How would I go about running Whatsapp on Librem5?

imho, purism should devote zero resources to compatibility with whatsapp. Whatsapp is owned by a toxic company that is very actively trying to destroy personal privacy, security, freedom–every ideal that purism has.

Purism is a small company, with relatively miniscule resources compared with the big tech companies, and facebook, a company with billions and billions at its disposal, actively tries to make whatsapp incompatible with linux devices like the librem 5.

As has already been mentioned here, to use the desktop client, a person must have the android or iphone app installed, turned on, and connected to the internet. Why? To make their spyware more effective. Please, reflect for a moment on how egregious this policy is. Also, some android apps use google’s SafetyNet feature in the google play store, which makes it impossible for most users to install such apps in virtual machines such as anbox. So, at any time, facebook could make whatsapp practically incompatible with anbox.

Why would purism devote any resources to supporting a toxic app that is actively trying to not be supported, and which could defeat such efforts at any time through SafetyNet? Of course they shouldn’t. If whatsapp wants to be supported, it would be easy enough for facebook to make a responsively-designed linux client.

For those trapped in the whatsapp ecosystem, I feel for you. I hope, for your benefit, that whatsapp works well on anbox or that facebook releases a responsive linux app. But we are all trying to get free from toxic technology in one way or another, and purism is doing groundbreaking work toward that goal. Diverting precious resources away from that groundbreaking work toward creating hacky compatibility with whatsapp would be a fool’s errand and a waste of those resources.

Just my two cents :wink:

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This exactly. Spend your time and resources educating friends/family/users about what Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. are all actually doing.
Try to get one or two people every week to delete those apps permanently.

Personally I have no problem telling all my friends and family all the time that if you wanna reach me you need to message me on the Signal app.
If you send me a regular text it’ll be days or weeks until I respond, if at all, because I don’t use it or check it very often.
It’s a slow process but I would say 2/3 or better of all my friends and family members are on signal now.
For folks that I don’t exchange phone numbers with, the only option I offer is Wickr.

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I saw this WhatsAppQT in the Software Center a while back on the Librem Mini. Can’t seem to pull it up right now. But…

Here is the link to the gitlab

Maybe that could be a start!??! Hope it helps

Edit: I finally got access there are two provided by Flatpak one being the above WhatsAppQT an the other is GTK Whats. I don’t have an account to test it if it works but there is at least something available. Maybe would just need some screen optimizing.

We’re at 100 posts in this topic. I think the arguments and counterarguments have been well-ventilated. I totally take your point that proprietary, privacy-destroying apps are basically diametrically opposed to what Purism is trying to achieve.

There will be a set of customers who are effectively trapped in the Whatsapp ecosystem (typically due to critical mass in their circles). They should be the ones trying out the Whatsapp app under Anbox. If it works, great (for them).

If it doesn’t work then it depends on why it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work because Facebook has intentionally made it impossible to run then most people will move on, one way or another.

If it doesn’t work because of some environmental aspect of the L5 or some bug / feature of Anbox then maybe there will be interest in the wider Purism community, since if nothing else the same problem could affect other apps.

It’s too early to know because only about three customers who are active in this forum have their phone and perhaps none of those three has any interest in using Whatsapp.

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start by asking “what are you using on your phone to chat with your friends/family ? do you have a mainstream social media account ?”
if they don’t mention any of the proprietary apps around (or are not AWARE of them) simply don’t mention them … there’s no need to make people even MORE aware of digital-hazards if they don’t use or don’t plan to use them in the future …

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I have been checking out Chatty (for Windows) via http://chatty.github.io/.
But I can’t find any info on bridges (to Telegram, Whatsapp, and the likes).
Can anybody shine a light on this, maybe?

In Pidgin getting (some of the) plugins to work, is just a matter of selecting a protocol from a menu. How does this work on Chatty? Where are the plugins?

I’m pretty much in the same boat as OP (sans business part), and I finally bit the bullet and set up mautrix-whatsapp last week. I rent a cheap VPS that I use as mostly as an OpenVPN server, and installed my Matrix homeserver and mautrix-whatsapp on it, serving only clients within the VPN. I spent a good chunk of time writing a guide on how to set everything up. I can now access WhatsApp through Element, so now all I’ll need is for Element to be ported to the Librem 5 or for Chatty to get all of Element’s features. :wink:

@wimdows: that’s the wrong Chatty! This is the one you should be looking at: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/chatty

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Interesting guide. One comment: you recommend using LD_LIBRARY_PATH in your setup, but this has been considered bad practice outside a testing environment for decades, see for example LD_LIBRARY_PATH considered harmful. IMHO a better solution would be to tweak the build of olm so as to use a linker option like -Wl,-rpath,'$ORIGIN'/../lib, or failing that using ldconfig/ld.so.conf.

Hello @weirdnerd and community, I agree with this.

Good point, I knew it wasn’t ideal, but I wasn’t aware it was that problematic. I’d have to actually go in and try a more proper method myself before I’m comfortable adding it to the guide, but I’ve at least updated it to not set LD_LIBRARY_PATH system-wide. Should already be a lot better.

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In case anyone needs a little inspiration:

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I highly doubt that’s legal in the EU but nevertheless, if they were enforcing that here, too, I will probably be out.

Edit: One hour later and I received it, too. But the Facebook data sharing is missing.

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There has been some news (see “update”) pointing out that EU customers have different policy regarding FB sharing due to protections. Which is kinda good, but do you trust that, should you trust them (far into the future)…?

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SURPRISE ! SURPRISE ! i guess when you’re constantly in the media for being big-brother there comes a point when you’ve had enough and just call everybody out “you’re in or you’re out !”

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There’s a lot of idealism in this thread, but unfortunately (in some countries) Whatsapp is necessary. I moved out of the US last December, and in my new country the following is all done via Whatsapp:

  • Insurance
  • Doctors appointments
  • Opticians appointments
  • Setting up mechanic’s appointments
  • Creating appointments at electronic repair shops
  • Submitting prescriptions to pharmacies
  • Notifications of deliveries
  • ISP tech support
  • Reporting power outages
  • Book contractors / home repair
    …and I could go on.

So, it’s not a question of “educating family and friends”. The power company simply doesn’t have Signal or Telegram.

I left Facebook in 2009 over their privacy practices and have never rejoined (nor am I on Instagram), so am I thrilled that Whatsapp has made such deep inroads in society here? No. But is it really useful to have a single source to interact with any service? Yes! It’s far easier this way than it was to interact with call centers in the US. Sometimes hold-your-nose pragmatism is necessary. Life is rarely black and white…there are many shades of gray.

So, if there’s not a good, working solution to Whatsapp, entire countries are placed outside of Librem’s reach. It’s much better to be able to de-googlify your life thoroughly and still be able to use Whatsapp, rather than still be on Apple/Google + Whatsapp.

Anybody have luck with the libpurple/matrix approaches? The anbox solution looks viable, but I am not in love with the idea of downloading an APK from a random site.

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The reasons you cited are valid, but idealism is a path to changing the current monopolies and abuses. But I think we all understand that an interim solution needs to be found. :slight_smile:

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I did find that they ship an official APK: https://www.whatsapp.com/android/ – which is great, because now I know it’s not backdoored by anybody except Facebook :slight_smile:

And, on Ubuntu I was able to install Whatsapp on Anbox pretty easily. So if Anbox runs on OK Librem them that seems like a reasonably clean path.

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