4 of the Best Alternatives to Skype on Linux

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Skype. Everyone’s heard of it. Chances are when you think of video or audio chatting on a computer, Skype comes to mind. But there are other possibilities out there, folks, other ways you can digitally chat with people around the globe. And there’s no better platform for talking about alternatives to mainstream software than Linux – home to those who like to take their full PC experience into their own hands.

The following is a list of excellent alternatives to Microsoft’s ever-popular program. Each one on the list has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the general theme here is that you can chat with the comfort of knowing that your data on these apps is safe.

1. Signal

This Android app made its way over to Linux a couple of years ago and has been wooing everyone on the platform ever since. It has a decent approach to privacy, with no access to conversation data and no storing of your data on their servers. It’s completely open source, with open-source encryption of messages and chats.

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There are no ads or hidden charges here, of course, and the only thing resembling a caveat is that the person you’re contacting needs to be a Signal user too, and you need to have the mobile version of Signal on your phone, which then syncs with the Linux one.

2. Telegram

Just imagine WhatsApp but open source and without the snoopy specter of Facebook hanging over it. Telegram is a messaging, voice and video chat app that does a lot of things right. Its Linux desktop version syncs with your phone, letting you interact with its millions of phone users seamlessly using a keyboard rather than fiddly touchpad.

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The voice and video call feature works very well, too. While it doesn’t quite do HD video calls, it’s very good at adapting a bad signal to make sure that conversations and videos remain as smooth as possible.

3. Jitsi

Meet Jitsi: a free and open-source alternative to Skype that supports video, calling and messaging. All messaging done with Jitsi is with the XMPP protocol and is encrypted end to end to respect your privacy. The project claims to also respect your software freedom, as it’s completely open-source via the GNU general public licence.

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What sets Jitsi apart from the rest on this list is the fact that it has support for other platforms. With Surge, by default it’s preferable that you use the Jitsi XMPP service, but if you’re not a fan of that, it’s possible to add your own SIP account information in, as well as add other networks like Facebook, Google, AIM and others. If you’re looking for a feature-filled replacement for Skype, give Jitsi a go.

4. Tox

Tox is an alternative to Skype that is built on the idea that conversations should be private. The project aims to lock out the rise of government monitoring systems and provide a private area where users can video, voice or text chat with family and friends. This service is available on Linux via qTox as well as all other major platforms as well. Even BSD!

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Note: Tox is ultimately a protocol, and thus has other clients. If you can’t find qTox, try uTox.

If you’re annoyed at what Microsoft has done to Skype on Linux and aren’t interested in relying on a company that doesn’t have Linux in mind, check out Tox. It’s not as polished as something like Hello or Hangouts, but it’s still worth your time nonetheless.

Conclusion

Microsoft has never taken Linux seriously when it comes to their products. They don’t see it as a gain. The only real reason that Linux even has a Skype client is because before Microsoft purchased it there was a client. If you’re a Linux user, you need to get away from this service as soon as possible.

Microsoft has shown in the past that they have no interest in supporting Linux, and that fact is even more solidified with the latest update to the platform. Every alternative on this list is a great alternative and worthy of taking the place Skype has in your life on the Linux platform.

Do you use Skype on Linux? Are you happy with the update that renders it useless on Linux? Tell us below!

Image Credit: corriere.it

5 comments

  1. I think you are uninformed. Microsoft recently released a major update of SkypeForLinux v8.34.0.78. Available in both .deb and .rpm formats. They have not abandon the Linux version at all. If Microsoft has no interest in Linux, why did they purchase github this year, and why have they added a Ubuntu BASH shell in Windows 10 (which is pretty darn cool imo)?

    1. Have you ever heard of the Microsoft policy of “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish”? They still harbor hopes of extinguishing Linux by embracing and extending (in their own inimitable way) and copyrighting Linux apps. MS did not succeed in extinguishing Java by developing J and they will not succeed in extinguishing Linux.

      BTW –
      How many years has it taken MS to update Skype for Linux to the same level as Skype for Windows?
      BASH has been part of Linux distros for over 20 years. Why only now has MS decided to adopt it for Windows? Actually, fish would have been a better (more up to date) shell to use as a model for Power Shell.

  2. The problem is that unless you have one of these apps installed, you have no idea when someone wants to “call” you. And everybody knows about Skype but few heard of the many alternatives.

    When somebody wants to have a video conversation I send them a link to a conversation at appear.in, and they click on it and we’re talking. No login or installation.

  3. I won’t go into details, but being an ex-Windows SysAdmin since 99….I’ll say this: Microsoft DOESN’T have Linux’ best interests at heart. The only reason why “Microsoft Loves Linux”? is because its a smart business (aka Money grab) move. I stopped using Windows in 2002 after a complete hard drive failure costing me the loss of all my data, (my backups were partial, so yeah I guess I can take the blame for that) but still for a company that pushes out software and charges such a high price for it? You’d think it would be more reliable. Because of that incident I made the move to Linux and have never looked back….yes….I’ve been through “Dependency Hell” and have struggles with driver support for everything from WiFi…to graphics….and I have learned 1st hand that alas Microsoft only “cares” about Microsoft. And while they are playing the role right now? Trust and know that the minute they find an opportunity? They will jump at the chance to try some form of takeover of Linux. But the open source community is a lot smarter than that, and while Microsoft can buy GitHub in an attempt to gain some kind of corporate foothold? The GPL and all the other licences for open source projects won’t allow that kind of activity to go unchecked. So no…Microsoft has no real interest in making the lives of Linux users easier, they are strictly in it for their bottom line and how much they can make off of it.

  4. This list doesn’t address the fact that so many people have friends and family on Skype. I have hundreds of Skype contacts and this list does NOTHING to help me contact them. I’m looking for a real Skype Alternative list (Not a Chat/Video Alternative list), a list of apps that allow me to talk to my Skype contacts without installing the disastrous official Skype app. There are many of them but hard to find, such as Electron for Skype which is a skype web wrapper. How many apps are there that work on the Skype network that isn’t built by Microsoft? That is the list some of us need to find. There is another such app that works PERFECTLY on the Skype network and now I cant find it anymore because it has a weird name NOT associated with Skype. It is impossible to tell hundreds of people to use a different Network, so I won’t be trying the above apps.

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