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Develop Silence SMS on Purism Librem 5 #670

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prog-amateur opened this Issue Mar 15, 2018 · 13 comments

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@prog-amateur
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prog-amateur commented Mar 15, 2018

First of all, I am sorry to post here, as my "issue" is more a request, but I don't know how to handle "pull request" (to much complex for me).

As you may know, Purism is working on a very good project : a Linux based smartphone called Librem 5.

This phone is focused on privacy : it will use Matrix (Riot) for E2E encryption calls and messenging, but to date, there is no app for E2E SMS/MMS. As Silence SMS is the best SMS app I've seen so far, and as many people in Purism forum ask for this app on the Librem 5, I would like to know if you would like to develop this app for this phone please ?

Please, feel free to provide your feeling and reason you would agree/disagree to do so.

Thank you very much for your feedback and app !

@licaon-kter

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licaon-kter commented Mar 15, 2018

Why does this app need to be modified for that phone? Use it like it is.

@ArchangeGabriel

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ArchangeGabriel commented Mar 15, 2018

@licaon-kter Because it won’t run Android, so no Android apps.

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licaon-kter commented Mar 15, 2018

Oh, riiight. Forgot about that. Indeed.

@prog-amateur

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prog-amateur commented Mar 16, 2018

Yes the Librem 5 is a pure Linux phone, it means, it should be able to run :

  • PureOS
  • KDE
  • GNOME
    They are working hard, with regular updates, the project is both challenging and interesting. But I guess they won't be able to develop such app for their phone. Also, it would be perfect to have Silence SMS as a cross platform. Apple is closed-source and not flexible, but Linux is really flexible.

In any case, please feel free to keeep an eye on this project because such phone can interest many people than it is today.

@paulcmal

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paulcmal commented Apr 11, 2018

But I guess they won't be able to develop such app for their phone.

I think you should make the suggestion on the Librem side, as they have resources and time. Once they have developed a whole mobile system, linking together their SMS library to a crypto library with a little bit of UI is a reasonable project (especially when you know the inner corners of your platform).

On the other hand, asking the Silence team with very limited time and energy (see the backlog of issues) to create a new application on a new platform they know nothing about is really crazy ;)

I've been thinking about implementing Silence on GNU/Linux (not Android/Linux) for a while, however I haven't found any docs about the exact implementation of the Signal protocol used by Silence. @BLeQuerrec do you have something like this somewhere? See also #579 on the topic of documentation :)

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prog-amateur commented Apr 22, 2018

I can understand your point of view, but Signal is already on Linux Platform, see : https://signal.org/download/#linuxModal, and also on Ubports version, see : https://forums.ubports.com/topic/509/looking-for-new-maintainer-developer-for-textsecure-signal-app.

I think it makes more sense to ask Silence team to build an app for Librem 5 instead to ask Purism to build Silence for Librem 5, isn't it ?

@ArchangeGabriel

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ArchangeGabriel commented Apr 22, 2018

Does Signal on Linux do SMS? I bet no. This is the hard part.

@prog-amateur

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prog-amateur commented Apr 24, 2018

Know I understand better your problem. Anyway, I really hope Purism Librem 5 will be compatible with Silence, because this is the best app in Android in my opinion. Too bad iOS is also an issue for the team, because I think it would have taken another dimension with Apple compatibility.

@paulcmal

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paulcmal commented Apr 25, 2018

Does Signal on Linux do SMS? I bet no. This is the hard part.

Well it could. Be it thanks to Android API (like KDE does) or with Wammu/Gammu integration. Nothing easy, but nothing hard either.

Too bad iOS is also an issue for the team

This is impossible. It's already really hard to make privacy-respecting apps on a platform mostly controlled by Google, but it's possible if you remove their crust and use a decent ROM ¹ ² along with F-Droid as an app store.

However, on iOS it's just technically unfeasible to either install apps not validated by Apple or install a custom messaging app to replace the default. A privacy-respecting SMS app needs both of these characteristics. Because even if it has decent crypto, making it Apple-approved means they can easily backdoor it or at least take it offline when they see fit… which is not really in our interests.

Only solution for privacy on iOS: sell your iPhone and buy a second-hand Android phone with decent driver support. ⁽¹⁾

I think it makes more sense to ask Silence team to build an app for Librem 5 instead to ask Purism to build Silence for Librem 5, isn't it ?

I don't think so. What the Silence team can do is produce awesome documentation to show others how to implement this specific flavor of the Signal protocol. This will allow many other people to develop Silence-compatible apps on other platforms. But when you struggle maintaining an application on a very specific platform, it's somewhat destructive to try and build more apps on more (unknown) platforms.

⁽¹⁾ Actually, even 99% of Android phones cannot be secure, as there's too many binary blobs controlling the device. Moreover, even if your phone's software is 100% free, then there's the hardware problem where manufacturers give the GSM chip too much access to all components/memory. So if you really want privacy, just throw your cell phone away.

@TimMagee

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TimMagee commented Jul 1, 2018

I think it makes more sense to ask Silence team to build an app for Librem 5 instead to ask Purism to build Silence for Librem 5, isn't it ?

This definitely makes sense. If we could get support for SMS encryption baked into the default SMS app on the Librem 5 that would be better than Silence being ported over. Users of the Librem 5 would then be able to interact with Silence users by default in an encrypted manner.
To do that would almost certainly require that #689 (documentation of the protocol) be completed. Otherwise, there would most likely be quirks and differences between implementations and the two might not be inter-operable.

@JohnD28

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JohnD28 commented Dec 12, 2018

Chatty, the Librem 5 app for SMS and XMPP, is based on Libpurple, library used by Pidgin for example (https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/chatty).

SMS will be implemented in our application codenamed “Chatty” (this working title wasn’t chosen by a long shot then), as a plugin for libpurple that provides an interface to ModemManager.

The libpurple library supports many instant messaging protocols via plugins and allows the user to log into various services from just one application simultaneously. The messaging client Pidgin is the most widely known user of this library and libpurple was originally developed for it.
Libpurple also gets the benefit of having this capability for any client allowing other software developers to create their own SMS client.
https://puri.sm/posts/librem5-progress-report-19/

Perhaps the most relevant thing is to develop a libpurple plugin that can be used by all software based on this library (https://developer.pidgin.im/wiki/ThirdPartyPlugins).

Alternatively, Purism is looking for volunteers to develop a Signal client for Librem. Silence could perhaps be integrated into this application.

I'm actively recruiting volunteer devs for a native Signal / Signal-like client in Gtk, in the hopes that we can bring it to the @purism Librem 5 phone. Please contact sean.obrien@puri.sm if interested.

PGP/GPG: FA9D 40F1 5FE1 D8AB 8312 4AAA 77E3 1447 CD1F C3F6

https://mastodon.social/@diggity/101046739048944068

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prog-amateur commented Dec 25, 2018

People (including myself) want a privacy-friendly SMS tool on Android, because in the smartphone world, it's either iOS or Android. Because today, it's the only choice we have.

But this Purism Librem 5, which is scheduled for 2019, for those who want to take 10 minutes to analyze it, may be the phone that can change everything in terms of privacy:

  • hardware kill switches for Camera, Microphone, Baseband, WiFi/Bluetooth
  • modem is as separate as possible from the main CPU and RAM (hardware)
  • the chip is protected against Spectre/Meltdown (i.MX8)
  • PureOS is respectful of privacy, open source and well documented
  • E2E encrypted cross-platform open-source messaging and voice call applications
  • a partnership with Nextcloud for the open-source and self-controlled cloud

Every two weeks, we get outraged at every news from Facebook or other GAFAM that has sold or had user data breaches, so we try to find a way to reduce access to our data (and Silence is the best way to protect SMS/MMS right now), but when a Purism boss reaches out to help get the smartphone as we all would like here, it gives the message from @JohnD28 that has not been answered for 13 days.

We know that Android as we know it, is infected: there is a risk of access to too many information, and possibly Silence encryption (e.g. on the CPU or RAM). While with Librem 5, it is possible that this breach may not be possible. It would be great if a version could be released from the development of the Signal client for PureOS.

@ArchangeGabriel

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ArchangeGabriel commented Dec 26, 2018

I don’t know what you expect here. The main dev, @BLeQuerrec, already has trouble finding enough time to update the Android version, so porting the protocol to libpurple will likely have to be done by someone else looking at the code to establish the documentation and then implementing it.

I would also love to see compatibility with the LibreM 5, but there is an evident lack of resources here.

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