Signal-Desktop on arm64

I took the risk and just installed the .deb on the Librem5. When I run signal-desktop from the command line, I see the Signal desktop splash screen appearing, also the loading animation is started, but Signal does not go further.
Zooming in and zooming out works. I can also bring up the about window. Changing between portrait and landscape mode also works, but when I click a few menu options, Signal desktop crashes at a certain moment. I also tried submitting a debug log, but that did not work.
But, there is a start, hopefully there will be some progress over time.

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See also this thread on the Signal community forum.


Thank you for the information. After reading your comments, I installed the latest version 5.17.0 onto my PinePhone running Mobian, and I had the same experience that you described. From the disclaimer of the camera not working, it seems like it may have worked on an older version, and manual upgrades of a working signal-desktop install did not present any other issues.

Has anyone gotten signal-desktop to work on Librem 5 or PinePhone?

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Oh by the way, the crash that happens with clicking multiple menu items can be mitigated by tapping or swiping outside of the menu before tapping/clicking on another menu item.

I really hope the app can connect properly in an update soon. I do not want to create a new Signal account untill the phone requirement is removed. I need to be able to add this device to my existing account.

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Has anyone tried installing Anbox and then installing the Signal Android app? Has Signal worked for anyone that way?

Good news:

  • signal-desktop_5.17.0_arm64.deb appears to work now, properly connecting and displaying the QR code in order to link to an existing Signal account.

Bad news:

  • My primary account on an old iPhone has been de-registered by Signal with no way to re-register, as I do not have a phone number anymore.

  • My secondary account in a Qubes virtual machine remains active and usable for texts and calls, but there is no way to use it to link to the Signal-Desktop app on my PinePhone.

  • The Signal developers seem to have gone back on their word and will not be allowing creation of accounts without a phone number.

  • Creation of a Signal account will also continue to require the purchase and use of a new iOS or Android device.

I tried to create a new account using signal-cli and a free sms verification site, but this seems to require loading a web browser and doing Google captchas for verification, with no other options available.

Is Signal basically dead for people like me, or is there some hope that I may be able to use it on my PinePhone/Librem 5?


Probably? Have you looked at Session Messenger? It might fit better with your preferences. The main reason I use signal is that the cryptography/protocols seem to be of more proven quality. But they seem actively on board with destroying anonymity.

Are you testing on a Librem 5?

I installed signal-desktop_5.17.0_arm64.deb as well, but Signal is still stuck on the splash screen for me, so I do not get the QR code in order to link. Are you using Byzantium? How long did it take before the splash screen disappeared?

Did you just do:
sudo apt-get install ./signal-desktop_5.17.0_arm64.deb

And run it from the command line with:

It took years to get most of my family and friends on Signal, and I do not have the stamina to attempt switching anyone off of Signal and onto another messenger like Session. Tech-illiterate people seem aggressively against the idea of installing and using multiple messengers… unless the other messengers are made by Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. I may look into borrowing an Android/iOS device and trying out online sms verification sites to create a new account to link to my PinePhone. Or maybe I will purchase a used Google Pixel phone in order to do this and then just return it. I hate that these seem to be my only options to stay connected to family and friends.

Thank you for the suggestion though, and sorry for being a little negative in this reply. This can be a little exhausting sometimes.


No. I am using a PinePhone running Mobian, which I have upgraded from Bullseye to Bookworm using the instructions on the mobian-project blog post here. I have also upgraded the kernel from linux-image-5.10-sunxi64 to kernel linux-image-5.13-sunxi64 thanks to this Pine64 forum post here.

I tested the app almost every day for about a week, and then every few days. I went a few days without doing a sudo apt upgrade, and there were a hundred or so updates to install. After the updates, I immediately tried the Signal-Desktop app. After three seconds, the blue loading screen changed to a white loading screen for three seconds before changing to another loading screen for three seconds, and then the QR code was visible on the screen. So the QR code should be present about 10 seconds after the initial loading screen starts. Although, this is on a PinePhone, so it might be even faster on a Librem 5.

I actually used the following:

dpkg -i signal-desktop_5.17.0_arm64.deb

But that should not matter, as far as I know.

I just tap the .desktop icon in the app drawer in Phosh.

I hope this was helpful, and I really hope you and others can get Signal-Desktop to work on the Librem 5.

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How about a $0 per month prepaid plan, just to acquire a phone number? :slight_smile:

Also check the T-mobile MVNO list:
And the AT&T MVNO list:

[If you’re in the U.S., that is… If not, maybe there’s something similar in your locale.]

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I relate to your frustration completely. I drank the Signal koolaid, and convinced my family and all of my close friends to switch to it. Before, I would push Signal aggressively, touting its E2EE, open source, and nonprofit status. If I ever try to get my people to switch messengers again, it will be to a project that I am totally sold on, and so far, Session isn’t it, because of the relatively weak encryption protocols.

Although I do believe that the Signal project has done a lot of good, I see that their values related to privacy, autonomy, anonymity, and openness have been highly corrupted. Maybe they were never that strong in the first place.

I hope you find a good way to register for Signal without SMS. Please share it when you do.

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I don’t want to switch either but I do have some friends using Threema, is that an option?

WHY??? :confounded:
The more time passes, the more interesting the matrix network becomes in the face of Signal’s limitations.
What is the difficulty in removing the phone number requirement?
It would actually increase the privacy of the system if there is no longer a central number directory.

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I’m going to go slightly off-topic here (feel free to tell me to split), but my friends and family have been able to reach me over XMPP for the last 15 years at the same JID, using the same software.

Even if one server goes rogue or blows up, I can pull folks onto the one I’m running myself, with minimal disruption. The only remaining difficulty remains the one-in-ten-years effort to convince each person to join the network.

That’s why I would not recommend anyone to join further for-profit non-federated networks: they will fold or change at some point.

Matrix might survive at least, but XMPP has more to show for survival ability purely due to its age.

/me steps off the soap box


My wife and I still use irc (just the two of us) on the cli since 1998 (and [1]talk before that) :smile:

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Hello Torrone, I don’t come to say “you see I was right”, so I’d rather say to you: now, I hope you understand my concerns regarding Signal. I still today have concerns about the metadata stored in their servers. Like Tor, Signal is surrounded by personalities and organizations that, without accusing, I have no proof, nevertheless require a deep audit (technically but also financially).

While I like the idea of decentralized discussion, I really struggle to convince somebody to use XMPP because I feel the following :

  • technically, it is not as easy as Signal (ideally, you have to setup a server, or explain that they have to chose a server, etc.)
  • people might not want to use it because they don’t trust you (as a server admin, do you have access to the discussions ?)
  • people might not want to use it because they don’t trust an external server they don’t know.

I think too that Session is one of the best concept for privacy, while I don’t use it. There is also Jami (formerly Ring), but the battery drain and ergonomic issues (this was in the past) convinced me to not continue with it.

Sorry for the off-topic too !

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I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
Signal is the most protective mainstream service in terms of metadata. Independent audits and court cases have proven this to be true.
There are messaging systems that do even better, but they are much more constraining to use and there is almost no chance that someone around you is using them.
It’s up to you to take these elements into account when choosing the service that best suits your needs.

While that may be an option for some, all of those plans require that you pay with your data as well as paying taxes and fees monthly or yearly. This is why Signal is not actually free yet. You must pay to use Signal, either in money, data, or both.

Thank you for the information though.

If I am ever able to register for Signal, I will be sure to update this post.

As long as you have friends that actually use Threema, then yes, I think that it is a good option. Threema has been audited and is also open source now.

I actually created XMPP accounts for myself and my parents last year. Many thanks to Purism and any other developers involved in creating the Chats app, which allows me to send OMEMO end-to-end encrypted XMPP messages using my PinePhone. Honestly, if Signal wants to be easily accessible to as many people as possible, as they claim, then they need to invest in incorporating it into mobile linux, like the Chats app does with XMPP.

This is why I really want a lot of people to keep pushing Signal to be freely available to everyone. It has become mainstream and is uniquely not evil, as far as I can tell, in the small group of mainstream communication platforms. So I think that we need to keep pushing for them to open up and allow everyone around the world to use it for free. Currently, you either need to purchase a phone number with money or data or both. For many people around the world, that is not safe.

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Some additional ideas, which may work for some people:

"Your phone number is only used as a way to identify your Signal account (basically, it’s your username), and your phone company doesn’t have access to any information about anything that goes on in Signal.

This means that, as long as you have access to a phone number where you can answer voice calls, like a landline or a VoIP number, you can use that phone number with Signal."

… Or:

“If following these instructions isn’t too daunting, you can purchase phone numbers for $1/month from Twilio to use for Signal.”