Signal on F-Droid

Does Signal still contain proprietary binary blobs?

If not, it should be distributed in F-Droid.
Even if the authors of Signal reject F-Droid, they have licensed it under GPLv3.
We should ignore the Signal Foundation’s wishes and redistribute it under the GPL.

This is against F-Droid inclusion policy.


Can you cite the specific point or line which is violated in here? I read the inclusion policy but wasn’t sure which one

Looks like this is not reflected in the documentation (that’s strange…), but this is our common practice: avoid conflicts with apps authors. If they don’t want their app on F-Droid, we don’t put it there. License and other people’s wishes don’t matter in this case.


Isn’t that against the principles of free software?

Not at all.

  1. If something is not on F-Droid, this does not defeat any of your freedoms.
  2. We don’t think that conflicts between free software developers are good for free software in general.

Signal still contains proprietary blobs, but they’ve been replaced with stubs in my fork and the FOSS variant of, both of which have their own F-Droid repos.

I asked them if I could distribute it on F-Droid recently, their main Android developer said they’d prefer not to.

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  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Signal does not prohibit or limit the four rules so it does qualify as free software. Signal official does not like or allow forks to connect with its signal server. But, you are allowed to roll your own servers and connect to those.

@Fossnator @sigsignal
These restrictions are imposed by F-Droid.
This question has been asked hundreds of times over the years.
Signal will not be added to F-Droid.
Stop asking please.

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Signal may “prefer” for forks to not use their servers but they cannot legally or technically prohibit forks from doing so, as long as they are using a free software license.

what’s the reason they don’t want Signal in F-Droid?

what’s the reason they don’t want Signal in F-Droid?

  • Signal only wants official builds of Signal to connect to Signal servers
    • F-Droid only includes apps it can build from source
    • F-Droid does not ship apps that their creators don’t want shipped
  • Signal client contains multiple proprietary libraries
    • F-Droid does not ship proprietary software
  • Signal server is “code over the wall” open-source

This means Signal cannot be shipped on F-Droid.

I encourage you to try XMPP:

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I don’t understand the problem with having signal here on Fdroid. It doesn’t violate the guideline. For example we have Newpipe on Fdroid which is not allowed on the Google play store because google doesn’t accept a third party app for youtube. BUT it is shipped in the Fdroid repository.
So why not just make a Signal fork, removing the copyright stuff so that we don’t get problems, and just connect to their servers. I don’t see the problem and don’t understand why for certain apps it is accepted and others not.
It’s a shame that Signal doesn’t want them to be on Fdroid. It’s not in the spirit of free software. I still use it as a compromise, but it makes me sad.

I don’t understand the problem with having signal here on Fdroid.

Read the topic again from the beginning.

So why not just make a Signal fork, removing the copyright stuff

JFYI: this is illegal. Copyrights may not be removed.

I have read the discussion from the beginning. But you don’t answer my comparison with Newpipe. Are there not similarities?
What is illegal here? The signal client is free software or am I wrong on this?

The case of newpipe has nothing to do with the case of signal: newpipe does not respect the terms of service of the play store so it is not published on that platform, but it meets all the requirements to be published on f-droid. For signal the main points that prevent it from being published on f-droid are:

So even if you fork signal, if the signal developers don’t agree to let it use their servers, it’s useless to publish it (unless you create and maintain the server side infrastructure). Also, even if the signal developers decide to remove all proprietary dependencies they don’t agree to publish the app on f-droid (and in this case the reasons should be asked, and have been asked in the past, to them and not to the f-droid team).

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Could we just don’t care about it and connect to the servers (like some other forks do)?

So we just can fork the app, so the author of the forked app agrees.

We could pubish a 100% free fork, like the one done by @tw-hx, or Langis

I am sorry to bother you with all that. It is just that some points remain unclear.


this has already been tried:

The horse is long dead Jim.


The insinuation seems to be that F-Droid’s policy of requiring developers to consent to being published in F-Droid applies to forks too, which makes sense if the objective is to not get on bad terms with developers. I know there are other apps in F-Droid that are forks, I wonder if the upstreams of those forks have also given their consent.

edit: from my understanding, all that’s relevant here is that Signal said no, why exactly they said no is largely irrelevant


The thread is very long. So if I understand it well, they could shutdown the access to their servers for any forks whenever they want? So for example the fork Langis or @tw-hx 's fork could not work anymore if they are banned from the servers?