Big update on developments

September 28, 2018 by holger

Following this blog or the mailing list you might think not much is happening with Delta.Chat but … nothing could be further from the truth :) An incredible lot has happened and is happening but communication happened in different ways:

But let’s get away from the “metadata statistics” of what happened to the actual things happening. Contrary to popular belief, metadata is not telling that much, is it?

Below is a “July-September 2018” report we shared with various Open-Technology-Fund (OTF) projects yesterday. If you didn’t know – our Delta.Chat robustness and usability proposal was accepted by OTF and we will receive and distribute around two-hundred thousand USD to the various people involved, in the course of one year (July 2018-June 2019). The following report is focused on this OTF proposal – there are actually several more developments and background ongoings … expect some more “big” updates soon ;)

Delta.Chat development highlights July-Sept 2018

OTF Proposal abstract summary

Delta.Chat is a unique effort in the messaging ecosystem which offers a modern “chatty” messaging user interface on top of e-mail. Delta.Chat has no own servers but re-uses the existing, massive e-mail provider infrastructure to send and receive messages. End-to-end encryption is achieved using Autocrypt, which makes use of standard OpenPGP-based cryptographic operations (but doesn’t use gpg). Our OTF efforts are to deliver a well usable and robust Android app and a freshly developed cross-platform Desktop application. We are driving our technical developments by needfinding and user-testing activities in the Ukraine.

Needfinding in Ukraine

Let’s start with needfinding. We conducted 16 interviews with trainers, journalists and activists in Ukraine in the last month. The interviews focused on 3 key aspects:

  1. identifying routine workflows (usage of mobile versus desktop, OS, user habits, popular encrypted messaging applications and email clients, usage of group chats and so on);

  2. identifying users’ perceptions of risks and adversaries;

  3. understanding their needs and gathering desired features, security and UI properties of a secure messaging tool suitable for their work and activism.

We are currently transcribing and analyzing the material, have sketched the outline and want to publish a needfinding report by November 2018.

Android/Desktop/Node/Python releases

We heavily developed on several fronts and released new sites and packages which are laying the groundwork for the upcoming months:

Delta-X: Community sprint with partnering projects

A lot of the above work was happening and discussed during the “Delta-X” gathering in Freiburg July 16-24th. Particularly at its Saturday unconference day we had productive and fun discussions with around 30 people from different projects and contexts, ranging from OTF project planning, a new PGP/Rust implementation to GDPR questions or new crypto schemes to avoid metadata leakage. Hanging out in the sun with Sofa’s on a terasse, or at Cafe Bicicletta (wow cappucino!), or doing an OTF kickoff meeting at the cold “Dreisam” river, taking a bath and sleeping overnight at a remote lake … even the people attending couldn’t really give a full summary of this week, i bet ;)

Delta-X graffiti

One notable community effort started there which we support and hope will come to fruition soon: Delta-Dev/Android which is using the UI code of Signal/Android because it provides a better base than the Telegram-UI code which Delta/Android is still using in its current F-Droid releases. Moreover, there is another OTF-independent effort, namely Delta/iOS. To get a testflight invite for this early iPhone version, mail

Git repositories for all activities

You can find the repositories for each of the above efforts and releases under our deltachat github organization. In case you wonder … we might want to migrate to something else than github – you are btw very welcome to help care for sysadmin/infrastructure/packaging/docs/css/UX/translation/integration/privacy/legal issues as much as contributing to C/JS/Python/Swift/Java/Rust programming :)


Thanks, you made it to the end of this very long blog post :)

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