In an era in which privacy has become, at least for some, one of the biggest concerns when communicating on the web, it is good to have alternatives to the services of the technological giants that have been using our data for a while now with different commercial purposes.
If you are looking for a messaging client with capacity for calls and group video calls in the style of Skype , but with another type of philosophy, you may want to try Ring a cross-platform and open app that offers just that.
Ring is a Free Software project. Its main purpose is to offer a communication system that respects the confidentiality of the user and therefore does not have centralized servers . Ring is free and is under a free GPLv3 license.
The interface is quite simple and similar to Skype , at least as Skype looked before its recent redesign . The version for Windows is in the Microsoft Store and the installation is extremely simple. You can create an account directly from the app when you start it for the first time.
The app shows you your “RingID”, a unique identification number that you can share with your contacts to verify your identity. You have even a QR code available to do it. To add contacts you can use user names or do it through an external app that manages your contacts and is compatible.
The app uses end-to-end encryption with authentication, handles the identity of the user with X.509 certificates, and is based on RSA / AES / DTLS / SRTP technologies. Ring uses OpenDHT , an open library to implement DHT and a decentralized distribution system, such as what is used in p2p systems, such as BitTorrent.
The way in which the service establishes the communication avoids that centralized registers of the users are stored, or the storage of personal data. However, its creators warn that they still have a couple of weak points in OpenDHT that could allow someone to use the way in which metadata is collected to know who speaks with whom, something that in apps like Signal, for example, does not happens.
Ring is in development and you can now test a beta version for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Its creators also admit that the service needs to be studied more thoroughly and until then they can not categorically affirm that the service is completely effective in their security and anonymity. Something that some companies never admit, and that talks about the transparent development of the project.
If you are interested in the app you can try it on any of the supported systems, and if you are a developer and want to contribute to the project,