Linux Apps

The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux

Best Linux Messaging Apps
Written by Martins D. Okoi

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.

Skype for Linux

Skype for Linux

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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.

Download Skype for Linux

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 for Linux

Pidgin for Linux

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.

Download Pidgin Source for Linux

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.

Telegram for Linux

Telegram for Linux

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.

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Download Telegram for Linux

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.

Viber for Linux

Viber for Linux

It is available for all Ubuntu and Fedora distros with 64-bit architecture as well as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Download Viber for Linux

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 for Linux

Wire for Linux

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.

Download Wire for Linux

6. WICKR – Escape the Internet

WICKR is famous for its automatic self-destructing message security feature. Combined with its military grade encryption.

Wickr Instant Messaging App for Linux

Wickr Instant Messaging App for Linux

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.

Download WICKR for Linux

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.

Slack Instant Messaging App for Linux

Slack Instant Messaging App for Linux

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.

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Download Slack for Linux

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).

RetroShare Instant Messaging App for Linux

RetroShare Instant Messaging App for Linux

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.

Download retroShare for Linux

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.

Tox Instant Messaging App for Linux

Tox Instant Messaging App for Linux

It provides accessible communication without any ads and since is free to download for various platforms.

Download Tox for Linux

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.

Ring Instant Messaging App for Linux

Ring Instant Messaging App for Linux

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.

Download Ring for Linux

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 Instant Messenger for Linux

Discord Instant Messenger for Linux

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.

Download Discord for Linux

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.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

  • Pavel Zamyatin

    Telegram is great. Unfortunately almost nobody uses it. 🙂

    • It is great. But I disagree that almost nobody uses it. As at Feb. 2016 it had 100 million users lol

      • Pavel Zamyatin

        Of course, I’m mostly joking. But to be honest, when you try to use it – very often it turns out that among your friends’ nobody use it, maybe a couple of people +/-. It’s really sad because I like this messenger a lot!

        • Lol I agree. I have a ton more friends on WhatsApp than Telegram.
          I like Telegram too; it’s a better messenger than WhatsApp in my opinion.

  • You don’t always have to compile pidgin from source- it’s in the ubuntu repositories. Are you just talking about the latest version? The only thing I’ve had to download separately (and not even source, just a separate .deb) is purple-facebook because Facebook turned off XMPP.

  • True. WhatsApp is available for all platforms except Linux. Linux users can use the web version, though.

    Telegram is available for all 3 desktop platforms.

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