Ring – A free, open source and secure alternative to Skype messenger

In this fast paced modern world, almost all of us are using smartphones and computers to connect with our Family, Friends, and Colleagues from anywhere in the world. All we need is just an Internet enabled device, like a Computer or Smartphone, so that we could easily send text messages, make audio/video calls whenever we want to our beloved ones at any time from anywhere instantly. There are numerous communication applications, both free and paid versions, are available on the market. One of the popular and most widely used application is Skype messenger. Some of you might aware that Microsoft had closely worked with NSA, and helped them to intercept the users Skype video calls. So, Skype lost its integrity, and users started to look for some other alternatives. There are so many alternatives over time. The one we are going to discuss in the tutorial is Ring.

You might also like to check a similar application called Tox Messenger.

Ring, formerly known as SELphone, is a free, open source, and secure alternative to Skype messenger. Ring doesn’t store any of your personal information in a central server, so you have full anonymity and privacy. Ring usesTLS/SRTP to secure connection and communications over the network, so that the communication between the users is completely safe. It is released under GPLv3, and is available for GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Android. Ring is developed and supported by a Canadian company called Savoir-faire Linux.

In this tutorial, we will see how to install Ring, and how to configure and use in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Android.

Install Ring in Linux

Ring developers have created an official repository to make the installation much easier. Depending upon the distribution you use, install it as shown below.

On Debian 9:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/debian_9/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

On Debian 8:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/debian_8/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

On Ubuntu 14.04 LTS:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_14.04/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

On Ubuntu 15.10:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_15.10/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://dl.ring.cx/ring-nightly/ubuntu_16.04/ ring main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ring-nightly-man.list"
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys A295D773307D25A33AE72F2F64CD5FA175348F84
sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ring-gnome

On Fedora 22:

sudo wget https://dl.ring.cx/fedora_22/ring-nightly-man.repo -O /etc/yum.repos.d/ring-nightly-man.repo
sudo yum install ring-gnome

On Fedora 23:

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo https://dl.ring.cx/fedora_23/ring-nightly-man.repo
sudo dnf install ring-gnome

On Fedora 24:

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo https://dl.ring.cx/fedora_24/ring-nightly-man.repo
sudo dnf install ring-gnome

How to use Ring in Linux desktop

I have tested Ring on Fedora 23 KDE desktop and Android.

Create Ring account on Android in

Open Ring application from menu. At first launch, you will be asked to enter your profile name.

VirtualBox_Fedora 23 desktop_28_07_2016_20_52_51

Now, Ring app will create an ID for you. Ring ID is an unique 40-characters personal identifier number, like a mail id or phone number. You should share it to your recipients you want to communicate with. Also, ask your friends share their Ring ID as well.

VirtualBox_Fedora 23 desktop_28_07_2016_20_53_16

Once you got the Ring ID from your friend, just add them to your Ring app.

To do so, copy and paste the Ring ID of your friend in the search box on the left top corner and click the Call button.

VirtualBox_Fedora 23 desktop_29_07_2016_16_35_49

That’s it. Start chatting with your friend as long as Internet connection is active on both sides.

You can make audio, voice, and text chats as the way you do in Skype and other messengers. It doesn’t matter what device you use. All you need is an active Internet connection and the Ring ID of your friend.

Creating new Ring ID

You can create more than one Ring ID for you. It will be useful to communicate with different persons with different IDs. For example, you can use one ID for Family and another for business.

To do create a new ID, click on the Gear button on the top right corner.

VirtualBox_Fedora 23 desktop_28_07_2016_20_53_16

Go to Accounts tab and click the + symbol.

VirtualBox_Fedora 23 desktop_29_07_2016_15_32_29

Enter the name of the profile and you’re done. Now, send the new Ring ID to your recipient and start talking. It’s very simple.

How to use Ring in Android

Search Ring application on Google playstore, and install it.

Screenshot_2016-07-28-18-08-24

Or you can install it from F-Droid, a non-official repository that has Free and Open Source Software applications for the Android platform. Download and install F-Droid apk in your Android devices and install Ring.

After installing Ring, launch it. The usage is very similar as like in the Desktop.

At first launch, you should create a new account.

To do so, tap on Create Ring account.

Screenshot_2016-07-28-18-27-07

That’s it, A new unique Ring ID will be created for you on your Android device.

Screenshot_2016-07-28-18-33-51

To view your Ring ID, tap on the three horizontal lines on the top left. You will see your Ring ID.

Screenshot_2016-07-28-18-35-53

Just share the ID to your friends and start chatting.

For Windows and Mac OS X, check the Ring download page.

Conclusion

Of course, We can use Facebook, Google hangouts, Viber, Facetime, Jitsi etc., to communicate with others. However, concerning about the privacy and security, Ring might be a good choice, and better alternative for paid applications. Ring is currently under development, so there might be few bugs while using it. Submit the bugs if you encountered with any errors, the developers and community may sort out them as soon as possible.

For more details, refer the following links.

That’s all for now. If you find this guide useful please share it on your social networks, so that other users can benefit. I will be here soon with another interesting article. Until then, stay tuned with OSTechNix.

Cheers!

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