Jami - Yet Another Open Source Messenger "Done Right" Review
Whatsapp, most popular messenger on Earth with more than two billions users; Apple iMessage, very popular in the USA; and an army of another proprietary messengers heavily relying on smartphones and phone numbers. Whatsapp supports web version only like mobile companion or "extension", login isn't allowed if mobile app is down. Forced integration with Facebook will definitely don't make Whatsapp more private nor secure. Why to push mobile application so hard? Well, the answer is easy: to collect much more user data, an app is doing it much better than a website.
Old communication protocols like IRC and XMPP are still alive, but slowly loosing popularity and their feature set has issues with chat history, sync with multiple devices and more. So, there's naturally a demand for a good Open Source Messenger and Jami, Matrix, Signal, Wire, Threema and more trying to fulfill it with radically different success. Interesting, Jami has a "GNU package" note on their website, last time heard about GNU in focus of the Stallman-Epstein scandal and they now back with the software project, which is great and step forward.
- Audio and video calls
- Screen sharing
- Video & audio conferences
- Secure messaging with synchronizing history
- Enterprise package with LDAP, Active Directory, fast support and user permissions control.
Jami available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android. Main desktop application is a Qt app, also there's empty Electron repository, also available the Qt client, all licensed under GPLv3.
Critical video issue by now is Multistream support in conferences (multiple active videos), highly actual for big conference calls 'cause fast speaker changes will slow down the communication.
Surprisingly, Jami supports SIP and was even based on SFLphone, a SIP client. But Jami-SIP cross-calls aren't supported and it's kinda sadly lack of consistency. Also, Jami will not ask you for a phone number - huge win for privacy.
Peer-to-peer architecture is a huge plus for platform stability. If one server is down and several are online, communication is still possible.
Another cool feature is "Rendezvous point", a special identifier you can share with other people and robots, so they can reach you and connect. The point even can be not connected to a Jami account, acting just like a strange symbol on the road written by anonymous.
File transfer is also a strong side of Jami, supporting up to 4K video and high resolution images, without blurring them to the fog. Leaving video/audio message, like available in whatsapp, also supported.
Dark mode isn't default yet? Come on, folks, it's 2022! Just checked, it can be enabled in settings, hooch.
Another issue: too much horizontal empty space between two people messages, chat reading will look like "move eyes left" - "move eyes right", good gymnastics on 27"+ display. Hyperlink preview is great, the truly timesaver. Jami supports account saving into one file, cool feature too.
Overall, the Jami interface is slightly similar to iMessage. Also lacks of multiuser chats is disgusting, video conference is the only fast way to talks with many people.
TLS 1.3 is a hard requirement for communication with server, all messages are encrypted with RSA key. Good, but can be better with modern Ed25519 scheme. E2E (end-to-end encryption) is here. A user can add a new account with a long encrypted id too. The account configuration file is protected by a PIN-code, so a bad guy can't steal it and download all messages.
Strange feelings. The software is good, but many questions about the concept. For the app to talk with friends, it fits well, definitely. For small business - definitely too, plus conferences support is good, despite no multistream yet. No multiuser text chat? Hard to understand why, I'll guess main focus on video conferencing. Enable video every time you want to talk with two and more people? Well,it will work, but not always comfortable. SIP support is good, also not compatible with Jami. Finally, I can recommend this app for video conferences, for everything else - not yet.