You can now build your own Wire client

Interview with Wire CTO and co-founder Alan Duric about open source software.

Q: What does open source mean for Wire?

Open source is, personally, extremely important to me. Our team has a long track record of contribution to open source projects. Perhaps most notably work on the iLBC and OPUS codecs, as well as other VoIP components that were a seed for the the WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) project. Pretty much every communication client out there is based on WebRTC — it’s used by billions of people. We changed the way that people license codecs and develop with these technologies, which significantly contributed to wide adoption and deployment of real time communications on the Internet.

Q: What is Wire going to do?

We are going to open source the rest of our client code base which wasn’t initially publicly available. Namely the components related to the UI layer of the application, the web and native clients, as well some of the tools we use internally. We didn’t make it open from the beginning because we were still working on other features but now that these are available, it’s easier to structure the code and to be able to publish it.

Wire is now feature rich, truly multi device and does not need a mobile or mobile number to register for service. This is all part of Wire’s vision to be the totally secure and completely transparent messaging app of choice.

Q: When will it happen?

It will happen on 22nd July 2016.

Q: Why did Wire decide to open source?

Open sourcing was always part of our initial plan and as mentioned it took some time to reach this stage. We decided to take the open source path because transparency and community engagement is of utmost importance for any product that has security at its core.

Q: How is open source going to impact Wire’s users and what are the opportunities for them?

Wire’s users can now build their own client from our source code and run it on our platform. They will be able to interoperate with the rest of Wire’s user base who are using the official clients downloaded from the app stores (iOS, Android) or from our web site, such as the native client on Windows. Wire’s community will now be able to review our code base and to contribute to it going forward.

Q: Where is the code available?

github.com/wireapp.

Q: What are your expectations from open-sourcing the code?

I think open-sourcing the full Wire client code base represents an important milestone. We are starting a new phase for the company, where this technology and in particular this solution, could be useful for other industries. Just like in real time communications, many industries face the same challenges and have the same strict requirements with regards to security and privacy, as well as the need for scaling, robustness and a rich feature set — qualities that are built into Wire by design.

We can also imagine in the weeks, months and years to come that an open source, secure messenger client could be appealing in an internet of things paradigm, digital health and the automotive industry too.