Crazy idea #1 :

Since Signal clients and servers are open source, how about we fork the server to make a federated chat network that uses the signal protocol ?

I'm still new to federated architectures, and I only loosely read the Signal spec, so I don't know if this is even possible.
Feel free to explain how this is not possible, or what you think the main obstacles would be.

If you know of any similar projects, I'm obviously interested.

@nels @parleur @Goffi

To sum up all your answers : there are already great federated chat protocols, so let's not make yet another one and spread the users even more. I see two areas of improvement :
1. It would be awesome if we had a consensus over federation protocols to bring more interoperability
2. It should be easier for avergage non-tech-savy users to run their own servers, eg on a RasPi or an old laptop.

Which leads to...


Crazy idea #2 : (by crazy, I mean that I am not actually likely to start such a project on my own)

How about a distro dedicated to self hosting and federated services, such as , or / with a focus on average non-tech-savy users.

It should come with packages so that getting your instances up and running is as easy as `apt install [...]` ang going through easy and intuitive configuration wizards with detailed steps for DNS registration, port fwd et al.

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@pcouy maybe on kubernetes with helm chart to ease deployment.
But... Why using Signal which is made to process phone items like contacts, and not simply use rocket chat, or Element which is already built for this? We already install it for clients...

@pcouy I don't mean to not use Signal. What I say is that, for your idea, Element or RocketChat are already making the job.

@metal3d Signal is good, and has the advantage that a good part of my contacts already use it.
But I would love to see my contacts make the switch to self hosted federated platforms.

If we want them to make the switch, while avoiding centralization on a few public servers, we better have some really easy way for them to set up their own instances. Something like a tool that pre-configures everything on a RPi image such that it runs completely headless from first boot

@pcouy Yunohost seems to be working well for many users ( It's based on Debian and has a lot of software packaged.
You can also try FreedomBox ( which is a Debian project. They even have dedicated hardware ( The biggest problem with it is the lack of Nextcloud. However it already has a lot of features :

@nels Thank you. I'm checking it out right now and it looks awesome ! 👍


I had a similar thought. My setup is cobbled together from the work of HomelabOs which is an ansible/docker deployment on a Linux server. I have several Fediverse Docker apps running through this method and you can even route it through a Wireguard based bastion on a cheap Digital Ocean droplet if you wanted to self host it. Vivumlab is a fork from HomelabOs and they will have Mastodon and Hubzilla. Pixelfed and Peertube I have working but are not novice friendly.

@pcouy Try out It's a dedicated hosting operating system that tries to make self hosting easy. With regards to forking signal, you may wish to read

There is #yunohost it's incredible if you haven't tried it.

@lps @pcouy yes, you mostly will read about it being installed on #debian but I do believe there is a distro also. Really does do a good job making it so anybody can run a server.

Yunohost is a headless debian server distro that makes it easy for non technical people to install it on old hardware, raspberry pi or VPS. It automatically configures an xmpp server, and email server. The best part is, it's a platform that allows one click installs of nextcloud, mastodon etc from a simple web panel. It's amazing! Read about it here:

@lps @jawsh @pcouy What xmpp server is installed by YunoHost? When I look at the app list, I only see reference to clients.

You won't see it on a list but it's's metronome.I'm

It will have the same credentials as your account in the SSO panel and email

When using a xmpp client the server address is your domain and login is your account password

@jawsh @pcouy

@lps @melmc @pcouy don't you need to add accounts that are able to log into yunohost to give them access to the xmpp account if you wanted to let others use xmpp? I could be wrong but that doesn't seem ideal if that is the case. You can probably install another xmpp server to avoid doing that if it is how it works by default.
@jawsh @lps @pcouy YunoHost is not an xmpp server. It is an app you install on a server to install other apps on the server more easily. I installed Pleroma on a VPS using Yunohost. Yunohost has a graphical interface and also can provide you with a free subdomain and free security certificate. Take a look at
@melmc @lps @pcouy I'm fully aware what yunohost is, I use it on one of my vps'. Xmpp is included, I use it. I believe to have others use it they would each need a user account to log into yunohost, unless there is something I have missed.

@jawsh @pcouy @melmc yes, in order for others to use it the accounts must be created in the Webpanel SSO, single sign on. This of course includes the creation of xmpp accounts and email.

@lps @pcouy @jawsh Thanks for the information about XMPP and Yunohost. I went back and took a closer look and see that Metronome is not listed as an optional app but is a service which is integral to YunoHost. The following page explains it:

However, I am not out of the woods yet. I can't seem to sign in on Gajim using the instructions.
@pcouy @jawsh @lps Ok. I now have XMPP through YunHost working for plain text chat. Next I have to get OMEMO working.
@jawsh @lps @pcouy While the YunoHost page regarding XMPP references OMEMO. The web page for lists implement XEPs and OMEMO does not appear to be implemented. Can any of you confirm that OMEMO is or is not implemented in XMPP through YunoHost?

@melmc @jawsh @pcouy I believe it requires implementation by the client, not the server. I am using an xmpp address with a fork of conversations and OMEMO, and otr are options.

@lps @jawsh @pcouy I have successfully communicated with OMEMO using both Gajim and Conversations but with other accounts. I cannot get my YunoHost account to communicate with OMEMO.

@melmc @jawsh @pcouy hmm, sorry not sure why. You might try looking on for answers they have a great community. Remember the first messages to another party will not be encrypted until the "handshake"

@lps @melmc @pcouy yeah I'm not sure why either. Again, I'm pretty sure it worked for me. I'll check again tonight.
@lps @jawsh @pcouy Maybe I'm just confused about how device synch works with OMEMO? I just exchanged messages back and forth between the Yunohost account and another account using a different client for each and see the lock icon on received messages on both clients.
@melmc @lps @pcouy then your messages are encrypted, sounds like you're all set.
@melmc @lps @pcouy I believe that would be client side vs server. I think it worked with Conversations from Fdroid tho. I just gotba new phone and haven't bothered installing it yet since I rarely used it.
@jawsh @lps @pcouy I am now using my Yunohost Metronome xmpp account and wondering whether I can create any other JIDs for the account, e.g. Do you know anything about that?

@jawsh @pcouy @melmc yes, in the yourserver/SSO portion of the web panel, create new user and it will create an xmpp and email account:)

@lps @jawsh @pcouy Great. I have only done text chat with this account so far. Do you know whether it will handle audio and video calls?

Yes it should, however I personally have some issues receiving audio video calls from outside my network on my home WiFi. Give it a try, I'd like to hear if it works for you.
@jawsh @pcouy

@pcouy Have you heard of Yunohost? It seems to fill this gap.

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