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+||ZRTP Encryption|
|Jitsi||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Java||LGPL||ZRTP Encrypted Media, OTR, Conference|
|Ekiga||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||GNU/Linux, Windows XP, H323||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|
|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, Windows||GPL3||Server software|
- 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)
- Used Linphone for video telephony with my own Asterisk server and the linphone.org service. Lightweight application, audio and video quite good. Conrad 22:11
- 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)
- Use Jitsi for personal and collaboration purposes.
The good: Impressive feature set:
- XMPP, IRC, ICQ, Yahoo, Facebook, SIP
- encrypted audio, video and screen sharing (remote control)
- OTR chat encryption
- NAT traversal - ICE and Jingle Nodes
The bad: severe stability issues
- connect problems - sometimes no audio, sometime no video
- audio and video drop outs.
The ugly: User interface
- incoming text message catches focus
- but doesn't stay on the screen
Conrad 22:11 15 Dec 2014 (CET)
- 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?
- Worked fine on the local network - failed when NAT involved Conrad 22:31 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)
- Peer to peer with trustless relay servers if not possible.
- Uses OTR-level encryption between peers.
- Group chats and calls. (Jitsi Videobridge)
- Supports group voice calls.
The bad (but planned):
- Audio support isn't filtered, echos are a problem and voice is somewhat quiet.
- Multidevice support for one ID isn't possible yet.
- No mobile clients.
- Core not audited.
- iOS support might need reimplementation due to GPL not allowing restrictions.
- No discussion of telephone network usage.
- No official clients yet.