Philosophy & History

Subspace.IM has been around since 2013, and our values haven't changed.

Subspace.IM is independently operated, and not profit driven. It is run as a hobby project, not as a business. We have no advertisers to appease and no third parties to sell information to.

Privacy: Since launching our Jabber service, the only logs we have ever stored are related to logins and sessions, we do not meddle in the content of the communications of our users, and in fact many of our users utilize OTR to end-to-end encrypt their chats.

Security: One of the primary reasons we launched our service was to have a way to ensure when we were chatting with our friends that their clients were connected utilizing encryption. The popular chat programs at the time typically supported SSL, but it was not enabled by default, and you had no way to know if the person you were talking to had configured their client correctly. One of our founding goals was to configure the server in a way which insecure connections would be impossible, thus assuring the person you were talking to was talking to you through an encrypted channel. We continue to maintain this philosophy today.

Integrity: Subspace.IM has always operated with a high degree of transparency toward our users. We are very open about the practices we utilize when handling your communications. We believe in treating all of our users with respect.

Since the beginning, we have used open source platforms to achieve our goals.

The Jabber\XMPP protocol was developed in 1999, designed as an open source chat protocol that could compete with existing services at the time such as AIM, MSN\WLM, YIM, and ICQ.

Unfortunately, since the late 90's, not much has changed with Jabber. Therefore, in an effort to improve the user experience, we launched a Matrix chat service in 2020.

Matrix does store more data on our server than we have ever stored before, but users retain the option to enable end-to-end encryption in their Matrix client thus rendering it impossible that we could access their messages, even if we are storing them. We have had to make this compromise in order to provide a modern chat experience, and we believe we have configured our systems in a manner that will assure the security of the data we are storing. In addition to Matrix's encryption facilities, our servers utilize full disk encryption to further assure data is stored safely.

As we launched our Matrix service, we vowed to continue to support Jabber for the indefinite future. We do not wish for our users to view this as a data grab, or a forced change to their use case, so along with the Matrix launch we've taken steps to integrate our platforms for seamless use.

Currently, we support both protocols and plan to do so for the indefinite future. Our service utilizes OpenLDAP for a single-sign-on experience, allowing users to flexibly choose the service(s) they want to use.

But, why are you invite only? I don't know anyone who uses your network.

We have been invite-only since our launch for a number of reasons. We believe that this walled garden approach creates a better situation for our users. With more users comes more problems: the potential for abuse and spam, the potential overload of our server resources (which are operated at cost by us, for free to our users), the potential for attracting legal attention (with more users comes more likelihood of a bad apple). Therefore, we feel this approach provides the best operating scenario for our network.

Our invite-only approach allows our friends to invite their friends, thus extending a solid web of trust without putting our network at risk of escalating problems.