Video calls and conferencing have become almost a regular thing. Interviews, business talks, personal calls are all made on video call software like Skype. However, Skype has always given updates and feature upgrades to Linux users very late. It almost feels like Skype doesn’t care about it’s Linux users. So we actually decided to look at some open-source Skype alternatives for Linux.
As per the official description, ‘Ring is a free and universal communication platform which preserves the users’ privacy and freedoms.’ Ring is a complete peer to peer network and you are automatically assigned a ring id when you install ring to your device.
This ring id is essential to make calls to other ring users. You can also use SIP(Session Initiation Protocol ) numbers with ring to call other SIP users. Ring is available for Windows, Linux, Mac os Desktops and Android as well. It is completely open source and you can find the source in the github repo.
Wire is an extremely secure and feature-rich solution that caters to almost every form of communication need out there. It allows 1:1 and group messaging, screen sharing. 1:1 and group audio and video conferencing and file sharing.
Wire is available on android, ios, web and desktop. Wire is open sourced and the source code for all of its apps and even the server back-end is available in the github repo. Alternatively, you can use wire as a service from their official site at minimal rates. Though you can install and set up wire on your own servers as well, the service is great for people who do not want the hassle.
Linphone is one of the most famous and longest-running pieces of software that allows VoIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) communications over a SIP(Session Initiation Protocol) number. You can make audio and video calls via Linphone, send instant messages to a single user and groups as well. Linphone requires that you own a SIP number. But even if you don’t have one, Linphone has got you covered. It offers a free SIP number and you can get it by simply registering on its website here. Linphone is available on Windows desktop and mobile, IOS and Mac, Android and Linux desktops. Linphone is a purely open source and you can find the source in its github repo.
Riot is another interesting and open source alternative to Skype. It helps you to create, share communicate, chat and call securely and also lets you bridge with other apps. Riot allows for file sharing, video and audio calls in 1:1 and groups. Riot is completely end to end encrypted.
Riot is available for Android, IOS, Mac, Windows, Linux and there is even a browser version available. It is again completely open source and you find the source code for all apps in the github repo.
Jitsi is actually a collection of several different projects that enable free and open source communications. Jitsi allows for chats, video, and audio conferencing via its cross-platform applications. The apps are available for Android, IOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Jitsi is available as open source under Apache license 2.0. You can find the source code for all Jitsi apps and projects in their github repo.
Non-Open Source But Free Solutions
The above listed open source solutions are great but they do require some setup. Not everyone you wish to call might be using the above software, so here are some free ones you can use.
- Hangouts is one of my favorites when it comes to quickly make a video call. It allows for up to 10 people on a group call which is more than sufficient for me in most cases. Also, hangouts has chat messaging and support for screen sharing.
- Viber is another app that allows video, audio, and text-based chat for its users. It is available on most platforms and has a strong user base.
- Discord has mostly been associated with gaming. However, it offers a great way to chat with multiple groups and people. Discord has support for video calls and screen sharing as well. But its voice chat is something that has received maximum appreciation.
Skype is great software with an amazing user base. However, there are many open source options available as well. I have listed some of my favorites on this list. If I missed any of your favorites, do let me know in the comments section below.