FAQ

This is an exhaustive list of frequently asked questions, including some technical questions.

Basics

What is Jami?

See the Introduction.

What does Jami mean?

The choice of the name Jami was inspired by the Swahili word jamii which means community as a noun and together as an adverb. It was chosen as it reflects the vision for the project: a free/libre program available to all that helps bring communities together, is community supported, and respects the freedom and privacy of the users.

How can I make a bug report?

Please see the How to report bugs and issues guide.

What makes Jami different from other communication platforms?

Jami doesn’t work like most communication platforms because it is distributed:

media/distributed-network-topo.png

Some of the consequences may seem surprising. For instance, since accounts are stored on your device, passwords are optional. However, the most significant practical differences are that you have more freedom and privacy.

TODO: expand on this

What do the red/green status circles next to avatars mean?

On your own account, a red circle means that you aren’t connected to the DHT. You may need to check your connection or restart the app.

On other contacts, a red circle means that they are not online, and a green circle means they are online and you should be able to message them.

Note that a green circle only means that the contact has announced their presence on the DHT. It does not indicate a direct connection to their device. In some cases, a contact may be able to send and receive messages but cannot make calls or file transfers because of their firewall.

Why is a feature missing on my client?

Not every client implements all features; check the list here to see if your client is missing the feature.

You can make feature requests at https://git.jami.net.

Does Jami support read receipts? Can I turn them on or off?

You can enable or disable read receipts on Android. Other platforms may still be working on this feature. Please see All Features by Client for the current status.

Does Jami support typing notifications? Can I turn them on or off?

Most of the client support sending and receiving typing notifications. You can enable/disable them in the general settings.

Can I share my screen?

Yes, on all platforms except for iOS. Search for a dedicated “Share screen” button while you are in a video call.

Can I make group conference calls?

Yes. You can add Jami contacts to existing calls (audio or video) by clicking the “Add participant” button.

Does Jami have group chats?

Not yet, but they are coming soon.

Why is my contact not seeing my avatar?

Due to technical limitation, avatars are only transfered to your contacts during a voice or video call. This limitation will disappear when group chats are released.

Why aren’t my sent messages showing up on all linked devices?

All of your devices receive the same messages from your contacts, but sent messages will not show up on all of your devices.

The swarm update will introduce full conversation sync between linked devices for all conversations (including one-on-one conversations).

Can I message offline contacts?

Jami does not yet have offline/persistent messages because of its distributed nature.

Your messages can’t be queued on a central server so both contacts must be online to message each other. If you send a message to an offline contact, Jami will save the message on your device and send it to them when they come online.

There are some possible future solutions to this issue, including swarms, which will allow users to set up their own “server” node to receive messages for them.

Where are the configuration files located?

Jami saves its configuration (account, certificates, history) at different locations depending on the platform.

  • GNU/Linux: global configuration is under ~/.config/jami/dring.yml, and account-specific files are under ~/.local/share/jami/. Finally, there is a cache directory at ~/.cache/jami/.

  • macOS: the full configuration is under ~/Library/Application Support/Jami/ if installed via https://jami.net. The app store version uses ~/Library/Containers/com.savoirfairelinux.ring.macos/Data/Library/Application Support/jami/.

  • Android: the full configuration is under /data/data/cx.ring/ (may require root privileges to view or change from outside Jami).

  • Windows: global configuration is under %AppData%/Local/jami/dring.yml, and account-specific files are under %AppData%/Local/jami/. Finally, there is a cache directory at %USERPROFILE%/.cache/jami/.

Note: audio and video messages are recorded in the local-data in the folder: sent_data

TODO: check this ^^^ and add note about file downloads (like images)

How much bandwidth do I need for calls?

For audio calls, Jami uses about 100 Kbps. For a video call, you need about 2 Mbit/s for medium quality. If your connection is slower, the bitrate will be automatically reduced.

If you are hosting a video conference, you will approximately need an additional 2 Mbps per participant. So, for example for a conference with 10 participants, each participant will need 2 Mbps up & down and the host will need 20 Mbps up and down.

Auto-adaptation is done between a minimum of 200 Kbit/s and maximum of 6 Mbit/s.

TODO: ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ What does this last line mean?

TODO: How can SFL afford to give Jami away for free? How does/will SFL make money off Jami?

Summary: ethical company, they will make money supporting managed Jami solutions for organizations; their main source of income is elsewhere; all Jami code is GPLv3+; etc. etc.

Account management

What is a Jami account?

A Jami account is an asymmetric encryption key. Your account is identified by a Jami ID, which is a fingerprint of your public key.

What information do I need to provide to create a Jami account?

When you create a new Jami account, you don’t have to provide any private information like an email, address, or phone number.

This is the information you can provide if you choose (it’s all optional):

  1. An avatar.

  2. A display name, which is the name that clients will display for your contact. It can contain special characters.

  3. An optional username, which is a unique identifier that is directly associated with your Jami ID. This username->Jami ID mapping is stored on a server (ns.jami.net by default, but you can host your own).

  4. A password. This password is used to protect the account archive in your device.

More information about Jami accounts is available in the Technical Overview.

Where is my Jami ID?

Your Jami ID should be displayed prominently in whichever app you’re using. It looks like a long string of letters and numbers; for example: f2c815f5554bcc22689ce84d45aefdda1bce9146.

Why don’t I have to use a password?

You are not forced to have a password on your account. On a centralized system you would use your password to authenticate with a public server where your account is stored. Someone who knows your password could steal your identity.

With Jami, your account is stored in a folder on your device. The password is only used to encrypt your account in order to protect you from someone who has physical access to your device.

If your device is encrypted, you may not want or need to use a password, and indeed recent versions of Jami don’t ask for an account encryption password by default when creating new accounts.

Why don’t I have to register a username?

The most permanent, secure identifier is your Jami ID, but since these are difficult to use for some people, you also have the option of registering a username. Username registration requires a name server, such as Jami’s default one at ns.jami.net.

If you don’t register a username, you can still choose to register one later at any time.

Can I change my username?

With the default nameserver (ns.jami.net) you cannot change your username.

What is the difference between a username and a display name?

You can use your username as an identifier. The username points to your Jami ID, which is your permanent, secure identifier. Two people cannot have the same username.

A display name allows you to choose another name that identifies you to your contacts. Display names can be edited or changed at any time and only your contacts can see them.

How can I back up my account?

There are two ways to back up your account:

  1. Link another device to your account so your account will be on two devices. You can find this option in the account settings page.

  2. Back up the account archive. This file can be found in the account files folder. In some clients, you can export this archive from the account settings.

Can I retrieve my username without my keys?

If you used the default name server at ns.jami.net, you can’t. There is no way to prove it’s your username without your key.

If you use a different name server, there may be a way to move a username to a new Jami ID at the discretion of the administrator of that name server.

For more information about name servers, see the Technical Overview.

Can I recover my account if I forget my password?

No. There can’t be a traditional account recovery process; you are the only person with access to your data. If you are worried about forgetting your password, please use a password manager.

What happens when I delete my account?

Your account is only stored on your own devices. If you delete your account from each device, the account is gone and you cannot get it back (unless you already made a backup of it earlier). Nobody else can use your account after that.

Your contacts will still have the messages you sent them, but all public record of your account on the DHT will eventually disappear due to absence and lack of activity.

Warning

The default ns.jami.net name server does not delete any registered usernames – other name servers might (not recommended), at their administrator’s discretion. So, if you have an account with a username registered on the default name server and you delete or lose your account, and did not back up your account earlier, nobody (including you) will be able to register a new account with that username again, thus nobody can reach you at that username anymore.

To avoid losing your account please back it up!

Advanced

What protocol does Jami use for the end-to-end encryption?

We use TLS 1.3 with a perfect forward secrecy requirement for the negotiated ciphers for calls and file transfers. Messages are encrypted with an RSA key.

What data passes through my machine when I participate in the Jami network?

All these data are encrypted. There is:

  • ICE descriptors of other Jami users (ICE is a protocol that helps establishing communication between two computers);

  • certain text messages; and

  • accounts currently being linked to a new device, as explained above.

Audio/video streams and some text messages pass through the VOIP protocol. Text messages can be sent either via VOIP or DHT (the distributed network) depending on whether a VOIP communication channel is already open or not.

Why am I able to communicate with myself?

Many users use Jami to transfer data from one machine to another.

Should I enable push notifications?

Push notifications allow Jami to operate in a way more adapted to the context of mobility (energy consumption, data, …). However, for the moment, notifications go through Google’s servers, via the Firebase service. Only one identifier is transferred and it is unusable for anyone who does not have access to your account.

What is a bootstrap server?

TODO

What is a TURN server? What is STUN?

TODO

What is DHT proxy?

The DHT proxy is a server that registers on the DHT for you and relays your information to you. Thus, it is the server that will be active on the DHT and will participate in the network, and no longer the target device. Multiple devices can register on the same DHT proxy.

How does the username registration service work?

With the default name server (ns.jami.net), the usernames are registered on an Ethereum blockchain. If you are a developer, you can build your own name server with the underlying data storage technology of your choice (e.g. you could use a SQL database rather than using a blockchain).

With the default name server, you can look up usernames at https://ns.jami.net/name/test, where test is a username for which we are looking for a matching Infohash. Once registered, this name server does not provide any way to remove the mapping.

Read more about the Jami Rules on name formatting.

How can I change the timeout for a call?

In the dring.yml file (see Where are the configuration files located?), you can change the ringingTimeout (in seconds).

How to back up and reimport conversations and accounts

Note

This is only for clients based on LRC (desktop ones).

First you will need to export all your accounts (For GNU/Linux: Settings => Account => Export account). Then you will need to copy the database (in ~/.local/share/jami/ for example).

Then on the new device, when you will open Jami for the first time, you have to re-import your accounts via the archive previously saved. This will re-import your settings and contacts (with empty conversations). Then close the client and replace the database with the one previously saved. That’s all!

How secure are you?

We use TLS/SRTP to secure connection and communications over the network.

We implement SRTP over SIP using recommendations described in the following two RFCs:

Typically 2 kinds of sockets are negotiated. One for the control socket, the other for the media sockets.

Typical control session will use the following cipher suite:

(TLS1.3)-(ECDHE-SECP384R1)-(RSA-PSS-RSAE-SHA384)-(AES-256-GCM)
(TLS_ECDHE_RSA_AES_256_GCM_SHA384)

DTLS (fallback) supported:

"SECURE192:-KX-ALL:+ANON-ECDH:+ANON-DH:+SECURE192:-VERS-TLS-ALL:+VERS-DTLS-ALL:-RSA:%SERVER_PRECEDENCE:%SAFE_RENEGOTIATION"

TLS:

"SECURE192:-KX-ALL:+ANON-ECDH:+ANON-DH:+SECURE192:-RSA:-GROUP-FFDHE4096:-GROUP-FFDHE6144:-GROUP-FFDHE8192:+GROUP-X25519:%SERVER_PRECEDENCE:%SAFE_RENEGOTIATION"

Supported crypto suite for the media session are:

  • AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_80 / SRTP_AES128_CM_HMAC_SHA1_80

  • AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_32 / SRTP_AES128_CM_HMAC_SHA1_32

When do public IPs get exposed?

We can consider three main connectivity scenarios: (1) a classic configuration, (2) behind a VPN, (3) via Tor. As Jami is a p2p application, the reader would probably know that (2) or (3) is a bit mandatory to avoid IP leaking.

Moreover, even if it’s my answer, you can choose to not trust my answer and check the code, or use wireshark or other tools. Generally, I (and as far as I know most other Jami developers) use the first scenario (sometimes the second one), and we surely can’t test all the possible networks configurations we would like to, so if you discover a bug, please open an issue.

Anyway, in these 3 scenarios, there are 3 main actions:

Classic config

  • Send a message

The Jami application is running a DHT (https://opendht.net) node on your device. So every operations on the DHT will use your ips. This is why Jami has the option to use a dhtproxy (eg dhtproxy.jami.net), this will avoid to use your node, but will use another node on the network (which will see your ip). Note that your message is not sent directly to the other device. In fact your message is sent on some nodes of the DHT and your contact will retrieve the message on this node. So, your contact don’t see your IP at this step, but the node who get the message will (or they will see the IP of the proxy).

  • Send a file

As described in the docs, you will send a message with all the IP you know that your peer can contact in an encrypted packet. So, if your peer send you a file or you send a file, your addresses will appear in the ICE message.

  • Calls

Same as above, the IP is present in the ICE.

Behind a VPN

  • Send a message

The IP of your VPN will be used by the DHT node. If you want a proof, you can compile dhtnode and run the la command to get your public detected address. This is what I got:

./tools/dhtnode -b bootstrap.jami.net
Bootstrap: bootstrap.jami.net:4222
OpenDHT node be58fdc9f782269bfc0bbfc21a60bca5f02cb881 running on port 54299
 (type 'h' or 'help' for a list of possible commands)

>> la
Reported public addresses:
IPs OF MY VPN

So, if you don’t use a proxy, your VPN addresses will be used for using the DHT. If you use a dhtproxy, the dhtproxy will see your VPN addresses

  • Send a file

Same as above, the ICE will contains: + addresses from your LAN + public address of your VPN + TURN address if TURN is enabled

  • Do a call

Same as above, your public address is replaced by your VPN address. You can see it in the logs from daemon. See Logs.

Tor

  • Send a message

Tor basically doesn’t supports UDP. This means that you can’t use your DHT node locally, you MUST use a DHTProxy. That proxy will see the Exit node.

  • Send a file

I prefer a proof that any description. So, I did a file transfer with Jami + TOR. This is what I see in the logs for the remote:

[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: Hc0a8c801 1 TCP 2130706431 192.168.200.1 33293 typ host tcptype passive
[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: Hc0a8c801 1 TCP 2130706431 192.168.200.1 9 typ host tcptype active
[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: Hc0a80103 1 TCP 2130706431 192.168.1.3 33293 typ host tcptype passive
[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: Hc0a80103 1 TCP 2130706431 192.168.1.3 9 typ host tcptype active
[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: R33fe279d 1 TCP 16777215 51.254.39.157 27427 typ relay tcptype passive
[1574218330.556|10688|p2p.cpp           :241  ] [Account:93a03f519f394143] add remote ICE candidate: Sc0a8c801 1 TCP 1694498815 185.220.101.24 33293 typ srflx tcptype passive

The first ones are some 192.168.x.x so we don’t care. 51.254.39.157 is the TURN address in France (my device is in the Canada). 185.220.101.24 is the Tor exit node:

inetnum:        185.220.101.0 - 185.220.101.127
netname:        MK-TOR-EXIT
  • Do a call

This will not work (actually, you can create the SIP control connection because it’s a TCP connection), but medias are negotiated in UDP, so this will fail.

What ports does Jami use?

Jami works as a server and gets new ports for each connections (randomly bound). These are the ranges that can be used for each component:

  • dht: UDP [4000, 8888]

  • audio: UDP [16384-32766]

  • video: UDP [49152-65534]

  • SIP Control: UDP/TCP randomly bound

Note: if UDP is blocked, a dhtproxy can be used to use TCP instead. Note that medias will not work cause it only supports UDP.

So for ufw, we recommend running sudo ufw default allow outgoing.

For now, you can’t specify a specific range to configure ports used by Jami. The inbound traffic can be controlled without issue, Jami should work and can use a TURN server if needed.

If you run your own proxy or nameserver:

  • dhtproxy, nameserver: TCP [80-100], 443

If you run your own TURN server:

  • TURN/STUN: TCP+UDP 3478, 5349

How can I configure the codecs even more?

Codecs can be configured via a file. In the configurations files, you can create a file called encoder.json like this:

{
    "libx264": {
        "profile": 100,
        "level": 42,
        "crf": 20,
        "preset": "ultrafast"
    },
    "h264_vaapi": {
        "low_power": 1
    },
    "libopus": {
        "application": "voip"
    }
}

or:

{
    "libopus": {
        "bit_rate": 128000
    }
}

This file is located in the same directory as dring.yml.

To check which options are supported, use the command ffmpeg -h encoder=[encoder_name], where encoder_name can be any of libx264, libvpx, mpeg4, h263, libopus, libspeex, g722, pcm_alaw, or pcm_mulaw (the FFmpeg names for all of Jami’s supported encoders).