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Ask Slashdot: FOSS, Multiplatform Skype Replacement for PC-to-PC Video Chat?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the really-long-cardboard-tube dept.

Communications 281

obarthelemy writes "Skype having just been borged, now may be a good time to hedge our bets and look for a replacement. I'm *not* looking for something that interfaces with POTS, but just a simple PC-to-PC video chat tool that is very easy to configure and use, reliable, multiplatform (my family has Windows, Linux, MacOS; iOS and Android would be nice extras), and has good video/voice quality. We're almost only skyping with each other. What would you recommend?"

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281 comments

first (-1, Offtopic)

punkrockguy318 (808639) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234190)

first post?

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234196)

Yeah. Congratulations.

Chatroulette or Omegle, obviously. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234202)

Clearly, you want to be using Chatroulette or Omegle.

Google talk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234208)

I have used google talk many times. The quality is better than Skype. BTW anyone knows how to completely close your account with Skype?

Re:Google talk (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234418)

Google Talk is not FOSS. look at the title.

Re:Google talk (2)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234628)

Its free. Not open source, but its as free as skype was, and not "borged". A proper FOSS alternative (at least with any form of market penetration, so you know... you can actually talk to other users) doesn't really exist.

Re:Google talk (2)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234834)

Market penetration is pretty irrelevant -- the submitter mentioned that they "only skype each other". If SIP is easy enough, it's also more than good enough.

Re:Google talk (4, Informative)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234652)

Also... google talk is Jabber. Any open source jabber client will work. So actually, it kinda IS open-source.

Re:Google talk (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234840)

Is the voice/video component implemented well enough anywhere else such that I can expect to teleconference with a gtalk user from an entirely open source client?

Re:Google talk (3, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234952)

Yes. Empathy [gnome.org]

I just finished trying out gyache/gyachi (Yahoo! Voice and Video chat, open source) and it doesn't work nearly as well. Also, it just runs the proprietary codecs using the relevant wine source code, so it's not truly open source.

Re:Google talk (2)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235002)

not available is most countries either

Ekiga (2, Interesting)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234212)

Ekiga?

Re:Ekiga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234322)

I agree, Ekiga

Re:Ekiga (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234366)

They said they wanted something that has Mac support, Ekiga is only Gnome and Windows.

Re:Ekiga (2)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234474)

I run Arch with Enlightenment. Yes, I do have GTK installed and a few other Gnome dependencies, but I don't have to look at the Gnome interface.
I also have Android.
Ekiga runs fine behind my NAT system, I know this because a friend of mine called me from his iDevice the day we heard that MSFT was buying Skype. However, my Windows friend can't make his SIP work.

I don't know which SIP client I like best on Arch. Twinkle, Linphone or Ekiga. I do know that between Linphone, SIPDroid and CSipSimple on my Android I'll stick with CSipSimple. It's compatible and integrates well.

Skype (3, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234214)

uh....skype maybe. Just because MS got a hold of it means its down the tubes just yet.

Re:Skype (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234272)

uh....skype maybe. Just because MS got a hold of it means its down the tubes just yet.

Skype isn't FOSS.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234302)

uh....skype maybe. Just because MS got a hold of it means its down the tubes just yet.

Skype isn't FOSS.

Skype never has been open. The poster obviously wants a free alternative, or maybe they're astroturfing for MS, because there's nothing remotely close to Skype on all its currently supported platforms (expect a few to get severed now MS are in control).

Re:Skype (-1, Flamebait)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234894)

If you're skyping to another skype user - then it's free. The FOSS requirement is presumably to be able to modify it in some way. Why the need to modify it is the question - otherwise why need it to be FOSS?

The whole thing sounds like a "Ew MS is bad! run! run! run!" knee jerk reaction...

Re:Skype (5, Informative)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235052)

Maybe because:
- We care about our freedom in general, Skype shouldn't be the exception
- We don't trust Microsoft
- We do trust the US government AND the Chinese to spy on us using the Skype network. There's already a "special" Chinese version with the "feature" to have big brother listening. Who know's what the "normal" version does.
- Skype on Linux is crap, there's no 64 bits version (no, the package they pretend to be 64 bits isn't 64 bits at all, it's a 32 bits version with some lib32 dependencies). Moreover, it crashes, and you have to use loads of tricks to have everything working, like starting it with "env LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype", otherwise it simply doesn't work. Even Adobe Flash has a real 64 bits version. Skype is the only software on my OS which is like that, and even if so many people asked for a real build for 64 bits, they've been ignoring all requests.
- The one and only one Linux developer for Skype has already proven, through the BTS and others, that he isn't competent to do the job. Do you think this is going to change with MS on board? That they will hire better coders? That's a big bet.
- Skype is the only instant messaging app that doesn't integrate well with multi-network libs like purple from Pidgin.
- Skype said they would at some point provide a "libskype" so that we could implement our own GUI, but it's not happening
- No announcement has been made by MS about the future of Skype for Mac or Linux
- Skype audio support is bad, it crashes often.
- Skype is the only absolutely needed piece of software for which we don't have source for, if you don't account flash as well (but flash has (buggy) compatible alternatives which you can deal with, Skype doesn't)
- Did I mention that Skype crashes often in Linux? :)

And also, please avoid to call FOSS supporters "knee jerk" in this site, as there's a good chance that others wont like it and will mod you out (I don't get why this hasn't happen already by the way). Anyway, the issues with Skype aren't new, and have absolutely nothing to do with the fact it's now a MS product.

Now, I don't get why the OP went through. We all have been knowing for a long time how bad the situation is, and how much we need some alternatives. Something open, with encryption at all levels, multi-platform, and decentralized. I'm sure it will happen, but I'm also sure this wont be tomorrow.

Re:Skype (5, Insightful)

Spicerun (551375) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234296)

Obviously you haven't had the joy of using something after MS took it over. I've seen a few programs go down the tubes after MS bought the company. Sure, they didn't go down the tubes immediately, but they did die a long slow painful death. And the customers who stuck with those acquired programs got screwed ultimately.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234336)

Examples please?

Re:Skype (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234392)

How about QDOS? They bought it from Tim Paterson, renamed it, upgraded it over the next 20 years, added a GUI, then released Windows ME. Anybody who used Windows ME was screwed pretty hard.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234482)

Probably time to get over QDOS

Re:Skype (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234566)

Yeah, like that really crappy program they bought once upon a time and became Excel? /s

Skype isn't all that great - I've been using it a lot lately and it can't even keep track of the online status of my 20 some contacts, keeps refusing to send my IMs, etc. Honestly I think MS paid about 7 billion too much.

Re:Skype (2)

maraist (68387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235010)

While not a death knell for say.. The one that hit me hard was visio. From $50 to $300+. Most of my co-workers who can 'justify' the added costs say it's crap these days anyway.

Re:Skype (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234500)

Exactly. Remember Foxpro? It was actively maintained, and the developers actually listened to users' requests. When Microsoft announced .NET, suddenly all support for Foxpro went down the drain. Bugs kept cluttering programs and all complaints went to deaf ears.

Worse: Even with its limitations and abandonment, Microsoft won't relase the foxpro (and ide) source code so we can make our improvements. Why? Because it might compete with "better" Microsoft solutions. This is a perfect case of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Re:Skype (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234354)

If anything, I am hoping Microsoft will actually work well on it and improve on it greatly.
It sorely needs more manpower behind it. There are some stupidly awful full OS crashes in there ever since V5, huge one relating to the video pane on top of all calls now. (with no way to go back to the old display picture pane instead)

Not to mention general bugs that don't auto call, don't show people online half the time until you interact with them or they go off and come back on, THE WORST COPYING IN THE HISTORY OF ANYTHING EVER, awful volume control, some weird thing where the caller gets priority mic volume... when it is multi-chat.
I looked through the issue tracker and my face caved in. Almost wanted to delete it rather than reporting the bugs. But sadly I depend on this crap too much at the moment because others are too lazy to get a decent, lightweight client that has way more features and control over every facet of a call than Skype could dream of.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234514)

Hahahahahaha....

You funny....

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234770)

This. If any company is experienced with releasing a horribly buggy product and then eventually patching it up into a half-decent one, it's Microsoft.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234998)

Well, as long as you're using the Windows Skype client and talking exclusively to other Windows Skype clients or paying to talk to POTS stations then you'll be just fine. As for the rest of us, we're going to be looking for replacements as we've already seen Micro$oft's behavior when it comes to supporting non-Micro$oft operating environments.

Re:Skype (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235038)

I think they'll probably work on integrating it with windows messenger, which has been pretty open architecture wise, while not porting their own client has been friendly to alternatives.

Without some serious corporate funding a a real alternative cant exist. Google talk + voice comes very close though... a more open alternative wold be very hard, as you really need a central authority with these kinds of services to work around technical complexities that would otherwise make things useless for mom/dad etc.

Re:Skype (5, Interesting)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235140)

If anything, I am hoping Microsoft will actually work well on it and improve on it greatly.

Microsoft is very likely to work on Skype and improve it greatly.

Microsoft is very unlikely to make the versions they have worked on and greatly improved available for any platforms other than Microsoft Windows, and possibly OS X if you're really lucky.

Got an Android phone? You'd better stop depending on Skype, as quickly as you can, because you can bet your bottom dollar one of the first things that will happen is that "chat with all your friends on Skype!" will become a unique selling point of the Microsoft Windows Phone platform.

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234662)

They removed Skype support for Asterisk... it's already half way down the tubes

Re:Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234976)

Yes, it will PlaysForSure on OS X and Linux in the future...

TokBox (1)

ashvagan (885082) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234236)

It's nice, works on flash and will work on HTML5.

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234250)

http://slashdot.org/tag/skype

Maybe see what has been posted in the other discussions?

Check the last story? (5, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234252)

Re:Check the last story? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234344)

Thank you. Reading TFS gave me deja vu and now I know I'm not crazy.

Fring (1)

nut (19435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234254)

Fring [ http://www.fring.com/ [fring.com] ] looks interesting, although it only works on mobile platforms right now.

Jitsi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234270)

http://www.jitsi.org/
Jitsi (previously SIP Communicator) is an audio/video and chat communicator that supports protocols such as SIP, XMPP/Jabber, AIM/ICQ, Windows Live, Yahoo!, Bonjour and many other useful features.

Replacement for Skype? Ekiga (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234282)

On the announcement that Microsoft had bought Skype I uninstalled Skype and installed Ekiga. I signed up for the free Ekiga account. Got it all running within a few minutes. No tinkering with configuration files. Just plug in the account information you registered at Ekiga.net. Emails are out to all my correspondents now urging them to convert to Ekiga.

My immediate family has already converted, even the Windows only users. My favorite correspondents have too.

Ekiga is installable from the Ubuntu repositories and works out of the box.

Skype just works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234288)

Because people have put an incredible amount of research and effort into preventing reverse engineering, and poking holes in the most common network configurations (using 80/443 and sending encrypted data over that channel.) It's such a simple but robust model that it's a pain to block on the firewall (you can block Skype.net for instance to prevent fresh installs from downloading Host Cache's but if a system has a supernode in it's cache that doesn't match Skype's ip space, you're kinda F'd and have to move up the OSI to block it.

It honestly acts more like Malware than anything, so it'll be interesting to see how Microsoft deals with it since it sells ISA (and now Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010) this seems like the two are going to be at loggerheads. Though if I were a betting man I'd bet the best place to start looking at *new* Skype changes would be Forefront updates.... But hey, now I'm just thinking like the badguys.

Re:Skype just works (1)

emt377 (610337) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234866)

It honestly acts more like Malware than anything, so it'll be interesting to see how Microsoft deals with it since it sells ISA (and now Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010) this seems like the two are going to be at loggerheads.

MS will probably be pushing UPnP.

Maybe that's why they bought 'em? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235150)

... it's a pain to block [skype]on the firewall ...

It honestly acts more like Malware than anything, so it'll be interesting to see how Microsoft deals with it since it sells ISA (and now Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010) this seems like the two are going to be at loggerheads.

Maybe Microsoft bought Skype so they could figure out how to block it with their security products and/or kill it so it's no longer an issue? B-)

You mean a SIP client? (3, Interesting)

bradm (27075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234294)

Perhaps you could start evaluating some of these? [wikipedia.org]

Jabber / Google Talk (5, Informative)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234298)

Jabber is a good open protocol for Instant Messaging, and it has extensions for voice and video. The main idea is that it works like the email system: you can have an account on any server, and chat/talk/video with someone on a different server. There a many different clients to use the Jabber protocol, just like there are many different mail clients. And all of them are supposed to interact nicely with each other.

My favorite client is telepathy which support the voice and video features (but getting the right codec is somewhat painfull), and has good NAT traversal capabilities. It runs on Linux, and on my N900.

If you're looking for something more Windows-friendly, you can use the Google Talk plugin: Google Talk is just a Jabber server, and you can use it with any other Jabber server, and any client. The plugin is available for Windows and Linux (and there is probably something for Android).

Re:Jabber / Google Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234784)

and Mac as well.

Oh noes, Microsoft! End of world! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234300)

Come on, seriously? Skype was a non-open source program before, which met all your needs, and did a great job. Microsoft is likely going to invest heavily in it, and integrate it into Windows 8, XBox360, and a lot of other things, making it more useful to you as more people will be using it.

Microsoft is no angel, but they aren't the devil either.

Re:Oh noes, Microsoft! End of world! (2)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234426)

Come on, seriously? Skype was a non-open source program before, which met all your needs, and did a great job. Microsoft is likely going to invest heavily in it, and integrate it into Windows 8, XBox360, and a lot of other things, making it more useful to you as more people will be using it.

Well, it wouldn't be more useful to me if they wound up discontinuing Linux support, you know?

Re:Oh noes, Microsoft! End of world! (1)

KitFox (712780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234632)

Yup. There's no way Microsoft will pull any features out. [slashdot.org]

Re:Oh noes, Microsoft! End of world! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234796)

If you read the comments to that article, you'd know there's no way Microsoft is responsible for that decision. The regulatory bodies would axe the deal if Microsoft started telling Skype what to do before the deal is approved.

Re:Oh noes, Microsoft! End of world! (3, Funny)

concord (198387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234790)

Microsoft is no angel, but they aren't the devil either.

Yeah, I mean ... at least they're not Apple.

Google talk or QQ (1)

nhtshot (198470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234306)

There's a whole assortment of options, but I've had good luck with both google talk and QQ. Granted, QQ is mostly used by Chinese, but it works well in the western world and is available (english version) for windows, macos, linux and EVERY mobile phone ever made that supports any kind of data service.

Re:Google talk or QQ (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234828)

There's a whole assortment of options, but I've had good luck with both google talk and QQ. Granted, QQ is mostly used by Chinese, but it works well in the western world and is available (english version) for windows, macos, linux and EVERY mobile phone ever made that supports any kind of data service.

Where is the English version of QQ for Linux you speak of?

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234316)

Skype?

How about (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234664)

you don't split your sentances across the topic

---
and the message body. It's obnoxious.

What about Skype? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234326)

I hear Skype does everything you want. Perhaps you are dissastisfied with it because your microphone only recognizes oral communication and is unable to understand when you talk out your ass.

Google Chat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234330)

Doesn't Google Chat do this already? Honestly, I don't really do video chats, so maybe there's something I'm missing. I just remembered hearing that they had added it, and a quick look at their site confirms...

Jitsi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234334)

Jitsi has been "moving and shaking"
http://www.jitsi.org/

Voice/Video/SIP/Jabber/Gtalk/etc./etc.

Google video chat (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234340)

Google voice and video chat is pretty solid and multiplatform option. You need to keep a gmail or igoogle tab open in the browser (with the plugin [google.com] installed) to be online, but other than that it's pretty decent. Android support is currently in 2.3.4 (the Nexus S only yet officially IIRC) but it is going to be rolled out to older versions shortly. It's not yet on iOS but its rumoured to be in the works.

Re:Google video chat (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234434)

Isn't Google's offering an instance of Jabber? I have certainly used Mac OS's iChat to lot into my gmail account via its Jabber support (not that I have actually USED it for anything, so no information about if it actually works, or how well).

Switch from MS to Google? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234536)

You're suggesting the man should switch from Newly-Borg'd to S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-from-Birth?

Google Voice is Jabbe (1)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234842)

Google voice and video chat is just Jabber. It's an open protocol and you can communicate between users on different servers and using different softwares.

So you can use a FOSS client (e.g. telepathy) and run your own server, and advise your technologically-challenged friends to use the user-friendly Google client. Everybody wins!

No such thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234352)

> I'm [lookingo for] a simple PC-to-PC video chat tool that is very easy to configure and use, reliable, multiplatform (my family has Windows, Linux, MacOS; iOS and Android would be nice extras), and has good video/voice quality. We're almost only skyping with each other.

Skype was successful because it can handle firewalls, which SIP can't. At this point, There Is No Alternative (TINA.)

yahoo? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234370)

Not sure about android, but on pc and mac it does video..

You have it all wrong (4, Funny)

Troke (1612099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234390)

This is the perfect excuse to stop talking to your family.

Edge a bet? (5, Informative)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234438)

Dear story submitter/writer and /. editors:

You don't 'edge' bets, you Hedge [thefreedictionary.com] bets. FYI.

Re:Edge a bet? (1)

maiki (857449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234658)

You don't 'edge' bets, you Hedge [thefreedictionary.com] bets. FYI.

Maybe the submitter is French and has an accent, you insensitive clod!

There is nothing else (5, Insightful)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234446)

Skype outpaces all other alternatives by far, particularly with regards to satisfying the "very easy to configure and use, reliable, multiplatform and has good video/voice quality" requirements. There's a reason so many people use it, and there's a reason Linux users still installed Skype when they were thrown scraps in terms of support and updates.

Keep using Skype until such time that it NO LONGER WORKS (which I suspect will be for a very long time). Just because Microsoft owns it now doesn't mean it's dead. If it finally falls over in something like Linux, then you can move onto something such as Ekiga or whatever else has been developed, but there's simply nothing else in the consumer world that compares.

Heh... "Skype having just been borged". You could at least explain how Skype no longer works for you instead of letting emotions cloud logic.

Re:There is nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234610)

you obviously haven't used the latest version for the mac. granted those ui changes happened before the merger, but one can't help to wonder if that was intentional.

Re:There is nothing else (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234614)

Devil's advocate: MSN Messenger has gone through a number of protocol revisions, and IIRC only a couple of those are supported at a time. It's not inconceivable that MS would revise the Skype protocol (adding new features, say) and leave the legacy non-Windows clients to rot.

Don't suppose the EU would be interested in making MS open the Skype protocol.

Re:There is nothing else (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234706)

Devil's advocate: MSN Messenger has gone through a number of protocol revisions, and IIRC only a couple of those are supported at a time. It's not inconceivable that MS would revise the Skype protocol (adding new features, say) and leave the legacy non-Windows clients to rot.

That is something which would happen. It's probably likely I'd say - Messenger already has audio/video support and integrating the Skype protocol would mean not requiring a separate Skype application anymore, at least on Windows.

Don't suppose the EU would be interested in making MS open the Skype protocol.

You'd have the Windows fanboys in an uproar over that, even if the EU has been one of the few organizations able to stand up to Microsoft.

Re:There is nothing else (1)

maraist (68387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235040)

skype on linux is buggy and so so. I give it two chances to get better under MS management, slim and none. Thus as an avid promoter of thin-client linux boxes, I'm not unlikely to want to risk investing in corporate multi-screen-sharing chat accounts, and or skype centric voip phones.

Re:There is nothing else (3, Interesting)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235128)

skype on linux is buggy and so so. I give it two chances to get better under MS management, slim and none. Thus as an avid promoter of thin-client linux boxes, I'm not unlikely to want to risk investing in corporate multi-screen-sharing chat accounts, and or skype centric voip phones.

Skype has been crap under Linux for ages, and hadn't shown much sign of getting better even before Microsoft bought them out. I remember the announcement that the Skype UI would be open sourced - what's happened since? Absolutely nothing.

Point is, if you look at the direction Skype has been going on Linux (nowhere), you probably wouldn't have picked Skype to use on your Linux boxes with or without Microsoft's influence, and would have looked elsewhere. Besides, I thought the commercial side of VoIP was already a mature market, with many alternatives to Skype (we're talking corporate level here, not consumer).

Riiight.. (0)

Weaselgrease (2050100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234478)

Anyone arguing that MS might make Skype better or at least not screw it up? They just announced removal from one system [slashdot.org] and it's been less than a week. They're going to confine Skype in an attempt to Microsoft-only products to keep their products on top of Mac and Linux. Bet you good they're going to integrate it right into Windows 8 with a nifty API for third-parties and maybe even make it so you get special phoning discounts if you use it from a Windows OS.

Re:Riiight.. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234550)

They haven't even bought skype yet. Idiot.

Re:Riiight.. (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234676)

well they can't really make it much worse. lack of platform availability for MALWARE is a feature.

Re:Riiight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234756)

Anyone arguing that MS might make Skype better or at least not screw it up? They just announced removal from one system [slashdot.org] and it's been less than a week.

They don't even own skype yet and you're already blaming decisions on them?!

ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234518)

just wine good ol' Microsoft NetMeeting you fool

This is a FSF High Priority project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234558)

Re:This is a FSF High Priority project (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234682)

Like HURD?

Jitsi (4, Informative)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234644)

What used to be SIP Communicator, now Jitsi (because they added many protocols besides SIP). I can't believe I'm having to recommend this on /. so often. It has XMPP video chat and desktop sharing, and has all the other common protocols as well as SIP. It's in rapid development at this point, but has been stable for me since began using it a couple of weeks ago.

The state of things in integrated communications is sad indeed with so few alternatives and fragmentation.

Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234674)

"may be a good time to edge our bets"
hedge

google chat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234704)

Why has no one mentioned google video chat? I've been using it on linux since it started working on linux and been very happy with it. Am I missing something?

I'd recommend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234782)

Skype...why change before you have any clue about MS changing anything? If it's on principle alone, why are you using iOS/OSX devices? Apple is just as bad, if not worse, than MS...

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234820)

MSN IM? Just sayin'

What I hear: (-1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234844)

whine, whine whine whine.

A product that I had no problem with being proprietary at all is now unusable because "The Devil" just bought it, even though there is no change at all in the product or its usability.

Re:What I hear: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234948)

That's a very selective hearing filter(translator) you have.

Does Skype for Linux and Skype for Mac have all the features of Skype for Windows? If you haven't slept thru the last two decades, you'll know that companies Microsoft purchased have very often had their software killed, or modified such that many no longer use it.

Nonetheless, as a Skype out user, I do hope it will still be workable from my Linux and Mac and Windows machines.

Re:What I hear: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235098)

The trick here is not waiting until they pull the plug, as most expect, before finding an alternative. If you want to wait until the sh*t hits the fan to see if it will hit the fan after it's been thrown, that's your choice.

And, no, we're not dealing with a self fulfilling prophecy here but some years of experience watching Microsoft's behaviour and business tactics.

Didn't we just have this question? (0)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234918)

It's even linked [slashdot.org] right under the summary.

The consensus of that discussion seemed to be "there are none".

Now lets take those results and add the stipulation they support not only voice but video, too, and to top it off, they have to be Open-Source. I'm sure that will result in more programs, right?

TokBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234920)

From Wikipedia: "TokBox is a web application that allows users to make multi-party video chat calls over the Internet without a download."

VOIP (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234922)

The standard VOIP is available on Linux, Mac and windows and there is a good selection of clients. I have never understood why people used the bastardised version (Skype) when the standard version is just as good. M$ have already started to ruin Skype and will continue to flush it down the toilet so that they can push MSN on people but, for voice calls VOIP is great, and for chat there are more options that I could list here.

Re:VOIP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235076)

Well he wasn't asking for VOIP clients, and anyway the standard version isn't as good for home users, because:
1. Skype does a good job getting around the limitations home users' consumer grade bastardized internet connections which have: Filtering, traffic shaping, port blocking, NAT, firewalls, etc., and no administrator to set things up properly, along with non-cooperative or even hostile ISPs.
2. Is you use "standard" VOIP software, then you need to use another VOIP provider. When there is a problem, you need to figure out which side has the problem - whether it's your software, or their software, or your provider, or their provider, or maybe the ISP... Skype simplifies this to the point that the average person can actually use it.
3. Skype has more users, so when you are using it for text or online voice chat (i.e. not POTS VOIP), there is a huge advantage.

(Of course I have a Gizmo 5 account and sometimes use the client, but ... even I admit it'S not as sexy as skype, and doesn't exist for all platforms ...)

"edge our bets" - WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36234954)

good time to edge our bets

Sweet Baby Jesus in a sidecar - is it too much to ask of the editors here to be at least semi-literate? Edge our bets? WTF?

Is anybody out there? (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234960)

We're almost only skyping with each other. What would you recommend ?

The only chat client that makes sense is the client used by those you want to chat with. Skype works so well for so many, you simply can't expect them to switch.

battlecom (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 3 years ago | (#36234994)

oh wait... that was bought by MS as well (integrated into xbox360 VOIP i believe?)

If there was such a thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235034)

You would know about it already. Let's look at the options:
1. FaceTime - Works great on iOS and Mac OS. Not supported on other platforms yet. Closed source-code, uses open standards. Seems to require Apple encryption keys. Free to use.
2. Skype - Works on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, Android, etc. Peer to peer, firewall busting. Closed source code and standards. Free for most use.
3. Google Talk - Works on the web browser for chat and video. Plug-ins for Windows and Mac OS, maybe linux. Native clients for Windows and Android (with video). Uses open standards, and clients available (most are open source) for Mac OS (Adium), iOS, Linux (Pidgen), etc. at least for text chat. Free to use.
4. Ekiga, etc. - Tries to use VOIP and similar standards. Few users, no point for non-VOIP operations. Service provider separate from the software. Big firewall problems, and limited platform support. (Of course, can theoretically integrate with softphone clients for other platforms).
5. iChat/AIM - Works on most platforms (Windows/Mac, etc.). Uses cruddy AOL network. Free for most use. Open source clients exist, but not for video.

So... let's recap. Basically Skype is your only good option if you want free ($) cross-platform video support that works across firewalls with no problems. After that, maybe Google Talk. Why is FOSS important for using the chat program? Are you going to modify it? really? Most of the google talk clients are Open Source, but...

zoiper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235182)

www.zoiper.com.

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