Ring – The Free & Open Source Text/Audio/Video Messenger As Alternative To WhatsApp/Telegram/Facebook Messenger: Review And Video Demonstration

Introduction

Welcome to the new part of Free Messenger Saga (Signal, Tox, Matrix, Tor Messenger). It’s very good that in the modern world of Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype some peoples create new software for communication.

Ring – open source platform for text chat, voice and video communications and released under one of the best free license – GPLv3. All source code is available on Github. Linux client uses the GTK+ toolkit. Probably most of the Ring code was written by Savoir-faire Linux – free and open source software company based on Canada and France.

Graphical Interface

After the first start you must choose your personal alias (like a “My laptop”) and your personal ID was generated automatically.

ring:37fb4f23ce2e13bdb42d676149a0f354e81945de – this ID doesn’t look easy for human memory, but aliases is available is all clients ’cause readable nick like a “Josh Dou” better for users. Special for spammers: yep, this is my real ID.

Aliases can’t be used if you need to add new contact ’cause Ring work only with ID in network connections. Client is looking as typically GNOME application – contact list in the left sidebar, conversations and ‘call’ button at right.

In the settings, user can setup the new Ring or SIP accounts, select audio or video device for multimedia, run Ring after an OS start, bring Ring to the foreground or clear history.

Android client with the same minimal style.

In general, I’m being impressed from Ring client – very easy and useful for ordinary people without tens tree-based settings. Run the client, generate ID, get ID from your colleague and ready to go without SMS and e-mail verification – it’s pretty.

Under the hood

Some people ask: “Why I need the another messenger?”. I will try to formulate an answer with short thesis:

  • fully open source software (client and server side) with open protocol
  • active community
  • decentralization: peer-to-peer connections – system doesn’t stop after central server crash
  • security: AES-128, certificates and encrypted conversations
  • clients for all popular operating systems.
  • SIP support

I think the slogan “Your communications under your control” is good for the Ring. No personal information on server, text and audio/video content can be encrypted or decrypted only in client side.

Let’s talk about technologies. Ring have a layered architecture:

  • graphical interface
  • LibRingClient – cross-platform client for OS iteracting
  • D-BUS – for LibRingClient <-> LibRing communication
  • core

The Ring has also used some external libraries: OpenDHT for peer-to-peer communication, PJSIP, GnuTLS, FFMPEG. Ring support video with H264 and VP8 codecs, audio – opus, speex, G.722.

Ring client now available for Linux (packages for Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu), Windows, OS X and Android.

Resume

Very good text/audio/video messenger now in beta stage, I hope he will be better in future. Minimalism, easy setup, open technologies, clients for popular platforms – this really good work deserves recognition and respect. The new rival for the Tox, XMPP, Matrix and other free messengers is necessary. Stay secure and use the open source software.

 

Read more:

Introduction to Tox — Free & Open Source messenger with audio/video calls as Skype Alternative

Introduction to Matrix — Free & Open Source messenger with audio/video calls as Skype/Viber/Slack Alternative

Tor Messenger Review – Just Another Messenger or Light at The End of Privacy Tunnel?

NayuOS Review – Free & Open Source Alternative To Chrome OS With Node.js And Without Google Services