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Free and Open Source alternatives to Skype VoIP

February 6, 2012 -- William
Last modified on April 2017
Duration: +- 15 minutes

There is no doubt that Skype is today the most popular VoIP software around. Thanks to the ease of installation and setup, the availability in several platforms and a lot of marketing, Skype was able to become the reference for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), video conferences, instant messages and computer-to-phone calls (softphone). The success of Skype caught the attention of big corporations and was acquired by Microsoft for the sum of 8,5 billion dollars (!). Most interestingly, it seems that Microsoft bought Skype to prevent other companies like Google, Yahoo or Facebook to compete on the VoIP market (see WIRED article Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion. Why, Exactly?). The price they paid for Skype does not seem to match the expected profit it actually represents...

Anyway, if you feel like you deserve something Free and Open Source to do the task, keep reading, this article will help you to replace Skype. In fact, there are many high-quality and low-cost alternatives out there that provide, not only equal, but better and cheaper services while respecting your privacy and freedom. Keep in mind that they are NOT Skype and they need you to get familiar with them before you can experience all the joys of FOSS telephony. Just grab a cup of your favourite beverage and get ready for testing some of these alternatives!

If you don't want to test options and just want to go directly down to business follow this video tutorial about Jitsi:

Download Jitsi

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Quick installation:

A – Download Jitsi and launch it
B – (Computer to computer) Go to the menu File > Create new account > XMPP > Create a new XMPP account
C - (computer to telephone) Register at Diamondcard.us if you want to call telephones
D – Go to File>Add new account>SIP to register your account from Diamondcard
E – On the main window, type an XMPP address of someone you know or type country-code-phone-number to call regular phones (and select the appropriate address you want to call from: XMPP or SIP).

To add more (existing) accounts, go to the menu: File > New account > SIP (or XMPP).

For more details, read the long version on the next page.

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Comments

Submitted by pablo (not verified) on

Very fine write up. Congratulations and much gratitude. If I may offer a suggestion, if you could illustrate the configuration of the SIP accounts and logging in, etc., for example, by including a screenshot, that would be helpful for people like me.

Submitted by William on
Thank you for the suggestion, I'll definitely do that!

Submitted by Cliff (not verified) on

Its about time there is a decent alternative to skype. If im honest I think that skype can be a bit laggy. I have been using Fring recently and it seems to be much smoother than Skype. I have never tried jitsi but I will give it a go!

Cheers
Cliff
www.intergroup.co.uk

I would not go for an open source alternative because security and quality of service is a primary concern for me. Hence, I would prefer using paid but quality service from WebEx, GoMeetNow, GotoMeeting, RHUB web conferencing servers etc. for all my online meeting needs.  

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