Social media, including WhatsApp are blocked in Sri Lanka at the moment. My friends and colleagues are looking for alternative platforms to communicate. I've been able to get some of them on and XMPP. seems to have gained some popularity in this context. Telegram claims to be a "distributed" platform because their "servers are spread worldwide for security and speed".

Well, if that qualifies as "distributed", then Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter too are distributed. Am I wrong?

Oh well, their claims for being "free" and "open" are equally bogus and false : "Telegram has an open API and protocol free for everyone." "Telegram is free forever. No ads. No subscription fees." :

I never had a chance to take a closer look at it until now. Should advice against using it in an environment like ours where popular platforms are likely to get censored / blocked.

Making things a little embarrasing, has an expired SSL certificate at the moment!

@lohang You can get free clients for Telegram, but the server side has always been proprietary.
@bob @lohang yea and even then the main clients are all FOSS on desktop and mobile, it's just the server that's closed
@lohang Telegram might have more than one server but it's logically centralized as a proprietary system. The encryption might also not be very good.

XMPP and Matrix are maybe the best currently. Matrix might be better suited if ISPs are blocking ports.

@bob Thanks. I don't think we can rule out scenarios where ports are blocked. That too can happen here.

@bob @lohang Note, that most XMPP servers (I'm aware of) allow access via port 443 (BOSH and WebSockets). In almost all cases there shouldn't be any difference between XMPP and Matrix in this respect.

@lohang Surprising that they still have users, considering they use a proprietary !xmpp server.

@xrevan86 I didn't feel like abandoning the account I had for nearly two decades :D

Not wrong! Telegram is decidedly centralized just like all the others you mention. XMPP and email are the canonical distributed examples.

Jami is the only real descentralized and distributed communications platform

@Divert Wow, just realized they have renamed good old . It's been a while since I last used it, primarily because none of my contacts wanted to install it. I agree. It is truly decentralized.

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