Video Chat Linux Tools

Clint Savage herlo1 at
Sat Jun 9 17:31:18 MDT 2007

On 6/9/07, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> On Sat, 2007-06-09 at 08:48 -0600, Clint Savage wrote:
> > There used to be gnomemeeting, which can supposedly connect and chat
> with
> > netmeeting (which doesn't really exist anymore), but since they moved
> that
> > to Ekiga, I can't even chat with other Linux users on it.  Today, I
> spent a
> > good couple hours with my friend Christer trying to communicate with
> him.
> > Albeit, I am at a hotel and he is too, but in Windows, there are still
> > several options that fit my needs.  I've tried wine too, and for the
> most
> > part something is always lacking in Linux.
> In my experience, Ekiga works awesomely.  What do you mean you can't
> chat with other linux users?  You are talking other ekiga users?
> >
> > There's a few good things in Linux that are much more improved over
> recent
> > attempts I've made to get my camera working.  One of them is that there
> now
> > seems to be a stable driver, over the old broken spca5xx driver, for my
> > webcam.  And I can record myself, which I suppose is a good thing, and
> send
> > that out, which definitely has some advantages.  But real time video
> chat
> > seems to be a problem in Linux and I can't understand why.
> Web cams in linux are pretty rough, if you don't have one that's
> supported well.  The only consolation here is that Linux supports far
> more web cams than OS X.
> What do you mean real-time video is a problem?  If you can record from
> your camera, then any real-time problems are going to be network
> problems.
> On a MacBook Pro with Skype, I can normally only get a couple of frames
> per second.  On Ekiga, I get less than 10 fps also, depending on
> networking conditions.
> >
> > Anyone have any suggestions above and beyond the stuff I've tried?
> >
> > Here's a short list of all the tools I've tried, and failed to get
> working.
> >
> >
> > Ekiga (appears to almost work, then fails)
> What do you mean, appears to work, then fails?  In my experience Ekiga
> works very well indeed.  Ekiga can talk to anyone using
> standards-compliant protocols, including SIP and H.323.  Even windows
> users using Microsoft NetMeeting can interact with Ekiga.  Typically I
> only talk to one Linux user and it worked fabulously, once I got the
> d*** webcam to actually work.
> > Skype (but it doesn't have video for linux)
> This one is a bit of a red herring since you can only use skype to chat
> and video-chat with other skype users.  I do use skype on windows in
> vmware and my webcam from time to time, though, given the lack of a good
> video chat client on Windows other than skype.
> > WengoPhone (you've gotta pay for it, but I can't find the Linux
> download).
> > If anyone knows where to get this on a trial basis, I am wiling to pay.
> WengoPhone's commercial product is based on openwengo, which is open
> source.  GPL actually.
> Video chatting is beyond the scope of wengophone, though.
> >
> > Others via wine
> Wine won't support your webcam.  Period.  At least not until they have
> raw libusb support in kernel32.dll.  That's coming, about 2 years down
> the the pipe.
> >
> > Yahoo! Messenger
> > GoogleTalk
> Video only works on GoogleTalk with other Google talk users, who have a
> third-party plugin, from what I've read.  I don't believe it's H.323
> compatible.
> > MSN Messenger
> > Skype
> >
> > There were others, but these are a good list off the top of my
> head.  Give
> > me options people.  This is Open Source for heavens sake!  I want to see
> > what is out there before I start a project that will meet my needs.
> Starting your own project could be rewarding.  But if you do, just make
> sure you follow the standard SIP and H.323 protocols (and codecs) so you
> can remain compatible with Ekiga, and all the other various
> standards-compliant video chatting solutions out there (including
> hardware ones).  I estimate you could have a bare minimal video chat
> working in 6-12 months.
> I'm very curious to hear about exactly how ekiga is failing (as would
> the ekiga author also, likely).  Seems like maybe you could best put
> your energy into it, since it's already the closest to being feature
> complete.


My failures pretty much stem from poor network tunneling.  I am sure in the
perfect environment, Ekiga would meet my needs.  However, because I
regularly travel and am at the mercy of hotel wireless 80% of the time, I
run into issues that way.  Like I said, it attempts to work, I see a short
connection, then it fails.  Ekiga detected that it would need to use STUN
which means to me that its trying to work around those troublesome firewalls
and proxies, but can't quite do it.

As far as GoogleTalk, MSN, Yahoo and others.  I understand that they can
only talk to others of their same kind, but if it could work in Linux, I'd
be happy enough until something else comes along.

When I suggested Wengophone, I also implied OpenWengo.  I'll try again here
though, because this last try wasn't as thorough as my foray into it last

My webcam totally works in linux.  I can see myself and (believe) I can
record it.  I'll be making sure things work better this week while in

I'd love to commit bug reports to Ekiga, but I think "doesn't connect" and
"Connection timeout" errors just wouldn't be enough for the developer.  I'll
look into running it from source in the near future as well...



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