My adventures trying to find a chat service that supports multiple IM platforms and video chat

So, I got all into this recently, because I love pidgin, but as of today, August 16, 2008, the ubuntu version of pidgin does not support video conferencing of any kind. I looked everywhere for another client that would let me use all of my messengers in one place and allow me to video conference. Unfortunately, what I’ve discovered is that although there are some messengers that allow multiple user accounts from different clients, there are none that support all of the webcam features. Here is what I’ve discovered:
-Kopete is cool. It allows several different messengers, it works on gnome even though it’s native to KDE, and it supports video conferencing for some of those messengers. I haven’t managed to get it to work with the few it supports, but there are a number of reasons this might have been the case. I turned off Kopete and went back to Pidgin.
-Meebo would be so convenient if you’re not running linux. This is mostly just true because Meebo uses tokbox for it’s video chat, and tokbox is a flash application and flash doesn’t integrate exactly seamlessly into firefox on linux. Meebo is cool, but I don’t recommend it for your video conferencing needs if you’re running linux. If you can get it working on a 64 bit system, you’re a better man than I, and please tell me how you did it.
-Wengophone is an excellent application and though it supports video calls, it doesn’t support video chats. Wengophone would probably be my hero if the French didn’t like to take the entire month of August off every year and maintained their support, their signup page, and had something helpful to say. It is beautiful though.
-Ekiga is easy to sign up for and crashes each and every time I try to run the installer on my computer. If I were running windows, I would be expecting a big fat system crash every time. I love linux, since it just messes with the one program, everything else still runs and it’s easy to find and shut down so I don’t want to kill myself.
-MeBeam looks by far as the most promising option. There is a plugin available for pidgin for Windows, which integrates the video chat but even before the plugin becomes usable for ubuntu, the website (which also operates on flash and does so without issues so long as you have the latest version of flash) allows you to set up public video conferences with up to 16 people right on their webpage. He even has a widget called MiniMe which allows you to conference with up to 4 people on your own webpage or blog and automatically sets up subrooms for more people than that. Just don’t do anything risque using MeBeams web-based video conferencing service, because although it doesn’t necessarily violate the terms of use (according to the website) it is a public room, and anyone who knows the name can access it.
MeBeam blog
Sesasha’s myspace profile complete with MiniMe

One response to “My adventures trying to find a chat service that supports multiple IM platforms and video chat

  1. Pingback: My adventures trying to find a chat service that supports multiple IM platforms and video chat | Sesasha Says

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