Jun 022011

EkigaIn a former article I’ve talked about the XMPP:Jingle protocol to find a good replacement for Skype.
Some people asked me about Ekiga, is this a good software or not ? and how you can use it ?

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).

About SIP

The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signalling protocol used for establishing sessions in an IP network. A session could be a simple two-way telephone call or it could be a collaborative multi-media conference session. The ability to establish these sessions means that a host of innovative services become possible, such as voice-enriched e-commerce, web page click-to-dial, Instant Messaging with buddy lists, and IP Centrex services.

To get a free SIP account @ekiga.net you can register your information here


Ekiga is available in most Linux distributions so just use your favorite package manager to install it, on my Ubuntu 11.04 I’ve the 3.2.7 version.

To test your setup simply get a free account at Ekiga.net and call the echo test at sip:[email protected] If you can hear and see yourself back, then your setup is working.

Ekiga is also available for Windows and Mac.Ekiga Configuration Assistant

Account setup

Setup of Ekiga is trivial, on the first run you’ll be presented with a configuration assistant that will show you 8 windows to set up your name/surname, username and password, if you want also a numeric ID, your connection type and the audio/video setup.

You can also check this short video, it’s an older release but it’s not so different.


I think that the Skype, Microsoft affair should teach us a lesson, never use proprietary protocol/format, also if they are good or seem the best options. SIP it’s an open protocol and Ekiga it’s one of the many clients available, on Linux there are many other good clients like Empathy and Linphone, so this assure that there will always be a good client available as open source software.

And now the bad news,

Meanwhile Windows, MacOS and all mobile customers are supported there is not a real reason why the most of the users may leave Skype, so we, Linux users will have to look for an alternative, but an alternative to connect to the Skype network, and not an alternative Network, or we’ll end up alone in that network.


Sip protocol on wikipedia

How to configure Ekiga to work with Asterisk 1

Microsoft acquires skype, alternatives for Linux users of Skype 1

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  9 Responses to “Ekiga and SIP to replace Skype”

  1. This still placed reliance on centralized servers. We need a P2P solution – placing individuals in direct contact without any need for a central switchboard system. Less like Skype, more like bittorrent.

  2. The problem with these alternatives is that none of them have the features that I rely on Skype for–which are desktop sharing, group chat, and multi-platform compatibility.

  3. This is a fantastic example of Linux being caught with its pants down, Don’t blame Microsoft or skype, blame Linux!

  4. Ekiga is a one big useless junk. I have tried to use it several times and it never really was working. I could not log in or the voice quality was awful, the video was never working.

    I’m using Jabber/XMPP clients now. This is a real alternative to Skype. It has email-like philosophy of addresses (no central server just [email protected]). It is ready for all the platforms. Even the google talk uses this protocol (and you can run it’s client embedded on a web page) so it’s easy to convince someone already having google account to call you at [email protected] or whatever address you would have.

  5. Thank you very much for the link back

  6. This will not succeed unless this product can reach as extensively as Skype. Microsoft’s new toy is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, telephones, TVs and dedicated terminals. That reach is important. You cannot wall yourself into a Linux only alternative when those you need to chat with are on a different system. That’s been one of Skype’s greatest successes. None of us like M$ or their business behaviour but Skype will remain the dominant for a while unless a free cross-platform brand can build up in the minds not of us computer users but Jo Public who just doesn’t care.

  7. I agree with you. I am an avid supporter of Open Source, but ONLY Skype provides the best voice quality I need to call both Skype users, phones and quality for video calls – on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iPhones, TV etc.

    I do know that Skype is losing popularity to Whatsapp because it is now considered a HASSLE to set up a Skype account just to text another person… so Linux coders could perhaps combine the ease of setting up an account P2P-style and the superb HD voice quality of Skype – both to other users AND telephones – plus make the client/app available on every imaginable platform and then you will have a Skype killer.

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