Skype Alternatives ?

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Skype Alternatives ?

Postby dubigrasu » May 12th, '11, 09:55

Lately I was looking for a Skype replacement, something that can handle higher resolutions than 640x480 (from all I know this is what Skype is using).
Thing is, that I bought a very good high resolution webcam (1920 x 1080) and is such a waste to use it at a low resolution.

At first I thought about Ekiga (I still do) because it can do 704x576, but is kinda limited in other options.
I heard then the news, about Skype being bought by the devil, but I 'm not (very) worried though, I think that Skype is here to stay for a while.
Still, this is a good reason to search for something else, maybe not as good as Skype but somewhere near.
Found about 6 of them or so, but I'll have to try them first.
(My features wish list could be different than yours though)

So I started with Brosix. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brosix

I will start with the bad things, two of them:
1 Low video resolution (this hurts me the most),
2 Low sound resolution and an annoying echo.

You might think/say that the connection was to blame for the low res video, but Skype was doing pretty good using the very same connection. I have no idea what it can be done to increase it, and there is no forum or something similar to ask about it.

The sound is....acceptable but you can't get rid of the echo. There is a echo cancellation setting, but it seems that it doesn't working, all you can do is use a headset.

These two things are annoying enough to repel anyone but I still hope that something can be done, because the rest is great.
First of all, is cross platform: Windows/Mac/Linux, then is free and very easy to set up, is looking good (has several nice themes) and it has some great features.
Other than what Skype has, I found three features very handy:

1 - "Co-Browse – You and your party can browse web sites together by sharing the same view of the screen. No more links or URL exchange is needed. "
2 - "Whiteboard – Draw your ideas easier than ever before. Brosix provides a good set of different painting tools, color pallets, text captions, and pointers that will help you visualize your ideas."
(this one means that you can both use the same drawing board at the same time and cooperate)
3 - "Screen Sharing – Work remotely on another user’s computer."

I'm pretty excited by the last one, from here (Romania) I was able to control my girlfriend's laptop (also running Linux) in Germany and the other way around...this is something very useful for us. (Yes of course, this involves getting the permission from the other user, and is kinda sloooow).

For an extensive list see:
http://www.brosix.com/features/

The installation is simple (just extract the archive somewhere) but it had a problem at start with a missing library "libtiff.so.4".
I found no such library in the repos (only libtiff.so.3) so I used that one by renaming it to libtiff.so.4 and placing it in Brosix's libs folder.

Anyway, for my needs I was about to call it a perfect replacement, if it wasn't for that low res video issue.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby Germ » May 12th, '11, 13:54

Don't know about a replacement but I read in yesterday's paper that M$ is buying Skype.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby Max » May 19th, '11, 16:39

dubigrasu wrote:I heard then the news, about Skype being bought by the devil, but I 'm not (very) worried though, I think that Skype is here to stay for a while.

M$ isn't the devil, Apple is :p

But we had a very long discussion on a local mailing list about this.
The best way to sum it up would be with these two links:
http://ostatic.com/blog/bye-bye-skype-top-3-free-replacements
http://directory.fsf.org/category/tel/

Me personally? I want a client that will support the Skype protocol, because most people I know use Skype.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby macxi » May 19th, '11, 22:07

Dubigrasu,

I commented (in MandrivaBrasil Forum) about the software Brosix you said. And also found other software, but I don't know them.

I checked the "table software linux x win" , the Table Kachurov-Artem and found the following software:

IP-telephony (VoIP)

(Buddyphone [Prop], Cisco SoftPhone, Skype)

1) GNU Bayonne.
2) Openh323.
3) OpenPhone.
4) tkPhone.
5) NauPhone.
6) Twinkle
7) Ekiga (formely known as GnomeMeeting)
8 ) Gizmo - As of April 3, 2011, Gizmo5 service will be discontinued.
9) Kphone
11) Linphone
12) Skype [NF]

Other:

13) Qutecom
14) Wengo
15) Phonegaim
16) TeamSpeak
17) Kcall

See also a list of "table software linux x win" in the wiki MageiaBrasil (see in english).

Cheers! :)
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby dubigrasu » May 20th, '11, 07:55

I intended initially to try more of these possible Skype replacements, but I don't have the time now.
Thing is that even with a perfect replacement the rest of the world will continue to use Skype.
As Max said a Skype protocol compatible app will be nice, but it is unlikely for now. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol)
However there is one interesting compromise:
https://imo.im/
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby ashledombos » May 20th, '11, 10:21

Did anyone try Jitsi or OneTeam ?
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby isadora » May 20th, '11, 13:31

Installed and used qutecom.
Suits my needs, only needed a (free) sip-account.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby wobo » May 20th, '11, 14:00

Yes, there are some suitable free alternatives, even some which do not use MSN nor Google. BUT: the essential criterium for such an application is not only the quality but in this case it is even more the number of people who will use it.

ALL of the people I may call have a Skype account and most of them have a Google Chat account. If I tell any of them to use , say, ekiga with me, they will definitely tell me that they will not install a special application just to call me when I also have a Skype account like all the others. So I think this possible alternative will need
- a "killer" app which is as easy to install, as high in quality (audio and video), and will run with the same number of different mass market hardware as Skype
- this killer app to be cross platform (runs on Windows, MacOS and *nix)
- a powerful and very active community pushing, advocating, spreading the application
- a long long long time
to come near the usable status where Skype and Google Chat are now. As far as I can see right now there is none in sight.

Yes, I do have an ekiga account but except for an occasional test based on curiosity I never found any of my contacts actually using it. I will give it a try with Mageia (will install it today and see if it works with audio and video) and of course I'm ready to accept test calls (will give my ekiga address later when I set it is up correctly).

EDIT: Looks like it works in Mageia. I called the test address and I heard the voice, video pic (of me) was displayed.
Downside: I could not test the microfone (which usually is the problematic part) and video was very slow in reaction, no match to the performance of the same machine with Skype.

So, if anybody wants to test, send me a mail in advance, my ekiga is wolfb@ekiga.net.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby juergen_harms » May 20th, '11, 21:04

Taking a step back, I think it is premature to invest in looking for an alternative. If Microsoft swallowed Skype, they certainly did it with a business case in mind - very probably for providing services to portable devices: non MS platforms such as Android and Apple systems. I consider it likely that Linux systems will not be left in the rain.

The basic problem is that its basic communication platform is proprietary and not open, and that interworking with compatible "newcomers" is as difficult as Skype certainly intended from the offset.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby macxi » Jul 10th, '11, 20:57

HI,

Has anyone tested the Linphone?

I knew yesterday that Linphone has a package for Mageia 1.
I installed today and it seems easy.

    - Linphone-3.3.2-2.mga1.i586
    linphone - Voice over IP Application​ 
    Linphone is web-phone with a GNOME2 interface. It uses open protocols such as SIP and RTP to make the communications.

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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby doktor5000 » Jul 11th, '11, 23:05

dubigrasu wrote:As Max said a Skype protocol compatible app will be nice, but it is unlikely for now. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol)

There was already work on an open source client for Skype, but Skype sued the developer, claiming DMCA violations:
http://skype-open-source.blogspot.com/


Some other VoIP programs not mentioned till now:

GNU Telephony
Jajah
Nimbuzz
aMSN
Ventrilo
Mumble
Blink
ZoIPer Classic
Qnext
X-Lite
Kiax <- this last one is just a GUI for asterisk

And additionaly to that, there is this list: http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Open+Source+VOIP+Software
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby macxi » Jul 12th, '11, 05:14

doktor5000 wrote:
dubigrasu wrote:As Max said a Skype protocol compatible app will be nice, but it is unlikely for now. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol)

There was already work on an open source client for Skype, but Skype sued the developer, claiming DMCA violations:
http://skype-open-source.blogspot.com/
Some other VoIP programs not mentioned till now:
GNU Telephony
Jajah
Nimbuzz
aMSN
Ventrilo
Mumble
Blink
ZoIPer Classic
Qnext
X-Lite
Kiax <- this last one is just a GUI for asterisk
And additionaly to that, there is this list: http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Open+Source+VOIP+Software


Doktor5000,

Thanks for the information. Now we have a very complete list. These software listed, I found in the software repository of Mageia 1:

1 - Ekiga - Internet fone (voip)
2 - Qutecom - Internet fone (voip)
3 - Linphone - Internet fone (voip)
4 - aMSN - Cliente msn (instant messenger with webcam)
5 - Mumble - Mumble - is an open source voice communication application that features a customizable in game overlay, application skins, conversation recording, and advanced voice activity detection.

The kopete has the option to communicate by voice and webcam.
Kopete could be compared with amsn?
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby zugunder » Jul 13th, '11, 19:29

macxi wrote:HI,
Has anyone tested the Linphone?


I am going to give it a try. Just need a reserve line in case Skype has problems (again).
Tried Ekiga... well, in the worst case it will go, but they have severe problems with Win installations, which is OK with me :mrgreen: , but not with some of my friends.

Would anyone recommend any reliable free SIP-account service? Linphone offers its own, but they say they have slightly more than 6000 accounts, which is surprisingly few in my opinion.
And BTW, they have a Win client as well...
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby isadora » Jul 13th, '11, 20:12

Using iptel.org myself, just simple registration and does what it promises.
http://www.iptel.org/
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby wobo » Jul 13th, '11, 22:00

As I understand from their website it only provides a service, not an application like Skype.
So, you still need an application like ekiga or jitsy to use iptel.org
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby zugunder » Jul 15th, '11, 01:15

wobo wrote:As I understand from their website it only provides a service, not an application like Skype.
So, you still need an application like ekiga or jitsy to use iptel.org

Yes, I understand that, thank you.
BTW, has anyone tried Jitsi? It looks promising and it is cross-platform, but it is Java... Isn't it slow and resource-consuming?

Linphone, X-Lite and (somewhat) Qutecom, like Ekiga, don't support encryption...
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby isadora » Jul 15th, '11, 13:33

Qutecom: Qutecom can encrypt calls using the AES 128-bits encryption system and Diffie-Hellman key exchange.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby zugunder » Jul 15th, '11, 20:08

isadora wrote:
Qutecom: Qutecom can encrypt calls using the AES 128-bits encryption system and Diffie-Hellman key exchange.


Yes, but:
QuteCom supports SRTP http://srtp.sourceforge.net/srtp.html with Everbee key exchange (not standardised).

which may cause certain compatibility issues, I guess.
I am not sure that Everbee and D-H are the same...
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby alTor » Dec 2nd, '11, 15:25

I use TrueConf Online for about half a year. Personal video calls are free. Visual communication between more than 2 people is not free, of course. Still, as for me it's a great alternative to Skype. You can read about it and download here http://trueconf.com/service/
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby dubigrasu » Jan 19th, '12, 16:13

1. High Quality Video – Video calls between users are now available in 640 x 480 resolution. As Brosix continues to advance and develop its unique enterprise and public instant messenger programs, we look forward to providing full high definition (HD) video, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
2. Improved Audio – Improved echo cancellation functionality to reduce surrounding sounds and echo. This feature dramatically improves audio quality.

Interesting, this is exactly where Brosix was lacking.
Promising.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby macxi » Dec 11th, '12, 21:17

thenabster wrote:This is a new video chat website that you should check out. It's call reflap and it's web based so you don't need to download any software. Also the calls you make the user doesn't need to be a reflap user. Most importantly, you can create a call address and let anyone that knows your call address to call you.
Reflap


Intersting, I tried using, but I could not, a warning appeared. Maybe it's because of flash player, I do not know.

    Click 'Try again' to allow P2P in order to broadcast
    Can't get past this screen? Allow P2P! Maybe your version of Flash Player is too old. To update Flash Player, click here.

Image

I'm using Mageia 2 with flash-player-plugin 11.2.202.251-1.mga2.nonfree
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby doktor5000 » Dec 11th, '12, 21:27

@macxi: In case you didn't notice, that was a spam post which i've reported and moved into the internal wastedump ;)
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby juergen_harms » Dec 11th, '12, 21:57

> that was a spam post

Spam with respect to forum rules certainly, but probably also at a general level. I did some googling: found much similar publicity noise of this "we are new and pretty, just give us a try" style, but no solid information to objectively assess the value of "their product", neither in their web site nor any constructive user reactions. The only somewhat solid information I found is that they appear to be canada-based.
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby dbg » Dec 11th, '12, 22:44

I can't believe no one has mentioned using Google Talk plugin inside Firefox or Chrome for video chat/conferencing. If you and the people you are communicating with have gmail accounts, this works well with Mageia. Just install one of the RPMs from http://www.google.com/talk/
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Re: Skype Alternatives ?

Postby macxi » Dec 11th, '12, 23:10

doktor5000, juergen_harms, dbg

thanks for the quick reply :)
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