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So is supposed to be installed on a smartphone before you can use it on desktop? Unofficially, the desktop version is perfectly capable of creating new accounts. All you need is a number to receive an SMS or voice mail. Here is how.

Run Signal and press Ctrl-Shift-I to open Developer Tools (it's an Electron app). Switch to Console tab and enter the following command:

getAccountManager().requestSMSVerification("+123456789")

Use your actual phone number instead of +123456789.

If you prefer voice mail verification, use this command instead:

getAccountManager().requestVoiceVerification("+123456789")

Once you have the verification code, run this command:

getAccountManager().registerSingleDevice("+123456789", "123-456".replace(/\D/g, ""))

Insert the actual code instead of 123-456.

If you see a 423 error - there is already an account for this number. Otherwise, restart Signal and you are done. You can start messaging people and enjoy that fancy end-to-end encryption thingy.

Disclaimer: The desktop client seems to lack quite a bit of functionality, so depending on your use case you might need a smartphone after all. For example, it seems that setting profile name and avatar isn't possible with the desktop client.

@WPalant

Wouldn’t using something like Keybase be better than signal? E2EE chat and a way to verify who you are talking to.

@jeff @WPalant As long as both sides opt to use exploding messages.

The API's just as much of a pain in the ass, though.

@WPalant

I wasn't aware of those issues, and it really is a shame. I like Signal though and wish they would be a little less closed off about their platform. Maybe federate the platform so that it is like TOR and there is not a chain of custody for messages.

@Ajz I meant to see whether there is an alternative to encrypted mails that a regular person could use. Command line interfaces are automatically disqualified. :)

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