Signal: what are you using?

I can’t find a recent thread along these specific lines, so:

What are people using to communicate over the signal network? How is it working for you? In particular on librem 5, but while many of us are waiting for that, also just linux desktop, and even pinephone (is that too far off topic?).

Has the Rust-ification of signal progressed much in the last year / 18 months or so? Has that made the job of the third-party clients easier? ( ?) I think I understand Moxie’s opposition to interoperation with third-party clients – I agree in part with him and respect his ability and experience (and motivations), but I think something has to give. Of course Moxie has gone his own way recently, I don’t know how that will affect this, but I fear likely not in an especially positive way.

I read somewhere that the desktop client needs re-registration from time to time. True? I used signal-cli on my desktop, lacking a smart phone I use, and I wonder if that will stay working.

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I had to re-authenticate Signal Desktop when not used, in my case, over a month.

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I have had to re authenticate recently. But still use it on my Brax2 phone as well.

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@kate.mason @Bass20 are you using signal desktop on librem 5 or some other non-Google Linux ARM platform (e.g. pinephone or raspberry pi)? Or are you using it on a more standard system? (intel / AMD Linux, Mac, Windows)

If librem 5 / pinephone / raspberry pi, how did you install it?

I just add Elagost Flatpak repo via terminal and install Signal from the app store.

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I’m using Axolotl, but I might not be very representative because my contact list has exactly one person and I communicate with her maybe three or four times per year :slight_smile:

It is very bare-bones but functional. We’ve exchanged text and audio messages, I’ve even received and rejected a spam call!

I would like to use signald daemon instead together with chatty integration but haven’t got around to using it yet.

Using the official desktop client is not acceptable to me because of the need to relink, which I understand requires an Android or iPhone.

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Is “relink” something different to “register” or “verify”? I used signal-cli to do the latter both, which worked (I did that on a desktop linux machine).

Debian AppVM in Qubes


Can you explain the setup?

So you have a PC running Qubes and a Debian VM in the Qubes which runs what in order to support a Signal Client on Librem 5?

I got involved on question about “re-authentication” - I had to do re-authenticate on desktop signal on Debian AppVM. The same issue would be on Librem 5 if not used for certain amount of time.

Yes, so in order to re-authenticate Signal on Librem 5 you suggest Debian AppVM?

The question sounds stupid, but I want to understand the whole set-up.
How do you get rid of the need for an Android cell phone in order to use Signal on a Linux machine?

No using Signal desktop on my L14 laptop.

I am using a pinephone with phosh/ArchMobile (still waiting for L5), and I was able to register by using MollyIM installed with Waydroid. Then I installed the elagost flatpak for ARM Signal desktop, here:

MollyIM allows text input of the linking QR code, so I was able link without trying to scan a QR code with the pinephone. Note that I did need to increase the display scaling within Android before the QR code entry was visible at the bottom of the MollyIM link screen.

I haven’t opened Waydroid in a couple months, but I haven’t had to re-register the desktop client installed on the pinephone. It’s probably because I use the desktop client every day.

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If your goal is to avoid using iOS or Android version of Signal for registration, then I suggest to use Axolotl Choose a version for the platform of your choice.

Optionally sign up on Patreon to support further development


It’s been a while, but if I remember correctly I had the following experience:
My wife wanted Signal on her (Linux) computer only. So I first installed Signal-Desktop but it insisted on linking from an Android phone (or probably iPhone too but we don’t have any). So I installed Signal on her Android phone and did the linking, then uninstalled Signal on the Android phone. And then several months later, Signal-Desktop said we need to re-link or reactivate with an Android phone again.
So that’s why I thought I can’t use that on my Librem5 because it’s a small “Desktop” and I don’t have an Android phone to link from anymore. And as I (and also @kate.mason) said, Axolotl seems to be working nicely enough so I didn’t look into Signal-Desktop any more.

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The limitation I see is that Axolotl does not support audio and video calls yet. So it is just for messaging which I see as a pretty serious limitation.


True. Well, The whole Librem5 does not support video calls. :sweat_smile:
Then, we can send and receive audio messages but it’s not quite the same as live calling…

I am curious to try a set up with a USB webcam.

I (kind of obviously) use my own flatpak on a pinephone. Glad to hear it is working for others too. I have an old Nexus 5 running Android I keep in a drawer. I don’t need to relink the phone ever. I have used axolotl as a primary, as others have said. I’ve tried to get signal-cli working on ARM64 but did not succeed. The best I can do for that is run signal-cl and scli in tmux on my home server.

I think the experience of using Signal on mobile linux is WAY better than it was 18 months ago. There are much better options now. Still not ideal, but far better than before.


Yeah thanks for making that Flatpak. I’ve used it daily for a month now. Nothing on the Session Messenger front yet but a Signal-Arm app. I’ll gladly take it.