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:
- voice calls (to computers)
- video calls
- text chat
- voice calls to plain old telephones (via a SIP gateway or similar)
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.
|XMPP/Jingle||Yes||Yes||Yes||Full presence, group chat, widely deployed|
|Tox||Yes||Yes||Yes||In early development, not fully implemented|
Apart from technical problems with free Skype replacements, there is a "network effect" problem preventing free protocols (and clients) becoming popular. This might be solved by explaining the problems of Skype to the people and providing the stories about injustice concerning this software.
Lists exist already:
Do we need more info? If so it can go here.
|Linphone||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||GNU/Linux, Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Blackberry, WinRT||GPLv2+|
|Ekiga||Yes||No?||No||No||Yes||GNU/Linux, Windows XP||GPLv2+|
|Mumble||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||GNU/Linux, Windows, OS X, iOS||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|
- I have used Ekiga in the past and had good luck with it, but only with other Ekiga users on GNU/Linux -- Mattl 15:47, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
- Ekiga used to work fine for me on the local network, but failed to connect to another user behind NAT firewall. It does not support UPnP mechanism provided by many modern routers and used by almost every torrent-client and by Skype as well. -- v_2e 05:49, 24 May 2012 (EDT)
- Successfully used to three-way audio-video chat with a pair of Mac users. H.264 only, but VP8 support soon! -- Mattl 15:47, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
- VP8 support has landed. --Johns 11:20, 30 May 2013 (EDT)
- Empathy is further improved in Fedora 18/Gnome 3.6. I am able to make voice calls on an XMPP network from Empathy to Empathy and from Empathy to the Google Talk desktop client. -- agajan 23:34, 14 May 2013 (EDT)
- Google browser plugin interop requires a non-free codec (H.264). Video quality is poor without this codec when calling from Empathy to Empathy.
- Even with the new Xiph codec?
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).