January 2022 server release

Posted by Snikket Team on January 19 2022

New year, new Snikket: We’re excited to introduce a new release of the Snikket server! The Snikket server is an easy-to-install server package that allows you to run your own private messaging service for family, friends and other small groups.

The main focus since the previous server release in November has been on the DAPSI-funded Account Portability feature, which allows people to export and import account data for backup and migration purposes.

For information on how to upgrade from a previous release, see our quick upgrade guide.

Account import and export

Last year, we announced that we had been selected for funding to improve the state of account portability/migration in Snikket and XMPP. You can read more background information about this project at the XMPP Account Portability project homepage on Modern XMPP. This release finally introduces the results of our work on this project in Snikket.

Snikket users can export their account data from within the web portal. A new “Manage your data” button provides easy access to the export functionality. This can be used for backup purposes or to take account data to another service provider.

The data is exported in a standardized format which can be supported by any XMPP server, further strengthening the interoperability of Snikket with other existing XMPP-based chat services.

After successful registration via the web portal (not via the app yet), new users are offered a form where they can upload their account data. This data could come from a Snikket server or another compliant XMPP server, allowing users to more easily move to the Snikket ecosystem of small, federated instances.

Two screenshots: one showing an account data import option, the other showing an account data export option

A glimpse of the new import and export interfaces

We are very grateful for the support of the NGI DAPSI team and the EU funding that allowed us to complete this important piece of our roadmap!

Improved resource monitoring

Our previous release introduced metrics in the web admin dashboard (the “System Health” section), and the ability to export those to monitoring systems such as Prometheus via the OpenMetrics API. This release includes more improvements in this area, including more accurate memory usage monitoring, and Snikket can now also report the amount of storage used by file uploads.

Internal changes

We’ve upgraded the Snikket Docker images from Debian 10 to 11. We’ve also upgraded Prosody, which brings a whole bunch of changes, including reduced memory usage and a more robust DNS implementation. This release should also restore update notifications, which have been unreliable in some previous versions.

Installing or upgrading

If you’re new to Snikket and want to try out the new release, check out our quick-start guide. If you already use Snikket, head over to our upgrade guide!

Folks using our hosting service, the new release will be available in your dashboard in the next day or so.

Our next focus will be on polishing the next version of our iOS app, so we can release a lot of exciting improvements to app store users. Stay tuned for another post about that soon. Meanwhile… happy chatting! :)

Update 20/01: A small hotfix was pushed to the release to solve a lingering issue with update notifications.

Update 31/01: Systems running Debian 10 or Raspbian 10 on ARM should review our upgrade notes before installing this release.