Since the early days of /e/, there have been some discussions about what should be the default Instant Messaging application preinstalled in the system.
Some people argued for Signal, others for Telegram, others Wire, others for Matrix…
Eventually, I took the decision to have both the two biggest pretenders in the system: Telegram as default IM, and Signal as SMS app, which could also be used for IM.
Unfortunately Signal as an SMS app revealed to be problematic, especially not very user-friendly.
After considering several options, we left Signal as a preinstalled app and added a fork of QKSMS for messages, which seems to please most people (though it is clear that this doesn’t bring any value in term of privacy for text messages).
Now the question remains: should /e/ have a preinstalled default IM application? Signal doesn’t make everyone happy, Telegram doesn’t make everyone happy (though we’re using it a lot for the /e/ project development and support). And none of them are “universal”: you have to choose a network, and you are bound to it, in some way like with a social network. Additionally, speaking of Telegram in particular, it is not clear that they offer a really good level of Privacy: by default E2E encryption is not set, and I see no real reason /e/ should be supporting Telegram.
On the other end, there is a nice IM application called “DeltaChat” that we will propably support in some way. Delta Chat is very interesting for several reasons:
- it’s a UNIVERSAL Instant Messaging application. You can initiate a discussion with any user if you know his email address. If the user you are sending a message to has DeltaChat, he will be able to respond directly within the application. Otherwise, he will just receive an email.
- DeltaChat doesn’t use a central server: it relies on emails. All DeltaChat mails are stored in a specific IMAP directory.
- DeltaChat is using E2E encryption with Autocrypt. Which means that the first two messages to a user will be unencrypted, but if both are using DeltaChat they will soon be encrypted.
- It supports group discussions, with encryption.
- It is supported as an Android, iOS and web application
In my understanding, the combination of those factors:
- E2E encrypted
is probably raising the level of privacy very high for DeltaChat, and as it remains a very easy to use application, that’s the kind of apps we want to support at /e/.
Also, though it’s still in beta, DeltaChat is working quite well already. Therefore I’d be pleased to read about your experience with it!
So the plan I see for a near future, which won’t hurt a lot since we now have the App installer application available in /e/OS, would be that:
- we will remove Telegram as preinstalled application
- we will remove Signal as preinstlaled application (to those who are using it, be careful to make a backup of your conversations!)
- we may introduce DeltaChat as new IM application
What do you think?
PS: this is an English speaking forum and discussion. There are language-specific areas at https://community.e.foundation/ - thanks!