I once opened an issue for 15-second freezes after sending each message, +1'd by other users, and my bug report was closed and locked with a very rude message from one of the (paid!) developers to "Please, when you open a bug, talk about the user impact."
Seriously... are you kidding me? You have $50M and you're going to close and lock a bug about 15sec lag when sending messages because it's not obvious what the user impact is?
And if I, as a former developer, YC alum, etc. can't open a bug report without getting a rude lecture from the Signal team (seriously fuck you Scott Nonnenberg), what hope is there for a casual user? I went back to re-read it just to make sure I wasn't exaggerating, and nope! It makes me mad thinking about what would happen if my non-technical friends needed help. They'd just switch.
I really want Signal as a concept to succeed, but after having used it for years and seen the bugs, and the disregard the developers have for users, I think something like Telegram is unfortunately the better bet.
This actually makes you the least important type of bug reporter (and reeks of entitlement). Given Moxie's personal views especially, you probably aren't going to win any points for either of those, especially not the last one.
Andrew Torba is YC alum, too. It's not good on its own.
On top of this, the response wasn't that rude, especially given you didn't follow the template:
I've closed this, because it's not a bug. It's a single scenario-free trace without a debug log, and without connection to a user scenario. Please, when you open a bug, talk about the user impact. Follow the bug template.
It does sound like you're talking about interactivity problems, which is something we've been talking about here: #2613
If you'd like to get involved (which you seem to with that trace!), please check out the current beta build, which has a potential fix for the interactivity problems.
You seem extremely over-entitled.
Also not sure why he feels the constant need to bring up their $50M endowment... OP is no question entitled.
As I said in my original post, if I can't figure out how to "properly" report a bug with a tech background, how do you think a regular user is going to?
> especially given you didn't follow the template
The information he told me I was missing ("talk about the user impact") was /not in the template./ The template was also not, at the time, configured to show in the issue tracker editor, it was only in the wiki. I don't think it should be on the average user to dig that up.
The user impact of freezes upon every sent message in a messaging app is also comically obvious.
I've had a lot of problems filing bugs with signal and signal projects. I've given up on filing bugs cause they are ignored because of some aspect of your byzantine issue policy. I am totally a huge supporter of signal's ideals but signal is well funded now."I'm not a YC alum" I read as if I were in your shoes. Not everything has to be an attack. Stay positive.
Is #2703 a user report or a developer report? Why would a user use GitHub and not https://support.signal.org/? Who is directing any sort of negative energy, when the reporter is swearing publicly at the developer?
(I know this is a free product, but you've raised a bunch of money to fund development, and if you're going to require users to be on a recent version, it's not really acceptable for the recent versions to be so buggy...)
One, it insists on me giving more permissions to Google services, where it's very difficult to go around this requirements.
But worse, it relies on me a phone number as an ID. I keep changing my phone number, I don't wanna share my phone number, and I really think that the computer in my pocket should finally be completely separated from this old concept of a phone. Please give me another way to open a Signal account.
This is the sole complaint I have with Signal (and one of many complaints with Telegram).
It's impossible to create an anon account, which I imagine would be very important for someone needing a secured messaging service in mainland China, for example.
I have managed to keep a phone number for almost double-digit years. It would be amazing to not have to use my telco as the source of identity for my Signal communications.
If Signal could change this one thing and allow (or maybe somehow prefer?) it to be linked to a mobile number it would have real feature advantages over all of the other random chat apps for phones. Signal call quality is jaw droppingly good, but thats hard to sell at the gas station or water cooler.
As it stands people I refer to Signal usually have a preferred chat app (which is unfortunately often facebook messenger) or SMS. IOS people have no reason to use it other than the amazing privacy benefits, and android people seem to be on whatever their mom isn't.
I would pay to not have to use my phone number for this service.
Im asking for an alternative canonical source of identity other than an extremely trustworthy telco.
Some other conglomerated examples are: Scanning a QR code in person to initiate discovery, or querying other data in the phone's "contacts" PIM app for example, email, or more imaginatively, keybase, or maybe mail out QR codes to residential address for a nominal fee?
Can you clarify what you mean? I use Signal without Google Play Store/Services and am curious about said requirement.
> it relies on me a phone number as an ID
I dislike this also, but what's the alternative? A phone number is (usually) a long-lived, relatively immutable identifier which is convenient, memorable and portable. It is highly usable and that may be more important than other considerations.
Making phone and e-mail optional, and being a tier-1 identity. That's what Matrix does.
Can you talk about battery requirements? For me, it proved to be a major battery drain to the point I uninstalled Signal. I don't seem to be the only one with this issue .
And I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but uploading entire contact lists should also not be considered a natural feature of a secure mobile messenger.
I don't follow. How is security equal to anonymity? If anything, security is what enables privacy, which could enable anonymity. There are plenty of circumstances where you need security, but not anonymity - for example a message to your partner. Of course if you do need anonymity, there's a lot more involved than simply installing a "secure app" or anything of that sort.
> Tying your identity to a phone number that can only be obtained by handing a telecom your government identity documents fails.
I don't know about that in the US. I was able to open a pre-paid T-Mobile account to use with my LineageOS Android device without identity verification. Perhaps it is different elsewhere now?
> And I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but uploading entire contact lists should also not be considered a natural feature of a secure mobile messenger.
That sounds troubling, is it what Signal does? Would like to read more about that - is there a Github issue for reference?
But if you don't believe anonymity is an important component for security, you probably think hashes uploaded and deleted are perfectly secure, too, so we're probably not going to come to any agreement here.
Personally, I do wish they'd decouple from phone numbers and allow users an option not to transmit hashes for their entire contact list. I don't think these are unreasonable features for a messenger that's supposed to be designed for privacy and activism.
It would make a good feature, but anonymity is not a requirement for privacy. I want my connection to the bank's website to be private, but there's no need for it to be anonymous. Signal offers a lot of advantage over traditional SMS with familiar usability. It doesn't perfectly solve everyone's threat model for privacy and anonymity, and doesn't have to.
Considering the very slow pace of development on UX and stability, the $50 million initial grant and the creation of Signal Foundation don’t seem to have achieved much. As recently as a few months ago, on the latest iOS and latest version of Signal, I’ve seen some contacts get multiple device changed messages from me even though nothing had changed (no change in device, no change in OS). The few contacts who do use it also complain of message delivery issues. There’s still no way to backup chats on iOS. There’s no easy way to get back group memberships when changing devices. Combine all these with how much the UX and feature set lag behind that of Telegram, I still see Signal as a niche laggard.
As pointed out by others, using a phone number as the identifier is a big drawback for something that focuses on security and privacy (Telegram shares the same drawback). What’s worse is that Signal, like WhatsApp, exposes one’s phone number to everyone else in a group (something Telegram got right for a long time by making one’s phone number invisible by default; after privacy issues in the Hong Kong protests, Telegram quickly provided an update so that even people who have your number in their contacts, through enumeration in the case of oppressive regimes, wouldn’t know that you’re on Telegram).
I can go on and on, but Signal is not something I’d recommend to people who need secure, private and reliable messaging. I’m currently looking forward to UX improvements in Matrix and its clients. A decentralized solution is probably the best bet for our freedom.
I wish them well.
Brian Acton, Whatsapp founder, probably understands this better than anyone.
As opposed to competing with well funded companies like Sun, IBM, SGI, and Microsoft?
Sometimes producing a better, more open product is more important than funding numbers.
They're a messaging app.
Basic communication is not that complicated, it does not take that much effort.
Whole operating systems are not less complicated than exchanging messages because of differences in competition.
If Google started selling sandwiches, Subway wouldn't start requiring 30 people to make your lunch.
- Provide excellent clients.
- Promise to take payments and not mine data or show ads.
- Use few but smart employees.
Telegram managed to get this right too, and I'm disappointed with both of them for now, Whatsapp for selling out and Telegram for starting yet another crypto currency.
Both managed thanks to people going around selling it.
At the point were I
- either need more than mail envelope security (protection against causual snooping by local mail delivery)
- or were Signal or Matrix becomes equally usable as Telegram
I'll be happy to move, as will many others I think.
Provide a better messaging systems - and this time show me up front how you won't get away legally with selling out for > 10 Billion USD - tell me about it and watch me sell it. PS: protip: do charge reasonable payments like Whatsapp did! Or sell API access or something that makes you aligned with the users instead of investors.
It's $16,000,000,000 hard (Whatsapp acquisition price).
(although when I used to eat at Subway a lot as a kid, somehow the Subway in one town always seemed tastier than the location in a nearby town... hmmmmm)
Also, depending on when you were a kid, you may have had one restaurant that still cut the bread using the wedge technique.
- Software Freedom Conservancy
- Wiki Media
I understand that these are complex issues but Signal is competing with iMessage for my usage and it can't win without these.
For me, iMessage / FaceTime achieve good enough security while also letting me use any of my devices (except my windows machine!), and I don't lose everything if I switch phones. I think that signal could better achieve their goals by making some time for usability work.
…but there's been no apparent progress.
On some core usability & functionality matters, Signal appears to be a really, really, lethargic development team, both before and after the arrival in early 2018 of $50 million in funding.
It takes two parties to install it for it to be beneficial, and so far those I've asked to use it have uninstalled it because of usability.
Otherwise I didn't hear about any relevant issues with general users I got to use it.
What usability issues did those you ask have?
I brought up the stickers issue because this is what I heard in complaints before.
I don't really care about stickers, but I do care about being able to back up my conversations, being able to use any device I have at hand, and being able to do so with Siri voice activation if I'm driving.
btw It looks like the backup problem is something you should blame Apple for https://github.com/signalapp/Signal-iOS/issues/905. It works flawlessly on Android. As for your Siri issue, I wouldn't say it's something "the average user expects". I don't know anybody doing what you wanted to do there.
I use signal as my main messaging app and wish them well.
His name only appears twice at the `signal.org` website:
His name doesn't appear in any recent Signal news – such as this, about the foundation being ready to take donations.
As of April, he was supposed to be speaking at the 'TechCrunch Disrupt SF' conference that happened earlier this month – https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/03/whatsapp-brian-acton-disru... – but he wasn't on the final schedule/speakers-list and I've seen no followup coverage indicating he actually spoke there.
It'd be good to know what his actual involvement is, before transitively having confidence in Signal based on Acton's experience.
I'm sure the librem5 community will eventually scaffold something to make this work, and it might even be somewhat user-friendly, but I can't imagine a scenario where Signal themselves are positive about it.
So, it's back to SMS for me. And convincing my more technical friends to give Matrix a try again, in the hopes that the UX issues aren't as bad for them in late 2019.
I wish Signal the best of luck, I really do; their goal is laudable, most of their source is open, and they're smart folks. But a very limited developer community (and open hostility to the kind of community that might result in broader platform options) means I've stopped suggesting it to folks, because I won't even be able to use it myself very shortly.
Get this -- not even GrapheneOS includes it in their prebuilt images.
It's better you install it directly from the source (either their site or Google Play).
It's iOS where it doesn't work AFAIK as you can't replace the default messaging app.
Additionally, they have been hostile to federating, 3rd party appstores (fdroid), and until the past year or two it was not possible to run the android client without Google play services and analytics.
So it was more like "you can read the source, but can't do anything new or different with it."
- Signal for Android is built with Google proprietary libraries (Firebase). Signal binaries therefore contain non-free parts.
- Moxie does not want to see non-official clients connect to the official servers of Signal, including forks that only get rid of the Google part. Understandable but annoying. LibreSignal was doing that, and was stopped for this reason.
I would add something else that bothers me, and it's the requirement to tie one's account to a phone number (and the inability to run Signal on several phones I guess). Moreover, one can avoid smartphones (to avoid binary blobs that come with every smartphone of today on which Signal is supported for instance) with a little bit of hacking with signal-cli, but this is not straightforward and the Signal desktop application is limited. By encouraging the use of Signal, you are basically making people depend on smartphones.
Not good as far as I am concerned, but still far better than WhatsApp and you can, if you really want to, compile the Android application yourself by removing proprietary dependencies. I did it recently, it's a few hours of work, it seems to work and it's supposed to, but I don't actually use it so don't take my word for it.
So, with Signal, it is:
- give your phone number
- run proprietary software (and the developers highly recommend Google Play on Android), or edit, compile the app for yourself and manage your own updates (and live with your phone's binary blobs anyway), or accept to only use the limited desktop client. In any case you need a phone.
So close to a very good solution…
Moxie has a blog post explaining why Signal won't support federalization: https://signal.org/blog/the-ecosystem-is-moving/
"After three weeks, sealed sender now represents over 80% of overall Signal messaging traffic." https://twitter.com/signalapp/status/1075918894521495552
This would be impossible to achieve with federated protocol.