Portable Linux Debian OS for Signal

I am looking for suggestions and pro/cons on Debian based OS for Signal which I can run off a thumb drive.

At work we have a variety of computers from 20 yr old tough books running XP, to mini PC like HP ProDesk 600 G6. I carry a little 128G USB with PortableApps and will jump on any system running win XP to Win 10 and use a PDF app that does OCR, or LibreOffice, jump on FireFox and edited a note in Amplenote. I’m writing this in AmpleNote.

If needed I will tether via USB for internet access.

As the title states, I want Signal on the thumbdrive. Most of the time, I am going to use my phone. I guess I want this just because I can. I might want to boot in an OS and use LibreOffice and tether to send a few messages.

I’m not a power user here my at work personal laptop still runs GitHub - ChrisTitusTech/ArchTitus: Automated Arch Linux Install

In no order, any suggestions?

  • Lubuntu
  • LXLE
  • Porteus
  • SliTaz
  • Qubes / Debian

Please stick to using Signal app on your phone which hopefully has Android or IOS running and not Linux garbage. The desktop security model is broken enough and on Linux it’s a steaming pile of garbage. The only desktop OS that matches the security of Android is Qubes, a Xen distro. Even Qubes can’t solve the problems of the desktop security model even though it fares much better than all Linux distros and BSDs (duh) and other more secure operating systems such as Windows or Mac.

Debian is a meme for it’s laughable security. For the collective sanity of humanity please don’t use Debian for accessing something important like Signal.

I would suggest you to using Qubes but it doesn’t run from Pen Drive so…

Interesting reply.

Other than its age, how about Android X86 8.1 to run Signal on a desktop.

Why would you want to do that? Android X86 is mainly there for playing games and stuff not for using Signal.

Use Fedora/OpenSUSE if you must use Linux from a Pendrive. Use Signal on that I guess. Why would you store Signal on a pendrive containing Linux when you can just use your Phone where it was meant to be used?

For Signal and other desktop work at the house I use a WavLink USB 3.0 display adapter, a USB hub for Key board and mouse, and DisplayLink Presenter app to create a desktop setup at the house. My Phone is a Pixel 4 XL is running CalyxOS. This is more than what I want to carry in my pocket. I appreciate any suggestions with that set up or a desktop alternative.

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I appreciated the workflow of using Signal on a desktop where I am doing work not switching devices.

@Perk1ns There’s nothing you need to justify here, hopefully someone else can give more advice to your specific questions. @Qubesfan2 you’ve already been warned for being disrespectful here and in other threads.

Maybe don’t…?

Not a power user and you run Arch, Damn. Sounds pretty power user to me… anyways. Your use case is very bizarre to me because it sounds inconvenient. When I connect to signal a lot of the messages are lost and the calls are out of order the functionality is always weird probably because two devices are receiving things in two different ways. I would suggest keeping signal on a phone not only because it was designed that way but because there will be no question if you already answered the call from your mom or your friend. And you can’t exactly hold a computer to your head like you can with a phone.

Still want to try this? Alright.

You could use Ventoy and leave some room when installing it, the settings allow for this + secure boot. You may have a vanilla usb however and I think you could install a distro to a partition and install flatpak signal that way. What you most likely want considering you use portableapps is an appimage of signal there is a github issue but unfortunately there is no official appimage yet. Signal has a track record for denying a lot of things personally I wanted signal on my android and iPhone but they only allow one device ever. Desktop merely mirrors it somehow. None of these solutions are perfect but if you want a distro to get started on I suggest fedora it’s easy and it’s secure.

I used Signal on PortableApps a while back, this was as I understand chrome… This was dropped awhile back as a PortableApps project. I have experienced this sync issue as your describing with signal.
In my use case. A lot of these buildings and rooms these computers are in have no cell coverage. The noise in these room prevents phone calls as well. I usually have some type of ear protection.
I do have a Wi-Fi dongle where I can create a hot spot to use my phone but this is a process as well.

I use a 4 port USB hub to work on some computers that run Windows and they are touch screen based, no keyboard. I use the hub a wireless mini keyboard mouse, a Wi-Fi dongle and a 128 GB thumb drive to work on these. I also have a Bluetooth dongle.

Ooooh okay I think I understand a bit better so you use a 4 port dongle and have 1 port for usb 1 for mouse 1 for wifi 1 for bluetooth and 1 for storage, maybe the dongle is wifi and bluetooth or you swap them out idk. I don’t think you can go wrong with fedora and signal installed via flatpak but I would like to know how the usb is formatted/what is on it.

I am using Ventoy, I have used rufus, YUMI etc… Mostly to play with different distro and Androidx86. I am looking for a newer AndroidX86 then 8.1 with MicorG or similar. I do want to play around more with proper persistent set ups. I got a lot to learn. I have an electrical background in industrial maintenance.
I every day carry a contact lenses case in my coin pocket. I carry a USB A to USB C adapter as an OTG a mini USB 128GB a spare Mint Mobile SIM and some Ibuprofen.

I’m not sitting at a Desk all day, but at my Desk I have 3 different Windows system and my personal work laptop running Arch.

Don’t lie.
We all know that’s the Limitless drug you need to take to operate Arch.

I was looking for a Debian based light weight Distro because i was hoping the Debian installation suggested by Signal Website would have better performance and easier installation.
All my thumb drives are formatted to FAT32.
I don’t mind trying fedora as I mentioned I’m looking for light weight, a web browser to edit a PDF and maybe edit a Note in AmpleNote, LibreOffice for quick spread sheet.

I’m downloading Fedora LXDE Desktop tonight.

Sounds good hope everything goes well.

I would recommend XFCE instead since it’s more frequently updated but good luck

Fedora Xfce Desktop doesnt look to heavy, on my list to test.

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Time flies when your having fun. My laptop running Arch got gutted for some fun. Everything got backed up the last couple days.
Ventoy has been my installer for a while but updates were required, so this got done this morning.
Running out of time getting to work Lubuntu and Tails ISO were just dragged and dropped on a kinda new 128Gb thumb drive. My favorite thing about ventoy no formatting, drag and drop…
Tails just gets me exited so a couple hours were spent just playing around on the live install. No this is not how it is supposed to be used. A dedicated installation with persistence is being planned out.
Lubuntu was installed then some privacy and security were made, KDE Connect was installed for future testing with SMS and file transfer to the phone are features that need to be revisited.
Once again these old computers that get used are for web browsing, document editing, and zooming in on .pdf drawings and schematics on a real monitor. Often these systems are offline.
With Signal dropping support for SMS having persistent Signal on a thumb drive has become less important, but with the SMS apps out there, hopefully Signal will continue support.

I think I have a work around and plan to start a new thread. With this thread related to getting Signal running on a portable OS, you were all right. The boot time and set up was too slow.

Signal is installed on my laptop, currently still using Lubuntu. Working on a Ubuntu server with a windows manager for a light weight OS on this disposable laptop.

With my desire to have a portable version of Signal, so I can just plug my phone in no VNC, I discovered Scrcpy plus for windows portable. Now I just plug my phone and thumb drive into any computer and mirror my phone. With a poor cable I did see some lag, discarded the cable. With a good cable Scrcpy works great and the Scrcpy Plus has some nice ADB features built in.

Always looking for a better set up suggestions appreciated.

I would like to run the Scrcpy program directly from my phone, with out the thumb drive. Haven’t got that to work yet.

An .android is folder set by possibly adb.exe, and a phone driver may be automatically installed (when connecting using cable) by Windows. Most of the computers I access have this already. I plan to look at what I got to do to delete all trace of activity.