Activity Workshop


Murmeli is a forthcoming messaging system currently under development. This section of the site aims to introduce this new tool and to outline what makes it different.

What is it?

Murmeli is a way for you to send messages to your friends in a secure way, from your computer directly to their computer. It is a way for people to communicate with each other in ways similar to email, blogging, microblogging, tweeting, photo-sharing and social networking.

The way Murmeli wins is that it has no central server, so as well as all the messages being safely encrypted, there is also no metadata on any server about who contacted whom or when. And there's no corporation reading your messages over your shoulder to scan and profile everything about you. It also wins over some other peer-to-peer networks in that your IP address isn't published at all, not even to your trusted friends.

Why 'Murmeli'?

The working title for this was for a while "Murmur", conveying the idea that I can "murmur" something to you so that only you can understand it, and nobody else can. But it turns out there are already not one but two communication tools under that name, so the current working title is "Murmeli". This is the Swiss German name, and the Finnish name, for an alpine marmot, known in German as a "Murmeltier".

Where can I find it?

The source code is at Gitlab but as explained it is still under development and will not provide you with a fully working application yet. Currently a fairly substantial redesign is underway to enable the robot concept, and so there are two branches in gitlab. The main branch is frozen at the functional prototype stage, and the new development is happening on a separate branch called "redesign".

What does it look like?

Murmeli is usually a desktop application running on a normal desktop or laptop PC. But there is also the concept of a "robot relay". This relay shares the same Murmeli core but it only blindly forwards the messages it receives and so doesn't need any kind of frontend. Therefore it can be screenless and run on something small and low-power like a raspberry pi kept out of sight.

Normal GUIRelayRelay with LEDs
screenshot of normal guiconsole uiscrollbot from pimoroni
What the user seesFor relays without screenFor robot relays with LEDs

This funny-looking orange robot head with the LEDs is a so-called "Scrollbot" from Pimoroni, based on a Raspberry Pi Zero W. All it needs is power via USB and it will be able to receive your messages for you when you're not online, and blindly relay them to you when you return. The LEDs will be able to show its current status somehow, maybe confirming that it's online or show when it's sending and receiving messages.

For more information follow the links in the menu, starting with the basics and moving on to the current development status including prototype screenshots.

Für einen Überblick auf deutsch, siehe die separate Beschreibung.