Communication plays an important role in our day-to-day work – it lets you exchange ideas, offer and receive help, and more. If you’re setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) in your office, home, or cafe, then one of the most important aspects to keep in mind on the software side is an interoffice communications tool, something which you should choose considering the time and resources you have. While many such tools are available, there are only a few that are very easy to install, set up, and use, yet do not compromise on security and privacy. In this article we’ll discuss one such tool: BeeBEEP.
Note: although BeeBEEP is a cross-platform tool, this article focuses on its installation, setup, and usage on Ubuntu Linux.
What is BeeBEEP
BeeBEEP is basically a peer-to-peer LAN messenger that allows you to communicate as well as share files with others on the Local Area Network. One of the main features of the tool is that there’s no need to set up a central server for it to work – all you have to do is to download, unzip and start using it. It’s an open-source software developed by Marco Mastroddi.
Installation and Setup
To install BeeBEEP on your Ubuntu box, first run the following command to install its dependencies:
This command will install all the prerequisites for the tool. Once done, execute the next command:
The above command downloads the BeeBEEP package from the server where it is hosted. Keep in mind, however, that you do not necessarily have to download “beebeep-3.0.2-qt5-i386.tar.gz” – you can choose any version present here.
The package is downloaded in the form of a .tar.gz file. You’ll have to first extract it, which you can do using the following command:
Once done, get inside the extracted directory and give the ‘beebeep’ file execution permissions.
Now just execute this file like a normal executable and the tool’s UI should appear.
In case you get the following error
./beebeep: error while loading shared libraries: libdns_sd.so.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory while running the “beebeep” executable, it means the
libavahi-compat-libdnssd1 package is missing on your system. You can download and install it using the following command:
This should solve the problem, allowing BeeBEEP to execute properly.
Features and Usage
Once the “beebeep” executable runs successfully, you’ll first be prompted to choose a username for yourself – BeeBEEP chooses a default name, but of course you can change it to any name you like.
Next you’ll be given an option to choose between a standard session (encrypted but no authentication) and a password protected session (both encrypted and password protected). Should you choose the latter, you’ll have to provide a password.
Once you are done with the above step, the setup is almost complete. However, to start communicating you’ll need to install and set up BeeBEEP on other computers on the LAN. Once that is done, you’ll see all the users whom you can talk to listed towards the right-hand side of the BeeBEEP window (in my case the only other node connected to the network was my laptop with user name Himanshu-laptop).
Now you can just select the user you want to communicate with and start chatting.
In addition to text messages, you can also easily send files to others, something which you can do by clicking the send file icon present at the bottom (just left of the save icon).
You can also receive files from others – whenever you receive a file, BeeBEEP gives you a couple of options, helping you to quickly directly open the file or open the folder in which the file is now stored on your computer.
Some of the main features BeeBEEP offers are:
- It is a server-less application.
- The encryption it provides is based on Rijndael Algorithm (AES).
- It allows you to chat with all people connected – group or single user.
- You can also create your favourite group of people.
- It even lets you send or share your files and folders by drag-and-drop.
- It supports offline messages, meaning messages will be delivered to offline users when they come online.
- It maintains message history, i.e. all messages can be saved.
Although BeeBEEP is easy to install and set up and also simple to use, it’s not a basic communications tool – it provides a wide range of features as well as customization options. However, its USP lies in the fact that it’s a cross-platform server-less application that focuses on both privacy and security. If that sounds like what you are looking for for your network, you should definitely give the tool a try.