Deleting video chat apps from my computer made video calls better

Like most people, I spend a lot of my working life on video calls.

I'm happy to use other people's Teams or Zoom accounts, and we offer Jitsi.

All of them offer some kind of desktop client. And, in each case, not using the desktop client - using the service in a browser - is either as good as, or better than, trying to use the desktop client for me.

Less, it seems, is more. And that's great, because I'm really not a fan of what some have termed "appification": the reliance on thickish clients and silos, when a web browser should be fine.

(The "for me" qualifier might be important; YMMV. I am writing this from the perspective of someone using Debian 11 with Wayland.)

Teams

I have written before about my trials and tribulations in getting Teams to work properly.

What worked? Ditching the client, and running it in a Chromium-browser. I am using Brave.

I've used this every day for weeks now, and it works well.

Jitsi

When I was using Safari as my browser, on macOS, a year or so ago, Jitsi did not work well in-browser. If I recall correctly, it was audio only.

So I used the Electron app. I hate Electron apps.

Since switching to Linux, I've mostly used Jitsi in Brave. That too works really well. (And, side note, Jitsi has been amazing for many years but, in the last year or so, it really has become first class. Lobby mode, breakout rooms, and more. A really superb piece of Free software.)

Zoom

Zoom was my downfall. When I last tried it in the browser, it just didn't work properly.

But, on Linux - on my setup, at least - the desktop app did not work well either, as I could not share my screen. This is down to Wayland.

Irritatingly, the UI suggested that it was working - it looked to me like it was working - but it was not working for the person on the other end of the call.

What did work? Using Zoom in my browser. I am new to this, and I experimented a bit today. I uninstalled Zoom, opened the meeting URL in Brave, hunted for the option to use it in my browser, and it worked. I could share my screen.

But what about mobile devices?

I rarely take calls on a mobile device. I tend to use my laptop.

I have the Teams, Zoom, and Jitsi apps installed, just in case, but I would be very happy to uninstall them. And that's mainly because, one day, I hope to move away from Android and iOS and onto a Linux-first phone (perhaps a PinePhone Pro), and the apps will not be available.

I have tested Jitsi in Firefox on Android, and that worked. But it was very limited test, and I need to do more. I have not tried it in Brave on Android.

I should also test Teams and Zoom for completeness, I guess.

But even seeing Jitsi work in a mobile device browser was great.


Author: neil

I'm Neil. By day, I run a law firm, decoded.legal, giving advice on Internet, telecoms, and tech law. This is my personal blog, so will be mostly about tech stuff, cycling, and other hobbies.

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