As the desktop Linux usage is growing, messaging on Linux is no more restricted to those IRC chats. There are a number of ‘mainstream’ messaging apps for Linux available these days. When I say mainstream, I mean the popular instant messaging applications that are available on a variety of platforms, specially on mobile devices. A desktop companion to its mobile counterpart always comes handy when you are in no mood to type on the tiny mobile screens. Let’s see what are the best messaging applications for Linux.
Best messaging apps for Linux (personal usage)
Please note that this list is not about those third party instant messaging clients that integrate with the popular services such as Facebook, Yahoo etc. You guessed it right. I am not talking about universal chat clients like Pidgin, Empathy etc. I have also deliberately excluded browser based messaging apps such as Typer. I am talking about actual messaging services that provide a native Linux client. Let’s see what are the messaging services available for Linux.
I know starting the list with a Microsoft product is not a good idea. But you’ll have to accept that Skype is the most popular messaging service, especially on the desktop. With Skype getting popular even for college and job interviews, you might end up in a situation where you’ll have to use Skype.
Skype had a Linux client even before Microsoft bought it. While the Linux client for Skype doesn’t look as glossy as the Windows version, it works pretty fine and integrates well in most Linux desktop environment.
Note: Microsoft is working on a new Skype Linux client that looks and works better than the present one.
- Install Skype in Ubuntu
- Use multiple Skype accounts simultaneously in Linux
- Record Skype calls in Ubuntu
Telegram is a WhatsApp inspired, (partially) Open Source and privacy focused messaging application that is available for all desktop and mobile operating systems and thus can be termed as a true cross platform application. Because of its looks, Telegram is often dubbed the Linux alternative to WhatsApp. Telegram gained popularity as it was flaunted as a messaging app to avoid snooping by Russian government. Telegram looks and works flawlessly on desktop Linux. What makes it my favorite is the fact that it is the only messaging app available for Ubuntu Phone.
Suggested read: Install official Telegram app in Ubuntu
Viber is more of an alternative to Skype. It provides text, audio and video chatting options. With a native Linux client, Viber has been sneaking into Skype user base. No surprises that your chat history is synchronized between the desktop and the mobile app (as in Telegram and Skype). It is also integrated well in most desktop environments, especially in Ubuntu Unity. Installation packages are available for Ubuntu and Fedora Linux distributions but only for 64 bit systems.
Wire has generated quite a buzz because of its modern, clean interface and focus on privacy. With end to end encryption for text, audio and video, Wire pitches itself as the ultimate private messaging app.
Wire has recently launched a Linux desktop client which is still under development. It’s basically a web app wrapped in Electron farmework. You can download it from the link below:
Best messaging apps for Linux (team/business usage)
Available for individuals as well as business, Wickr is the most popular secure texting app. With military grade encryption, Wickr has self destruct feature which makes the communication virtually untraceable. Good news is that Wickr launched desktop client for Linux last year and hence you can go portable, switching between mobile and desktop.
Competing with Hipchat to get corporate clients, Slack has gained tremendous popularity among start-ups. Apart from reducing internal emails for discussing within the team, Slack also provides a huge support for third party applications.
This way, you can view Dropbox files, see Trello cards etc. Even GitHub can be integrated into Slack so that you get notified for new commits.
You can easily install Slack in Linux thanks to binaries provided by it. Using Slack in a web browser is not a bad experience as well.
What’s your favorite messaging app in Linux? For me, as I mentioned before, it is Telegram. How about you? Did I miss something out here? Do share your favorite instant messaging application.