[tor-project] Future of Tor Messenger

isabela isabela at torproject.org
Wed Oct 25 12:00:23 UTC 2017

On 10/24/17 17:11, Sukhbir Singh wrote:
> Hi,
> As some of you may have already noticed, the Instantbird team (the chat client
> on which Tor Messenger is based) has announced that it will no longer maintain
> the user interface for Instantbird and instead will work towards improving the
> existing chat support in Thunderbird:
>     http://blog.queze.net/post/2017/10/18/Thunderbird-is-the-next-version-of-Instantbird
> So far, we have been maintaining two products: Tor Messenger and TorBirdy, and
> this change is an opportunity to consolidate those efforts into one
> application, which we are tentatively calling "Tor Communicator". By doing
> this, we can continue maintaining Tor Messenger for our users and adding new
> features to it, and also prototype the "Tor Mail" bundle as has been requested
> in the past. (This change will only take effect at the next ESR major version
> bump, in March 2018.) We would still like to stay within the Mozilla ecosystem
> so that we can continue making use of technologies like Tor Launcher and the
> secure automatic updater patches from Tor Browser.
> While we have not done builds for Tor Communicator yet, we expect no
> restrictions on the technical side as we have released "Tor Mail" bundles in
> the past. Tor Messenger releases have been based on Thunderbird's ESR schedule
> as Instantbird releases have been infrequent. This has been possible because
> Thunderbird and Instantbird share a common source tree in the comm-central
> repository.
> There is also the question of the future of Thunderbird itself, summarized in
> the "A Bright Future" section in the blog post detailing Thunderbird's future:
>     https://blog.mozilla.org/thunderbird/2017/05/thunderbirds-future-home/
> By making this switch:
>     - Users will get access to secure chat from Tor Messenger and secure email
>       from TorBirdy, in a single application
>     - Thunderbird has a single-window chat interface which is different from
>       Instantbird (and better)
>     - We can continue supporting Tor Messenger as a chat client for
>       IRC/Jabber/Twitter
>     - Users will get a Tor Mail application which has been requested for a
>       while
> The idea behind this email is to brainstorm this switch and solicit feedback
> from the community, so please share your thoughts!

Ok! here is a complete different idea :)

We don't use Thunderbird at all.

We build on the Browser (Tor Browser). We can start by creating a chat
client, maybe a chat .onion service one like ricochet.

By doing it on the browser, now that TB will be working on mobile as
well, it would be easier to have this chat thing working on mobile.

Latter on it could even grow with more features like a .onion service
file sharing thing (like onionshare)..

Thunderbird has way less resources than FF + Tor Browser. If we go that
route we might find ourselves in a similar situation eventually.

If we build on the top of Tor Browser it will have a better chance for a
long term support.

Note: I don't know anything related to building any of the things I
suggested above :) maybe is just impossible or too scary (cuz of
security reasons)


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