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Cross-Platform Video Chat For Linux? 338

Ethan1701 writes "Some of my friends are using iChat to stay in touch and gap the distance of the Atlantic. I'm feeling left out on my Fedora Gnome based desktop. Is there a good program for Gnome that provides cross-platform instant messaging and video chat? This rules out Skype and aMSN, as well as any other app that's specific for the ICQ/AOL Network. Kopete is for KDE. Pidgin doesn't intend to develop video-chat, I haven't found a plugin for it that provides video, and Gaim-vv hasn't been developed in over two years and is so out of date that it's still going by Gaim and not Pidgin. Do Slashdot readers have an application that meets these needs? Maybe even one that surpasses iChat?"
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Cross-Platform Video Chat For Linux?

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  • Ekiga (Score:5, Informative)

    by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:30PM (#24971019) Homepage Journal []

    Ekiga seems to do what you want, it has pretty good support for various kinds of webcams in Linux.

    • Re:Ekiga (Score:5, Informative)

      by cs668 ( 89484 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:57PM (#24971455)

      I've had good luck with Ekiga on Linux, but my friends that use windows have stability problems with it.

      It will stop sending audio, and after one call can not make anymore without the system being restarted( this is on Vista though so who knows the cause ).

      • Re:Ekiga (Score:5, Informative)

        by Soruk ( 225361 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:06PM (#24971617) Homepage

        I'll second this. While I've found Ekiga in Linux to be reliable, friends who have used the Windows version (in WinXP) have suddenly found themselves transmitting high-pitched loud squeaks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And why would your friends with windows be using ekiga? gnome-meeting (now ekiga) always used to call directly into windows netmeeting. they don't need ekiga

      • Re:Ekiga (Score:5, Informative)

        by shtrom ( 1251560 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:51AM (#24974163) Homepage

        I've had good luck with Ekiga on Linux, but my friends that use windows have stability problems with it.

        The thing is that Ekiga is an SIP client, so there is no need for the other party to be using the same program (yay for standards-based interop!).

        Ekiga works well for me under Linux, and there is a vast choice of (free as in beer) SIP clients for Windows.

        It is worth to note that can provide SIP account (and STUN server) for free.

        No reason not to go for it, then (;

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      If it wasn't that he ask for the impossible with his cross platform requirements as well, rendering amsn, skype, gizmo, ekiga, kopete (don't ask me why but obviously it did), x-lite and probably a couple of other clients out of the question (I think I knew one for Gnome to but I can't remember the name.)

      Personally I'd be happy enough if there was one client doing SIP + XMPP + jingle VoIP and webcam.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Daengbo ( 523424 )
        Clients supporting Jingle:
        • Coccinella
        • Google Talk
        • Miranda IM (using the JGTalk plugin and mediastreamer2)
        • Spark (windows version only)
        • Kopete (since 0.12)
        • FreeSWITCH
        • Jabbin (2.0 beta2)
        • Psi (experimental support in 0.11)
        • Gajim (experimental support)
        • Telepathy Gabble
        • Freetalk (experimental support in 1.90)
        • GTalk2VoIP Publicly open Jingle-to-SIP gateway, allows Google Talk and other Jingle based client to make and receive SIP calls.
        • Talkonaut Free mobile VoIP (mVoIP) software for Symbian and Windows Mobile sm
      • Re:Ekiga (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:49AM (#24974151) Homepage Journal
        The whole question is incomplete and flawed. What chat network/protocol does he want to use? What is wrong with Kopete? Why does he rule out aMSN, SKype etc. Has he tried Qute (what used to be Wengophone). Ekiga? GYachi?

        Some of these (Ekiga at least), use open protocols that allow interoperation with people using different clients on other platforms, some are cross-platform themselves (Ekiga, Skype), some use propreitray protocols to allow inter-operation (aMSN, GYachi).

        If you ask a question, state what the actual problem is!

    • Re:Ekiga (Score:5, Informative)

      by Warbothong ( 905464 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:13PM (#24971709) Homepage

      Gnome seems to be adopting Empathy ( [] ) as their default messaging application (they used to use Gossip). Empathy includes voice and video support (although I've never got it to work myself), so it seems unclear at the moment if Ekiga will remain part of Gnome.

      As a side note, I've never got Ekiga to work either, but this is something to do with NAT traversal which doesn't seem to work even after forwarding the ports given in the documentation.

  • Patience (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:31PM (#24971029) Homepage Journal

    Pidgin doesn't intend to develop video-chat []

    "Making good progress: it works"

    So its coming along.

    • Voice and Video also supposedly worked when it was Gaim about 4 years ago.

      • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *

        A lot of shit has changed in 4 years dude. The protocols, codecs and chat networks are all different.

        • Re:Patience (Score:5, Informative)

          by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:41PM (#24971193) Homepage Journal

          4 years ago, it mostly worked. Gaim said merge the fork back in, and we'll finish it. Except I watched SVN and the whole branch was dusty and ignored for years, despite being the most requested feature. One could argue that the fork accomplished what Gaim couldn't, and merging the fork back in killed it.

          It is a GSOC student who is putting the feature in now, not the core Gaim/Pidgin devs, which says something. Years later, a student did it part time over the summer, where as a large team couldn't begin to touch it for years.

          • Re:Patience (Score:4, Insightful)

            by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:45PM (#24971265) Homepage Journal

            Well, personally, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot barge pole. Getting text to work with these stupid undocumented protocols is hard enough. I imagine getting video to work is pulling your hair out work.

          • The bigger issue is that there are many people (myself included), who don't want voice or video in Pidgin. I MIGHT be more receptive to them if they were completely modular, independent plugins so that I don't have to load them. But I love Pidgin for its simplicity, lightness, and stability. Adding video/voice would likely harm those items.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SimGuy ( 611829 )

            The fork was started by contributors to Gaim. Many of them lost interest and time in maintaining the fork, which is why it was encouraged that the improvements get merged back into Gaim so that a larger pool of developers could work on them. That merge never happened and the code bitrotted because there was no agreement that it was what we wanted it to be.

            The biggest problem had been deciding what software to use for the backend, and ultimately gstreamer with farsight has been chosen.

            The version of Gaim-v

    • I'm hoping that after next year's GSOC, it will work completely and have a decent UI. The problem is that the pidgin developers are pretty busy fixing bugs and changes in protocols and don't care for additional features. I can see their point of view, and it seems like any users who would have the ability to code something like this don't want it, and the ones that want it can't code VV. Personally, I don't care for it but it will be nice to have a lot of the bitching silenced.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:33PM (#24971071)
    I think there is a text chat plug-in for lynx.
  • Skype (Score:5, Informative)

    by Deltaspectre ( 796409 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:35PM (#24971099)

    It's cross platform and video chat definitely works, I don't see the submitters problem with it.

    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:37PM (#24971137) Homepage Journal

      Skype 1 doesn't do Video on Linux, but I'm pretty sure it works with Skype 2 and above on Linux.

      Also Kopete is cross-platform these days with binaries on Solaris, BSD, Mac, Windows and Linux.

      • by fbjon ( 692006 )
        Is there any reason to use Skype 1 then? None that I know of... which means Skype is a good contender.
      • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

        by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:50PM (#24971355) Homepage Journal

        but I'm pretty sure it works with Skype 2 and above on Linux

        Yeah, I think the submitter could have skipped Ask Slashdot if he had RTFW. I use Skype to video chat with a Mac, an n810, and my daughter's eeePC (pink, of course).

        If you want to dismiss Skype on the grounds that they're rabidly anti-GPL, fine, but that wasn't a requirement.

      • Re:Skype (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StrategicIrony ( 1183007 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:57PM (#24971445)

        Skype works fine in Linux, with Video.

        I use it all the time (with video) on my Acer Aspire One (similar to the Asus EEE) with Linpus Linux (which is a Fedora deriverative running XFCE).

        I have also used it in Ubuntu and Kubuntu with video, without problems.

        I'm still not sure the OP's gripe with Skype.

      • Also Kopete is cross-platform these days with binaries on Solaris, BSD, Mac, Windows and Linux.

        So what's the problem with using Kopete in GNOME again?

        "Kopete is for KDE" is like saying "Firefox is for GNOME". To be fair, Firefox isn't as tied to GNOME, and could be ported to Qt, whereas Kopete almost certainly links in KDElibs -- but that's no reason you can't use it, unless you're severely low on RAM.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Enderandrew ( 866215 )

          Actually Nokia is currently working on a QT port of Firefox. And you can use Kopete in GNOME as you mentioned.

      • Kopete is also not KDE-only on Linux... yes, you do need to install some of the KDE libraries, but I'm using it under XFCE for the simple reason that Pidgin is not to my liking.

    • Re:Skype (Score:4, Informative)

      by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:06PM (#24971613)
      Skype *audio* doesn't work here (Debian, skype 2). Not to mention that it seems to use a brain-dead chat protocol the loses messages into the aether for extended periods (hours, sometimes, and I've seen longer). I can fully understand the OP's reluctance to use it.
    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:10PM (#24971661) Homepage

      It's also compatible with nothing else, all code are unknown and it's proprietary like shit. Also you will have no idea what happens on the network and your communications is sent over P2P.

      Greeeeat!!! / Tony.

      • by Harik ( 4023 )

        except you have no idea what P2P means in this case.

        It doesn't mean "flung out in the internet to a thousand hosts who redirect it to the recipient.". It means you (a peer) communicate directly with your friend (also a peer). Peer to Peer. P2P. Get it?

        IRC "DCC Send" is a P2P protocol.

        And the upside of using skype is they've done a lot of work towards getting around NAT problems, including using their own servers as a relay / third party initiator of UDP traffic to get the packets flowing through your ga

    • It's not GNOME (Score:3, Informative)

      by pavon ( 30274 )

      That was the submitters problem with it, along with kopete, which also works well. Stupid I know.

    • I can't speak for the submitter, but Skype is not an open protocol, which disqualifies it for me. I would go with H.323 or SIP, both of which are supported by Ekiga.

      • Re:Skype (Score:4, Insightful)

        by moro_666 ( 414422 ) <kulminaator&gmail,com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:37AM (#24974069) Homepage

        Please be kind enough and show us something that has an open protocol, works as p2p, not proprietary, has 12 million people online and is not being blocked/traffic shaped by your ISP ?

          Just maybe, i mean really, just maybe, there is a reason why skype doesn't want everyone on their cake party ?

          You also have the option to check out msn's protocol which horribly abused by bots to spread scam and malware, or take a peek at most open source chat clients who's userbase is comparable with the number of students in some major college.

          I just see why skype does things the way it does, i'm not saying that it's 100% right, but it is one of the best options out there today.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )

          ``Please be kind enough and show us something that has an open protocol, works as p2p, not proprietary, has 12 million people online and is not being blocked/traffic shaped by your ISP ?''

          Why all those requirements? I thought we were talking about video chat and not leaving people out. The best way I know to accomplish that is to use an open protocol that does video chat. The requirement for doing video chat should be obvious. The requirement for openness is so that nobody is left out. Because that's what c

  • by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:42PM (#24971209) Homepage

    with at least some cameras. I got some $25 walmart webcam and it works on Skype with my cheapo linux laptop. If the submitter is really hankering for 'open source' and 'practical' and 'easy to use', then he/she is SOL - there's no good options that satisfy all those requirements.

  • Empathy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tester ( 591 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:42PM (#24971215) Homepage

    Empathy has video chat using jingle, it is compatible with Google Talk on windows (if you use Jabber). And it uses Telepathy, so it supports many many protocols. That said, Voice/Video are currently only supported for Jabber and SIP, there is ongoing work to make it work with MSN too.

    The Pidgin-vv work is actually very much alive and you should see a release soon.

  • Empathy (Score:4, Informative)

    by pipegeek ( 624626 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:43PM (#24971223)
    Empathy IM is worth mentioning. It's pretty basic right now, but it's been incorporated into the Gnome project and is developing rapidly. Check it out [].
  • Skype (Score:5, Informative)

    by StrategicIrony ( 1183007 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:44PM (#24971245)

    I don't understand.

    I'm in Skype right now on my Fedora/KFCE laptop, talking with a friend in the Ukraine who is using Kubuntu and I just got off a conference with a few people in our office in California who use MacOSX and Windows Vista.

    What am I missing about Skype that makes it unusable?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The AIM part. The guy is interested mostly in IM video chat, not Skype or Ekiga SIP.

    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:06PM (#24971615) [] A lot of issues.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aliquis ( 678370 ) []

      It's not compatible with anything else or uses some standard for anything, it has an encrypted binary of which the code is unknown, it uses encrypted network connections so you don't know what's going on there either, it sends your data around using P2P.

      Imho it's the worst kind of IM client there is, except it works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 )

        Imho it's the worst kind of IM client there is, except it works.

        And this is precisely what's annoying with people that put principle ahead of practicality. Software is instructions for a computer to do a useful task, not a platform for grand theoretical bullshit. It exists precisely for the purpose of working. If it doesn't work for the intended purpose (e.g. DRM-encumbered nonsense), it's not useful software. If it does work, I give less than a shit about the other attributes. /end{flamebait}

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      This is probably a "Dorothy Dix" question from somebody involved in a gnome video conferencing project. I can not think of any other reason why gnome is a requirement, a lot of things can be skinned to look similar from other graphical toolkits.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just because it uses the KDE libraries doesn't mean you can't run it in Gnome (provided you have the KDE libraries)

    • My thoughts exactly. On most of the ubuntu boxes I use, it just doesn't seem to matter if an application is designed for KDE, Gnome, or something completely different: they just work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CSMatt ( 1175471 )

      While non-KDE Qt programs themselves load just as fast as their GTK+ counterparts, KDE libraries tend to take about 7-10 seconds to load in GNOME. To make matters worse, most of the time there is no visible activity while loading takes place, making it look like the program never launched.

  • by ezyzeke ( 1355059 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:47PM (#24971295)
    Mercury messenger is java based (and thus cross-platform) and uses MSN messenger service including webcam chat (I'm not sure about audio-only chat). I use it in Mac OS X and works quite decently, and it is available in with package installer for Mac OS X, deb (Debian/Ubuntu) and rpm (Fedora/Redhat/many Others), and it is also available as tgz. I'm not sure if it is open source, though. List of features (from their website): * Sign in with multiple accounts, Fast file transfering, Simultaneous sending & receiving webcam, Offline messaging, Extensive event notifications, User defined event actions, Single window (tabbed) conversations, Customizable contact list, Customizable message views, Custom status icons, Custom emoticons, Resource saving (Webcam streams, Display pictures, Emoticons), HTTP Proxy, Yahoo contacts, Audio/Video conference, Multi OS, Runs from USB stick, Language support Website: []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:49PM (#24971337)

    Despite the fact you said "this rules out Skype", and asserted the KDE applications won't work for you, in fact, both Skype and KDE applications will run fine under Gnome.

    I personally use Gkype under Gnome with zero problems, although I've only played with the video-conferencing features and not used them in earnest.

  • by hxftw ( 996114 )
    Use Kopete anyways? It won't kill you. Loading the libraries for both UI tool kits wont make your computer explode.
  • Feeling left out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:53PM (#24971403)
    "I'm feeling left out"

    Congratulations, you've just comprehended the whole of Apple's advertising strategy. :-)
  • Kopete is for KDE. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:59PM (#24971515) Homepage

    So what? It will work fine (though I don't know that it will do waht you want). It just won't match the rest of your desktop. With few exceptions KDE applications work fine on a Gnome "desktop" and vice-versa.

  • [] Works well for me. Cross platform and works well for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I tried openwengo, but you can't register an account anymore or am I missing something? When I try to do so, it says that this service is temporarily unavailable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vinsci ( 537958 )
        Switch to QuteCom [], which is based on OpenWengo / WengoPhone. The long-awaited QuteCom 2.2 RC1 is now available.
  • by v1 ( 525388 )

    FYI you may want to look at xmeeting type things. xmeeting is for windows and os x, but it's h.323, and is compatible with other h.323 video systems. It works great with polycoms for example. (ichat I hear is also h.323 but isn't cross-compatible for god-knows-what-reason) There's gotta be an h.323 compatible something for linux.

    Note that you will lose some of the frills like buddy lists, text chat, etc, but you do sometimes get new toys... with xmeeting for example, you can aim/zoom the remote polycom.

  • Seconding Tokbox.

    Use it through

  • i'm guessing it's not the first time given he is using a linux desktop.
  • You can Get a Mac. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:18PM (#24971783)

    There is always an option of Getting a Mac. Sometimes sticking to your guns on some moral high ground has a cost as well. But depending on the technical level of your friends having them run an App so you can join in too may not work. As they may not use it. THey may be using iChat for AIM talking then they need to switch to a different app Which may not be as nice as iChat to talk to you. Will probably just become you doing a text chat while the others are using iChat for video. The more people you convince to use a different app the harder it gets.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      In that case isn't it just much smarter to install Windows on the computer he already have if anything?

      Also iChat sucks balls, it looks like trash and don't support MSN at all so who cares if it does AIM video? Over here in Sweden no one seems to use ICQ or AIM longer and everyone use MSN and Skype. So I use Adium until I find an application which does SIP + XMPP with jingle webcam+voip. If I would use iChat I would have to run MSN over XMPP transport and try to convince everyone to install aim for webcam.

  • GYachI (Score:2, Informative)

    by zentagonist ( 944342 )
    If you have a Yahoo account or aren't opposed to getting one, you could give GYachI a try ... it looks like it hasn't been worked on in almost two years, but video messaging works pretty well []
  • Gizmo (Score:2, Informative)

    by johnkzin ( 917611 )

    Is there a reason you haven't looked into Gizmo? []

    Linux, Mac, Windows

    Has video conferencing. Though, I do have to honestly say I don't know if it works on Linux (I hear other people raving about Gizmo, and its video conf. abilities, and they're linux users, so I assumed... so sorry if I'm leading you off on a wild goose chase).

  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.utex a s . e du> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:54PM (#24972305) Homepage

    Step 1: Run Kopete.

    Glad I could help. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  • Meebo (Score:5, Informative)

    by phoebe ( 196531 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @09:37PM (#24972731)
    For that Web 2.0 glamour, runs the popular IM services on a webpage and supports video chat via Adobe Flash and v4l/v4l2 support. []
  • by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @01:32AM (#24974387)
    It seems most people seem to ignore the fact that the submitter wants something AOL IM specific.. I can understand that, but haven't found anything like that.. The easy solution (ignoring the parameters like everyone else).. would be for the Windows side to use MSN Messenger, and the Linux side to use aMsn.. as MSN is a no brainer for the windows users, and aMsn supports webcams.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.