Linux Apps

Keybase – A Fully Encrypted Slack-like Messenger for Geeks

Keybase Secure Chat Messenger
Written by Martins D. Okoi

Keybase is a relatively new open-source chatting application for computers and mobile phones and it is powered by public-key encryption.

It is free and boasts a clean modern User Interface on all GUI-supported devices. It also boasts the ability to initiate conversations with people across the globe without using a phone number or email address, use Tor’s anonymity feature in the Command Line, use # tags and @ mentions, create groups, among others.

Features in Keybase

  • An eye candy GUI with well-organized panels, tabs, animations, and settings.
  • Conversations with people across the world without knowing their phone number or email address.
  • Chat in groups and use # tags and @ mentions to make communication and searching easier.
  • Browse people’s profiles.
  • End-to-end encrypted conversations.
  • Free to download and use without ads.
  • Available on multiple platforms including Chrome/Firefox, GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
  • Open-source – with code available for contribution on GitHub.
  • Supports Tor in the command line – Users can protect their identity thanks to Tor’s famous anonymity algorithm.
  • Supports native notifications including @channel and @mentions popup.
  • Chat securely with any Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, Reddit, and Hacker News user.
  • Automatically syncs data across connected devices.
  • Supports media attachments.

Mind you, you will need to have Tor SOCKS proxy running locally on your machine before you can use Tor with Keybase in your command line. Tor has the setup in its documentation and you can follow the guide provided by Keybase here.

  The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux

Keybase is publicized as an end-to-end encrypted Slack and Team Dropbox combined into one app for the whole world so anyone can benefit from its features in the full spirit of open-source.

Install Keybase on Linux Systems

Once you follow these following instructions, you will get a new versions of Keybase installed on your system.

On Debian/Ubuntu

--------- On 64-bit --------- 
$ curl -O https://prerelease.keybase.io/keybase_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i keybase_amd64.deb
$ sudo apt-get install -f
$ run_keybase
--------- On 32-bit --------- 
$ curl -O https://prerelease.keybase.io/keybase_i386.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i keybase_i386.deb
$ sudo apt-get install -f
$ run_keybase

On Fedora CentOS & Red Hat

--------- On 64-bit --------- 
$ sudo yum install https://prerelease.keybase.io/keybase_amd64.rpm
$ run_keybase
--------- On 32-bit --------- 
$ sudo yum install https://prerelease.keybase.io/keybase_i386.rpm
$ run_keybase

On Arch Linux

# pacaur -S keybase-bin  
# run_keybase

To restart Keybase after an update, type run_keybase, it will kill and restart everything, including the KBFS fuse mount. If you want code signing key, you can get it here and verify it here.

Have you used Keybase before or did you just find out about it like I did? Do you think it does a better job than some of its alternative apps?

Share your thoughts with us and feel free to make your own app suggestions in the comments section below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.