Olvid: Private messenger

I recommend adding Olvid to the Real-Time Communication section as they are located outside USA and also does not require any identifying information to register and the app is opensource.

This one was already rejected in the past:

We would need to see if there has been improvement there.


Olvid Messenger · privacyguides · Discussion #399 · GitHub

edit: @dngray was quicker haha.

Most of the reasons for not adding it seems not privacy related. (not supporting video calls, bad UX and no desktop client)

I think it should still be considered.

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We generally don’t add something unless there is a compelling reason to.

If there are alternatives with a higher degree of feature coverage than the alternative, then we’re even less likely to.


What does it offer that Signal does not? Why should we put trust for such an essential product compared to a well established, publicly audited solution like Signal?

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I think the main features is zero identifiers + the company is outside USA which increase it’s integrity.

Also their business model is kind of stable and guarantees their surviving .

also they are audited.

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Not really. There are worse places than the USA to be hosted. It’s not really a protection of anything.


The better comparison is to SimpleX I think, not Signal. And unlike SimpleX, Olvid is not fully open source.* Olvid also lacks clients for all the operating systems we like (namely Linux), whereas SimpleX supports all 3 desktop platforms.

Marking this thread as rejected. I feel fine reaffirming our previous decision here, because we don’t recommend closed-source software unless all the open-source alternatives are comparatively deficient in some way, and I’m not seeing a reason to use Olvid over SimpleX.

Thank you for sharing again though, I must’ve missed the previous Olvid discussion personally. Let me know if I’m missing anything here!

Edit: Olvid has only published the source code for their Android and iOS apps, not their web client, nor their Windows/macOS desktop apps. Additionally as @dngray pointed out in a reply, they don’t actually do any development work on GitHub, they just push the source code for each release.

This is less preferable for a variety of reasons, including the fact that such development is much harder to keep track of and look through, because you don’t have the benefits of an open-source community nor the ability to break down changes into smaller/easier-to-review commits. As Olvid themselves note:

As of now, the code is not fully documented and contains very few comments. Still, some aspects of it are very advanced and might be hard getting into. We encourage you to read the code, understand it and make your own modifications and additions. But keep in mind that some mechanisms are rather “fragile” and might break easily :egg::egg::egg:.


Olvid is opensource.

not fully open source, as the server code isn’t available


Also worth noting, none of it is actually developed in the open. To me it looks like source pushed from another repository at certain squashed intervals.

We like to see progress in public, for example as simplex, matrix, signal etc are. Where pull requests into the main repo are present.

This gives a better all health of the project and encourages community contribution, and thus scrutiny.


If the French government advises the use of Olvid, it’s better not to use it at all


Doesn’t the French government use an Element developed Matrix client for communications? :joy:

The difference is matrix can be setup anywhere.

More importantly, not even all their clients, which is what I was actually referring to :upside_down_face:


I mean red flag for sure. But especially the alligations towards other apps smell like information warfare.

On the other hand I would understand that the government needs to limit the apps used by ministers and they probably should use an app that allows dor exports of the conversations for archiving for the freedom of information act (assuming France has this). Not even sure if Olvid has that.

Well if they used element i understand they feel they need to switch :laughing:

The French are often very nationalistic when it comes to their language and their products so don’t overthink this, it’s probably just “a French thing”. :wink:
(and unfortunately not only a French attitude but rather widespread)

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