With the changes in ownership happening with Skype, a number of people are asking about the alternatives out there. This isn’t to say that suddenly we’re going to see Skype disappear from the Linux platform. That will happen slowly and naturally thanks to the buyout. Instead, I think it’s more practical to accept that Skype is dead for Linux users. It’s time to find another way to video chat with something others already use as well.
As much as it pains me to say, I’ve found the Google Chat experience for all three platforms to be actually pretty darned good. It will support any video camera supported by your OS in Flash, works great with your default sound system, plus it’s really simple to use. The only downside I found with this type of alternative is that you cannot simply install this to Prism and hope to create a simple executable app. Video doesn’t work this way. On the plus side, it’s cross platform and most people have Google accounts these days.
Photo by Matt Hartley
Ekiga is a nice little VoIP app I want to love. It does everything Skype can do, but provides you with more choices over the call-out / call-in networks. Available for both Windows and Linux, Ekiga is a great application that lends itself well to the end user. The big downside I found was the lack of being able to chat with OS X using friends. That’s right, you would have to find some dated software, compatible with Ekiga. It’s out there, but all of it is either dead or horribly out of date.
Instant messenger client
I’m refraining from highlighting any specific instant messenger client as there are so many that work cross platform. Basically, any IM client that works well with video and audio chat is a good alternative to Skype. If you simply must have one IM client to hang your hat on, I’d point to Jitsi. Still very much a beta product, Jitsi is going to be a very solid application for users looking to communicate easily across the different platforms.