS client. Prior to this, I used signal for all messages, no matter the recipient. Their reasoning for this boggles my mind.
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]
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#9
Axolotl is actually still developed, see the commits under https://github.com/nanu-c/axolotl/pull/985. But it will take a while for the port to different backend and frontend libraries to be complete. (Looks to me like basically a complete rewrite, since both the backend and the frontend are being switched to different technologies.)

As far as I can tell, the issues with the current/old Axolotl are not actually due to Axolotl itself, but to Electron. Chromium still does not properly support text input under Wayland, and Electron still carries no downstream fix for that issue either. So Electron is just not usable at all under Plasma Mobile or Phosh with their virtual keyboards.

I have tried to get Axolotl running, but since I was unable to register with it (it was impossible to enter the phone number due to Electron just being broken, see above), I have just given up on it. No Signal here, sorry. Since it is the only registration option that does not require proprietary software, there is no alternative.

Flare is at least considering primary device support, but for now, Axolotl is the only one (and that one is broken), unfortunately. There is also hope that Axolotl will be working better once it is ported to Tauri (which wraps WebKitGTK on GNU/Linux) instead of Electron.
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#10
(06-13-2023, 11:31 AM)zetabeta Wrote: i start to think signal may not be good enough for serious use, however, arguments are little weird. signal's privacy and security is good enough for medium security, and is good enough for friends and relatives. definitely better than whatsapp. i don't recommend signal for high security purposes though.

in my view signal tries to be whatsapp alternative too much. it relies on android and ios platforms. that also includes google play services, although signal wihtout dependecy on google play services is possible here https://signal.org/android/apk/ . basically, installing signal on other platforms than android or ios is painfully difficult.

i start to think that platform-independent solutions are way to go. maybe https://matrix.org/ . matrix has some catches, like encryption may not be activated.
...
short: signal is designed too much for normie android and ios phones!
You're not wrong on this (and I also don't like that Singal is bound to a mobile number), but I use Signal only with friends and relatives, and I can't confrontate them - AGAIN - with "Use something different if you wan't to chat with me!!!!" (especially if it is not as simple as Whatsapp/Signal to start with)... Wink
(06-13-2023, 04:29 PM)Kevin Kofler Wrote: Axolotl is actually still developed, see the commits under https://github.com/nanu-c/axolotl/pull/985. But it will take a while for the port to different backend and frontend libraries to be complete. (Looks to me like basically a complete rewrite, since both the backend and the frontend are being switched to different technologies.)
...
Flare is at least considering primary device support, but for now, Axolotl is the only one (and that one is broken), unfortunately. There is also hope that Axolotl will be working better once it is ported to Tauri (which wraps WebKitGTK on GNU/Linux) instead of Electron.
Ah, thank you! I was sure I checked back a few days and the last commit was months ago... strange. Huh
But obviously you're right. Cool!
I don't know about the Electron problems, I still use Axolotl, but I can only use it within existing conversations (just groups and adding new contacts stopped working for me), so I was sure that Signal changed something on it's server side since the last Axolotl release (last year)...
Would also be great if Flare would allow registration without another Device - A second option beside Axolotl would be good, and as a Phosh user I like that Flare uses GTK AFAIK...
(06-13-2023, 01:15 PM)Pelecanus Wrote: I share your criticisms regarding Signal. Unfortunately I still "need" Signal to stay in contact with relatives and friends.

I use Signal-Desktop from here. When I first installed it on my PP I used my old Android phone to link Signal on the PP.

But since I don't use Android anymore I'm now using the signal-cli to link Signal-Desktop on my computer and PPP (see Installation, Usage - Register a number, Linking other devices - Add another device).
Same here.
But what you write about this signal-cli tool sounds interesting, could be the solution for now - Thank you very much!!! Smile
Using encrypted Mobian (bookworm) on pmOS CE Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) as Daily Driver, and Beta Edition Convergence PinePhone (3GB/32GB) with encrypted Mobian (bookworm) as Backup device.
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