[smc-discuss] [X-post] Signal is new Tivo

Pirate Praveen praveen at onenetbeyond.org
Wed May 18 00:29:08 PDT 2016

Just wrote this mail to RMS.


I would like to bring up this new threat to Free Software to your notice. Tivo prevented modified versions from running by signature check. Signal is threatening to block modified versions from using its service.

Signal is an end to end encrypted messaging service. Its client and text part of server is Free Software released under GPLv3. Voice part of the server is proprietary.

Official Signal client mandated using a proprietary google service (google cloud messaging or gcm for push notifications). So Free Software community removed this requirement and released LibreSignal. LibreSignal uses websockets instead of gcm.

But now Signal authors are threatening LibreSignal developers to stop using their server.

You can see moxie0's comments at http://github.com/LibreSignal/LibreSignal/issues/37

Quoting relevant part,

"I'm not OK with LibreSignal using our servers, and I'm not OK with LibreSignal using the name "Signal." You're free to use our source code for whatever you would like under the terms of the license, but you're not entitled to use our name or the service that we run."


We can easily rename, but not allowed to use effectively makes right to modify meaningless.

Also if we were to run a server by our own, they refuse to federate with it. They had previously federated with cyanogenmod project's servers, but now backed off from federation.

It would be good if you can write about this new threat to Free Software at gnu.org.

There is another Free Software replacement for proprietary secure messaging services like WhatsApp called Kontalk. It federates with any xmpp server, but it lacks resources to implement features to match Signal (groups, forward secrecy, voice calls etc). It would be good if FSF adds kontalk as a high priority project.

We have to prevent such traps in a future version of GPL like how we stopped tivoization in GPLv3.


#Signal #LibreSignal #WhatsApp #Telegram #Kontalk
Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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