On Briar GTK, remote contact adding, Librem 5 and surprises

Since my last post featuring the Briar GTK desktop prototype, quite some stuff has happened outside the Android world in the Briar universe.

For those not knowing, Briar is a messaging system that keeps information flowing all the time. Whether your internet connection has been cut due to natural disasters or because of governmental censorship, Briar will try its best to get your messages out there to your peers.

Some days ago, I added support to Briar GTK for adding contacts remotely – a feature which got introduced to Briar Android only recently but which is already available on other platforms thanks to Briar Headless. Check out the following video to see it in action – and make sure to stay till the end to see the surprise:

So while adding contacts was made possible in Briar GTK and the overall startup experience improved, the developer fphemeral released their prototype of briar_repl which brings Briar to the command line. The same fphemeral also published photos of Briar running on the Librem 5 developer kit which you can see here:

Photo showing a Librem 5 dev kit running Briar

Briar and especially Briar GTK didn’t run straight out of the box on that ARM platform. Therefore, fphemeral published instructions on how they got Briar working on their blog (note that you need Tor Browser to access those .onion links). I’ve already reached out to fphemeral and we plan for Briar GTK and briar_reply to share a common code base.

You might question yourself now: wow, this is cool, but how can I help?

Obviously, there’s a lot stuff to be done. This includes:

  • designers sketching mockups for GTK
  • Java/Kotlin developers extending Briar Headless’ feature set
  • people creating the Briar Headless Swagger documentation; this mainly consists of writing comments which get rendered to a documentation website
  • (Debian) developers packaging Java and Python software
  • later, we’ll also need translators in order to make Briar GTK available in more languages, but since it’s barely working yet, those things have to wait

If you want to stay informed about what happens to the outer Briar universe, make sure to subscribe to this rss feed which will keep you up-to-date on everything happening around Briar on this blog.

All content in this blog post got released under a CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Feel free to share it with your peers!