Objective

Install the Ring Free Software VIOP client.

Distributions

This guide covers Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora, but Ring can be installed from source on other distributions.

Requirements

A working Linux install with root privileges.

Difficulty

Easy

Conventions

  • # - requires given command to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ - given command to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Introduction

If you ask just about any Linux user, they'll agree that Skype is pretty terrible. There's not a whole lot to like there, especially since the Linux client is just a poorly maintained wrapper for the web app. There have been several attempts to create a free and open source alternative to Skype, but none have been as polished or complete as Ring.

Install On Debian

Before you add the Ring repository, you need to install a single dependency for Debian, so go ahead and do that.
# apt install dirmngr
Now, you can add the repo to your /etc/apt/sources.list
deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/debian_9/ ring main
Add the GPG key so apt doesn't complain.
# apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
Then, update and install Ring.
# apt update
# apt install ring

Install On Ubuntu

Ring supports both Ubuntu LTS and the current releases. This guide is going to use 17.04, but you can replace it with your version number, and it'll work just the same. Start off by adding the repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list.d directory.
$ sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring.list
deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_17.04/ ring main
Add the GPG key for the repo too.
$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
Enable the "universe" repository too.
$ sudo add-apt-repository universe
Finally, update and install.
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install ring

Install On Fedora

The install process is super easy on Fedora. DNF handles just about everything for you. Use it to add the repo, and simply install Ring.
# dnf config-manager --add-repo https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/fedora_26/ring-nightly.repo
# dnf install -y ring

Using Ring

Ring first startup

When you start Ring for the first time, it will ask you to create an account. Unlike Skype, you don't need to enter any personal information here. Enter what you like, and create a password. The main purpose of creating a Ring account is to assign you a unique number for making and receiving calls.

Ring account creation

After you create your account, you will be assigned your number. That number will be stored on your computer at .config/ring/dring.yml. Should you reinstall your OS or change computers, back up that file. You'll need it if you want to keep your number.

The interface that you're dropped into after logging in does look similar to existing VIOP software. You can exchange numbers with your friends and build a contact list. Ring is also available for Android, so you can send your number there and have the same number across both devices.

Ring can handle regular chat, voice calls, video calls, and even conference calls.

Closing Thoughts

Ring provides a real solid alternative to terrible proprietary VOIP clients like Skype. It's simple to use and set up, so you can get your non-techie friends on it with minimal effort too.

Even though Ring hasn't been around very long, it's becoming more polished all the time, and already beats out certain poorly maintained alternatives. For Ring, the future certainly seems bright.