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Communications Open Source

Version 2.0 Released For Open Skype Alternative Jitsi 112

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the chat-without-patents dept.
New submitter emilcho writes with news for anyone looking for a Free alternative to Skype "Among the most prominent new features people will find quality multi-party video conferences for XMPP, audio device hot-plugging, support for Outlook presence and calls, an overhauled user interface and support for the Opus and VP8 audio/video codec. Jitsi has lately shaped into one of the more viable open Skype Alternatives with features such as end-to-end ZRTP encryption for audio and video calls. The 2.0 version has been in the works for almost a year now, so this is an important step for the project." There are prebuilt packages for Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora, Windows, and OS X.
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Version 2.0 Released For Open Skype Alternative Jitsi

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The power of Skype is in its network and support. Skype is not open source, nor subject to standards. "Alternatives", such as OoVoo, already exist. Besides, if an "alternative" software tried using the Skype network then Microsoft could block it. This is a waste of time.

    • They aren't trying to 'use the Skype network', they're using XMPP. XMPP is a protocol for a server that anyone can implement (e.g. Jabber is to XMPP as Apache is to HTTP, and Jitsi is to XMPP as e.g. Firefox is to HTTP). XMPP supports standard extensions for things like voice. Microsoft can't "block it" any more than they can block me from running or accessing an Apache server.
      • by xiando (770382)

        XMPP supports standard extensions for things like voice

        Perhaps in theory, but XMPP voice isn't supported by even 5% of the XMPP clients out there. Jingle is supposedly supported in kopete and pidgin but good luck getting that to work or using it for any real-lift purpose

      • by jonadab (583620)
        You missed the point of the parent post. What he was saying was that if it doesn't use the Skype network (or, in more phenomenological terms, if you can't use it to make calls to and receive calls from people who use Skype), its chances of ever being a practical replacement for Skype are zero.

        I'm not sure if I entirely agree, but I'm pretty sure that's what he was trying to say.
    • by Khyber (864651)

      Nope, slashdotted.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      I've used Jitsi for over a year, but this new version has fucked me up. It now puts my facebook friends group at the top.

      WTF?!? Why the hell would anyone want their facebook friend's list at the top of their IM groups. Just fucking asinine. Also the piece of shit opens the facebook friend's lists whenever anyone logs into it. What stupid behavior.

  • > "features such as end-to-end ZRTP encryption
    > for audio and video calls"

    "Sweet. Show me!"

    "What's that guy doing? Oh gross! GROSS!!!"

  • Features (Score:4, Informative)

    by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:06PM (#43094297)
    I'm interested. Currently paying for Skype premium to do multiuser video chat. Does anyone know if this product does 1080p streams in multiuser? Skype only does it when one on one, but drops down to SD in multiuser mode. I can't check the features list because it appears the jitsi site has been slashdotted.
    • by spasm (79260)

      Google hangouts offer free video chat for up to 9 people at a time. My experience using it within the US and between the US and Australia is the sound quality is better than with skype too. Downside is everyone on the call has to have a g+ account.

      • by isorox (205688)

        Google hangouts offer free video chat for up to 9 people at a time. My experience using it within the US and between the US and Australia is the sound quality is better than with skype too. Downside is everyone on the call has to have a g+ account.

        Never managed to get google angouts, or webrtc, working through a proxy.

        • by spasm (79260)

          I just googled (hah!) the ports it uses - your proxy setup may be screwing with it, although apparently it should eventually get to trying port 80:

          "The connection methods are attempted in this preferenced order:

          A UDP connection from the participant to Google on ports 19305 through 19309
          A TCP connection from the participant to Google on ports 19305 through 19309
          A TCP connection from the participant to Google on port 80
          A TCP connection from the participant to Google on port 443 (SSL)"

      • Downside is everyone on the call has to have a g+ account.

        That sound like the same requirements as Skype: you need to register with the service provider.

        • by spasm (79260)

          True; I just mentioned it so people know they need to have all the call participants set up with G+ accounts in advance - you can't just email everyone five minutes before a scheduled call and suggest using hangouts instead of skype. Just as you can't email everyone 5 minutes before a traditional conference call and suggest using skype unless you know everyone has installed it and set up an account.

      • by Sigg3.net (886486)

        If you only call 1 person you don't need G+ (I don't have it). But get the Google video plugin from Google.com/chat/video and sign into chat at the left pane in Gmail under the folders.

        Have made/received 10+ calls, and though getting through may be an issue (the gf gets script errors in Firefox on Ubuntu) you'll find it works once its going.

        But now we'll try jitsi!

    • "Currently paying for Skype premium to do multiuser video chat."

      You wouldn't need Jitsi or Skype to do that if you were on a Mac.

      • "Currently paying for Skype premium to do multiuser video chat."

        You wouldn't need Jitsi or Skype to do that if you were on a Mac.

        Facetime only workie on mac. Jitsi and Skype work on pretty much everything, PC (macos/linux/osx), mobile (android/ios)... If I were on mac I'd still have the same dilemma. I gave up on proprietary software about 10 years ago, and now only use it when there is no other choice.

        • (macos/linux/osx) lol.. windows/linux/osx
        • "Facetime only workie on mac."

          Yes, that's true. Good point.

          Now, if only I could find good instructions on how to use Jitsi to call PSTN numbers via Google Voice.

          It's supposed to be possible to call out with Jitsi, with only a Google Voice telephone number. But I haven't figured out how. Apparently I did make one call, but I did not hear any ringing or the voicemail message.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pass. Who uses a full PC to make calls?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dirty, overweight OSS programmers, that's who.

    • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:29PM (#43094625)

      Pass. Who uses a full PC to make calls?

      Their FAQ says that and Android client is in the works and will be demoed very soon. As for Apple they claim that Apple's restrictions shuts them out of iOS - but if you have Apple you already have access to FaceTime for all your Apple devices, not that FT can do multi person calls though.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/nightly/android/

      • by tobiasly (524456) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:55PM (#43094983) Homepage

        Pass. Who uses a full PC to make calls?

        Their FAQ says that and Android client is in the works and will be demoed very soon. As for Apple they claim that Apple's restrictions shuts them out of iOS - but if you have Apple you already have access to FaceTime for all your Apple devices, not that FT can do multi person calls though.

        The release page also indicates that it can already make video calls to Google Talk users on Android. Guess that's the whole point of using a standard like XMPP...

        https://jitsi.org/index.php/Main/News [jitsi.org]

      • Pass. Who uses a full PC to make calls?

        Their FAQ says that and Android client is in the works and will be demoed very soon. As for Apple they claim that Apple's restrictions shuts them out of iOS - but if you have Apple you already have access to FaceTime for all your Apple devices, not that FT can do multi person calls though.

        That real-soon-now claim was made for the FOSDEM 2013 conference which occurred over a month ago. There was no jitsi android client at FOSDEM 2013. For what its worth, they've made several real-soon-now claims about an android client for the past couple of years. While there *is* a jitsi android client [java.net], it still lacks a committed user interface, so it definitely is still just a work in progress -- I suspect the devs are waiting for android's platform fragmentation problem to go away. :)

      • by Tom (822)

        And sometimes I want to talk to non-Apple users, you know?

    • So use a different SIP client on your phone... all this is standardised...

    • by hedwards (940851)

      People who don't have a good cellular connection. I regularly use a laptop to do my video conferencing as my cell phone doesn't have a forward facing camera and the internet connection has a tight cap.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Most people who make video calls.
      The rest uses special clients tailored for video chat which are usually tied to a manufacturer and extremely expensive.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      productive and clueful people who do more with the internet than twaddle their thumbs with angry birds.

    • by fa2k (881632)

      Pass. Who uses a full PC to make calls?

      I hate it when there's trouble with the PC and I have to use my phone for Skype. First of all, there's a latency of 1-4 seconds, but that's partly my fault for having an old Android phone. More importantly, I don't like to sit and hold my phone for tens of minutes to point the camera at myself (In fact, I've tried to stick the phone sideways into a roll of kitchen paper just to avoid this, but it wasn't a great success, as it fell over)

    • Jitzi is not Skype. It doesn't use it's own proprietary protocol, it uses open standard.

      Want to make call with your Andoird smart-phone ?
      Get any XMPP or SIP client. (Although a Jitzi-on-Android might happen in the future).

      Want to make secure calls?
      Just make sure that both ends support ZRTP (for calls) and/or OTR (for messages).
      (Jitzi, but also Twinkle(call), Pidgin/Adium (chat), and several others).

      Don't want to create yet another account ?
      Well use your existing Google (XMPP, works for chat and call) or Fac

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will it be able to connect to a browser in the future? Because I don't see myself getting everybody I know to install yet another client.

    • by SpzToid (869795)

      Here's code that will, along with an asterisk server implementation: http://nerdvittles.com/?p=5321 [nerdvittles.com]

    • Will it be able to connect to a browser in the future?

      WebRTC isn't a different video call procotol, it's an API enabling Javascript webapp to open streams (for call or whatever they want).

      If you manage to find an implementation of XMPP or SIP writen in HTML5/Javscript + WebRTC, then yes you could contact people using a web browser.

      (And Google is bound to write a WebRTC version of Google Talk. They are among the developers of WebRTC exactly for this reason).

      Because I don't see myself getting everybody I know to install yet another client.

      Jitzi is build around open standards. They don't need to specifically install Jitzi.

      As long as they have

  • Java? How about no. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's written in Java, and everyone knows Java sucks not only with applets, but also with desktop apps.

    • by jonadab (583620)
      Java doesn't suck nearly as bad as it used to.

      Not that I've become a huge fan, or anything. I'm just saying, I remember when it was excruciatingly horrible, and these days it's closer to mediocre. I suspect part of the reason is that today's hardware can handle a few more CPU cycles and a somewhat larger memory footprint than a typical 486 SX was really comfortably up to.

      I'm speaking here from purely a user's perspective. What Java is like for programmers is a separate question.
  • While Jitsi is nice and all, it looks to me like they have a licensing problem. Jitsi has a dependency on ZRTP4J, which is under the GPL, and Jitsi is under the LGPL. Can anyone explain how this is possible without a license exception? And if they have a license exception, where is it documented? and isn't transfered upstream? If so, why not just make ZRTP4J LGPL instead of GPL? And why are they releasing the whole application under the LGPL, and not the GPL anyway?

  • I'm going to add support for the Propbridge telepresence rig to the Android version of this. All they need to do is literally add two lines of code, everything else is done by the embedded system. How can I get a hold of the dev team? There's no contact-us page.
  • We tried it with my team, the interface is incredibly slow, but it works without problems. I just can't understand how an IM application released in 2013 manages to be so slow on a pretty modern computer.... Oh, yeah, Java. /usr/bin/java -classpath /usr/share/jitsi/lib/jdic_stub.jar:/usr/share/jitsi/lib/jdic-all.jar:/usr/share/jitsi/lib/felix.jar:/usr/share/jitsi/lib/bcprovider.jar:/usr/share/jitsi/sc-bundles/sc-launcher.jar:/usr/share/jitsi/sc-bundles/util.jar -Djna.library.path=/usr/share/jitsi/lib/native
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @04:02PM (#43096509)

    http://www.onsip.com/voip-phone-reviews/jitsi [onsip.com]

    Downloading it now...let's hope they get it out Android and iOS soon.

    (For those saying, "we'll never see this on iOS, well, Apple has "let in" Skype & Viber, so why not?)

    • by metamatic (202216)

      (For those saying, "we'll never see this on iOS, well, Apple has "let in" Skype & Viber, so why not?)

      Jitsi is GPL, and Apple's mandatory license terms are incompatible with GPL software.

      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        Jitsi is GPL, and Apple's mandatory license terms are incompatible with GPL software.

        Actually jitsi is LGPL.

        Jitsi is Open Source / Free Software, and is available under the terms of the LGPL.

        • by metamatic (202216)

          Thanks for the correction. Conclusion still applies though. App Store doesn't allow shared libraries and has mandatory license terms incompatible with the LGPL.

    • Skype does for free what Jitsi does for free. So what's the big deal?

      If you want SIP service to call PSTN (landline) numbers, OnSIP (for example) is a hell of a lot MORE expensive than Skype.
  • by SD-Arcadia (1146999) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @04:09PM (#43096587) Homepage
    jitsi does automatic encryption if you wish and if both parties support it. jitsi can use the highest quality voip audio codec, opus. you can choose either the highest quality video codec, h.264 or the freedom-minded one, VP8. you can have jitsi on all non-mobile platforms. it supports all protocols, including the crappy proprietary ones like msn and aol. it does voice, video, text, remote desktop and screen sharing. use a SIP and jabber account for the best experience. the only quasi-downside seems to be it comes with its own jre. i wish more people would get on board with jitsi right away.
    • by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @04:49PM (#43097007)

      it's too bad jitsi wasnt written in decent c/c++. desktop java applications are clunky, slow and take way too much memory than they should.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        [desktop java program]
        Thank you. I was wondering why the thing was so huge, took so long to start, and had broken looking fonts.

        Jitsi also had all the Yahoo contacts statuses wrong, has a truly horrible default sound setup, and ugly conversation window.

        Back to Pidgin :(

        • Back to Pidgin :(

          I'm just hoping that someone develops ZRTP support for pidgin....

          Well at least we have OTR support for chat encryption.
          (So you can securely chat with your pidgin to someone running pidgin)

          • by markdavis (642305)

            Pidgin has a plugin for encryption, but when I tested it a few years ago it caused problems with long messages and pastes and such and so I stopped using it.

            The killer features in Jitsi is the desktop sharing, encryption, and file transfer.

            Of those, Pidgin supports file transfer yet it doesn't every work in Yahoo :( And encryption I addressed above. I would love to see both fixed and add that desktop sharing thing.... especially if that also worked on Android too.

            • Pidgin has a plugin for encryption, but when I tested it a few years ago it caused problems with long messages and pastes and such and so I stopped using it.

              GAIM-encryption wasn't good, indeed. Including regarding security (problems with deniability).
              It's not maintained anymore.

              The killer features in Jitsi is the desktop sharing, encryption, and file transfer.
              {...} And encryption I addressed above.

              The current standard in chat encryption is Off-The-Record OTR [cypherpunks.ca]. This one is the encryption standard that is available out-of-the-box for chat messages in Jitzi. But also in Adium and other modern clients [wikipedia.org].
              OTR sits as a layer above the chat messages (it's agnostic to the protocol used to exchange message. As long as the messages are exchanged and both ends use OTR, the transmission will be

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