• Open source;
  • Cross-platform (at least Windows, Linux, OS X);
  • Text chatting, group chatting;
  • Encryption of messages;
  • Reliable eventual delivery of messages (including to offline contacts);
  • Sending files;
  • Skype-grade NAT traversal; bonus for IPv6 support;
  • Sent messages editing;
  • Searching in active chat and in chat history.

What can be used instead of proprietary Skype for text chatting?

Are there planned or alpha projects that explicitly (i.e. not like optional XEPs in XMPP) plan to do all the points above?

XMPP does all of the above well in theory, but not in practice (according to my experiments with various clients) and gives "design by community" feeling …

  • 5
    So if there were a specific cross-platform XMPP client that offers all these features, it would be a valid suggestion (as you could require all participants to use the same client, like it’s the case with Skype)?
    – unor
    Jun 23, 2014 at 19:13
  • For Android: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/q/1530/903 Jun 23, 2014 at 19:46
  • @unor, XMPP becomes valid if there whould be a client for each platform that satisfies all of the points, and all these clients are interoperable with each other for all points. /* BTW adding another point... */
    – Vi.
    Jun 24, 2014 at 1:59
  • @FranckDernoncourt, The list of points in that question does not really match this one.
    – Vi.
    Jun 24, 2014 at 2:01
  • Not all but it does contain encryption / group chat / sending photos+videos. Jun 24, 2014 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


Pidgin is an open-source multiplatform (Windows, Linux, MacOSX) chatting client supporting several protocols and including XMPP along with others. It also has plugins for OTP (One-Time Pads), GPG and other encryption methods as well as a Tor-based P2P messaging protocol. It will also allow to share images and files, size may be restricted though.

Comment on your requirements:

  • Open source
  • Cross-platform (Windows, Linux, OS X);
  • Text chatting, group chatting (depends on protocol, supports many);
  • Encryption of messages (through plugins: GPG, One-Time Pads, others);
  • Reliable eventual delivery of messages (Configuration option: Offline Message Emulation);
  • Sending files
  • Skype-grade NAT traversal; bonus for IPv6 support (depends on protocol, server and setup. Not confirmed.)
  • Sent messages editing (Not sure, maybe extendable through plugins)
  • Searching in active chat and in chat history (Not sure, maybe extendable through plugins, history logs visible and configurable)
  • 1
    Thanks for your answer, Miguel! Could you please edit it and point out how the other requirements are covered, e.g. reliable delivery, NAT traversal, edit of sent messages, search? Thanks!
    – Izzy
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:38
  • Can Pidgin to bundled with its plugins, to immediately provide all useful functions without the need of configuration for all users?
    – Vi.
    Sep 18, 2014 at 12:36
  • @Vi. Some plugins are usually bundled with the default installation but most of the plugins mentioned in the answer are Third-Party plugins and do not come bundled by default. If you wanted, you could create a package with everything bundled and configured. How to do that would depend on your target platform. Sep 18, 2014 at 13:32

Tox - new privacy/security conscious IM, video chat, and call client.

Reposting my answer to a similar question, here

Tox is:

  • open-source
  • free as in "free beer", no ads.
  • distributed, peer-to-peer
  • Cross-platform: Win, OS x, Linux
  • Fast File sharing
  • Group chat capable
  • Supports IPv6

Some features such as editing sent messages or searching active/sent messages I'm not sure are available (or even possible..? Never hear of editing sent messages...) are being developed! Updated answer per comments below.

  • There are already opened issues for message editing in Tox: 1 2 3 4.
    – Vi.
    Oct 23, 2014 at 21:55
  • @Vi. oh wow I never knew one could do this. I guess I don't use skype enough to know about that! Thanks for pointing that out though! Oct 24, 2014 at 4:37
  • The best editing I have seen is here, in StackExchange chat. It even has a revision history for each edited message. Basically, I see StackExchange's chat as a model for creating good chatting experience.
    – Vi.
    Oct 24, 2014 at 13:23
  • Tox seems to be defunct now.
    – drabsv
    Jan 12, 2018 at 19:40

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