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I have a question about this...

Say a team of volunteers were willing to spend time to make something like a QT- or GTK-based native desktop application instead.

How much more difficult would this be compared to what they did/used now? (the chrome-app) ?

Also, will it take significantly longer to build such a native app?

Anybody with experience building native apps, please share.

What about using something like http://electron.atom.io instead. This would likely be the best of both worlds - native, but not browser-dependent.

I really wish this was an Electron / nw.js app instead of a Chrome plugin.

I've experimented with this and with a little tweaking it works fine under NW.js's alpha support for running Chrome Apps.

I mention it because downloading one file (a nw.js / electron build) is a lot less friction filled than (in some cases) downloading an entire browser just to use one app. There's still people out there who still use Firefox or whatever default browser their OS comes with. Instead of downloading one file, you're now forced to download two.

FWIW someone is trying to create a Signal/Textsecure client for Ubuntu phone[1][2], using web-sockets, with (I think) a QML-interface and a go back-end, so once it's ready it should hopefully be relatively easily portable to desktop Linux (and if/when Ubuntu convergence becomes more than a pipe dream it should work even without porting...)

I haven't actually used it or looked at the code, so I can't comment on the usability of the interface or the security of the implementation.

[1] https://github.com/janimo/textsecure-qml/

[2] https://uappexplorer.com/app/textsecure.jani

Slack and several other chat apps are web based. You don't really need it. Dev time and cross platform compatibility would be worse. With this they get at least 4 platforms.

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