This is a good time for open-source communication systems.
The decentralized, free software, Twitter-esque social network Mastodon seems to be doing rather well. And now Wire, the end-to-end encrypted instant messaging platform, is releasing the source code for its server.
This is astoundingly good news. As I've written about previously, Wire is a platform I've been quite happy with (I even interviewed the CTO of Wire). One of the downsides? The lack of publicly available source code for the server. That shortcoming is being remedied.
As of this moment, 100 percent of the server source code has not yet been released, but the process has begun and the first fruits of their efforts are showing up on their GitHub source repository. Their statement on this seems pretty reasonable:
"Open sourcing the server code has been a great exercise and a challenge to clean up the code and remove some legacy components from pre-March 2016 when we launched end-to-end encryption. We are ready to release the first backend components and will release all server code parts over the coming months as we finish the cleanup and documentation."
The other downside to Wire, as I see it, is the centralized nature of the service. The future of the internet is, in my opinion, highly decentralized.
As luck would have it, the Wire team is addressing that, as well:
"In the longer term future, there will be a self-hosted version of Wire that optionally federates with the main Wire cloud."
I can't begin to express how astoundingly happy that makes me. Open source. End-to-end encrypted. Support for audio/video chats and group conferences.
Add in the ability to self-host your own Wire server—which can be federated with other Wire servers, thus allowing inter-server communication—and Wire is a total game-changer. Thrilled. Thrilled, I say!
Once Wire completes its server source release and gets federated servers functioning, we'll be at a place where instant messaging, video conferencing and social media (via Mastodon) are all possible in a decentralized, free software loving way.
And that is a glorious thing.