10 Fresh Messenger Apps for Linux

Are you able to keep in mind a time when everybody used the identical immediate messaging app?

Even earlier than the age of social media, there have been all the time a number of contenders: you will have most well-liked ICQ, however a few of your pals have been on MSN Messenger, some used Yahoo! Messenger, and others caught to AIM. As of late, IM is extra cellular than ever, and also you most likely have two or extra messaging apps in your smartphone. However what occurs if you need to chat out of your Linux pc?

Properly, you possibly can set up a desktop consumer for one of many already standard IM providers, or attempt to persuade your pals to change to a brand new messenger app. So, in case you are in search of new messenger apps for Linux or simply alternate options to standard messengers on Linux, listed here are ten fascinating strategies:


Ring is finest described as a free and open supply Skype alternative. Not like Skype, it cares about your privateness, so all messages and calls are encrypted, and the builders declare that no recordsdata are saved on their servers. Ring has all of it: video and audio calls, common immediate messages, group chats, and name recording.

The way it works:

The set up is pretty easy, as Ring affords pre-packaged installers for a number of Linux distributions. Nonetheless, it requires a daemon (background service) and a consumer, so be certain that to put in each. When you begin utilizing Ring, it’s going to generate a Ring ID for you. You’re supposed to present it to your pals to allow them to add you as a contact.

You may have a number of Ring accounts, and the Settings dialogs are fairly detailed, with choices for auto-answering calls, audio and video codecs, chat historical past, and naturally, encryption. Ring achieves safe, decentralized communication due to OpenDHT and GnuTLS libraries. It additionally helps SIP (Session Initialization Protocol) accounts, so after you create one, you possibly can use Ring to name landline and cellphones.


Ring helps you to put a name on maintain, share your desktop with the caller, and ship recordsdata to different customers. With options like these, plus the flexibility to make convention calls, Ring is completely appropriate for small companies and distant employees.


Since Ring is nonetheless in beta, some options are lacking, just like the (arguably important) choice to handle your contacts. Linux customers can work round this drawback through the use of the Evolution Knowledge Server to offer contact info to Ring. Others should wait some time, or begin utilizing Ring anyway, as a result of it’s already a terrific app.

Platforms: Linux, Android, OS X, Home windows


Google doesn’t appear to care a lot about making a Hangouts desktop consumer for Linux. Certain, you should use Hangouts within the browser, but it surely’s not all the time a pleasing expertise. Fortunately, individuals have taken the matter into their very own palms and created YakYak. Regardless of the considerably unlucky identify (it sounds quite a bit like Yik Yak, one other messaging app), YakYak isn’t unhealthy in any respect. It helps group chats, native desktop notifications, and multimedia integration.

The way it works:

YakYak shouldn’t be a standard desktop app; as a substitute, it’s a “wrapped”, windowed model of the net app created with the Electron framework. This makes the YakYak consumer comparatively huge – when unzipped, it takes up over 100 MBs, roughly two occasions greater than GIMP. Nonetheless, it offers you every thing that Hangouts has, plus extra colour schemes. You may preview the chat historical past, change your presence standing, and get notified when different customers are typing.

YakYak doesn’t assist a number of Hangouts accounts for the time being. In case you’re not proud of it, however don’t need to use Hangouts within the browser both, think about the purple-hangouts plugin for the trusty outdated Pidgin.

Platforms: OS X, Home windows, Linux


In case you comply with tech information, you’ve most likely heard of Franz, because it generated fairly a buzz when it got here out earlier this 12 months. The power of Franz is in numbers – it helps greater than twenty messaging providers, from well-known ones like Skype, WhatsApp, and Twitter, to HipChat, SteamChat, and even a few of the providers from this text (Mattermost, Rocket.Chat). Franz is actually a one-stop-shop resolution. If you need to use a number of messaging providers, however don’t desire a dozen totally different chat apps, Franz simply could be good for you.

The way it works:

The best way Franz works is straightforward, but in addition considerably disappointing. Like another apps on this listing, it’s probably not a desktop app; quite, it’s a wrapper for the net interface of every supported service. Mainly, utilizing Franz is like utilizing a stripped-down net browser that retains messaging providers working of their respective tabs. This impacts the app measurement, and extra importantly, its reminiscence footprint.


However, Franz boasts some redeeming options. Other than sending immediate messages to your pals, you may as well use it to test e mail with Gmail and Outlook. Desktop notifications will warn you of latest messages, and the app itself has been translated into a couple of dozen languages. Presumably the most effective factor about Franz is the means to make use of a number of accounts on the identical service without delay. Sure, this implies you possibly can – lastly! – swap between all 5 of your Twitter accounts in a single window.

Platforms: Linux, Home windows 7 or newer, OS X 10.9 or newer


Telegram is among the new messaging providers – it appeared about three years in the past. Like WhatsApp and Viber, it’s primarily a cellular service, which implies you need to create an account together with your telephone quantity. Telegram lets its customers share recordsdata (together with photos and movies), create channels (public discussion groups), and use one account on a number of gadgets.

Though the consumer code is open supply, Telegram is a proprietary utility, and it has been closely criticized for a few of its safety selections. Nonetheless, in case your coworkers or pals insist on utilizing Telegram, the choice desktop consumer referred to as Cutegram will serve you higher than the default one.

The way it works:

Cutegram affords packages for a number of Linux distros, alongside a generic Linux installer file. On first run, you’ll be prompted to enter your telephone quantity and join your present Telegram account to Cutegram. Every part else is just about clean crusing, as Cutegram prides itself in being user-friendly and adapting to your desktop surroundings. You may ship recordsdata to your pals, arrange contacts into teams, create non-public chats, and mute annoying individuals. The Settings dialog helps you to tweak some visible particulars, in addition to regulate emoji-related choices.


Platforms: Linux, OpenBSD, OS X, Home windows


Vector simply could be the solely chat utility you’ll ever want. Video calls? Vector has that. Group chats? Test. You may share recordsdata AND it’s all encrypted? You wager. Plus, it’s utterly free and open supply.

The way it works:

Vector is definitely a consumer for the Matrix protocol, an open customary for decentralised, real-time on-line communication. Matrix permits anybody to put in and run their very own server, and people servers can then hook up with the general public Matrix community. There are additionally community bridges or integrations, which make it potential to connect with IRC, Slack, XMPP, Skype and different providers.

In case you’d similar to to present Vector a fast strive, you don’t want a server; in actual fact, you don’t even want an account. Merely load the web model to entry any of the general public chat rooms. You’ll discover the interface is Slack-inspired, however considerably less complicated. In case you like what you see, create a free Vector account. Then you definitely’ll have the ability to make chat rooms, begin conversations with different customers, invite your pals, share recordsdata with them, edit messages… Builders can mess around with bots (to automate actions on a channel) and integrations with providers like GitHub and Jenkins. Vector remains to be in growth, so just a few integrations can be found for now. Nonetheless, it exhibits a whole lot of potential and it may simply turn into a full-fledged Slack different.

Platforms: Net (any desktop), iOS, Android


Most individuals would agree that full anonymity is unattainable in case you intend to do something on-line. Nonetheless, there are some measures we are able to take to guard ourselves when obligatory, and Ricochet goals to make this simpler for the typical person. It takes a special strategy to safety than different apps on this listing by counting on the Tor community to relay messages between customers. The perfect a part of the story: you don’t must arrange Tor manually, and even be significantly educated about it. Ricochet takes care of every thing for you.

The way it works:

After downloading and decompressing the Ricochet archive (ricochet-versionnumber-static-i686 or ricochet-versionnumber-static-x86_64, relying on CPU structure), merely run the executable Ricochet file. The app will ask you to both configure the community settings manually or let it do the work.


You’ll get a distinctive Ricochet handle that others can use to contact you. This handle is the one a part of your identification that’s seen to different customers – your contact listing is saved domestically, and your location, IP handle, and messages you ship are usually not uncovered to third-party servers. In case you’d wish to know precisely how Ricochet does this, be at liberty to peruse the official documentation.


At current Ricochet doesn’t assist file sharing, and the developer warns concerning the experimental nature of the app. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless utterly usable as a daily messenger app, and it’s value attempting in case you really care about privateness.

Platforms: Linux, Home windows, OS X


Slack is nice, but it surely’s not open supply. If that is one thing that issues to you, Mattermost might be the most effective Slack different yow will discover. With file sharing, Markdown formatting, and naturally, emoticon assist, Mattermost has every thing you want for environment friendly collaboration.

The way it works:

Mattermost is self-hosted, which implies you need to run a Mattermost server, after which set up consumer apps in your gadgets that may hook up with it. On Linux, you’ll want a desktop consumer.

As soon as it’s all arrange, you possibly can simply migrate present channels and person accounts from Slack. Nonetheless, non-public chats, recordsdata and pictures can’t be imported from Slack’s database for now. Mattermost just about appears to be like and works similar to Slack, and you may additional customise the looks by creating your individual themes.


Mattermost helps integrations with varied providers and purposes, so you utilize Trello, Outlook, RSS feeds, IRC, and Giphy in your channels and chats, and even create your individual integrations. There are additionally built-in instructions like /be a part of, /me, or these for direct messaging and hyperlink shortening/increasing.

Search is among the strongest components of Mattermost, and the Current Mentions characteristic might be extraordinarily sensible when working in giant groups with quick-paced communication. Talking of groups, Mattermost means that you can use simply one account to affix a number of groups, and doesn’t power you to create separate accounts for every workforce. To prime it off, it has unbelievable documentation the place you’ll discover detailed utilization directions.

Platforms: Linux, Home windows, iOS, Android; particular necessities right here


Tox is one other privacy-aware messaging protocol. The communication takes place in a distributed, peer-to-peer community, the place customers can ship encrypted messages immediately to one another, with none meddling, unknown servers in a faraway land. To affix the community and turn into a Tox person, it is advisable to set up a Tox consumer. QTox is among the many best-equipped purchasers, and it’s the one depicted above.

The way it works:

While you begin utilizing Tox, the consumer app will generate a Tox ID for you. It is a lengthy string of code you can share with your pals, and it lets them add you as a contact. QTox helps a number of Tox accounts, and you may even share your Tox ID as a QR code.

Other than common textual content chats, qTox helps audio and video calls, group chats and group calls. You may ship recordsdata to your pals, and qTox will routinely present a preview of shared photos. It’s additionally potential to arrange Group Bots that may host chats and invite customers who are usually not in any other case related. Nonetheless, you possibly can’t switch recordsdata or make video calls in a gaggle chat.

An fascinating factor about Tox as a protocol is that each one individuals in a dialog should be on-line on the identical time in the event that they need to chat or add one another as pals. Some Tox purchasers, like qTox, have a “fake offline messages” characteristic that may save a message and ship it as soon as the recipient comes on-line.

Different helpful qTox options embody the flexibility to disable chat historical past, change interface colours, format messages with Markdown, and quick-quote different individuals’s messages by urgent Alt+Q. There’s additionally the multi-window mode which helps you to open every chat in its personal window; you possibly can rearrange the home windows and mix them at any time. Tox remains to be in growth, but it surely’s fairly steady, so don’t be afraid to strive it, both through qTox or another consumer.

Platforms: Linux, OS X, Home windows


Peerio seems like a mixture of Dropbox and Gmail with further layers of encryption. It’s an open supply utility that appears extra centered on file sharing and collaboration than on plain immediate messaging, which makes it a good selection for workplace environments. The free plan offers you 1 GB of storage for recordsdata as much as 400 MB in measurement, whereas the Professional choice will improve you to 50 GB of storage for $10 monthly.

The way it works:

Since Peerio places your safety and privateness first, the method of making an account has a couple of further steps. You’ll need to register with a username and e mail, and create a passphrase. Then you definitely’ll get a affirmation code, which you need to enter at your first login. Lastly, you’ll create a device-specific PIN to hurry up future logins on that gadget. The Linux desktop consumer might be discovered right here, packaged for a number of standard Linux distributions.

Peerio’s solely limitation is the truth that you possibly can talk solely with different Peerio customers. This implies you’ll need to ask your pals to create their very own Peerio accounts. You may import an inventory of contacts from Gmail to make this simpler.


After that’s carried out, you possibly can chat in teams of as much as 50 individuals, search by way of all discussions, and trade recordsdata. You may see if others have opened your messages, and even delete the messages you’ve despatched from the recipient’s inbox. The recordsdata you add are encrypted, and each person will get a novel non-public key for the energetic session, which expires as soon as they sign off of Peerio.

Now, this may increasingly sound nice, however what in case you’re skeptical about Peerio’s encryption strategies? Properly, the builders have defined all of it within the official documentation, so it’s value testing in case you’d wish to know extra.

Platforms: Linux, Home windows, OS X


RocketChat is an fascinating Slack different with a large listing of options. You may message individuals in non-public teams or in public channels. RocketChat helps totally different sorts of calls – audio, video, and convention. In case you submit a hyperlink, you’ll get an immediate preview of its content material, whether or not it’s a photograph, a video, or an animated GIF. You may share your desktop with different customers, and edit messages after they’re despatched. A cool characteristic is the assist for TeX math rendering in case it is advisable to write some severe formulation.

The way it works:

RocketChat has an internet demo the place you possibly can try it out. Log in with an present account (select from the listing of supported providers) or create a brand new one to entry the net interface. After all, in case you plan to make use of RocketChat as a Slack alternative in your workplace, you’ll must deploy a server occasion. The consumer apps are put in individually on supported gadgets and platforms.


RocketChat shouldn’t be that totally different from Slack, and to make migration simpler, you possibly can import information from Slack and even arrange a real-time Slack bridge, which is able to mirror the conversations from a Slack channel or group. Naturally, integrations (webhooks) are additionally supported, so that you’ll have the ability to plug in providers like GitHub, Telegram, and Giphy to obtain alerts and have enjoyable with GIF reactions in your RocketChat channels.

Platforms: Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Home windows, Android, iOS, Firefox OS

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Give these messenger apps for Linux a shot

You will have observed that each one these messenger apps have quite a bit in widespread. Most of them are open supply. Fairly a couple of are centered on privateness. Lastly, a few of them are usually not “true” desktop apps, however quite net apps wrapped in a windowed interface.

Do we actually want that many messenger protocols and apps? In all probability not. Do we’d like messenger apps for Linux? It is a query that everybody ought to reply for themselves, however usually talking, it’s good to have at the very least one. You by no means know when your telephone would possibly break, so it’s clever to have a desktop model as a backup. Moreover, many individuals are required to make use of a chat app for work, which implies they want it each on their telephone and their pc.

If you weren’t impressed with any of the apps we listed, you could possibly check out Seem.in, Actor.im, and Crypto.cat. And even higher – inform us about your favourite messenger apps for Linux. Which of them do you utilize? Are you able to advocate a messenger app that we didn’t point out? Tell us within the feedback under.

Picture Credit: Kaiserpinguine mit Jungen through Wikimedia, Ring, YakYak, Mattermost, Cutegram, qTox.