I don’t want to use Skype because it’s proprietary.

I’m looking for an alternative that

  • is Free/Libre (FLOSS),
  • is available cross-platform * (at least: GNU/Linux, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows),
  • offers audio chat with another user, and
  • offers video chat with another user.

Not required: text chat, multi-user chat.

(* If there is a protocol that works with different clients, such a client doesn’t have to be available cross-platform, if there is at least one client for each OS that fullfils the other requirements.)


4 Answers 4


Ekiga is the free alternative recommended by Richard Stallman in his email signature. Ekiga:

  • is Free/Libre (FLOSS),
  • is available on GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows (not on Mac OS, but it's compatible with many Mac OS applications),
  • offers audio chat with another user,
  • offers video chat with another user.

More features:

  • GUI
  • Free Instant Messaging through the internet with Presence support
  • Audio (and video) calls to landlines and cell phones with support to the cheapest service providers
  • High Definition Sound (wideband) and Video Quality up to DVD quality (high framerate, state of the art quality codec and frame size)
  • Free of choice of the service provider
  • SMS to cell phones if the service provider supports it (like the default provider)
  • Standard Telephony features support like Call Hold, Call Transfer, Call Forwarding, DTMF
  • Remote and Local Address Book support: Remote Address Book support with authentification using the standard LDAP technology, Local Address support in Gnome (Evolution)
  • Wide interoperability: Ekiga use the main deployed stantards for telephony protocols (SIP and H.323) and has been tested with a wide range of softphones, hardphones, PBX and service providers

enter image description here

  • It require IP PBX (eg Asterisk or Freeswitch) to work?
    – mmv-ru
    Jun 29, 2018 at 17:44
  • Ekiga is no longer developed, unfortunately. Feb 4, 2021 at 22:09

Current Firefox, Opera and Chrome have WebRTC build in (no plugin) that does that. You need to arrange a meeting point (like this https://apprtc.appspot.com ) with a common identifier (e.G. on apprtc you get redirected to an individual url and must pass this url to your chat partner) and can start chatting instantly.

WebRTC is the framework below the chatting that allows other useful things (like file transfer, playing games, using a white board etc.) but you will have to search a meeting point that implements one of those (I have no experience with them).

If you need things like a contact list then WebRTC won't do it for you.


Jitsi is a solid option. It's free and licensed under LGPL. It's Java based so it will run on Windows, Linux, and Macs. It supports a number of different protocols as well. It offers both audio and video chat with encryption.

Main program window video chat conference

  • Doesn't work on KDE 5 :-(.
    – monnef
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:27


Recently due to all the "NSA is dropping eaves everywhere" ruckus I came across a reddit or Ycombinator post that mentioned a free, secure, open-source alternative to skype called Tox (http://tox.im/). From their website, they say that "Tox is built on a 'privacy goes first' agenda" so this is good. It's open source too.

Update: I installed Tox, install is pretty smooth, an it's pretty easy to use. The only drawback is it's still on "alpha" so not a lot (if any) of your contacts will be on tox, they have to install it. You have share Tox IDs in order to communicate, but it seems to work quite well. It has a "hacker" type of feel to it right now, but they really made it quite simple to use. You can IM, make calls or "videochat" with your other contacts. Their website has binaries/installers for Windows, OSX and Linux.

Since it's open source -- you can see the source code at https://github.com/irungentoo/ProjectTox-Core And also join their IRC channel for more info ircs://irc.freenode.net/tox


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