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Happy 4th Birthday!

I’m just scraping in with about an hour to spare here – I planned a much bigger post, with lots of reflection about where we’ve been and where we’re going. A summary of some notable events maybe … but today turned out to be really busy and lots of work happened instead. Anyway, today marks four years of Chinwag’s XMPP service being up, and next month we’re coming up on two years of our Mastodon instance being live.

Three Years of Chinwag!

This is just a really quick post because it’d suck to not post this on May 13, and there’s only three hours of that left where I’m sitting. Happy Birthday, Chinwag! It’s been three whole years since the final part of the “How to set up a public XMPP server” series of articles that Chinwag was the example for was published, and it went live. We gained a few users quite rapidly, and kept updating and adding features to stay on top of developing standards and keeping the best chat clients as well supported as possible.

ChinWag Will Obey the Laws of Mathematics

Despite our Prime Minister’s recent comments that “the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia” and that they believe that it’s apparently possible override the mathematical principles behind encryption with legislation, we at ChinWag would like to assure our users that we will continue to be bound by reality. ChinWag exists to provide free and open communication tools for Australians, hosted and maintained in Australia. As such we may at some point be subject to theoretical future legislation that compels us to provide access to any messages that transit through our servers.

Inactive Account Purges

ChinWag is coming up on two years old now, so there are a few “I’ll worry about that later” jobs that I now need to start worrying about. Inactive account handling is one that’ll need to be settled soon. I originally thought about never expiring accounts, simply on the basis that it avoids potential impersonation issues whereby someone re-registering an expired ID can potentially receive messages not intended for them. I’m coming around to believing that that’s a pretty marginal and unlikely case and as long as all server-side data for deleted accounts is cleared on deletion we’ll be OK allowing reuse of usernames.

Swift IM Beta

A great little chat client, Swift, has a new beta of its upcoming 4.0 release available and I’d encourage all ChinWag users to check it out if you’re looking for a reliable and uncomplicated desktop chat client. Version 4 adds support for message carbons, making it easy to switch between multiple desktop or mobile chats and just picking up where you left off. Swift does not, unfortunately, have support for OTR or OMEMO encryption at this time, which I’d really love to see in the future.

Moving to Movim

The Movim Chats view Since I started this little project, one of the main things I’ve been looking for is a decent web interface for chatting. I’ve tested and rejected a lot of things. Some options came really close to being what I wanted but just didn’t seem to have any momentum behind them and stagnated. I wanted to achieve two things when I set up ChinWag. I wanted to publish a basic guide on how to get your own public XMPP server off the ground, and I wanted to provide a good end-user experience for non-technical users to have access to that service.

Happy Birthday!

It’s now one whole year since I opened ChinWag to the public. As a result I’ve met some great people, chatted with a bunch of you from all over the world in the Lobby channel, and learned a lot about many topics. I did kind of want to write a more substantial post this week, about future plans and cool projects I’ve been looking at, how to have a properly secure conversation with someone … oh so many topics and so little time.

ChinWag, Privacy and Metadata

It’s now a handful of days until Australia’s new metadata retention laws come into effect, and I just wanted to publish a quick note about how this does and does not affect your usage of ChinWag for messaging, as ChinWag is Australian-hosted and pitched primarily as a provider of services primarily to Australians. Firstly, the focus at ChinWag is reliable communication above all. This is not a heavily privacy-focussed server, although use of XMPP comes with some inherent advantages from requiring mandatory encryption and other privacy options for all end-users to take advantage of.

Welcome to ChinWag

Well, it’s been a fairly long process due to this being not much more than a side project, but ChinWag is a fully functional XMPP service right now. There’s more to come, especially on the web site front-end, but for now I’m considering the site launched, and bless all those who sail in her.