If you own a smartphone, you probably have used Viber on your phone to make free calls. Like Skype, Viber is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) client that allows you to make free voice call over Internet. It used to be only available for mobile devices, such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry etc, but it had recently released desktop versions which allows you to install and make phone call from the desktop. The bad thing is, there is only a Windows and Mac version for now. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Viber in Linux.
Note: While this tutorial is done in Ubuntu, the installation instruction should apply for most Linux distros.
1. On the Viber website, you can only find the Windows and Mac installer. The Linux version, is still a work in progress, and you can download it here.
2. Unzip the archive and open the “Viber” folder. You should see an executable file named “Viber”. Click on it and it should launch Viber. No installation required.
3. On the first run, Viber will ask if you have Viber on your mobile phone. If yes, that means you already have a Viber account. If not, it will run you through the wizard to setup an account.
4. To get started, simply enter your mobile number and it will set you up with your user account.
For verification, it will send to your mobile phone an activation code that you will need to enter in Viber.
5. Once you are logged in, this is what you will see in the main screen. The navigation bar on the extreme left, your contact list in the center and the main screen on the right.
You can then select any contact to send SMS, picture, make a voice call or even a video call (beta). Like Skype, you can also add participants to your call session and turn it into a group chat.
6. On the navigation bar is a list of options, including Message archive, Contacts, History and a Dialer. At the bottom of the bar is the Settings.
7. The Settings allows you to configure whether Viber should auto-start on system startup, save message when exiting a conversation etc. Viber also comes with an applet for your system tray, so you can receive notification for incoming call and messages. You can even configure which corner of the screen the notification will appear.
Unlike most social networks or IM that require you to create an account and manually add your friends to your contact list, Viber makes use of your address book and automatically add all your contacts into your friend’s list. If you are not comfortable with Viber accessing your address book (and probably upload all your contact info to their server), then this is not a tool you want to use. On the other hand, Viber does provide a great alternative to Skype, enabling you to make free call over the Internet, with a rather good call quality too. One of the things that it could (and should) do is to allow users to create account with a username rather than linking the account with their mobile numbers. One thing for sure, most people will not use the same mobile number forever and the last thing you want to have is plenty of inactive and useless accounts.
Try it out and let us know if this is your preferred choice of VOIP client.