I just installed the latest Postmarket OS (with Phosh) on a Pinephone and goodness they have come a long way.

The OS is basically usable. Which is amazing on such an underpowered device.

Also, convergence worked for me for the first time :) And yeah, I could easily use this with Helix Editor + git for development work on the go. (Keep in mind my daily dev machine is a 16-core desktop with 64GB RAM. So, no, it’s not the same experience. But is it usable? Heck yes.)

The biggest roadblock to my adopting this as a daily driver at the moment is the lack of secure messenger (e.g., Signal)

(This isn‘t Pine64’s fault; it’s due to Signal’s policies over which platforms they support and which they don’t.)

@blackfire Unfortunately (again because of Signal), it doesn’t interoperate.

Sadly, Signal is about as closed as open gets.

@aral how do you mean it doesn't interoperate? as in you can't see something? i thought it showed up in your linked devices?

@blackfire Basically, if you sign up for Axolotl using the same number, it breaks your Signal account.

@aral o...... i did not know about that. thanks for catching me before i screwed up.

@blackfire Hmm, actually, having re-read it, I’m not so sure. It may be that what it breaks is the ability to use Signal’s own clients. It might be that if you use Axolotl everywhere (mobile + desktop), it’s fine. They call it a *client* so I’m assuming it works with Signal’s own servers. What worries me is that Signal has been hostile to anyone else making anything for Signal, period. So even if this is the case, they might break it on purpose. (And maybe they did?

@aral @blackfire I host a matrix server with a signal bridge, which works quite well.

Of course that bridge has access to the plaintext of signal, but since that runs on my own server in my home I don't mind.

@aral I've been contemplating trying out FluffyChat ( )

However, it took so long to get this small portion of my friends/family to use Signal for me (whilst they still use Facebook Messenger amongst themselves, urgh), that getting them to move to yet another thing seems like an uphill battle

FluffyChat does seem to have a web app and a native Linux app

@jokeyrhyme @aral FluffyChat is a nice Matrix client. And yeah convincing people to switch from crappy services is a challenge. Good luck with that. :)

@aral yes, foss companies gotta get on the linux phone train.

@aral if you want an encrypted matrix client that’s almost sure to work, you could use; it’s optimized to runbon anything over having a wholly complete feature set.

i’m uncertain that matrix has the same metadata privacy controls as signal does, but they are also working on a p2p solution that runs a local Dendron server;

though i’m sure you’ve heard of all of this 🤷

@calebjasik Yeah, Matrix is just too complicated for me to get my simple little head around, sadly.

@aral @calebjasik

I don't think @matrix is specially complicated. You don't need to setup a new instance, just create an account and choose and app like #fluffychat , #elements or even a terminal client.

You can also use a #telegram - #matrix bridge to communicate with your telegram contacts.

@aral mmm i think it’s similar to other federated platforms like mastodon, no? you can get a quick account via and signing in with a Firefox account if you have one, mozilla irc transitioned to matrix a couple of years ago:

@calebjasik Thanks. I mean, I have taken a look at it. It’s overly complex and I’m not a fan of extreme complexity. I find it quite unusable. Also, not happy that they have VC ( while appearing as “a foundation.” Smells very Mozilla. So I’ll be steering clear.

@aral fair. i always wondered how hard it would be to implement chat over activitypub, though i don’t know what allowance there is in activitypub for e2ee

@aral @calebjasik They seem much more privacy conscious than Mozilla. Can't comment on the protocol complexity, but I use about three clients regularly and they cover most functionality I want. Check out Nheko if you want a nice pmOS-friendly client, it's basically on par with Element.
The ecosystem around the protocol seems pretty healthy to me.
(And unlike Mozilla they can sell server hosting. I doubt they'll need to rely on Google.)

@csepp @aral btw, google funds nheko if you didn’t know

hmm i can’t find more info tho? i remembered google strongly funding the project…

@csepp @aral tho i believe it’s different from firefox in the sense that nheko is just one client

@calebjasik @aral

nheko also works really well on phosh, and supports viewing/attaching media, etc. And e2ee seems to be working reliably in DMs and rooms.

@aral you could use a Matrix-Signal-Bridge and use a Matrix-Client on your phone

@aral Just in case you decide to try it out: this ansible playbook makes installing and configuring the server and bridge a lot easier

@aral #Briar could be an alternative, but I can't tell if it's ready for Linux phones yet. It seems not.

@eivind @aral

And what about @delta ? I'm using it on my #pinephone and I can reach all of my contacts, because it uses #email, and they don't need to install #deltachat to receive and send me messages...

@arbocenc That does look interesting. Will definitely have a play with it, thanks.

(Mind you, it has taken years for folks to finally start signing up for Signal so… *sigh*) But yes, will check it out :)

@eivind @delta

@aral @arbocenc @eivind @delta I'd be interested to learn what you think of Delta. Very user-friendly but how can email be secure? Also, how about Threema? Seems wonderfully secure to me - I can't actually find anyone to chat with. But it has a Linux client, it can be used anymously, even without a phone nr, and on Android at least it's light on the battery.

@aral @arbocenc @eivind @delta YES. I've spend like a decade getting family signed up for Signal so trying to switch them to something else. ugh. they aren't techies.

@aral On top of Delta Chat as e-mail messenger you might find interesting -- web apps shared in a chat -- isn't it strongly related to web0 / small web ideas? :)

@delta I very much did find it interesting and yes, it absolutely is. In fact, we should have you on Small Is Beautiful to talk about it if you’re up for it (we stream every third Thursday… next one’s 21st of July if you’re free) :)

@delta PS. (the link to Small is Beautiful there has past recordings, although I have to get the last few up on the site still when I get a moment) :)

@aral Sounds good. One of us should be able to make July 21st for a chat on web and chats :) Lets keep in touch for that!

@delta Cool; let’s! (or just message me here). We can announce it in July :)

@aral There are other secure messaging programs that work just fine on the Pinephone like XMPP. However, there is one big drawback with any internet-based messaging on the Pinephone. You have to choose between decent battery life and getting notifications of new messages. To get acceptable battery life the system must suspend and the only thing that will wake it up is a phone call or SMS. If you want the network to stay connected to receive and notify of new messages then you have to keep it from going to suspend which significantly reduces battery life.

@aral I self host synapse and the mautrix-signal bridge to use signal on mobile linux. It works really well! (I have actual signal installed on my android tablet, but you can do bridge only)

@aral I personally think, an alternative to Signal is necessary. I think the devs are really toxic and Signal's UX is far from being on par with Telegram's UI / UX (I know, Telegram bad).

@aral IMHO (and I'm am not alone in this) Signal is "snakeoil security" and best avoided anyway.

@aral tales too long for Mastodon.

JWZ's blog goes into *some* of the reasons.

In multiple posts.

I'd start there.

If you need more reasons, I can cite court transcripts with Signal logs submitted as evidence, which is an awfully bad look for any sort of comms tool professing to be end-to-end encrypted.

If you still need more reasons let's meet for tea.

@aral I coined the portmanteau "entraption" (a combination of "encryption" and "entrapment") with regards to tools such as Signal.

Note: entrapment is illegal.

Still seems to happen an awful lot. 😕

Crypto AG wasn't a one off story. There are *many* snakeoil security vendors over many decades. It's a minefield out there, which is why libre/free open source software is a bare minimum for scientific rigor and peer review.

Betrusted's Precursor is an attempt at open hardware too but an outlier.

@aral You could setup a matrix home-server and bridge signal over to matrix. Before using a pinephone to access the home-server.

Its a bit of a painful setup for a messaging solution but it should work on a pinephone.

Depending on your needs, Matrix ( and Element ( with encrypted rooms (the default on private rooms, required on direct messages) should fit your needs. I think there is even a Signal bridge you can host.

@aral Good to know, thanks for this update 🙏

This is encouraging! I tested Mobian about a year ago, and I'm wondering if they also improved upon since then, to the point where the Pinephone that I own would be "usable" now.

@aral I've been on #postmarketOS edge since last December. My #Pinephone is my main, with SIM card. I use it daily.

Earlier this year I had some issues that made me want to switch OS, but I didn't have the motivation to do so. Since then, most of the issues have been fixed. I do sorely miss a functional GNOME Software though.

And I should at least go back to the proper 21.06 release which should be more stable than the edge channel.

@normandc I've got PMOS on a microSD and noticed if you have Flatpak installed/enabled you can find the APK versions of those apps also via GNOME Software. Looking forward to true support tho. My only issue with PMOS is I seem to have apps close themselves to often to tolerate, usually web browsers. Once that is no longer happening I plan to install to internal storage.

@aral I installed Postmarket OS (with Phosh) on my Pinephone yesterday. I did not test extensively, but I had some issue, but it's usable.
I mainly use it as Home Assistand dashboard.

Unfortunately flapaks don't seem to be able to access the camera... I wanted a QR code scanner, but no luck.

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