Encrypted messaging is getting big on Linux, and one of the more popular protocols for this type of communication lately is Tox. It’s completely p2p, supports text, video, and has dozens of security and privacy features. The Tox protocol is open source, and the project encourages developers to create their own third-party AppImage to use the chat service. Out of all of the clients out there, qTox client is one of the most popular.

Install Dependencies

The qTox client itself, like all Tox clients, rely on the Tox protocol. On many Linux distributions, there aren’t official packages for the protocol, so you’ll need to build it manually. To compile the protocol, open up a terminal and install the necessary build dependencies. Then follow the commands to compile the code on your system.

Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install 
    build-essential 
    cmake 
    libavcodec-dev 
    libavdevice-dev 
    libavfilter-dev 
    libavutil-dev 
    libexif-dev 
    libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev 
    libglib2.0-dev 
    libgtk2.0-dev 
    libkdeui5 
    libopenal-dev 
    libopus-dev 
    libqrencode-dev 
    libqt5opengl5-dev 
    libqt5svg5-dev 
    libsodium-dev 
    libsqlcipher-dev 
    libswresample-dev 
    libswscale-dev 
    libvpx-dev 
    libxss-dev 
    qrencode 
    qt5-default 
    qttools5-dev-tools 
    qttools5-dev 
    git

Debian

Getting qTox built on Debian is no problem, though officially, only Debian 9 Stable (Stretch) has support. Those intending to build this software on Old Stable (8) or Testing (10) do so at your own risk!

In a terminal, install the following dependencies with the Apt-get package manager.

sudo apt-get install 
    automake 
    autotools-dev 
    build-essential 
    check 
    checkinstall 
    cmake 
    ffmpeg 
    libavcodec-dev 
    libavdevice-dev 
    libexif-dev 
    libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev 
    libgtk2.0-dev 
    libkdeui5 
    libopenal-dev 
    libopus-dev 
    libqrencode-dev 
    libqt5opengl5-dev 
    libqt5svg5-dev 
    libsodium-dev 
    libsqlcipher-dev 
    libtool 
    libvpx-dev 
    libxss-dev 
    pkg-config 
    qrencode 
    qt5-default 
    qttools5-dev 
    qttools5-dev-tools 
    yasm 
    git

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users should have no issue installing the qTox dependencies, as support for the OS is specifically outlined on the website. However, if you’re on Arch Linux and don’t feel like building the app from source, consider downloading the AUR package of qTox instead.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel qt5 openal libxss qrencode ffmpeg opus libvpx libsodium git

Fedora

Getting all necessary dependencies for Fedora Linux is a two-step process. First, open up a terminal and use DNF to install the Fedora development package group.

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sudo dnf groupinstall "Development Tools" "C Development Tools and Libraries"

Next, use the terminal to get the special qTox/Toxcore dependencies.

sudo dnf install 
    autoconf 
    automake 
    check 
    check-devel 
    ffmpeg-devel 
    gtk2-devel 
    kf5-sonnet 
    libexif-devel 
    libsodium-devel 
    libtool 
    libvpx-devel 
    libXScrnSaver-devel 
    openal-soft-devel 
    openssl-devel 
    opus-devel 
    qrencode-devel 
    qt5-linguist 
    qt5-qtsvg 
    qt5-qtsvg-devel 
    qt-creator 
    qt-devel 
    qt-doc 
    qtsingleapplication 
    sqlcipher 
    sqlcipher-devel 
    git

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install 
    libexif-devel 
    libffmpeg-devel 
    libopus-devel 
    libQt5Concurrent-devel 
    libqt5-linguist 
    libQt5Network-devel 
    libQt5OpenGL-devel 
    libqt5-qtbase-common-devel 
    libqt5-qtsvg-devel 
    libQt5Xml-devel 
    libsodium-devel 
    libvpx-devel 
    libXScrnSaver-devel 
    openal-soft-devel 
    patterns-openSUSE-devel_basis 
    qrencode-devel 
    sqlcipher-devel 
    sonnet-devel 
    git

Generic Linux

Linux users who want qTox and all of its components will need to visit the installation page and learn about what to install to build the code successfully. Alternatively, there is a qTox AppImage available. The AppImage will get the job done, though by not compiling it from source, the program will not be optimized for your PC.

Compiling Toxcore

At the center of qTox is the Tox protocol (aka toxcore). Toxcore is the main dependency, and without it, the qTox program will not build correctly. Luckily, building and installing the Tox protocol on a Linux system is super simple.

Start the installation process of Toxcore by grabbing the latest code in a terminal with the Git tool.

git clone https://github.com/toktok/c-toxcore.git toxcore

CD into the new “toxcore” folder and run cmake.

cd toxcore
cmake .

Build the Toxcore software by executing the make command.

make -j$(nproc)

Lastly, finish up the process by installing Toxcore.

sudo make install
echo '/usr/local/lib/' | sudo tee -a /etc/ld.so.conf.d/locallib.conf

sudo ldconfig

Install qTox Client

Toxcore is working, so now it’s time to build the qTox client and install it on Linux. Like with toxcore, building the qTox client starts by cloning the code locally via Git.

git clone https://github.com/qTox/qTox.git

With the qTox code on your Linux PC, use the CD command and move the terminal into the sources folder.

cd qTox

Inside the sources folder, run cmake to generate a makefile.

cmake .

Compile the qTox code on your Linux PC with the make command.

make -j$(nproc)

Install the software on your Linux PC with make install.

sudo make install

Using qTox

Launch the qTox app on your Linux desktop. After the app finishes starting up, you’ll notice a login window. If you’ve already got a Tox account, log in with your user information. Alternatively, select the “New Profile” button, and create a new user.

Once you’re in qTox, you’ll be able to add friends by pasting their ID codes into the “Tox ID” box, under the “add friend menu”.

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