Briar Desktop

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A desktop program for Briar, bringing secure messaging to your desktop and mobile devices.

Note that Briar Desktop is still in a very early prototype stage and not yet functional.


We plan to distribute Briar for Debian (and related distributions) as .deb and
via as flatpak, but until now, there are
only semi-official installation methods available. You might want to use them now
for not having to wait, but please note that those installation methods will be deprecated
once Briar is available for Debian and on

Self-contained Java .jar

The simplest way is to
download the nightly briar-desktop.jar
and execute it from the command-line with
java -jar briar-desktop.jar.
Note that you need at least version 11 of the Java Runtime Environment.

Self-contained .deb

For Debian- and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, a set of .deb files is available.
Depending on which version of Debian/Ubuntu your OS is based on,
you can choose the right .deb file:

Here are some examples of popular distributions and their respective .deb file:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 and compatible: Linux Mint 20.X (Ulyana, Ulyssa, Uma, Una), elementaryOS 6.X (Odin, J√≥lnir), Trisquel 10 (Nabia)
  • Debian stable (bullseye) and compatible: MX Linux MX-21
  • Ubuntu 18.04 and compatible: Linux Mint 19.X (Tara, Tessa, Tina, Tricia), elementaryOS 5.X (Juno, Hera), Trisquel 9 (Etiona)


Download Source Code

Briar dependencies are included as Git Submodules.
To be able to build Briar Desktop, download the source code and the submodules using

git clone --recurse-submodules [email protected]:briar/briar-desktop.git


git clone --recurse-submodules

Intellij IDEA

The easiest and most convenient way to build Briar Desktop is by using
Intellij IDEA.

UI Previews

Briar Desktop makes use of Compose for Desktop
to build its UI. The Intellij IDEA plugin
Compose Multiplatform IDE Support
provides static previews of
composable functions without parameters which are annotated with @Preview.

Building and Running

In order to build and run the application from the command line, execute this:

./gradlew run

You can specify arguments to the app using the --args option of the
Gradle task. For example to show the usage info:

./gradlew run --args="--help"

To specify a different data directory and enable the debug output:

./gradlew run --args="--debug --data-dir=/tmp/briar-tmp"

In case you want to build a self-contained Debian package, note that you need at least JDK 17 and that you might need to install binutils and fakeroot before running the respective task:

./gradlew packageDeb

If you want to use the JDKs downloaded by Intellij IDEA, you can for example specify the path like this:

./gradlew packageDeb$HOME/.jdks/openjdk-17.0.2

Take a look at .gitlab-ci.yml if you have problems with Kotlin and JDK 17.


See for more information.


See for useful information when trying to work
with the source code.


From time to time, translations and Flatpak’s dependencies should be
updated. The former can be done with
tools/, the latter using

Design Goals

  • Intuitive UI, similar to Briar Android client
  • Main platform is GNU/Linux, but also support (at least) Windows and macOS
  • Analogously, main platform is x86, but also support (at least) arm
  • Adaptive to different screen sizes (desktop and mobile devices)
  • Has phone constraints in mind


How can I delete my account?

Until #166 is implemented,
you can delete your Briar Desktop account by deleting the .briar/desktop/ folder in your
home directory.


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as
published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the
License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU Affero General Public License for more details.


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