Comparing private and peer-to-peer VoIP solutions

One of the top questions people ask RTC developers around Valentine's Day is whether we finally have a private solution people can use to communicate with their partner.

There is fresh attention on the issue this year after Twitter and other large providers flexed their muscles and demonstrated that they are more powerful than the US President.


Two products to try are Jami (Chat, voice, video) and Briar (Chat only).

Neither of these is complete or perfect.

Nonetheless, they are now at a stage where you can try them with friends and give useful feedback to the developers or help packaging them in distributions.

Getting the latest Jami and Briar on Fedora and Debian

I started a discussion on the Fedora devel list about packaging the latest Jami code. Due to ffmpeg patent issues, it will need to be distributed through RPM Fusion.

For users of Debian 10 (buster), I've published backports of the latest build in the Debify repository. You can install like this:

wget -O - | bash

sudo apt update

sudo apt install -t debify-buster-backports jami

You can ask questions about Jami on the Jami mailing list here.

Briar packaging is held up by politics in Debian. I had been working on some of the Java packaging toolchain before people decided to put politics first. If anybody would like to see Briar on Debian, here are some of the outstanding technical issues.

Both Jami and Briar apps are available, you can install them with F-Droid too.


Achieving independence from cloud services doesn't necessarily give you privacy. There are trade-offs to be made. John Goerzen recently published a blog about privacy issues in current P2P tools.

Ask us

You can ask questions about any RTC and VoIP products on the FreeRTC discussion list. To receive periodic announcements about new products, subscribe to FreeRTC announce.


There are various efforts to develop standards for true peer-to-peer communications. The SIP P2P / RELOAD effort and Serverless XMPP are worth looking at. reSIProcate includes initial efforts to support SIP RELOAD.

Serverless XMPP, p2p, peer to peer, Donald Trump