I left Telegram IM a couple of months ago. WhatsApp is impossible to use. It’s all about the well known tracking and surveillance feature and the collecting of all you personal data like contacts, schedule and bank accounts, SMS, phone calls, everything! But the most important thing that make it unusable to me is: it’s not free software.
Well yes, I created a WhatsApp account once to test it under a medical condition, I was in a foreign travel when my doctor refuses to use any other way to talk to me. After that I never used it again and replaced my doctor as well. This are choices you have do made to be aligned with your principals.
In the absence of a perfect solution I used Telegram and convinced many of my friends and contacts to use it as well. It’s very similar to WhatsApp, with a couple of extra features, but specially because the mobile app is Free Software. So you can study it and understand how it works. So, use Telegram is a great step when compared to the 100% private one. But nevertheless Telegram is not 100% free: they do not release the server side software. This means that you must send your messages to their server always. Trust me, they say.
It’s important to mention that Telegram is a non profit organization and they promise that they will release the code sometime, but not yet. I really want to know why? Why a NPO do not release the code? Why it takes so long? What kind of benefit they get keeping it closed?
I’m a Free Software activist and I can’t give up. So searched for a free options and I’ve found a small group of Telegram ex- employees that decided to get together on a startup, basing they business model on the Free Software philosophy: Actor. It is all Free Software, clients, apps, server all of them are free, released under a Free Software License. If you can’t control yourself anymore, don’t hesitate and visit https://actor.im
What it does
- Link users to phone numbers;
- Desktop, web browser and mobile clients;
- Allows groups with unlimited number of users
- Allows you to send pictures, files and videos;
- Sync chats between all apps;
What it doesn’tt
- Voice messages, yet;
- Self destruct messages;
- A GNU license. But that was a reasonable explanation: Google and Apple DO NOT ALLOW APPS UNDER GNU LICENSE ON THEIR STORES. Did you know it?
- All the features that are not already there 😛 ;
- Server Federation;
This is a Free Software, so it’s just a matter of time until all the extra features you want be there. Anyone can contribute in their own way. I did it translating it to Brazilian Portuguese and testing it. If you fall for it, you can help a lot too: developing, documenting or testing. But the very best way to help any Free Software is using and spreading it. This is a very well known dichotomy: no one uses Actor because you aren’t the there or you aren’t there because no one is in Actor?
If you feel committed with the Free Software Movement and it’s philosophy and would like to help in a very simple and funny way: use Actor! Show it to your friends. Create gigantic users groups and be part of this fantastic tool.
If you are more interested in developing and want to talk to the guys who made and keep doing Actor, join this group: Actor Open Source
If you get questioned about why change from WhatsApp or Telegram do Actor, answer that: Change is nice! And if the change gets you into the freedom path, even better!