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Sideband is an LXMF client for Android, Linux and macOS. There's initial releases available for Windows and iOS, but due to platform differences and restrictions, they don't have all features available yet.

Sideband allows you to communicate with other people or LXMF-compatible systems over Reticulum networks using LoRa, Packet Radio, WiFi, I2P, or anything else Reticulum supports.

Sideband provides many useful and interesting functions, such as:


Sideband is completely free, end-to-end encrypted, permission-less, anonymous and infrastructure-less. Sideband uses the peer-to-peer and distributed messaging system LXMF. There is no sign-up, no service providers, no "end-user license agreements", no data theft and no surveillance. You own the system.

This also means that Sideband operates differently than what you might be used to. It does not need a connection to a server on the Internet to function, and you do not have an account anywhere. Please read the Guide section included in the program, to get an understanding of how Sideband differs from other messaging systems.

The program currently includes basic functionality for secure and independent communication, and many useful features are planned for implementation. Sideband is currently released as a beta version. Please help make all the functionality a reality by supporting the development with donations.

Sideband works well with the terminal-based LXMF client Nomad Network, which allows you to easily host Propagation Nodes for your LXMF network, and more.

The source code for Sideband can be found on the GitHub repository.

Installation On Linux, Android and MacOS

For your Android devices, you can install Sideband through F-Droid, by adding the Between the Borders Archive Repo, or you can download an APK on the latest release page. Both sources are signed with the same release keys, and can be used interchangably.

A DMG file containing a macOS app bundle is also available on the latest release page.

Aditionally, you can install Sideband with pip on Linux and macOS:

# Install Sideband and dependencies on Linux
pip install sbapp

# Install Sideband and dependencies on macOS
pip install "sbapp[macos]"

# Run it

If you are using an operating system that blocks normal user package installation via pip, you can return pip to normal behaviour by editing the ~/.config/pip/pip.conf file, and adding the following directive in the [global] section:

break-system-packages = true

Alternatively, you can use the pipx tool to install Sideband in an isolated environment instead:

# Install Sideband on Linux
pipx install sbapp

# Install Sideband on macOS
pip install "sbapp[macos]"

# Optionally install Reticulum utilities
pipx install rns

# Optionally install standalone LXMF utilities
pipx install lxmf

Installation On Windows

It is possible to install and run Sideband on Windows, although some features are not fully functional. If you don't already have Python installed, download and install the latest version of Python.

Important! When asked by the installer, make sure to add the Python program to your PATH environment variables. If you don't do this, you will not be able to use the pip installer, or run the sideband command.

When Python has been installed, you can open a command prompt and install sideband via pip:

pip install sbapp

The Sideband application can now be launched by running the command sideband in the command prompt.

Most importantly, the AutoInterface in Reticulum is not yet supported on Windows. This means that on the first run, Sideband will not be able to automatically find any peers or potential Reticulum Transport Nodes you have on your local network.

When running Sideband for the first time, a default Reticulum configuration file will be created, if you don't already have one. You will have to edit this file, located at C:\Users\USERNAME\.reticulum\config and manually add an interface that provides connectivity to a wider network. If you just want to connect over the Internet, you can add one of the public hubs on the Reticulum Testnet.

Example Paper Message

You can try out the paper messaging functionality by using the following QR-code. It is a paper message sent to the LXMF address 6b3362bd2c1dbf87b66a85f79a8d8c75. To be able to decrypt and read the message, you will need to import the following base32-encoded Reticulum Identity into the app:


You can import the identity into Sideband in the Encryption Keys part of the program. After the you have imported the identity, you can scan the following QR-code and open it in the app, where it will be decrypted and added to your messages.

After you have experimented with the paper message, please remember to remove the 6b3362bd2c1dbf87b66a85f79a8d8c75 identity from the app again! You should not use this for any real communication, since anyone has access to it through the exported identity above.

You can also find the entire message in this link:


On operating systems that allow for registering custom URI-handlers, you can click the link, and it will be decoded directly in your LXMF client. This works with Sideband on Android.

Development Roadmap

Support Sideband Development

You can help support the continued development of open, free and private communications systems by donating via one of the following channels:


Sideband is Copyright © 2024 Mark Qvist / unsigned.io, and unless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Permission is hereby granted to use Sideband in binary form, for any and all purposes, and to freely distribute binary copies of the program, so long as no payment or compensation is charged or received for such distribution or use.

Device screenshots generated with deviceframes. Thanks!

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