Hello everyone!

Well, you read correctly: Monal supports group chat and voice messages now! Apart from this an insane amount of work has been put into this update. Let’s look at the details! But first let’s say many thanks to our core developers who made this update happen: Thilo Molitor and Friedrich Altheide. Apart from this also many thanks to the support of Anu Pokharel (initial author), Jim Tsai, Jan Stoyke and Edward Maurer for the contribution and support! Last but not, least also great thanks to all the reviewers (especially foss- !) and testers of the beta and alpha builds! Please keep on doing! (Here you can read how to support the development)

This version 5.0 is a very big update to Monal. But it is and was also hard and tedious work. So now – what’s in it?

MUC, group chat
Monal has group chat support

New features worth to mention:

  • The group chat function (MUC) has been rewritten entirely and now works reliably.
  • Added voice messages and sending videos
  • QR-code scanning for macOS (including account setup, adding contacts and validating OMEMO keys)
  • MUC Bookmarks (XEP-0048) (This was the five years old #1 community wish! Great Thilo <3)
  • Privacy: Push server now uses XMPP for registering new push tokens (now the Monal app-server never sees your IP)
  • MacOS (especially on Apple Silicon devices) now has real push support and can receive messages even if the app is closed, like iMessage does.
  • MacOS: drag drop support for files
  • Photo share option on iOS
  • Showing of own OMEMO key QR codes for quick fingerprint verification (Thank you Friedrich for diving into this rabbit hole!)
  • Encryption: Show trust stage (ToFU (Trust on First Use), trusted, untrusted)
  • New upload queue user interface for sending multiple files at once. This makes Monal send files after confirmation only.
  • Chat: Message quote swipe action
  • Chat: Show Emoji in bigger font
  • Added image quality slider in settings to configure quality of sent images
  • Buddies can be muted per account
  • TLS 1.3 support (if not connected via STARTTLS, and really your server should support direct TLS nowadays!)

Resolved issues (especially with OMEMO encryption):

  • OMEMO encryption to and from Sisikin IM or Beagle IM is now functional
  • Improve OMEMO encryption handling for broken sessions
  • Persistence of trust levels even if OMEMO encryption errors occur
  • Increased app startup speed
  • Fixed crash on account deletion
  • Do not allow change of account ID (JID)
  • Send Last Message Correction encrypted if used in an encrypted chat
  • Many small and bigger fixes, improvements and stability changes.

Of course this is just a limited summary, find a detailed listing here. Almost all code has been touched and many parts have been rewritten. We have received many question on improvements – now your patience paid of. The app should update itself – otherwise take a look at the App Store.

And now? First thing YOU can do is saying thanks to the developers. You can reach the public chat here.

Second, Monal is being developed entirely in spare-time of the named developers and has no commercial interest – for the freedom of software but also to enable ad- and tracking-free communication. More than 500 hours of software engineering work have been spent on this update. If that would have been paid, one could talk about more than 20,000 USD (approx. 16,500 EUR) (assuming 40 USD per hour). Therefore, we kindly would ask you to consider to make a donation. We will spend the money on the very expensive Apple hardware (we need a M1 mac for faster builds – that would significantly increase the development speed).

If you have hardware to donate please reach out to us first!

Last but not least, you can check out the new features and give us feedback, that helps a lot to improve the app. Read about how to support!

What else? There are still many things to do. We plan to implement encryption in group chats (MUC OMEMO, XEP-0384) and also implement Audio and Video Calls. Furthermore, some polishing and other less important things also need to be done. Finally, do you know someone you could imagine to volunteer in support visual design and improvement of the app’s interface? Then please reach out to us as well.

Spread the word! We have this blog but also a Mastodon account, Twitter account and you can read this via the Planet Jabber RSS feed.

Development is conducted via GitHub.

Let’s change the digital communication via XMPP in the Apple environment, together!

Your Monal IM developers!

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