Hosting a GlobalChat Draw Server

GlobalChat Draw is a new open-source end-to-end encrypted chat system with drawing capabilities built using Apple’s latest graphics APIs. A mobile client is also in development. Before you complain about the price of the Mac app, remind yourself that Apple charges developers $100/year just to have the privilege of publication. Furthermore be aware that the clients (both the mobile and Mac apps) and server are all provided open-source from the author’s github page.

The technology used to create this is very interesting, especially if you’re learning, but today we’ll focus on hosting a server. Perhaps in another post we can delve into the source code for each component and understand how it works.

Server Deployment

Now let’s deploy a GlobalChat server. We’ll use the instructions from the official gdraw.chat website:

Anyone can host a GlobalChat server. The current recommended way is to use Ubuntu snaps with Linux.

snap install --beta crystal-gchat-server

crystal-gchat-server.change-passwords -i

crystal-gchat-server

Here is a systemd unit we can use to automatically launch it.

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[Unit]
Description=GlobalChat Draw Server
After=network.target
StartLimitIntervalSec=0
[Service]
Type=simple
Restart=always
RestartSec=1
User=root
ExecStart=/snap/bin/crystal-gchat-server
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Install that in /etc/systemd/system/gchat.service

Enable it so that it runs automatically on startup

systemctl enable gchat

Start it now

systemctl start gchat

And make sure it’s running

systemctl status gchat

To access the logs

journalctl -fxu gchat

Now there is a new server publicly visible within the application! This works because there is a master server list (also open source) to which the server software registers itself to. Thanks to Apple’s strict policies, there are moderation tools built-in as well – notice that you can set your admin password during server setup.