The news today is that Microsoft
seem to be in the process of buying has bought Skype for something around $8.5 billion.
So what will happen to Linux support for Skype ? No one knows it at the moment but I can imagine nothing too good, in the best scenario, that I can imagine at the moment, the new Skype servers are still open to Linux clients, but the support on our operating system is left back and over some time using Skype on Linux become almost impossible.
But perhaps it’s better to talk to something else…what do you know about XMPP/Jingle ?
From the official site:
“In essence, Jingle provides a way for Jabber clients to set up, manage, and tear down multimedia sessions. Such sessions can support a wide range of application types (such as voice chat, video chat, and file transfer) and use a wide range of media transport methods (such as TCP, UDP, RTP, or even in-band XMPP itself). The signalling to establish a Jingle session is sent over XMPP, and typically the media is sent directly peer-to-peer or through a media relay. Jingle provides a pluggable framework for both application types and media transports; in the case of voice and video chat, a Jingle negotiation usually results in use of the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) as the media transport and thus is compatible with existing multimedia technologies such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Furthermore, the semantics of Jingle signalling was designed to be consistent with both SIP and the Session Description Protocol (SDP), thus making it straightforward to provide signalling gateways between XMPP networks and SIP networks.”
This sound really cool to me and a great option for the GNU/Linux world, but how well this works in the real life ?
The libjingle library, used by Google Talk to implement Jingle, has been released to the public under a BSD license. However, the version of the protocol implemented in libjingle differs from that published by the XMPP Standards Foundation, but google talk is available only for Windows and so it’s not so interesting for the Linux world.
But on the XMPP/Jingle page these are listed as clients that support the protocol :
In the past I’ve used PSI and Gajim and now I’m using Pidgin, and done some tests with telepathy but just for instant messaging.
If these client really support fully the XMPP/Jingle protocol we could have a real alternative to Skype.
For what i’ve found on Pidgin site:
- Pidgin does support voice and video, but this is limited to Unix-like platforms and the XMPP protocol (including GoogleTalk).
- Pidgin support libjingle, both GMail and GTalk implementations should work.
- Currently, Pidgin uses the command-line gstreamer-properties program to configure the microphone/webcam. This is only available on GNOME-based systems. On other systems, Pidgin makes its best guess as to which device to use. A plugin is planned to support this functionality on other systems
And this is about Empathy/Telepathy
- Empathy should be compatible with any client which implement Jingle and supports ICE and the corresponding XEPs properly.
- Empathy support audio and video chat with Google Talk on the Gtalk protocol with someone using Gmail’s video chat feature, Empathy or Pidgin
Taking a quick look in the support forum show that these technology are not so mature and there still some issue in the setup of these clients. But for once i’m optimist and i see the Skype operations as a new impulse in the implementation of open source technologies.
There is Google Voice e Video chat that works fine on Linux. But it’s closed source, in theory should be used only in the USA and work only if both users have this client and a gmail account: