Safe communication with Tox

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Among the Tox clients, Toxic [6] distinguishes itself by being command-line only (see the "Installing Toxic" box). Although you have no video calls, the CLI client easily keeps up with its graphical colleagues in all other respects. You run the program with the toxic command, and it creates a new data file. To encrypt the Toxic data on the hard drive, enter a password of at least six characters. Toxic is then ready to encrypt changes. A familiarity with IRC helps in using Toxic. The first step is to give yourself a nickname using the /nick command.

Installing Toxic

You can find installation packages [7] for Toxic in DEB and RPM formats for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Install the package as you would other programs over the distribution's package manager.

You add your friends to the contact list with /add <Tox_ID> , where Tox_ID is the ID that your communication partner shared with you. As with µTox, this step elicits an acknowledgment from your partner. You use /myid to share your own ID.

To keep track of your chats, Toxic assigns each to a different tab, which may not be noticeable at first because of the lack of a graphical interface. The home and contacts tabs are created by default. In home , you execute the Toxic commands (Figure 3); contacts contains your contact list.

Figure 3: The clear command-line operation of Toxic makes it a cinch to use.

Once a friend sends you a message, a new tab opens in the background and Toxic notifies you that the contact is ready to talk. You can toggle between tabs with the Ctrl+O and Ctrl+P key shortcuts.

To start a chat of your own, go to the contacts , where you use the up and down arrow keys to select your contact. If you're in the middle of a chat (Figure 4), use the /call command to initiate a call. To end the call, use the /hangup command.

Figure 4: Toxic puts every conversation in a separate tab.

Table 2 provides a list of oft-used Toxic commands. For help on a command, use the /help command.

Table 2

Important Toxic Commands

Command Function
/add Tox_ID msg Adds a contact with the Toxic ID and the optional message text.
/accept Tox_ID Accepts the contact information.
/decline Tox_ID Declines the contact information.
/requests Lists all the contact requests.
/nick Name Defines a chat alias.
/groupchat Starts a group chat.
/invite num Invites a contact to a group chat.
/join Joins a running group chat.
/close Ends a running group chat.
/sendfile file Sends a file attachment.
/call Calls a contact.
/answer Answers the call.
/reject Rejects the call.
/hangup Ends the call.
/myid Shows your current ID.
/clear Clears the window.
/exit Ends Toxic.

Chatting with Android

Even Android devices have the open source Antox [8] Tox client with which you can do some reasonable chatting (Figure 5). Unfortunately, Antox can't hide the fact that it's not quite mature, which is why it might currently be missing from Google Store. The Tox wiki does provide an APK package of the program [9], however.

Figure 5: You can use Antox on your Android device.

To install this package on your smartphone or tablet, download it and install it using the download app or a file manager. This works, however, only if you mark the Unknown sources check box in Settings | Security | Device administration .

In our tests, sending messages and files went flawlessly. However, the app crashes with incoming calls. If you want to use Antox on your local LAN only, the settings provide the ability to do so.

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