Tox, the free and secure skype replacement


Tox, is a free and secure alternative to skype, with multiple clients available for Mac, Windows and of course Linux. Although the projects is in its early stages, its already highly usable.

The Tox project was initialy started in the light of the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. What the Tox team had to say about that:

Nowadays, every government seems to be interested in what we're saying online. Tox is built on a "privacy goes first" agenda, and we make no compromises. Your safety is our top priority, and there isn't anything in the world that will change that. Tox, Tox: About

So, lets start playing around with it, and see what it can do! As aforementioned, you can choose from multiple clients, those are:

  • QTox
    A Qt graphical user interface for Tox
    Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OS X.
  • Toxic
    Ncurses-based CLI
    Linux, FreeBSD, OS X.
  • Toxy
    Metro-style Tox client for
  • UTox
    Lightweight Tox client for desktop
    Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, partial other BSD.
  • Blight
    Cross-platform graphical user interface for Tox written in Racket. Still in early development stages
    Windows, Linux, OS X.
  • Antidote
    A client for iOS
    iOS 7.0+.
  • Ratox
    A minimal FIFO based client
    BSD, Linux, OS X.

In my system, QTox was more stable than the rest. Meaning your experience may differ from mine, as these are still nightly builds. Here is a small features list:

  • One to one chat with friends
  • Group chats
  • File transfers, with previewing of images
  • Audio calls
  • Video calls


The Tox team previously revoked the key and remade their repo, so if you had the Tox repo before, this is a good time as any to reinstall it. Remove the old key like so: sudo apt-key del 0C2E03A0. Also, do note that I could not find out which Ubuntu distro exactly this PPA supports. But, for those running 14.04, good news, you can try out Tox.

  1. sudo sh -c 'echo "deb https://repo.tox.im/ nightly main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tox.list'
  2. wget -qO - https://repo.tox.im/pubkey.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
  3. sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
  4. sudo apt-get update

To install qtox run the following command: sudo apt-get install qtox. Now, I know most of you want the latest and greatest and with nightly builds like these, that is certain with almost all of you. So, here is how to compile the latest builds of QTox yourself.

  1. git clone https://github.com/tux3/qTox.git
  2. cd qTox
  3. ./simple_make.sh

After running simple_make.sh it will try and install all dependencies and compile QTox. You'll have to install it yourself though. Just sudo make install in the same folder the code is in. Note: that these are nightly builds so be careful for dependencies hell and such.

Now that we have added the repo, we can install all Tox's Linux clients previously mentioned. Install QTox like so sudo apt-get install qtox. Below, you can see the profile page of QTox.

Qtox - User Profile Settings


QTox is not only more stable - on my system - but also has the most working features. It is available for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OS X. There is an Android Client, although not on par with the desktop version. No iOS version yet. Here is an extensive - working and not working - features list of QTox:

  • 1v1 messaging
  • File transfer
  • Group chat
  • Group audio
  • Audio
  • Video
  • DNS discovery
  • Chat logs
  • Proxy support
  • Audio Filtering
  • Faux offline messaging
  • Contact aliases
  • Contact blocking(Not implemented at the moment)
  • Profile import/export
  • Save file encryption
  • Multilingual
  • Multiprofile
  • Typing notification
  • Audio notifications
  • Emoticons
  • Spell check(Not implemented at the moment)
  • Desktop sharing(Not implemented at the moment)
  • Inline images
  • File resuming
  • Read receipts
  • Message splitting
  • Changing nospam
  • tox: URI
  • Avatars

As you can see, there are only three features missing: Contact blocking, Spell check and Desktop sharing. But, with the project moving rapidly, it will not take long before all these missing features are implemented.


QTox running under Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04.

Image Gallery

For those interested, you can follow this blog, or speak with like-minded Tox individuals, on an IRC chat room. For those wanting to make a contribution, code wise, you can view there GitHub page. And for those wanting to track their every move, good news, they have a Jenkins Server.

Happy secure chatting!

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