I have now retired my Raspberry Pi 2
After several years of service, my trustworthy Raspberry Pi 2 with Alpine Linux, is now retired.
My Raspberry Pi 2, was mainly used for running WeeChat with BitlBee. WeeChat is a text-based IRC-client, and BitlBee brings instant messaging to IRC-clients. This meant that I could use my IRC-client for XMPP. Which is my go-to instant messaging platform, since the dawn of times.
The good thing with this setup, was that I could simply use my IRC-client for XMPP. WeeChat is my all-time favourite client. It’s something that I’m comfortable with, and it happens to be a fairly advanced client. You can customize to your liking in any way possible, with the large repository of plugins, that’s available for it. The bad thing with this setup, was the fact that the latest release of BitlBee is more than 4 years old. And even back then, the support for XMPP was lacking, at best. BitlBee, doesn’t support things like OMEMO (end-to-end encryption), MAM (Message Archive Management) or simply sending/receiving files.
No support for MAM, means that any message that I receive while offline, is lost forever. Well. For BitlBee at least. Any client that does support MAM, would have fetched the messages and showed them to me, the next time I would have logged in.
That’s why I was running it on a Raspberry Pi. It’s tiny and it doesn’t draw any power at all. Which meant that could always have it running 24/7, without ever worrying about an expensive electricity bill.
While it wasn’t a perfect setup, I was okay enough with it. It was actually a setup, that I used for almost a decade. The reason I decided to retire the setup, was for the fact that I currently don’t spend much time with my computer. And I don’t see that changing in the near future. The time I do spend with my computer, isn’t really spent on IRC or XMPP anyway.
I also have to give Alpine Linux, some love here. Alpine Linux is an “independent, non-commercial, general purpose Linux distribution designed for power users who appreciate security, simplicity and resource efficiency”. I quoted their website.
Alpine Linux is built around musl libc and busybox. Which makes it small and resource efficient. I think the base installation weights in at about 120 MB disk usage. Another neat thing with the ARM-version, is the fact that I only runs from RAM. This means that your poor SD-card is saved from constant abuse, and could potentially last forever.
My new setup
My new setup is simply running a client on my desktop computer. I choose Gajim, which supports both OMEMO, MAM and other fancy things. It’s a pure XMPP client, which means that it doesn’t support the IRC protocol, but the only IRC-channel that I’m still active on these days, are bridged to an XMPP-room anyway.
And yes. Gajim is a graphical client. It’s not usually what I use. It was actually quite difficult, switching to something graphical, but I’m slowly getting used to it. I also don’t like the fact that it’s trying to be ‘modern’, with bloat like “workspaces”, that you can’t even disable… It seems to be the least bad client right now though.
I’ve been using Pidgin in the past, but they lack modern XMPP features like BitlBee as well, but the new major upcoming version of Pidgin, looks promising though! I’m patiently waiting for that to happen.
And the reason that I didn’t choose a text-based client like Profanity or Poezio—that both have good support for XMPP—was for the simple fact that this old dog, don’t have the time or motivation to learn new tricks. At least not right now.