Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 15:55

To dear readers, in the emergency of COVID-19 widespread disease, we all needed to keep staying at home but in fact we still need to communicate with people. For that purpose, I listed here several free & popular communication tools everybody can use on Ubuntu with short guidances in using them. They are email & mailing list, IRC webchat, Telegram, and Jitsi Meet. They are all gratis and quick to use and I myself using them for online teaching and reaching people out there. Stay safe and be healthy!

(Back to basic with email group to communicate online)

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By email here I mean email itself and also mailing list. Email is still the standard online communication facility in the internet as it is the surviving oldest and in fact all modern things rely on email too. Of course you cannot register to any new service today without possessing an email, right? For most people are already knowledgeable about sending-receiving emails individually, I present here mailing list, that is email group, think of Telegram Group or Facebok Group but all communicate with email instead. And the service I present to you is, a free/libre open source software based service, that allows you to create your own mailing list at no cost.

(My mailing list's home page in

(Emails in my mailing list from my students)

How to use:
1) Create an account in
2) Create a new mailing list with name you choose. For example, mine is 'teknoplasma-milis'.
3) Your mailing list web address would follow your mailing list name, for example mine is but you don't communicate using this.
4) Give subscribe email to your friends so they can join your list. For example mine is
5) You and friends send email to mailing list address, for example me and my students send every email to email address
6) You and friends receive all emails in each own inboxes.


By webchat here I mean IRC, the oldest internet facility that all Free Software communities use for online communication. The ultimate advantage is no registration required in order to use it. This facility is the only one that do not require you account creation at all, no application, no phone number, no email either, just chat with anyone in your browser. Ubuntu itself developed online via IRC aside from via email.

How to use:
1) Go to webchat address
2) See there are four input boxes for Nick, I Have Password, Channel, and I am not a robot.
3) Type your name without spaces in Nick field
4) Do not check in I have a password option
5) Type group name you wish in Channel field, for example adegroup or malsasaclass taken from my name
6) Check in I'm not a robot field (and solve the quiz if any)
7) Click Start button
8) You enter a group in IRC network with name you chose
9) Give the group name to your friend to join the conversation with you

(Web browser showing when I do chatting with people in #ubuntu-discuss room)


It is free software modern messenger application that unites all devices seamlessly. If you know WhatsApp, Telegram is the best rival to it. I use this for my online course in Indonesia since 2017 with more than 1000 students coming from Sumatra to Papua island and I proved myself, in my opinion today, Telegram is the best messenger. I am proud to recommend Telegram to everybody.

(Telegram running on Ubuntu operating system)

- Seamless integration between computer, laptop, and phone (one account in multiple device)
- Server-based, unlike WhatsApp, all files are not saved in your device but in Telegram's official server (does not eat up your storage space)
- Send files, pictures, videos, etc. quickly and unlimited
- Create groups (max. 200,000 members each, and counting)
- Create channels
- Privacy settings, private/public, group permissions, block user
- As teacher, you can send assignments to your students
- As student, you can contact your classmates
- Scheduled message
- Voice call

How to use:
1) Download it from the website address
2) You got a tsetup-xxx.tar.xz package file.
3) Extract the package file.
4) You got a folder named Telegram.
5) In that folder, there are two files named Telegram and Updater.
6) Double-click the executable file named Telegram.
7) Telegram runs.
8) Register (or login if you already have an account).
9) Have chat with people.

Jitsi Meet

Video conference made easy and free, that is Jitsi. This can replace Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or any other nonfree remote meeting tools.

How to use:
1) Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
2) Go to website address.
3) An empty text box appears, in it type a name like adefamilyroom or malsasaoffice, to name your conference room, then click CREATE.
4) Jitsi website will reload, you will see your chatroom with its name on top and several buttons on bottom.
5) Send the website address you created to your family or friends, for example or from point 3.
6) Ask them to open the website address on their web browser.
7) Now you and your people use Jitsi.
8) You can do video and voice conference with them.

(Jitsi appearance when I talk by voice to 10 persons)

Worth Mentioning

I mention below several alternatives you can consider further:
  • [tutorial] - now considerable amount of people within our Free Software community use Riot webchat for online communication. It is like a mix between IRC and Telegram and Jitsi.
  • Remmina [tutorial] - use this app for remote desktop, as this replace the functionality of TeamViewer app, that is to visually take control over other computer's via network. This is installed by default in Ubuntu.
  • BigBlueButton [tutorial] - similar to Jitsi but with more features for actual teaching like realtime whiteboard, presentation, highlighting, etc. You can create a room at no cost just like Jitsi here.
(Web browser showing BigBlueButton I use for teaching Debian to my students with voice and annotations)

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.