FLOSS products worth knowing: jmp.chat

Thought I’d start a theme of sharing companies / products / services that exceptionally advance the cause of free software (which I mean to be distinct from companies that merely make use of or tepidly support free software).

I think one of the foremost in this is jmp.chat (both the name of the service and its domain name). This service provides a bridge between the public telephone network in North America and the XMPP ecosystem. For $5 / mo, you get a North American telephone number, which you can set up to forward voice calls and text messages to any single XMPP account you control. If you don’t have an XMPP account, you also get, included in the monthly price, a managed XMPP server set up for you.

All parts of jmp.chat are free software: the telephony-to-XMPP bridge, the XMPP server software they can provision for you, and the recommended Android XMPP client software. If you want to use a different client, you are free to. If you want to use a different XMPP server, you are free to. And if you want to use their bridge code to map a phone number in some other national phone network to the XMPP ecosystem, you are free to do that as well.

Additionally, jmp.chat can provide you with a physical SIM or eSIM that will let you connect the cellular network of ANY telecom in North America for data – and since you use XMPP on your client, you have no need for the cellular voice channel. There’s a one-time payment for the SIM, and then it’s pure pay-for-what-you-use: $7/GB, with prepaid GB that never expire.

Most important of all, I think, is that the people who make jmp.chat are organized as a workers’ cooperative. I think this is an excellent way of putting the company behind a free software product or service on a firm financial foundation. This means that the authors of jmp.chat are being compensated for their labor, which will make them less prone to burnout. However, as a workers’ cooperative, they’re not under investor pressure to 10x (i.e. pressue to compromise on Free Software principles). As long as the cooperative is financially stable, it can continue to work exactly as it has been working.

All in all, I think jmp.chat deserves much attention in the free software community. I’ve been a happy user for 2 years. If you haven’t given them a look yet, check them out.

(I am not employed by jmp.chat or have any business relationship with them aside from being a customer)