I saw some posts about Beeper last weekend, and figured I’d take a look. It seemed like a cool Trillian-esque idea. For those of you not aware, Beeper links a ton of different chat services together by bridging applications. That means, all your chats show up in one app. It supports everything from Facebook Messenger, to Instagram, Signal and Whatsapp.
The security implications did seem a little iffy, but they offer a self-hosted option. So, with a static IP in hand, and a decided lack of linux skills, I decided to set it up.
I spun up a VM on my Hyper-V server at home. Did Debian because that’s what I’m “most” familiar with, and started following their instructions.
Initially, went pretty well. It used Ansible, so once I did the initial DNS [cloudflare ftw] and Firewall [OPNSense] config, it seemed to be a breeze. Ran into a small pitfall that it needs port 80 open for the initial configuration. Once I figured THAT part out, it seemed to be moving again.
Then I ran into the second problem. The version of Ansible that was in the official guide didn’t seem to work. Thankfully, the official self-hosted Matrix server guide [here] had the correct ansible version listed. Once I modified to call that, the installation resumed.
When the install was done, it was time to run the app, and make my account. I used Schildichat on Android as well as on Windows. Account creation was a breeze. Then, time to start bridging chats.
I decided to use Linkedin, Instagram, Discord, Whatsapp, and Signal. Everything but Discord was idiotproof. Attempt login, enter 2fa, or scan QR code, and then in business.
Discord was easy, but then you have subscribe to each channel per server that you’re on. Thankfully, I only follow a few channels, but it did take me a little bit to figure out what was going on.
It also has plugins for Steam [didn’t work, ancient account with spaces in the name], SMS [requires a LOT of work to get working on Android, so skipped for now], and Facebook [I don’t have one].
Post setup, I wanted to set up the built in Borg Backup, but that ended up being….a whole new headache. I’ll post about THAT ordeal later. 🙂
All in all, I’ve been running this for a week, and it’s been rock solid. The desktop app seems a little quirky compared to the android app, but it’s nothing too terrible.