Tox: Text, voice, and video chats without a central server

Conclusions

Many users have extremely high expectations of a potential WhatsApp alternative. It has to work as well and be as easy to use as the original, but has to do without companies and servers, as well as offer maximum control and give users all freedoms.

Reconciling all these conditions, however, is a difficult undertaking. It is the lack of a centrally organized user directory and switchboard that makes contact list maintenance more complicated for both developers and users. There are also restrictions when establishing a connection and sending data – as a user, you will notice this when establishing a video call or when you need to use pseudo-offline messages, for example.

Despite all this, Tox works and offers almost all the functions that WhatsApp and similar applications have in their repertoire. Only a few features are missing, such as viral message forwarding. However, if you consciously choose a P2P messenger like Tox, you will probably not have this on your list of requirements anyway.

One thing has to be said though: Tox does not explicitly guarantee the user's privacy. You are anonymous on the Tox network, and there is no mandatory registration. The messages are transmitted peer-to-peer and directly and encryption ensures that no one can sniff them. Nevertheless, the recipient sees your IP address, and the network operator could also track with whom (more precisely: with which IP) you are communicating on the Tox network. In the FAQ, the Tox developers are open about this issue [20]. They even provide instructions on how to route Tox through the Onion router Tor, if necessary [21].

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Yahoo Chat Tools

    Kopete and Gyachi bring Yahoo videochat services to Linux.

  • Matrix

    One tool to rule all online communication: one tool to find them, one tool to bring them all in, and the Matrix to bind them. An open standard for decentralized communication enters the scene.

  • Chat Freely with Jami

    The messenger app Jami offers clients for all popular operating systems and promises maximum anonymity for chats, as well as voice and video calls, by dispensing with central servers.

  • Skype for Linux

    The old Microsoft gave the cold shoulder to Skype for Linux, neither updating it nor equipping it with new features. The new Microsoft promises to do better, with a brand new alpha prerelease version of a Linux client for the famous telephony tool.

  • Perl: IMAP Chat Log

    Are you interested in storing, organizing, and searching instant messaging conversations on your IMAP server? The Perl script in this month’s column can help you do just that.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News