Signal: Discussion about Google Play alternative

Of course you can make money - as long as you are honest about it.

  • Usually they make money selling the installation, service, hosting or selling it in a double license with different graphics. There is no problem with that.
  • Selling Metadata of users of an encrypted communication software without telling them while advertising it as exeptionally safe because of FLOSS is at least morally questionable
  • And last not least the main point: they claim Signal to be FLOSS but it is not rebuildable as it relies on non-free parts. So lastly it is only claiming to be FLOSS.
  • Saying: “This is FLOSS so use it” and in the same time making it only buildable with proprietary blobs + and talk bad about Forks which try to build it without these non-free blobs + closing the servers to these Forks + forcing/“encouraging” users to use Google Play is not upright.

Don’t understand me wrong - I am sure Signal is a well written beautiful piece of work. And as a user I would love to see it in F-Droid. BUT I don’t want to be sold on the way. There is something like a human right on data protection. Unluckily this is not treated very well these days. And that I even have to think about it regarding the use of FLOSS Software makes me really sad.

i don’t quite see where you are coming from here. there are people using a given communication software (signal), and they want to see it more broadly available. they have made numerous efforts, with f-droid and upstream to push for freeing more and more bits of the software. now there is a version of Signal that can work only with free software, including the server side of things. what is the problem exactly here?

Regarding specific points you made:

  • as far as I know, OWS is not making money by selling users’ metadata. Google may be doing that, but they claim they do not use the GCM profiles for that purpose
  • Signal is buildable with only free software, in fact that is what the LibreSignal folks are doing. the current official builds link against proprietary Google libraries, but this is something that can be fixed

And regarding the metadata from Signal that is available to Google, I would suggest you review your information on this or provides quotes to back up those claims. As far as I know, while GCM can build a profile of users, they do not have access to actual phone numbers or contact information out of the box. And as a user of the non-google-play APK, I can tell you I can install and upgrade the APK fine without going through the play store. I do not need a Google account to use Signal.

Now I understand people are tired of negotiating with OWS people and there are unnecessary hurdles. But at least get your facts straight here. Furthermore, I think directing towards OWS our frustrations regarding the Android ecosystem as being dominated by Google is not very productive. Fight for a libre Android instead of attacking people that try to make usable crypto work on it. That includes helping F-Droid, but also liberating AOSP itself.


Where is the download link on their website? I can’t find it.

You can find it here:

So it seems there is no Signal messenger would be available through F-Droid client. Hence no automatic updates would be available if installed by an apk file. What other secure messenger available on f-droid equal to or better than Signal messenger

Kontalk is definitely worth looking at


The official APK provided by Open Whisper Systems notifies the user about updates and allows a direct download/update.


Regarding alternatives to Signal that are currently available through F-Droid, I have switched to using Conversations, which supports XMPP with OMEMO encryption. There are any number of free XMPP servers on the internet which can be used. In my case, I setup my own.

There isn’t a good client for iOS that supports OMEMO. ChatSecure is still a bit rough around the edges, especially with group messages. Hopefully that is resolved soon.

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I haven’t used it very much, but take a look at Zom:

It’s both for Android and iOS.


Here is some more information about Zom.

Many advanced features will be hidden or removed for the sake of simplicity (with sane secure defaults of course!)

I don’t mind having a clean interface, and selecting good defaults so they just work for the majority of users out of the box, but I am not interested in removing advanced features for the sake of simplicity. I have had enough of those types of experiences for several lifetimes.


I use the Noise, as a NoGAPPS Signal fork, it was pretty hard to find for the first time.
But I do update it from F-droid now, added their repository from

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