Remote Communication

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As of 20230119, Remote Communication lists 80 projects.

This list is work in progress. We have not audited the software listed on this page for security or privacy concerns beyond what developers of the software, and potentially other sites tell us about it. We have done some initial research into software licenses. Entries with Free Software Directory links have been thoroughly reviewed from a licensing perspective.

This page is a shared resource, and we encourage others to add to it, so some of the entries here may be added by members of the community. We check this resource periodically, and know that others check it too, but it's a wiki, so errors may be added before they're fixed. We encourage you to review licenses and information about the software you're interested in before using it, and to update this page with your findings.

As more people are going remote, there is an outbreak of proprietary software happening around the Internet. Many are suggesting to use proprietary, SaaSS, and/or privacy invading video conferencing software as an alternative to meeting in person. Proprietary vendors are hopping to the task by offering services that are temporarily free as in cost, and that would lock organizations into continuing to use those vendors. Let's work together to promote free software instead.

Join the RemoteCommunication mailing list to coordinate!

Posts about this topic:

The FSF is hosting its own freedom-respecting videoconferencing service. FSF associate members can create a channel by logging into the server using your member credentials. Any person or group can then participate in the conversation. Nonmembers can be invited, but cannot start a channel. Read more.



Real-time voice and video chat is an item on the FSF's High Priority Projects list.

  • Galène
    • Supposedly, a lighter video conferencing server platform geared towards lectures.
    • Source MIT
  • GNU Jami
    • Audio, video, group, and text chat program that works across all major Operating Systems.
    • FSD
    • Source GPL-3.0
    • Note: Tends to be stable if all parties use the same (ideally the latest) version of the client.
  • NextCloud
    • NextCloud supports audio/video conferencing, with further features listed below. AGPLv3
  • LiveKit
    • Backend stack to add scalable, end-to-end WebRTC video communication to a software project. Not a stand-alone package.
    • Source Apache-2.0
  • OpenTokRTC
    • Now a part of nexmo / Vonage video API. At least parts of the original TokBox code are free software, but it's not clear whether it's possible to use without any non-free software. As an anti-feature, Vonage offers enterprise editions that may run on your own server, or may require running non-free JavaScript.

Broadcasting Video

Broadcast streaming video. It is possible to share your camera or desktop screen with many people in a one-way relationship to reach more people with limited resources.


Real-time voice and video chat is an item on the FSF's High Priority Projects list.

  • Mumble
    • Audio chat room server with clients for all major operating systems.
    • FSD
    • French guide:
    • Note: Mumble is pretty easy for end users, and there are free native clients for major platforms. On the server, it has a low memory footprint, but can use a lot of server bandwidth if many people are talking at once in a channel that has many people listening in. Clients would see an increase in downlink bandwidth at these times, which is okay, since most asymmetrical residential connections allow for a larger downlink. Event in direct face to face communication, it is generally only possible to understand what is being said when no more than a few people are speaking at once. BSD-like
  • Icecast
    • Mentioned above already, but Icecast is commonly used to broadcast audio for live podcast recordings and radio stations.

Social Networking

Text and possibly document sharing

  • Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
    • IRC is a text based chat protocol that works well for groups regardless of connection speed. There are free software IRC clients for all major platforms.
    • Libera.Chat IRC
      • Libera.Chat is the most popular IRCd server. If you want to create a channel on Libera.Chat and your channel is not about free software or broadly licensed creative works, you can still create topical channels that begin with '##'. Note that in this case if you need help from Libera.Chat staff from #libera, your request will not be as high priority as requests for help with a free software project's channel.
    • Self-host an Internet Relay Chat daemon (IRCd) server
    • Off-the-record (OTR)
      • A library to encrypt private messages through many IRC clients and other text based communications beyond IRC. LGPL-2.1
    • KiwiIRC
      • KiwiIRC is a self-hosted web interface for IRC with a simple design that can make its usage easy for newcomers to IRC.
      • FSD
      • Apache-2.0
      • Freedom note: Do not add a captcha key in the site config, otherwise it will add a non-free captcha system when users try to log in.
    • The Lounge
      • The Lounge is a self-hosted web interface for IRC with an elegant design that can make its usage easy for newcomers to IRC.
      • GitHub MIT
      • Note: On public instances of The Lounge, connections to IRC servers are dropped after closing your browser tabs or losing your connection to application's Web page. If you use a private instance, you will need an account created by an administrator to log in, and connections to the IRC server are kept active even after closing your browser tabs or losing your connection.
    • qwebirc
      • Discord replacement, based on IRC server and channels + Audio/Video by Jitsi.
      • GitHub Artistic License 2.0 :(
  • Jami
    • Mentioned above, but it works great an an encrypted text application as well.
  • Session
    • Decentralized encrypted messaging system.
    • GitHub GPL-3.0
  • Briar
    • P2P chat that would even work without Internet by creating a meshnet through available WiFi and Bluetooth connections.
    • Self-hosted GitLab GPL-3.0-or-later AGPL-3.0-or-later
  • Matrix
    • It seems like Matrix does quite a lot, including federation, bridging between networks, and VoIP. Apache-2.0
    • Note: The desktop Riot client uses Electron which is controversial in the free software community.
  • Rocket.Chat
    • Anti-feature: the freedom respecting version of Rocket.Chat has less features than the enterprise editions, which are likely non-free. MIT
  • XMPP / Jabber
    • XMPP has been around for a long time. There are free clients for major platforms, and a variety of free server codebases to choose from if you want to run your own server.
    • Movim
  • Zulip
    • It looks like Zulip's enterprise edition is a support contract for the free software, which is great. Apache 2.0
  • Sandstorm
    • Sandstorm makes it easy to install and use free software applications on your Web server.
    • Includes document writing and document sharing.
    • FSD
    • Apache-2.0
    • Note: It comes with many free applications, and it is probably best to confirm the licenses of the applications before you install them.

Document Writing and document sharing

  • HedgeDoc
    • Collaborative Markdown editing with a live view of rendered text.
    • GitHub AGPL-3.0
  • NextCloud
    • NextCloud is a featureful Web service for document editing, file storage, audio/video chat, and more.
  • CryptPad
    • CryptPad is an encrypted realtime collaborative editor. AGPL-3.0
  • Sandstorm
    • Can be used for installing Etherpad. See more details about Sandstorm above.
  • Wiki Software
    • ikiwiki
      • Write wiki pages in Markdown, via a Git repo, or via the Web (which commits to Git). Great for internal wikis, ie for documenting procedures, policies, article drafts, etc. Extensible with plugins.
      • FSD
      • GPL-2.0-or-later


  • ExifTool
    • Command line tool to remove EXIF data from pictures.
    • Example command: exiftool -all= -tagsfromfile @ -Orientation PICTURE.jpg
    • Source GPL or Artistic

Learning Management Solutions (LMS)

Voting / Communal Decision Making


  • Note: Does not scale to country wide project.


Voting on group availability for scheduling purposes.

  • Polls App for NextCloud.
    • Source (AGPLv3)
    • See NextCloud above.



This page was a featured resource in May 2020.