Open Source Voice Chat Mumble Makes a Big Release After 10 Years

The greatest power of the Internet is its ability to connect people anywhere in the world. Voice chat applications are just one category of tools uniting us. Recently, one of the biggest open-source voice chat apps made a new release, 10 years after its previous release.

Mumble: Open Source, Low Latency, High Quality Voice Chat

Mumble Voice Chat Logo

Mumble is a “free, open source, low latency, high quality voice chat application”. It was originally created to be used by gamers, but it is also used to record podcasts. Several Linux podcasts use Mumble to record hosts located at different places in the world, including Late Night Linux. To give you an idea of how powerful Mumble is, it has been used to connect “Eve Online players with huge communities of over 100 simultaneous voice participants”.

Here are some of the features that make Mumble interesting:

  • Low-latency (ideal for gamers)
  • Connections always encrypted and secured
  • Connect with friends across servers
  • Extensive user permission system
  • Extendable through Ice and GRPC protocols
  • Automatable administration through Ice middleware
  • Low resource cost for hosting
  • Free choice between official and third-party server software
  • Provide users with channel viewer data (CVP) without giving control away

It’s a powerful software with a lot of features. If you are new to it and want to start using it, I suggest going through its documentation.

What’s New in Mumble 1.3.0?

Mumble 1.30 Interface
Mumble 1.30 Interface with Lite Theme

The team behind Mumble released version 1.3.0 in early August. This is the first major release in ten years and it contains over 3,000 changes. Here are just a few of the new features in Mumble 1.3.0:

  • UI redesign
  • New lite and dark themes
  • Individual user volume adjustment
  • New bindable shortcut for changing transmission modes
  • Quickly filter channels
  • Multichannel recordings are synchronous even after several hours
  • PulseAudio monitor devices can be used as input devices
  • An optional clock (current time) in the overlay
  • Improved user management, including searchable ban list
  • Added support for systemd
  • Option to disable public server list
  • Lower volume of other users when “Priority Speaker” talks
  • New interface allows renaming users as well as (batch) deletions
  • Mumble client can be controlled through SocketRPC
  • Support for Logitech G-keys has been added

Installing Mumble on Linux

Mumble Open Source Voice Chat application
Mumble 1.30 Interface Dark Theme

The Mumble team has installers available for Linux, Windows (32 and 64 bit), and macOS. You can find and download them from the project’s website. You can also browse its source code on GitHub.

They have a PPA available for Ubuntu. Which means you can easily install it on Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint, elementary OS. To install, just enter these commands, one by one, in the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mumble/release 
sudo apt update 
sudo apt install mumble

The Snap community also created a snap app for Mumble. This makes installing Mumble easier in any Linux distribution that supports Snap. You can install it with the following command:

sudo snap install mumble

There are also third-party clients for Android and iOS on the download page.

Final Thoughts

I have never used Mumble or any other voice chat app. I just never had the need. That being said, I’m glad that there is a powerful FOSS option available and so widely used.

It’s been a long time since Mumble’s last release and people now install Discord on Linux which is not open source. About time that Mumble had a new release.

Have you ever used Mumble? What is your favorite voice chat app? Please let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media, Hacker News or Reddit.

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  • Wondering at a high level if servers are provided for to/establish the connections? I see in the comments from one user that he established his own server and used ‘mumble’ as the central office connection service. Are those the preqs? (I wouldn’t be using it often enough to that. If I have to devote such time and resources, iPhone/iPad/Facetime would get the job done with less investment, but would prefer an open option..)

    • Maybe you addressed me?
      I’m just a passionate self-host guy and I like to have my services on my own server. This is not required at all.

      There are dozens of public murmur servers online, you can choose from that. Before connecting you can see the currently connected/allowed users. Also, the ping time is measured there.

    • There are strange things happening in the computer biz that maybe these guys picked up on. Like Skype getting bought by arch nemesis Microsoft and capabilities stripped away. Google announce a termination dat for hangouts. They may be the last couple dancing.

  • I did not know where to submit a change, but in the beginning of the article you wrote:
    “Several Linux podcasts use Mumble to record hosts located at different places in the world, including Late Nite Linux.”(l. 10)
    where Nite should be changed to Night.

    Best Regards, Julius

    • Thanks for spotting that, Julius. I have updated the article.

      There is a “Article needs update?” option at the top right menu. If you find any grammatical or technical issue in future, you can notify me via that form. That’s easier for me to handle.

  • I use Linux, my kids do as well. I run couple services self hosted, for those I have a small, low powered ITX form factor home server. My kids like to play Minecraft, and while playing, they also like to voice chat.
    Yes, voice chat, also with their friends, but those use Windows, and there’s only one buddy who has a macbook. I choosed Mumble for them, because it is lovely crossplatform. My murmur server instance takes near zero resource on my home server (have to admit here, maximum connected clients never more than 12). On Linux and Windows machines the client takes negligible resources.The latency is excellent. So we didn’t regret to choose Mumble/self hosted Murmur.
    I don’t know what could be improved with a newer version, as this stuff looks to me just perfect.

  • I had the opportunity to try this software once. I’ll give it another chance. Looks like it has improved a lot. The only sad thing is that a lot of people will only use software like Discord. I like Discord but I always prefer open-source and I think that Mumble can be a powerful software.

    Thank you for the article :) It’s always interesting to see how open-source software improves.

    • I think Discord is pulling a facebook with data collection, I wouldn’t trust it since it does not allow one to use a account with a disposable email. Once you logout it locks you out and asks for a phone number for verification which in turn is not something people should hand out freely.

      Discord doesn’t allow you to use temp phone numbers or burner phone numbers either. Trying to email a support request doesn’t go through if you are using a disposable email so basically you are screwed.

      Companies and services need to RESPECT our privacy and wishes to be anonymous.

      Is there any more open source social media platforms? I’ve heard of GAB but never fully looked into it because I heard of some controversy with it.

      • Well there is the Matrix protocol implementation called Riot, it has a lot of similarities with Discord and Slack.

        Yet I found it tough to gasp the inner workings of it and setting up an own server for it isn’t really as straight up as mumble, even less when they are selling their own SaaS for it, or at least, that was my impression, although the potential is huge.

        Hope this helps.

      • GAB used to be a proprietary twitter clone, just with a much more lenient terms of service that made it less likely you’d get banned for having the wrong opinion. However, recently they’ve decided to join the fediverse, which is a FOSS, federated social media. I never really got into it or understood the specifics, but it seems they’re going in the right direction.

        The controversy is probably over their hardline stance on freedom of expression, which some folks take issue with.

      • 2FA sends a code or security questions to the nominated mobile. This is to protect your account. That’s what it’s for.