I'm looking for a chat protocol which:

  • Has easy to use clients which will run on both Windows and Linux.
  • Has a server which I can run myself on Linux (preferably easy to set up).
  • Supports duplexed voice and video with minimal hassle (optional).
  • Is open source/free software.

Is there a protocol that fulfils these requirements?

4 Answers 4


http://xmpp.org/ aka jabber

  • Tried that, couldn't get the server to work...
    – marcusw
    Mar 13, 2010 at 20:22
  • 1
    +1 clearly the best option (and there are many, many different servers you can try)
    – squircle
    Mar 13, 2010 at 20:44
  • 1
    This is the correct answer. Upvoted. Just because you can't get the daemon to work doesn't mean it's not the correct answer. XMPP is where it's at, especially when you wrap it all with TLS. Voice, text, video, and presence are all supported.
    – Alex
    Mar 13, 2010 at 21:01
  • There is a hole lot of different servers on xmpp.org/software/servers.shtml and I would recommend ejabberd.
    – Jonas
    Mar 13, 2010 at 23:23
  • All right, I guess I will work harder at finding a good server then.
    – marcusw
    Mar 14, 2010 at 0:27

IRC will do all your 'chat' needs. There are several options for servers and clients (even web based). Just wouldn't fill your 'video' optional request.


I do not know of a protocol that works but what you can do is:

Use pidgin client which supports virtually all protocols and is available on Linux and Windows is open source and light weight.


If you want to do a video-chat in the web-browser, there is only one way to do it at the moment. That is using Adobe Flash and using the Real Time Media Flow Protocol. You can freely use it, but some parts are hosted by Adobe. Have a look at Adobe Status or try a working example on Chatroulette.

  • Um wrong, it is not the only way google talk has had this available via web for awhile. Again not what he wants but incorrect. Mar 14, 2010 at 0:01
  • 1
    True, but then you have to download a custom plugin provided by Google. Adobe Flash is already installed on 95% of the computers on Internet.
    – Jonas
    Mar 14, 2010 at 1:34
  • But adobe flash sucks, crashes, and opens a lot of leaks and is unbearable slow for video on linux and kills pulseaudio from time to time.
    – drahnr
    Aug 30, 2011 at 9:25
  • @drahnr: I agree, that is often the case with plugins. I'm waiting for the day when this can be done in HTML5.
    – Jonas
    Aug 30, 2011 at 9:27

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