below the yearly april reporting we just sent to the otf mailing lists,
contains a lot of developments ... actual store releases will still take
a while as last bugs and issues are fixed ...
----- Forwarded message from holger krekel <holger(a)merlinux.eu> -----
Date: Fri, 1 May 2020 11:00:58 +0200
From: holger krekel <holger(a)merlinux.eu>
To: otf-active(a)opentechfund.org, otf-talk(a)opentechfund.org
Subject: [otf-active] Delta Chat April 2020: Russian data requests, and lots of features upcoming
This was one of the weirdest Aprils, wasn't it? Felt more like a year worth in
events and happenings ... anyway, here are the highlights of Delta Chat developments:
- Today we officially declined Russia's request from April 27 for turning
over user data of Delta Chat users, see:
- Often demanded from users, Delta/Android is now the first mobile version of
Delta Chat that offers multi-account support. It's still only
in nightly builds, making its way through testing to the stores.
Delta/Desktop has multi-account support for a longer while already
while Delta/iOS is still lacking it.
- Upcoming Delta Android/iOS/Desktop releases will have
part 1 of ephemeral messages: autodeletion of messages on the device and/or on server.
Auto-deletion is interesting especially for phones used in missions or other delicate
situations because it gives certainty that messages in *all* chats will be removed
after a user-configurable time span. Not much history to be gleaned when a device
is taken away this way.
Part 2 of ephemeral messaging will be more classical per-chat burner-messages
as you know them. The self-destruct timer only starts after you saw a message etc.
- Delta/iOS now also has support for Burner Accounts, the second big
ephemerality feature: you can setup a new temporary account by scanning
a QR code in the setup screen. Also, Delta/iOS now has search support and
generally, Delta/iOS is progressing steadily and users are increasingly
giving happy feedback (stats: 34 PRs, 3 authors, 137 commits).
- All upcoming releases will now default to EDD25519 keys. They
are shorter and faster than RSA2048 keys which Delta Chat still supports.
Support was in prior releases already but we had to fix bugs and wait a little
to make sure that new EDD25519-by-default installs work well with older
app installs -- not all people update immediately and the stores sometimes
take weeks to offer a release to all users (staged roll out, other wait-queue
issues especially with F-droid).
Note that you can't manually change/regen your key. Once we see that
the rollout went smoothly we'll see to offer a away to upgrade
existing RSA2048 to EDD25519. "Just doing it" would break verified groups
so we'd like to ponder the best way forward a bit.
- An organizational feature, and also part of addressing the UX
needfinding report we published in March, Pinned-chats are now becoming
available for Desktop as well (Android/iOS got it earlier already).
This way you can (temporarily) keep chats at the top of your chat list,
overriding the recent-messages-first ordering.
- Delta/Android now grew in-chat search, another feature prioritized from
UX needfinding. Prior, Android only had global search.
- The Delta Chat core Rust library, as usual, got many bug fixes and little
improvements that benefit all platforms (stats: 46 PRs, 10 authors, 254 commits).
As did Delta/Desktop which also grew support for QR code scanning.
- We further explored how to best go for the one big remaining feature:
WebRTC session integration into Delta Chat. It will require a signalling
server instance to be configured with Delta Chat. We are currently testing
some minimal server software for that which serves to establish P2P
audio/video streaming between chat users.
We decided to not frame it as "Audio/Video calls" because especially on iOS
we can't gurantee quick-enough-message-receival while in background
(a common problem for all apps that don't integrate with Apple clouds)
So we rather want to use UX terminology like "A/V sessions" that you enter.
sidenote: we are developing plans for optional google/apple cloud integration
but we'll detail the thoughts about this another time, big topic of its own.
- UX-tests with people in eastern Europe and elsewhere are soon
commencing. We originally had planned this as real-life mission
tests but with Covid19 lockdowns we are now adapting this to be about
burner accounts, auto-deletion and some virtual scenario game play.
- For Easterhegg2020 and IFF we had aimed for (accepted) sysadmin-sessions
which we are now likely turning into documentation and maybe a video-tutorial
- There is now, thanks to help via OTF's localization team,
an Indonesian translation, shipped in all upcoming releases.
We also established first contacts to the community there ...
- Speaking of community, it's growing and already a little overwhelming
as we are learning with our users to channel feedback to appropriate
places. One note-worthy development (funded by NLNET, not OTF) is a
Delta Chat OAUTH bot that allows to e.g. log into the
https://support.delta.chat Discourse forum using Delta Chat QR-code scans.
More info about how this works here:
The OAUTH Delta Chat bot also just got a quick independent security review FWIW.
We still consider it a prototype because we have not done any specific UX design
which would probably lead us to "Login Chat" which lists all the logins/logouts
to the various web sites that use this automated method of verifying e-mail addresses
(removing the need for manual clicking on "confirmation links" in e-mails).
Besides web sites could use the out-of-band verified key for end-to-end encrypted
notifications to logged-in users ...
so much for this year called april ;)