Group:Skype Replacement

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Skype Replacement is an item on the FSF's High Priority Projects list.


Protocol, not client

We need to make the discussion about protocols, not clients, (think how people say “send me an email” rather than “send me a Hotmail”).

The primary functionality of Skype we aim to replace is real-time:

Anywhere over the Internet (or beyond), with as many people per conversation, logging, etc. whatever other features (clarify this section as necessary).

The free protocols currently available to do this are.

Voice Video Text Notes
SIP Yes Yes? Yes Sessions?
XMPP/Jingle Yes Yes Yes Full presence, group chat, widely deployed.
Mumble Yes No Yes Intended for gaming, has positional audio support in some games as well as an overlay.
WebRTC Yes Yes No Not a protocol, just media JavaScript APIs.
Tox Yes Yes Yes In early development, not fully implemented, although it seems usable as of now (2015-04-10).

Central Registry?

Apart from technical problems with free Skype replacements, there is a “network effect” problem preventing free protocols (and clients) from becoming popular. This might be solved by explaining the problems of Skype to the people and providing the stories about injustice concerning this software.

Free clients

Lists exist already:

Do we need more information? If so it can go here.

SIP? XMPP/Jingle? Mumble? Tox Active development? Platforms License Notes
Linphone Yes No No No Yes GNU/Linux, Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WinRT GPLv2+ ZRTP Encryption
SFLphone  Yes No No No Yes GNU/Linux GPLv3 IAX2 Support
Jitsi Yes Yes No No Yes Java LGPL ZRTP Encrypted Media, OTR, Conference
Gajim No Yes No No Yes Python LGPL OTR
Ekiga Yes No No No Yes GNU/Linux, Windows XP, H323 GPLv2+
Empathy Yes Yes No No Yes GNU/Linux GPL GNOME default
Mumble No No Yes No Yes GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, Android¹ BSD
QRadioLink No No Yes No Yes GNU/Linux (audio only, video planned) GPL
Pidgin No? Yes No? No Yes GNU/Linux, Windows (no calls) GPL
Twinkle Yes No? No No
Asterisk Yes Yes No No Yes GNU/Linux GPL Server software, VoIP PBX, connect SIP clients and hardware phones
Jitsi Meet No No No No Yes Chromium Browser, WebRTC GPL Server software
Talky No No No No Yes Browser, WebRTC Server software
Openmeetings No No No No Yes Browser based, Flash Apache Server software
Big Blue Button No No No No Yes Browser based, Flash, WebRTC GPL Server software
Tox No No No Yes Yes GNU/Linux, BSD, OS X, Windows GPLv3 Peer-to-peer, encrypted

¹: Android has free third-party clients like Plumble.

Personal experiences




The good: impressive feature set:

The bad: severe stability issues:

The ugly: user interface:

Conrad 22:11 15 Dec 2014 (CET)


I started to install Empathy on Debian Squeeze, using Synaptic. However, marking Empathy for installation resulted in Synaptic telling me that over 120 other packages were required, starting with brasero, brasero-common, cdrdao, cheese-common ... This is lunacy. Either there is a gross mistake in Empathy's packaging, or it really requires most of Gnome, which rules it out for me (I use Xfce).


I've been using Tox for a while on GNU/Linux and moved a few people to it. I'm now using it as one of my only forms of instant messaging instead of XMPP. Jookia 08:42, 23 November 2014 (EST)

The good:

The bad (but planned):

The ugly:

User: beccon:beccon 30 December 2014 (CET): I evaluated utox on different Linux machines: Good:

Not so good:

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