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Alternatives to Skype

Taking Action after the discussions during the International Seminar for Free Media

quarta-feira 29 de janeiro de 2014, por Christian Schroeder,

During the Seminar International Seminar for Free Media the appropriation of communication technologies through social movements was discused. Instead of relying on commercial platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Youtube or Skype media activists should promote and help to further develop alternative software. As many movements use Skype for there meetings I want to make the proposal to use Ekiga instead. Find further information on why not using Skype, how to install Ekiga and how to use it in this article.

Why not using Skype?

Skype is a proprietary Voice-over-IP program that uses a proprietary protocol. Skype is seducing free software users into using proprietary software, often two users at a time. Using proprietary phone software means that we can’t be sure who is listening in, because we can’t see the code.
The Chinese government, for example, was found to have been spying on Skype conversations already, and they are probably not the only ones. We do not want to encourage the creation of a Skype compatible client, but instead, we want to encourage you to create, contribute to, or promote the use of free software replacements for Skype, such as Ekiga, and to encourage adoption and use of free VoIP, video, and chat protocols such as SIP and XMPP/Jingle. (Citation from Free Software Foundation)

Ekiga as an alternative to Skype:


Ekiga (formely known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messenger application over the Internet.

It supports HD sound quality and video up to DVD size and quality.

It is interoperable with many other standard compliant softwares, hardwares and service providers as it uses both the major telephony standards (SIP and H.323) (Citation from Ekiga Homepage)

How to install it (in Windows)? (it will take you 10 minutes)

If you use Linux please check this Wiki for more information.

  1. download the programm from Ekiga
  2. start the setup file (GTK2 will be installed during the process)
  3. start Ekiga (you must give Ekiga the right data if you use firewall)
  4. The Ekiga Configuration Assistant will start.
  5. Choose your Name for the phone calls
  6. you will be informed that you need a SIP account and that you can get one by clicking on "get an Ekiga.net SIP account"
  7. A browser window pops up. Click on get a free SIP-Address (if you cannot find it click here)
  8. fill out the form.
  9. You will see now the page "Thank you for choosing Ekiga.net!" go back to the programm and put your username and password.
  10. if you do not need to do calls to regular phone choose "I do not want to sign up for the Ekiga Call Out Service" and click forward.
  11. choose a connection type (usually you will have DSL)
  12. choose Audio devices (usually you can leave it and just click on forward)
  13. Video Input Devices (usually you can leave it and just click on forward)
  14. Configuration Complete (click on apply)

And how to use it?

If you want to add a contact. Click on Chat -> Add contact. You will need the sip-adress. Yours will be send to you be E-Mail after the registration.

The rest is very simple and self-explaining. If you need further information watch the video...
Or vistit the Ekiga Homepage.