FOSSPicks

Session

Signal is widely recognized as the instant messenger most likely to be trusted by security experts. This is because both its server and client are open source, and it defaults to using end-to-end encryption. In theory, only you and the people in your group can decode messages, because the decryption keys are local to individual devices and not stored on any remote server. However, Signal's user interface and functionality are a little austere for users of WhatsApp and Telegram, making it a difficult proposition for those of us wanting to convince our friends and family to switch. The Session messaging app is a fork of Signal that also happens to look good. In theory, it could be just as secure as Signal. But it's important to emphasize "in theory," because while the provenance of Signal is clear, thanks to its founder Moxie Marlinspike being a prominent security and privacy advocate, it's too early to say whether the non-profit Loki Project behind Session can be equally trusted. Its FAQ does state the company is in the process of arranging a full third-party code audit, so we'll have to wait and see.

However, Session is still definitely worth experimenting with, and not just because it looks lovely. First, you don't need a mobile number to be able to create an account. Instead, when you launch the app, clicking Create Account will generate a unique session ID that you use for your login. Creating a password is optional. This is a huge advantage over Telegram. Session's client-to-client communication is managed with a server, rather than peer-to-peer, although the messages themselves are sent via a decentralized onion routing network similar to Tor. This allows for public and private groups and asynchronous messaging, as well as session syncing across multiple devices simply by using the same session ID. It works brilliantly and we sincerely hope it's able to prove its privacy credentials.

Project Website

https://getsession.org

If Session passes an independent security audit, it could become a brilliant secure messaging platform.

Terminal cheat sheet

navi

It's awesome that so many people are now using the command line. This is because rather than being viewed as an anachronism, it's quite rightly now being seen as simply the best way to get many kinds of jobs done. But it can also still be quite intimidating for users more familiar with the desktop, and it's surprising how few tools there are to help them, other than the old tried and tested method of reading man pages. This is where navi can help. It's a simple command-line tool that describes itself as an "interactive cheat sheet" packed full of commands to help you accomplish a variety of common command-line tasks.

When first launched, you're presented with a huge list of entries sorted by categories that mostly reflect a command. There's git, grep, docker, and yum, for example. But there are also more general categories in the list, like network, compression and, android. The list can be filtered in real time using fzf by typing whatever you're searching for. Type file, for example, and the list is limited to entries that include only that word. Select any entry and a small top pane explains how to do something useful from the command line. It could be listing IP addresses, compressing a folder, updating a git branch, or even viewing the weather. Press Return, and the commands from the selected recipe are pasted into the terminal for you to easily edit and execute. It can also be used as a shell widget rather than as a full-screen terminal app, which means you can summon its functionality to appear directly beneath the terminal prompt.

Project Website

https://github.com/denisidoro/navi

Navi contains over 250 recipes to help you get the most out of the command line.

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