Give Slack, Zoom and Skype the boot for open-source options
Now that everyone is working from the kitchen table in remote, the need for good communication between teams is stronger than ever.
Sometimes—whether it’s because of cost, security issues or features—the usual suspects aren’t enough. Just check out the search spikes in Google Trends for “Slack alternative” and “Zoom alternative” in the last 30 days.
Here are three open-source options for instant messaging, video calls and voice over IP to check out before you’re required to put on big-person pants again.
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Lol, my parents just explained to me how to use Zoom and what it can do. 😀
So I told them about Jitsi, an opensource video conferencing tool, which doesn't make you create a user account or take your data.#AIEthicshttps://t.co/y4B7rw2nER
— Anna Bethke (@data_beth) March 29, 2020
The name means “wires” in Bulgarian, and this bundle of projects ties together instant messaging, voice over IP and video conferencing software. Privacy and security are strong points: Jitsi got a boost from the Tor Project for encryption features and it has a policy of not selling user data. Also on offer (gratis) are tools that you’d expect, like desktop share and group edit for documents in Etherpad. There’s also a blur background feature, though still in beta, which can erase that pile of laundry from view.
We’re always looking for open-source projects that know how to play well with others. Riot.im, built on the Matrix framework, can bridge into other communications including IRC, Slack, Telegram and more. Chat, exchange files, make voice or video calls and conferences and add bots—all with end-to-end encryption.
If you’re up for some post-work tinkering, the Matrix framework can handle other types of real-time data, not only messaging and VoIP. Your homebrew iOT solution or virtual reality golf course could be next.
Communicate and collaborate with your team, share files, chat in real time or switch to video/audio conferencing with Rocket.Chat. So far, so standard but if you’re considering making the switch from Slack, check out the importer tool to keep hold of your data. Another open-source advantage: you can customize the look and feel of the interface to match your brand. The other feature that’s more for fun than hammering out sales deals: real-time translations in 50 languages, thanks to “cutting-edge machine learning.”
Try Mattermost, if all you need is a messaging tool. This is the platform your open-source evangelist friend probably tried to get you to use before the crisis, with desktop clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux and mobile apps for iOS and Android.