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I'm looking for something similar to skype but basically just for me to video chat with my girlfriend. Skype has been kind of buggy lately with its recent iterations and doesn't seem to be progressing as much as when it was with its previous backers.

Are there any good, secure video chat programs?

  • Something that customizable and lets you choose frame rate vs pixelation
  • Something that is generally secure (I don't care if the NSA can tap it but no one else, especially over unencrypted WiFis).
  • Open source is preferred but not required.
  • Free or really really cheap is practically required.
  • Also, since this is point to point, an i am a power user (and my gf as well), it can involve some manual setup to establish a point-to-point link.
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closed as off topic by Scott Chamberlain, HackToHell, Canadian Luke, Dave, RedGrittyBrick Jan 6 '13 at 11:55

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Windows, Linux, Mac? –  random Apr 3 '10 at 4:48
    
In this order of priority: Windows, Linux, Mac –  wag2639 Apr 5 '10 at 5:18
    
somewhat related: superuser.com/questions/119569/… –  akira Jul 6 '10 at 8:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Why not use Windows Live Messenger video chat? Or if you want to go really techy and secury you can install your own SIP proxy and with the above mentioned VPN and a variety of SIP clients you can make your own platform, so to speak.

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Please note that Windows Live Messenger doesn't use any kind of encryption for video/audio chatting. windowslivehelp.com/… –  Yousf Nov 15 '11 at 21:57

Jitsi looks like it fits your criteria.

It's free, open-source, uses encryption, supports most formats (SIP, XMPP). Check it out to see if it suits you.

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I had a hard time trying to get jitsi (1.0.1) working, and finally gave up after numerous and repeated errors (without a single hint about the reason). Maybe a newer version will work better? –  ring0 Nov 1 '12 at 14:38
    
Jitsi 2.0.2 works like a charm now: Installation was straight forward, and I enjoy the additional security of this lovely software which originated from a project at a European university! Very much recommended: jitsi.org/Main/Download –  hsk81 Aug 7 '13 at 7:52

I can't really give advice on a video chat program. But concerning security, all you have to do is setup a VPN (IPSec or otherwise) so that either your girlfriend can join your local network or vice-versa. This will give you a secure encrypted channel from point to point. Then, you just have to find a Point To Point video chat program that does is truly point to point. (as in, never contacts the internet if not needed)

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WLM isn't the best option anymore - not since MS decided to make it an 'ad serving platform', but the best (or only I think) option for Open source is Jabber, otherwise known as the XMPP protocol. Which is a secure, encrypted protocol BTW.

You can run a chat server yourself, and secure that. No need to run on Google's Gtalk network (which is XMPP) or others. There's a load of server and client software on the XMPP website.

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If you access Gmail using https (which is the default setting now) and use their video chat software, then the connection to Google's servers will be encrypted, which would secure you against any sniffing on an unencrypted WiFi network, etc. Google would have access to the data, but I don't think they keep logs of video chats, just text chats. It's supported on Windows, OS X and Linux, and is very easy to install. I've been using it lately, and it seems to work quite well.

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It's a reasonable suggestion but that too would be subject to the eyes of google. –  wag2639 Oct 11 '10 at 7:11
    
True, but likewise, Windows Live Messenger video chat is subject to the eyes of Microsoft. I suppose it's up to you who you trust more, but I'd say either one has risks, but probably doesn't care, and probably doesn't keep that many hours of video when they don't need to. –  nhinkle Oct 11 '10 at 8:01

As for gmail voice/video chat, for the sake of clarity I should emphasize that the understanding is that currently - no change as of 3/2012 - the p2p communication streams are unencrypted, even when your connection to the google servers is https; so in principle it could be sniffed from the net as simply as an unencrypted Email could be;

As I was directed here while looking for the reason that skype for linux is acting up, I've found a good alternative secure voice/video chat application that has good reviews, I'll definitely be trying it teamviewer

edit April 3rd 2012:

Teamviewer had yet to support v4l, although it's fun controlling your correspondent's computer :D

jitsi is maturing now, it's quite good for secure video/voice chat, google accounts seem to work reasonably well for automatic ZRTP secure calling, although it may be my netbook, a relatively powerful for the genre atom N550, seemed to have difficulty encrypting the streams, leading to a significant time-lag, hence now as skype for windows seems less buggy than skype for linux, then it looks as though the netbook'll be seeing more of windows for a while

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