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[Cross platform + Free] Voice and Video chat programs

with 8 comments

Version: 0.2 (includes update 1)
Changelog: Removed ratings, added other programs to this list (without description).
Last updated: October 18, 2009


I formatted my XP installation a few days ago (and I installed Kubuntu 9.04 that dual boots with OpenBSD 4.5). After some time when I wished to use voice chatting services (Free PC to PC voice calls), I found out that most popular voice/video chat services like Yahoo messenger, Google chat etc. were not available/supported by commercial vendors on Linuxes/BSDs/Unixes. 😦 I searched Google and found following voice/video chat program options:

[ Mind you, most services mentioned below are Free and supported on more than one platforms. Moreover, I tested only voice/text chat (and NOT video chat), so the ratings and reviews involve only text/voice chat. ]

1. Ekiga:
Description- Ekiga (formely known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source VoIP and video conferencing application for GNOME. Ekiga uses both the H.323 and SIP protocols. It supports many audio and video codecs, and is interoperable with other SIP compliant software and also with Microsoft NetMeeting. Free Your Speech!

Platforms supported- Atleast Linux/Unix/BSD, probably Mac OS X, Windows XP/Vista.

My views: Works great! I tested only Voice chat. Installed easily. Iirc, no configuration was needed.

2. WengoPhone (now called “Qutecom”):
Description- A single application to talk, chat and share for free with anyone.

Platforms supported- Atleast many versions of Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

My views: I never installed this. But reviews about WengoPhone on internet point out that it should be easy to install and use.

3. Skype:
Description- Free calls, video calls and instant messaging over the internet.

Platforms supported- Versions exist for Linux, Linux-based Maemo, Mac OS X (Intel and PPC), iPhone OS (iPhone and iPod Touch), Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Vista, Windows Mobile), and even Sony’s PSP. (Source: Wikipedia)

My views: Works great! I tested only Voice chat. Installed easily. Iirc, no configuration was needed.

4. Jabbin:
Description- Jabbin is an original mashup of Social Network, Instant messaging and VoIP developed entirely on the widely-used and open protocol, Jingle/XMPP, and open source software, including Asterisk, Openfire and Jobill, a billing system.
Jabbin is an Open Source instant messaging program that allows free PC to PC calls using the VoIP system over the Jabber network. The Release 2.0 use the libjingle protocol.

Platforms supported- It appears that this works on atleast recent Windows releases and many Linux/Unix/BSD distributions.

My views: I tried installing it only once and failed. So this may prove to be a useful program but don’t ask my opinion.

5. TokBox:
Description- Free video chat and video mail to anyone in the world without downloads or hassles. Video call your AIM, MSN, GMail and Yahoo buddies. Tokbox is a free service that lets you talk with your friends over live video. Here’s how it works: you sign up and we give you a link. When you want to talk with anyone, just give them the link – they click and you chat. Embeddable on all websites and social networks. No cost. No prepaid minutes. Really free.

Platforms supported- Talk through your browser. No chat client needed. There is no client required. This service from Meebo works from within a modern web browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox).

My views- In my case, I could neither send nor receive any voice data. It appeared as if everything was working right, but I could not use this service.

That’s it…If I find some other free and useful services, then I will post them here as updates.

UPDATE-1: There are many other programs that are pretty nice to be added to this list. Mind you, I had not used most of these programs myself:
1. Empathy: Empathy is a messaging program which supports text, voice, and video chat and file transfers over many different protocols.
2. Tinychat: The web 2.0 site for making free, disposable chat rooms with live audio and video.
3. Gyachi: GyachE Improved supports almost all of the features found in the official Windows Yahoo! Messenger client: Voice chat, webcams, faders, ‘nicknames’, audibles, avatars, display images, and more. (Source: Wikipedia)
4. Pidgin: As of version 2.6 (released on August 18, 2009) Pidgin has a voice/video framework which uses Farsight2 and is based on Mike Ruprecht’s Google Summer of Code project from 2008. That release provides the ability to have voice/video conversations using the XMPP protocol (including Google Talk), though the implementation is not yet fully complete. The framework will also allow for voice/video conversations on other protocols, such as MSN and Yahoo, in the future (Source: Wikipedia)

Other possible options include Kopete, gaim-vv (many of these programs are limited/reduced support applications).
Another option requires you to install some supported OS for your choice of chat client inside a virtual machine.

Note: I’m not planning to update this article now (unless I find something really amazing) because you can retrieve all such information from Google. If you know of similar programs, post them in comments.

Have fun! 🙂

Written by Amber Jain

August 13, 2009 at 6:22 PM

8 Responses

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  1. […] Cross platform + Free Voice and Video chat programs « Amber Jain's … […]

  2. This site rocks!

    Bill Bartmann

    September 1, 2009 at 8:19 PM

  3. Great site…keep up the good work.

    Bill Bartmann

    September 6, 2009 at 5:59 AM

  4. Excellent site, keep up the good work


    September 7, 2009 at 1:13 PM

  5. Cool post you got here. It would be great to read something more about this topic.


    November 7, 2009 at 6:24 AM

  6. Interesting article you got here. I’d like to read something more about that theme.


    November 11, 2009 at 9:02 AM

  7. You not going to believe it but I have spent all day looking for some information about this. You’re a lifesaver, it was a essential read and has helped me out to no end.


    December 11, 2009 at 9:44 AM

  8. It’s always great to stumble across a new site this excellent I’ll be coming back for certain!


    March 11, 2010 at 3:13 AM

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