The “Xyiv” post is an attempt to relay a bit more of what goes on with Delta Chat developments in “offline” settings. A lot of Delta Chat related developments happen outside digitally mediated channels. And digital channels themselves are spread between this support forum and many others:
the #deltachat freenode channel or
You can guess from just the number of this fragmented online, and the various xyiv-post offline developments, that it’s not always easy to integrate the different particular perspectives. Many of us are trying our best though – thanks especially to those here on the forum who are following on multiple channels – this helps a lot to get more coherent perspectives and development!
Not everyone is equal when it comes to decisions of what happens with DC, though. Those who are doing Pull Requests (i.e. changes to website, or any of the platform or core repos) typically quickly close github issues if they think it’s not up for current implementation activities. “Current” is typically 1-3 months but also related to other more subjective measures. There are many feature requests (here on the forum, also on the playstore contact address and on github and from friends of the developers) and some of them come with the notion of “Delta Chat MUST implement X or otherwise it will DIE”. Or they come with a lot of criticism on what the developers work on, instead of what they SHOULD be actually doing according to the one criticizing (who is typically not doing PRs). Maybe this “MUST” and “SHOULD” comes from presuming that everybody shares exactly one immediate goal – which is to become the dominant messenger and replace Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram? Or it comes from some “ideal” notion of how a messenger otherwise SHOULD be?
All of the other popular messeging projects have many years of development behind them … Whatsapp started 2009, but Delta Chat only at the beginning of 2017! Let’s not advertise Delta Chat too heavily – but with friends or groups one is affiliated with or wants to care for, it is of course totally fine and much appreciated! It is fine if things are tackled piece by piece, improvement by improvement, small-community-by-small-community – in an order that is co-determined by those who care and do the work, based also on their personal preferences, and not by solely subscribing to some “ideal strategy to kill all other messengers”. In fact, the Delta Chat Secret Undergrund (DCSU) plausibly denied that any such strategies or even the organization itself exists!
Delta Chat developments are about the longer term, as it engages in the e-mail space which started in the 1980ties, which got standardized around 1993, some 36 years ago. It survived several waves of startups and then some. The modern forces around messengers and mail, exercised from certain internet giants and governments who are trying to mold the internet into implementing an advanced market place or advanced police state, are strong, though. Nothing is known to be immune to death but despite humanities’ heavy and ongoing efforts there are still some trees living almost since the time Jesus presumably lived, not to speak of rhyzomatical fungus which was around the time of Moses. Did you know that Fungus is a vast decentralized underground network that arranges communication between trees? Maybe it’s useful to regarding e-mail as fungus and to forego the christian notion of “SHOULDs” … but i digress.
It’s true that e-mail has not only a massive but also a messy eco-system with lots of different players and apps. This real messyness is part of the reason why Moxie Marlinkspike from Signal got so much praise on his the ecosystem is moving blog post in 2016 and after. High modernism. Everything appears so much easier if a central expert group determines what’s best for everyone, routing all traffic through their expertly run central servers – except if you are living in Egypt, Iran or other regions where centralized messengers are easily blocked for political reasons, or if you are living in Cuba and other regions where “centralized cloud” services are economically infeasible to use for people. One useful perspective is to regard Delta Chat as a complementary messenger – it can accommodate real needs for folks in those regions while other messengers are increasingly less usable there. Not everybody lives in cities with high real-time online connectivity – and it’s not even clear if that is such a great idea to begin with … but i digress.
Looking at “hard” numbers, according to emailisnotdead.com, e-mail usage numbers are impressive if one is into playing such statistical games. E-mail has survived several waves of startups, has many well-going businesses and activist groups operating it, and does not depend on a single social entity to keep working. E-mail typically works even across hostile countries because blocking e-mail means disrupting both government and business activities in most countries. Moreover, you can always choose another provider. There is, btw, recurrent mostly offline chats around enabling Delta Chat to support moving from one provider to another – it’s one line of flight with testrun.org folks: to make it easy to move away from testrun.org if that is where you got your test account from. Delta Chat could make porting from one provider to the other seamless, with a little bit of cryptography and automatic server-side forwarding logic. So maybe it’s not e-mail but Delta Chat that is the fungus here, and the providers are the trees
Maybe these views and considerations help to take out the urgency underlying some of the SHOULD/MUST’s issues mentioned earlier, and maybe motivate to rather head for small steps and contributions that are making real progress in one way or another. Everybody bringing a few bricks and seeds to convivially grow beautiful urban gardened cities with lots of different corners, if you will.
However, we do not want to build another Rome and as everybody knows, even that took a while. And even Rome did find, according to Tacitus’s Germania, their limits in what they called “Germania” – a messy region full of diverse, often egalitarian tribes that even did such odd things as “consult with women” – that’s a roman-patriarchal description of mixed groups.
To get back on topic of the messy Delta Chat communications … if you are not happy with how Delta Chat develops, especially in its UI parts, you can conspire with others, use Delta Chat Core and implement a compatible UI that fits your and your community’s imagination and needs. In that vein, we are helping OpenXChange along with their OX Talk apps which use Delta chat core and are thus compatible with DC, even if they present a different UI with a different target-audience focus. They are in turn helping with some of the Android and Core developments. There are many different types of fungus and trees.