Skype vs Empathy

After testing Empathy I can say that it works amazingly nice, so why are we still including Skype in Fusion Linux?
One simple reason – there is no OSX and Windows version of Empathy. Skype is available on all platforms and most people who need VOIP communication already have Skype account and Skype installed on their Linux/OSX/Windows desktop.
Empathy is great if all of your friends are using Linux desktop. But there is no substitute for Skype if you want to talk with somebody who is not using Linux. Even most Linux users I met also use Skype, we even have a few people using Windows and OSX in our local Linux users group, not to mention that “regular” aka “non-geek” people don’t even use Linux so Empathy is not even an option for them.
I would love to see Skype plugin for Empathy, that would be just great but not sure if Silver Lake and Skype Limited would allow that.
After some more testing Empathy with Google Voice it worked just great. If more people had Google Voice instead Skype accounts Empathy could replace Skype.

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12 Responses to Skype vs Empathy

  1. bochecha says:

    > “Empathy is great if all of your friends are using Linux desktop.”


    Empathy is multi-protocol. Among others, it handles the Jabber, Windows Live and Yahoo accounts.

    And that is what matters, not the IM client per se: there **are** clients on Windows for those protocols.

    Mac OS X has Adium, Windows has Pidgin, and both those are multi-protocols, just like Empathy, so they work well together.

    What? You say Windows and Mac users don’t have those clients installed?

    But Windows users might have Yahoo Messenger or Windows Live Messenger or even GoogleTalk installed. Mac OS X users have iChat installed. And those use the very same protocols as Empathy does, so they work perfectly together.

    Stop the FUD please.

    Now, The issue with Skype is that Empathy (or any other multi-protocol client really) doesn’t implement the Skype **protocol**. This means that to speak with a **Skype** user, you must use Skype.

    But it is **false** that using Empathy you can’t talk to someone using Windows or Mac OS X, since the most popular protocols on those platforms are all supported in Empathy (or Pidgin, Kopete, Finch,…)

  2. valent says:

    Sorry you are right, Empathy can be used with Google Voice on other desktops.

    Don’t get offended I really don’t mean to spread any FUD.

    I just tried using Google Voice and just can’t get a connection. Asked a few other Linux guys over Twitter who have tried using different setups and they say that Google Voice + Empathy failed them so many times that they stopped using it and use Skype instead.

    I know that you can type but I’m talking about voice and video communication not typing.

  3. Christoph says:

    Google Voice&Video for Google Mail and Empathy work usually quite good. I’m using Audio&Video-Chats from Linux (Empathy) Linux (Google Voice&Video) or Windows (Voice&Video) Linux (Empathy) quite often and since the latest version of Empathy i usually don’t have problems with the connection. But i have to admit that skype performes much better, when one of the chat partners has only a slow internet connection.

  4. Juanj0 says:

    I don’t think it’s FUD either, there are use cases where Empathy can’t save the day (not yet, but I’m sure it will).

    After years dealing with Ekiga, I’ve found that Empathy with Telepathy SIP plugin just rocks! And happens almost the same with VoIP and video as long as both users are using a recent version of Empanthy.

    But this is new for me, for the last two years I had to use Skype, and its “just works” it’s been the only choice for me.

    It’s awesome that we can use Empathy, although is sometimes hard to end old habits!

  5. nurf says:

    I was forced to stop using Empathy because it couldn’t use the proxy server. Skype might be closed-source, but at least I’m able to do my VOIP calls. It’s not all about ‘open vs closed’, it’s also about features – and Empathy couldn’t operate in some basic conditions (via a proxy)…

  6. kagesenshi says:

    Its called telepathy-spirit .. though its only available for ARM processor (N900) ..

  7. valent says:

    After some more testing Empathy with Google Voice it worked just great. If more people had Google Voice instead Skype accounts Empathy could replace Skype.

  8. JFM says:

    I’ve used Empathy with Google Voice and had a less-than-satisfying experience, because of the lack of echo cancellation. Everything sounded fine on my end, but the person on the other end (using Google’s browser plugin) had lots of echoes from us. It’s fine with both of us using Google’s browser plugin. I have high hopes that once the PulseAudio echo cancellation source/sink is available and working, Empathy will be a better choice than the browser plugin for Google Voice, because it’s more convenient and better integrated with the operating system.

  9. Li Lo says:

    I really like the desktop sharing feature of empathy:
    Does skype have something similar?

  10. Pingback: Fusion 14 Release Candidate is out | Fusion Linux

  11. I prefer using Skype for my social interactions as it works on Linux, Windows, MAC, iPhones, iPads etc. But for business meetings, I would recommend using RHUB`s free audio conferencing service. It provides better voice quality as compared to hosted services.

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