Encrypted Skype alternative

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Lemongrass38
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Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by Lemongrass38 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:14 pm

Hi everybody, I'm looking for a privacy-focused video chat program.

I know, there are many Skype alternative topics, but those some of them are a bit old, and I have a bit different standards for private chatting.

I'm looking for a program that fulfills the following requirements:

1. it's open source
2. it works on Linux Mint
3. there is no way to reset a forgotten password.

The 3rd requirement is meant to ensure that no one on Earth has the keys but me. This is the ultimate test for a privacy-focused program: if there is a way for me to recover lost passwords, then there is certainly some way for others too to get my password and data.

There are exceptions to the 3rd: password reset it acceptable if there is no way to recover any messages, files and video chats after the recovery. :D

So far I've tried these with the following problems:

Linphone - it could not establish internet connection (i've tried a few not-in-use ports but it couldn't connect)
Ring - there was no sound...
qTox - sound and video at the same time was problematic, it wasn't good until we opened audio and video settings, and we had network issues as well (router stopped working when we tried to use tox with UDP enabled, later I couldn't connect at all, maybe I have messed up something though)
Wire - there is a way to recover lost passwords.
HipChat - I couldn't install with the official Linux installation instructions.
Signal added to Chromium as app - no desktop video call.

I haven't done the ultimate test on Linphone and Ring, because it was not working. It seems there is a way to recover Wire passwords (I don't know whether I can recover messages too, I'll see it later).

I would like to use Tox, because it doesn't have a central server to register (so there's no way to recover anything), but qTox is not working for me... I haven't checked other clients yet.

Does anybody know a good program that meets these high standards? :) Thanks in advance. Not necessary, but I'd prefer the program to be independent from any great company.
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)

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MintBean
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by MintBean » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:33 pm

I don't know if it meets all your criteria, but stick BitTorrent Bleep on your 'to investigate' list.

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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by Habitual » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:57 pm

wickr

Just chat.

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bartszu
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by bartszu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:58 pm

Official Gnome VOIP and Video Chat client maybe ???

http://ekiga.org/

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bartszu
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by bartszu » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:10 am

But IMHO if you want almost absolute secrecy on VOIP.
Get Team Speak run as server and open your private channel.

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phd21
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by phd21 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 am

Hi "Lemongrass38",

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux Mint and its excellent forum !

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

It would help to know more about your system setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.

If your router does not have UDP enabled, then enable it. To see if your Linux Mint software firewall is causing any problems with some of these multimedia messaging programs, you can temporarily disable it (turn it off).

My favorite multimedia messaging application is "qTox" (QTox). I have been using it for awhile now and it works great even on my ancient underpowered computer. Keep in mind that a lot depends on how fast your Internet connection is between you and who you talk to, and the computer hardware you both use. My video card is horrible, so to get a decent video calling, I have to lower its resolution (size) to around 320x240 even though the webcam is 720p. I have used "qTox" to communicate with others around the world for text chatting and audio (phone call) and it works great, the video would work better with more powerful computer hardware.
Lemongrass38 wrote: So far I've tried these with the following problems:
Lemongrass38 wrote: Linphone - it could not establish internet connection (i've tried a few not-in-use ports but it couldn't connect)
Linphone v3.9.x - Supposed to be a great secure multimedia messaging SIP Voip application. I have had it installed for years, but have never had a chance to try it with anyone yet.

Note: You can see from the screen shots in the link below, that it is probably a good idea to add incoming firewall rules for the ports shown. Standard SIP port 5060 UDP and TCP, Audio (voice) RTP/UDP 7078, Video RTP/UDP 9078
http://linuxdaddy.com/blog/install-linphone-on-ubuntu/
To install this using the PPA method, open a console terminal, type in, or copy & paste, each line below one by one:
https://launchpad.net/~linphone/+archive/ubuntu/release

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linphone/release
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linphone

Recommended to install these as well:
sudo apt-get install linphone-plugin-x264 linphone-plugin-silk linphone-plugin-amr

Suggested to install these as well:
sudo apt-get install linphone-plugin-g729

Lemongrass38 wrote:Ring - there was no sound...
Ring is a new re-write of the SFLphone SIP-Voip application. I have read it works well. I have it installed as well, but again have never had a chance to try it.

How to Install Ring Soft phone on Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora, June 9, 2016
https://www.linuxbabe.com/softphone/ins ... ian-fedora

Ring – secure & open source alternative to Skype messenger, August 8, 2016
http://www.2daygeek.com/install-ring-so ... ora-mint/#

Ring website
https://ring.cx/en/download/gnu-linux

For Linux Mint 18 - Ubuntu 16.04
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_16.04/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"

*** No longer works on my Linux Mint 17.x system *** For Linux Mint 17.x - Ubuntu 14.04
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_14.04/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"

Then import the GPG signing key in order to verify package integrity.
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84

Enable Ubuntu’s universe repository.
sudo add-apt-repository universe

Update package list and install Ring.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

Lemongrass38 wrote:qTox - sound and video at the same time was problematic, it wasn't good until we opened audio and video settings, and we had network issues as well (router stopped working when we tried to use tox with UDP enabled, later I couldn't connect at all, maybe I have messed up something though)
Obviously, you (everyone) should check the audio video settings in any software to set that up correctly, although the defaults may work well. It sounds too me like you may have a problem with your router setup. No external software application like "qTox" could stop your hardware router from working? You might consider setting the router back to its defaults, if you made changes that you are unsure of. FYI: I just finished an audio voice call (phone, text chat, file transfer) with another "qTox" user on the other side of the world, and again it worked extremely well.
Lemongrass38 wrote:Wire - there is a way to recover lost passwords.
This was created by the same people who created the original Skype application and it is supposed to work well. Again, I have never tried it.
Wire, the Encrypted Chat App, Is Now Available for Linux, October 11, 2016
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/10/wire ... -available

Lemongrass38 wrote: I would like to use Tox, because it doesn't have a central server to register (so there's no way to recover anything), but qTox is not working for me... I haven't checked other clients yet.
There is another very good "Tox" client called "uTox" that is also available and is now being updated as well.



There is also "Jitsi" a secure multi-account messaging application with built-in OTR encryption. It is in the Synaptic Package Manager. You can use existing Google Hangout/Talk accounts, xmpp (jabber) accounts, SIP - Voip accounts, and many other messaging server accounts, etc... "xmpp (jabber)" accounts work well with this, and anyone can sign up for free accounts with xmpp servers all over the world (use "A" rate servers).

"Jitsi" - main website
https://jitsi.org/
Download Jitsi - Stable or Nightly (unstable) versions - I use the nightly version myself for newer features.
https://jitsi.org/Main/Download

Install Jitsi from the Mint repos first, or install this Jitsi archive keyring before installing the main newer application below.
https://download.jitsi.org/unstable/jit ... .1_all.deb

64-bit Nightly version
https://download.jitsi.org/unstable/jit ... _amd64.deb

32-bit Nightly version
https://download.jitsi.org/unstable/jit ... 1_i386.deb



Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 18.3 & 19, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

Lemongrass38
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by Lemongrass38 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:27 pm

Thank you all for your effort, especially you, phd21! :)

I forgot to type my hardware specifications, sorry, next time, I'll do that. It is really my friend's laptop we're having trouble with, and I don't wish to give his specifications away, I'll ask him. He has Mint 18.1 Cinnamon x64 on a HP Probook.

Tox works well on my laptop, not really on his. We've tried uTox, installed pavucontrol (for outer sound card), but his sound wasn't working yet.

I've tried resetting my Wire passwords. It seems that when I did not clear my history on my laptop, I could still access the messages in Wire with my new password. But when I logged out and cleared my history, I couldn't. Wire states that it stores messages only on the users' devices, and it seems, they are stored unencrypted. I couldn't fix my friend's computer to work well with uTox, so Wire stays.

I'll mark your programs that you've mentioned, if I'll ever need them, I'll get back to this post. Thank you!
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)

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phd21
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by phd21 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:49 pm

Hi "Lemongrass38",

You are welcome.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Regarding your friend's sound issues, you need to be more specific. What's not working with their sound? I have noticed with some computers that have front and rear audio ports (audio jacks), that microphones sometimes only work with the front jacks, not sure why that is. There is also a very good post on enabling the microphone in Cinnamon that has a bug in that. I have also had to use Pulse audio volume control and the fantastic "Qasmixer" programs to get microphones working, or to select which microphone to use, the webcam microphone or my headset microphone.

Post on How to fix Cinnamon and a microphone
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=233131

FYI: There are some really nice graphical (GUI) programs for sound that start with "Qas", like the fantastic "Qasmixer", in the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) that you can install and use. Sound "Mixers" can be a little confusing if you are not familiar with them. If you bring up "Qasmixer" and make it fullscreen, on the right side you will have mixer devices where you can control your system sound. If you do not see the mixer devices, hit "F6". The mixer item "sysdefault" will show all installed sound card devices, and you will have various options to adjust various volume controls using "sliders" which you can turn off and on using the "dot" below the volume slider. There are also various other check boxes below that you can use, and depending upon your sound card(s) that sometimes includes headphone checkboxes and or sliders as well, like "Headphone Jack Sense". With microphones, make sure all "capture" related items are on and their volume sliders are at least half way, and check the microphone check boxes at the bottom.

The applications included are:
- qasconfig - browser for the alsa configuration tree
- qashctl - mixer for alsa's high level control interface
- qasmixer - desktop mixer with features similar to alsamixer
qasmixer is a desktop mixer application for alsa's "simple mixer interface" and offers features similar to alsamixer. it also features a sytem tray icon with basic mixer functionality.

Install "libasound2-plugin-equal" which is another system wide equalizer that's in the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) that shows up in "QasMixer".


Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 18.3 & 19, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

Lemongrass38
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Re: Encrypted Skype alternative

Post by Lemongrass38 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:25 pm

Ah, it seems, my mind tricked me. When he was clapping, I heard it on my laptop, but when I did, he didn't hear. So his microphone was working, but the sound wasn't. The opposite of what I stated just a few hours ago. :|

Thank you again, phd21! :wink:

I did not post his specifications because I respect his privacy. I'll ask him about it, without a permission, I can't really do anything.

In fact, Skype works on his laptop. Wire works when opened from browser, both sound and microphone. As I saw, the desktop Wire app wasn't working for him. So in general, everything works on my friend's laptop, but not everything in Tox.

We had many options to choose from in uTox settings (audio in/output), we tried everything, but no option could fix his Tox's sound. As I saw, it's something separate from pavucontrol... we could switch both simultaneously, without one affecting the other.

We both installed ubuntu-restricted-extras and pavucontrol before the test. I'll advise him to install QasMixer too.

But for now, I have become a bit tired with fixing and testing these apps... :) We don't even live in the same city. Now I've travelled away from him and I can't install things from far away. I guess he's a bit tired of finding a private Skype replacement too... :D I don't feel the strength to keep on trying with this thing, this level of privacy is good for me. If I do, I'll return to this topic and share some more thoughts.

As for now I found that Tox is good for privacy, it's secure, but it's not the easiest to use.
I also found that Wire is easy to use, and it's worth trying the web version too in case of problem. I also found that after resetting my Wire password, I could not recover anything unless I used the same computer, on which my messages were stored unencrypted. On the other computer, Wire said I can't see my history for privacy reasons. As Wire states, they don't hold the decryption keys to my messages, and my messages are stored only on the users' machines. If this is true, then Wire seems secure (notice that I didn't state anything about how secure it is, because I'm not a cryptography expert, I just tested these programs a bit). I guess some people will check Wire as its source is available.

And installing ubuntu-restricted-extras, pavucontrol and QasMixer is important.
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)

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