Many people rely on proprietary chat solutions like Skype, but those solutions pose serious concerns for both privacy and security. Additionally, development of the Skype Linux client has been unpredictable at best, even stalling for a number of years, only to resume just recently.
In response to these lacking options, independent developers have been collaborating to create Tox. Tox is an open source, decentralized, and encrypted video, voice, and text chat solution available across multiple platforms with numerous clients available. Though development of Tox is still very much so under way, there are mostly stable clients available for use right now, the most notable of which is qTox.
qTox is, as its name suggests, a Qt based Tox client, and it has seen the most active development of any of the available Tox clients. It is also the most widely packaged and available of them, and the developers maintain their own repositories for qTox. Because of this, getting up and running on Ubuntu is fairly easy.
The qTox repository is like any other external Debian repository. The use of the name “Debian” was deliberate. They didn’t create an Ubuntu PPA. Instead, the developers decided to make qTox available through a classic Debian-style repository. Essentially, it functions the same way, though, it’s just a bit more manual.
To get started,
cd to the directory containing the configuration files for external repositories.
$ cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
From there, use your preferred text editor through
sudo to create a new
list file in that directory.
$ sudo vim qtox.list
Then, copy the following into that file and save.
deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/antonbatenev:/tox/xUbuntu_16.04/ /
Now, you can update
Apt and install qTox.
$ sudo apt-get update $ sudo apt-get install qtox
When the install finishes, you will be able to open up and use qTox. When you first open up the program, you will be prompted to create a username and password. These only exist locally at first, but there is an option to register them in a unified database and make the username search-able.
The qTox interface should not be anything especially radical for anyone who has ever used a chat program. However, there is one thing that sets Tox apart from other chat clients. That is the unique user ID key that Tox generates. You will only be able to chat with people that you have exchanged IDs or a registered email address with. You can find your ID in qTox by clicking on your user name in the upper left corner of the window. You can share that with a friend, or you can get their ID, and add them by clicking on the plus sign in the bottom left of the window.
After you’ve successfully added a friend, you will be able to click on their username and chat with them and even transfer files securely over Tox.
Tox is a continually evolving solution to the problems with proprietary chat solutions. qTox provides people with a simple and intuitive way to make use of this awesome project and protect their conversations.