In addition to its third-party clients, secure and privacy-respecting messaging client Telegram officially released a desktop client last month. However, it seems that developers are obsessed with the messaging service. There is a new Qt based client ready for download.
The name Cutegram seems to be quite justified for the app. It uses the latest Qt libraries (version 5) and the most popular iconset (Faenza) available for Linux.
- File sending and receiving
- Secret chat (Experimental)
- Native desktop notification
- Customizable fonts
- System tray icon
- Modern GUI. Integrates with Unity. Gnome, KDE and other desktops.
- Drag and drop support to forward, delete messages and send files
- Twitter emojies
- Beautiful and smooth user interface using QML technology
- Packages for generic Linux and Ubuntu available
- Open Source and free
Packages are available for download on the Cutegram website.
If you haven’t heard about it, Telegram is a secure WhatsApp alternative. You can read more about Telegram from an earlier article here. Telegram exposes APIs for clients and a Pidgin plugin is available to use Telegram from the Linux desktop. However, the service was lacking a native client on Linux.
Telegram has now released its own Qt based native client on Linux, named Telegram Desktop. The look and feel closely follows that of the web client.
The package can be downloaded directly from the website (linked below).
Webpage: Telegram Desktop
We visited Telegram in one of our earlier articles. It is a secured WhatsApp alternative with APIs available for implementing clients on various platforms. Telegram already has multiple unofficial clients (like Sigram). But many Linux users would love the capability to communicate with Telegram contacts right from Pidgin, a popular multi-protocol chat client. Telegram-Purple is a fresh Pidgin plugin that adds Telegram support to Pidgin using libpurple.
The development is still in the early stages and basic functionality is ready. Current functional features include:
> Send/receive messages
> Discover buddies/chats
> Discover buddy state and info
- Profile Pictures
> Download and use profile pictures
- Adium Plugin
- Encrypted chats
- Picture, audio and video messages
- File transfers
- Multiple accounts on one client
- Respect libpurple proxy settings (implemented but untested)
To install the plugin on Ubuntu:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install telegram-purple
When you open Pidgin the next time, Telegram plugin will show up in the list of supported protocols. Use your phone number as the username. A verification SMS will be sent to the number. You’ll see a prompt asking for the code. Enter it and you are done.
We wrote about Tox, a privacy focused messaging app in a previous article. Tox nightlies are available for testing now. And we also have a thin Tox client – uTox. Definitely a welcome news for privacy-aware users. Features:
- Text chats.
- File transfers.
- Audio and video calls.
- Desktop sharing (video stream or screenshot).
- Text-only group chats. Work in progress on audio video group chats at the time of writing.
- Add friends using Tox ID.
- Use as a web service using Name and Tox ID or download the client for Linux, Windows and Android.
Alternative Tox clients: Toxic, qTox, Ratox
Run the following commands to set up the repositories and update package information:
$ sudo apt-key del 0C2E03A0
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb https://repo.tox.im/ nightly main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tox.list'
$ wget -qO - https://repo.tox.im/pubkey.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
$ sudo apt-get update -qq
You can install any of the following Tox clients now:
$ sudo apt-get install utox
$ sudo apt-get install toxic
$ sudo apt-get install qtox
$ sudo apt-get install ratox
In one of our past articles we wrote about Telegram, a secure alternative to WhatsApp. While Telegram has many clients it was lacking a native Linux client till now. Sigram fills in the gap. Let’s look at the features other than basic ones expected in any chat client:
- Awesome look and feel with a different interface and smooth animations.
- Very easy to use.
- Full media transfer support between Sigram and any other Telegram client.
- Integrated with Limoo to preview pictures.
- Open source.
Telegram is a WhatsApp alternative which aims at being fast and secure. It is not fully open source but it promises to release more and more code in the long run. Right now the focus is on releasing stuff for developers to start building on top of Telegram. Originally Telegram uses the MTProto Mobile Protocol. The look and feel is almost same as WhatsApp but the security features look promising. I logged in from the Android app as well as from browser using Webogram and immediately it sent me an alert message that there is a second login and how to terminate that. More on features:
- Official apps for Android, iOS
- Unofficial ports for web browsers (Webogram), a second edition, Chrome app, CLI (Linux), Windows Phone. Some of the ports work on Linux, Windows and MAC. Telegram JAVA libraries are also available.
- Group chat with maximum 200 contacts
- Secret Chats with end-to-end encryption to ensure messages can be read only by the intended recipient. Nothing is logged in the servers and messages can be set to auto-destruct both from sender and recipient devices.
- Fast messaging service: uses a decentralized infrastructure with data centers positioned around the globe to connect people to the closest possible server
- Uses minimum possible bytes to transmit messages. Probably uses state-of-the-art compression techniques.
- Share videos up to 1GB, photos or forward any received media
- Free unlimited cloud storage. Messages are stored in the cloud, so access from any device using Telegram.
- Free and no-ads
TextSecure is another privacy-oriented messaging app with a clean interface. This app too has a strong security focus. You should also take a RedPhone from the same company, that encrypts your calls. Features:
- Group chat support, share media and attachments
- Server doesn’t access or store user information
- Advanced end-to-end encryption protocol applied for every message
- Free and open source
- Fast message delivery
Check out this paper to know how secure TextSecure is.
The third app in this list is still in private Beta at the time of writing. The proposed features are:
- Peer-to-peer encrypted messaging and forums
- Messages are stored securely on your device, not in the cloud
- Connect directly with nearby contacts – no Internet access required
- Free and open source software
[Courtesy: Jester Raiin]
While WhatsApp might be the talk of the day, many users on Google Play do complain about taking pictures without permission or automatic shared file downloads. Obviously FB doesn’t bother about your privacy. However, there is another open source free Android app that does and offers you more peace of mind, Kontalk. Capabilities:
- Even in server-to-client communication, your phone number is irreversibly encrypted, so Kontalk can’t possibly know your phone number (it is used only for sending you the verification code, than it will be discarded)
- Messages and data are encrypted
- Hide your presence
- Kontalk brings to you the reliability of a distributed network of servers and the safety of cryptography
- What’s more, you can even setup your own messaging server with Kontalk
- Send and receive messages for free with other Kontalk users (carrier fees for Internet traffic may apply)
- Kontalk uses your phone number to identify yourself and automatically adds other Kontalk users you can talk with by looking in your contact list
- You can send any text messages and image (other media types coming soon)
- Multiple devices support: every incoming message will be sent to all registered devices
- Shared files are not downloaded to your device automatically
- Open source
Kontalk is still under heavy development. It has a few glitches and needs more finesse in some areas. In case of India it sends a Cell Broadcast message with the verification code (more information here). So you may have to allow CB messages from the settings of your Messaging app to receive the message.
On Google Play: kontalk
[Courtesy: Jester Raiin]
Tox is a very fresh project and is not ready or available for download at the time of writing. But it looks very promising by the features it is supposed to come with. It is open source, attempts to be an alternative to gtalk, skype etc. and finally, it promises complete security from any kind of snooping. The look and feel is amazing! Will support messaging, calls and video conferencing. Though it will come with industry standard encryption it will be easy enough for anyone to use out of the box. Will be waiting!
Each user ho signs up will be assigned a Tox ID. You can publicly list the ID if you wish. Excited? Get your Tox ID.
Tox is multiplatform and will support Linux, Windows and Mac.