Ever since the explosion of smartphone technology communication among peers has become a breeze. People are not only no longer restricted to sending plain emails but are also able to send live images (gifs) and decorated texts thanks to the abundance of instant messengers.
The Internet is filled with tons of instant messengers with various features, released with different licenses and available at different costs. Because not all instant messengers are created equal, we bring you the 5 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux.
1. Skype – Connect with Your Loved Ones
Skype is definitely not new to you because it is the most famous instant messaging application for any platform.
With it, you can make audio and video calls (including conference calls), send instant messages, share media files and even call mobile and landline numbers using Skype credit.
Its client app for Linux received a recent update that indicates Microsoft still has a love for Linux, and even though it is not my favorite number on this list I can’t deny that it has maintained its user base in the Linux community.
2. Pidgin – IM All Your Friends in One Place
Pidgin is an instant messaging client whose multiple chat protocols provide it with the ability to support almost every chat service available including Google talk, Yahoo, Aim, and SMPP.
It features plugin support with which you can extend its functionality, multiple accounts access, and built-in NSS support.
Pidgin isn’t available as a pre-built package for Unix and Linux distros so you would have to perform the installation from your system’s standard package management tool.
3. Telegram – A New Era of Messaging
Telegram is a WhatsApp alternative with a blue theme color and a bot API. My favorite feature is editable messages.
Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram lets you edit messages even after the receiver has read them. It also features both emoji and stickers like Facebook’s messenger app.
4. Viber – Instant Messaging and VoIP App
Viber is a VoIP application and Skype contender – it offers text, audio, gif, and video services as well as Unity integration.
It is available for all Ubuntu and Fedora distros with 64-bit architecture as well as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.
5. Wire – Modern Communication with Full Privacy
Wire is arguably the best instant messaging app available for Linux. It is a free and Open Source VoIP application with top-notch features including gif support, HD group calls, and audio filters, among others.
Wire’s interface is one of the best on this list and since it is available for both mobile and desktop, if it isn’t the perfect Skype alternative then I don’t know what it is.
6. WICKR – Escape the Internet
WICKR is famous for its automatic self-destructing message security feature. Combined with its military grade encryption.
WICKR is arguably the most secure instant messaging app available for Linux. Funny thing is, it didn’t have a Linux client until sometime last year when the dev team decided that Linux users need self-destructing messaging apps too.
WICKR is available for both business and personal use and it doesn’t track your usage or offer ads.
7. Slack – Where Work Happens
Slack is the messaging app almost every startup company in the world uses because it is ideal for team communication and collaboration.
Apart from the typical messaging features and security, it seamlessly integrates with third-party applications like Trello, GitHub, and Dropbox, as well as with bots like PayPal bot.
8. RetroShare – Secure Communication for Everyone
RetroShare is a completely decentralized app for sending files, emails, and multimedia messages. It is decentralized in the sense that it has no central servers as it is based on a peer-to-peer network built on GPG IGNU Privacy Guard).
It offers no ads, terms of service, and is completely free. In as much as RetroShare implements sound encryption methods to keep its users safe, peers are at liberty to exchange certificates and IP addresses among themselves.
9. Tox – A New Kind of Instant Messaging
Tox, like RetroShare, is a peer-to-peer instant messaging app with end-to-end encryption and no central server.
It provides accessible communication without any ads and since is free to download for various platforms.
10. Ring – Chat, Talk, Share
Ring is another cross-platform VoIP Skype alternative for Linux. It provides free audio call, video call, and instant messaging services while respecting user privacy by not tracking usage data or offering ads.
It also provides security by being a decentralized peer-to-peer network-based app with End-to-end encryption with authentication based on RSA/AES/DTLS/SRTP technologies.
11. Discord – Modern Voice & Text Chat App
Discord is the ideal cross-platform VoIP application designed to fit gamers’ needs and possibly overthrow Skype. It is a proprietary software that is secure, free, properly documented, beautifully designed, and has over 25 million users.
Discord is free to use but it offers a paid service with which users can make their customization adjustments by adding custom emojis and stickers.
I don’t have a single favorite app on this list because a good number of them appeal to me from various angles. If I were to choose two, nevertheless, it would be Slack and Discord.
I made sure to mention the best instant messaging apps I know but feel free to mention any worthy one I might have skipped. Oh, and don’t forget to tell us your favorite instant messaging application, especially if it is not listed.