We all know and love Discord, but you may not know as much about what open source is, which is when a software’s source code is available and accessible to other programmers to use, understand, or modify. Open-source software can either be free or sold. Now the question is, is Discord open source?
Is Discord Open Source?
Discord isn’t open source. It is licensed as proprietary, and its software isn’t freely available for people to access or modify. Although they’re closed source, Discord believes in the open-source development principles of working together and sharing solutions.
In this article, I’ll discuss open-source and why Discord is not open source. I’ll also offer some open source alternatives to Discord that you can consider.
What Are Open Source and Closed Source Software?
Open-source software means that the creator wants their source code to be available to the public. Closed source software is when the code’s creator chooses to make their code proprietary and hidden.
When the creator of a certain software has completed their coding, they need to decide whether they’d like to have the software code open to the public or closed.
Closed source ensures that the public cannot see the coding that went into the software and therefore can’t modify it either. The software would be proprietary licensed when it is closed source.
With open-source software, programmers can see or modify the code however they like, should they desire to.
As with most apps, games, and operating systems, Discord has a closed source code. However, open-source variations of closed source software are usually available (for example, Linux is an open-source software alternative to Windows 10).
Why Is Discord Not Open Source?
Discord isn’t an open-source software so that the developers can keep the app user-friendly and make money. It also allows them to keep the software unique and desirable, keep their coding unmodified by programmers, and keep their privacy.
Due to Discord’s hidden source code, the public cannot view the coding behind the Discord app. This may leave you with many questions about what lies behind the software’s source code.
Discord hasn’t commented on any speculations as to why it’s a closed source platform. However, there are many clear benefits to keeping the source code hidden.
Although Discord is free, the service offers a monthly subscription called Discord Nitro. The subscription allows for benefits such as streaming at a higher resolution, adding modifications to your servers, and having larger data uploads.
Making Discord open source would likely create a large dent in the company’s earnings.
The app is known for its user-friendly interface, and all aspects of the software work as you’d expect it to, which is why the app is so popular.
As of September 2021, Discord averages out at about 150 million active monthly users. Additionally, the app was valued at about 7 billion dollars in 2020.
This value is still growing, and in 2021, the app’s value is estimated to have more than doubled, sitting at 15 billion dollars instead.
A Product Manager from Discord’s staff with the nickname “Shuu” has confirmed in a Reddit post that Discord doesn’t have any plans to make the source code available to the public in the future.
Having proprietary software also gives the owner the ability to sell the software. It’s hard to replicate software if you cannot see the source code, so your software will be unique.
The disadvantage of closed source software is that the maintenance of the code is harder, and creating the software can be more expensive.
That said, if your software is valuable – as Discord’s software is – the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages.
Open Source Alternatives to Discord
Here is a list of Open Source Discord Alternatives:
Mumble has been named the number one best chat for gaming (Discord came in third). The Mumble application offers extra security for your data with end-to-end encryption, making it nearly impossible for anybody outside of your conversation (i.e., spyware) to listen in on it.
Mumble’s open-source code is modified daily to benefit their users. The only issue with this application is that it has a less user-friendly interface than Discord and may take some time to get used to.
Element (formerly known as Riot) is popular due to its “data sovereignty” policies. These allow the user to have full access to how the software uses their data.
The user has the option to remove all their data at any point or store their data on a local disk rather than online. They can also get access to view their collected data at any time.
The platform also provides the users with end-to-end encryption and the option to record audio from the server. It’s also very user-friendly and easily customizable.
Tox’s primary focus on the platform is user-privacy. The creators of Tox.Chat were inspired to create this chatting platform after Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA information, including their global surveillance activities.
To ensure the “freedom” of Tox, there’s no official client version. Instead, there are multiple 32 and 64-bit clients to use on your various operating systems.
Jitsi works as a great alternative to Discord as it provides many of the same features that Discord has, such as screen sharing, video conferences, and file sharing.
Their business model also stands out as a privacy-focused company and includes end-to-end encryption as an option for the servers and live chats.
Jitsi is still building its software, and the community has done a good job in making it user-friendly. However, you’ll need to use Java, a third-party app, to run this program. Also, Jitsi isn’t currently available on Android.
That said, their policy isn’t clear on how they handle all of your data and is vaguely worded, which can lead to you feeling concerned about the safety of your data on the app.
A few open-source alternatives to Discord, like the ones above, are something to consider if you are concerned about your privacy.
It’s extremely difficult to collect data on a user when the software’s source code is open to the public, which can make these options extremely attractive to security-conscious users.
Discord is a fantastic service and is possibly the easiest online chat platform to use. However, it’s also a proprietary licensed, closed source software.
That said, finding an open-source alternative to Discord isn’t difficult to do. We’re moving into an era where keeping our own data privacy has become increasingly difficult. Using open-source software is one easy way to go about this.
- Reddit: ELI5: What is open source software and why is it such a big deal?
- LinuxLinks: Discord – proprietary VoIP software designed for gaming communities
- Techquickie: Closed vs Open Source as Fast As Possible
- Reddit: Will Discord ever become open source?
- Mumble: Home
- Tox.Chat: Home
- Jitsi: Home
- Influencer Marketing Hub: Discord Statistics: Revenue, Users & More
- Element: Home
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.