ratox ratox is a client implementation of the rather popular tox protocol. Unlike other clients relying on GUIs as an interface to the user, ratox is developed with the UNIX-philosophy in mind and allows complete interaction through named pipes.

Repository: http://git.2f30.org/ratox/
Maintainers: 2f30
Language: C
Operating Systems: Linux, OSX



  • 1 v 1 messaging: Yes
  • File transfer: Yes
  • Group chat: No
  • Audio: Yes
  • Video: No
  • DNS discovery: No
  • Chat logs: Yes
  • Proxy support: Yes
  • Offline message: Yes
  • Offline transfers: Yes
  • Contact aliases: No
  • Contact blocking: No
  • Save file encryption: Yes
  • Multilingual: No
  • Multiprofile: Yes
  • Typing notification: No
  • Audio notifications: No
  • Emoticons: No
  • Spell check: No
  • Desktop sharing: No
  • Inline images: No
  • File resuming: No
  • Read receipts: No
  • Message splitting: Yes
  • Changing nospam: Yes
  • tox URI: No

NOTE: Some of these features are not intended to be developed in ratox itself but rather in external scripts[1] that are built upon ratox.


ratox has not been updated to use the new Tox API yet, and must be compiled against the old api, which is available here here as a zip and as a tar.gz file. However, installing the old API alongside the contemporary API can be confusing and potentially cause conflicts. There are a few ways to work around this and get a binary of ratox running.

debootstrap/chroot method(Debian, Ubuntu, etc only)

This one is time and space consuming, but it's also relatively easy and offers an environment in which you can continue to build against the old API for as long as it works. As of the time of this posting(2015/9/23), it's still possible to send messages between an official version of nTox from the Debian repo and a home-compiled version of ratox built in a chroot. This means that the old API still works, for now. For any fledgling programmers and admins new to the concept of a chroot, it's a way of using a directory on your computer as if it were your root filesystem, which allows you to install the dependencies you'll need to build ratox without interfering with your real root system.

Step Zero, install dependencies

You'll need to install the debootstrap and chroot packages from your package manager. Just do

    sudo apt-get install debootstrap chroot

or install via your own preferred package manager.

Step one, use debootstrap to create a system to chroot into

First, create a folder for holding your old Tox API project workspace. This will be the base of your chroot filesystem.

    mkdir -p ~/oldtox_workspace/

Next, use debootstrap to install a basic filesystem into that folder. debootstrap will retrieve and set up a base Debian system into the workspace folder.

    sudo debootstrap <your-distribution-codename> oldtox_workspace

Step two, prepare to connect to the chroot environment

You'll have to mount the /proc and /sys pseudo-filesystems in your guest before you can compile ratox. You can do this two ways, depending on what you need.

2.a If you are experimenting with the old Tox API or are updating software that used it to the new Tox API.

If you are going to be using the old Tox API frequently, then you may be better off adding your chroot's /proc and /sys pseudo-filesystems using your base system's /etc/fstab. This will cause them to be mounted automatically.

    proc /home/you/oldtox_workspace/proc proc defaults 0 0
    sysfs /home/you/oldtox_workspace/sys sysfs defaults 0 0
2.b If you just want Ratox again.

If you're just wanting an environment to compile Ratox in so you can use it, perhaps to write more nuggets or even something like Catox, a Ratox-Based Tox client, then I recommend creating a helper script which you can run to mount the pseudo-filesystems and launch into the chroot automatically.

    #! /bin/sh
    sudo mount proc $HOME/oldtox_workspace/proc -t proc
    sudo mount sysfs $HOME/oldtox_workspace/sys -t sysfs
    sudo chroot oldtox_workspace

Step three, install build dependencies in the chroot

    apt-get install build-essential libtool autotools-dev automake checkinstall check git yasm libsodium13 libsodium-dev

If you're running an oldstable or LTS, your distribution's package manager may not have libsodium yet. You can do a couple of things to change that, and since you're in a chroot the consequences are pretty minimal. If you can't install libsodium from your package manager, you're choices are to:

3.a Install it from source

libsodium has minimal dependencies and compiles in the pretty much the classic autoreconf, make, make install pattern.

    git clone git://github.com/jedisct1/libsodium.git
    cd libsodium
    git checkout tags/1.0.3
    make check
    sudo make install
    cd ..
3.b Install it from Jessie repositories using apt-pinning

You can also get it from Jessie while still keeping most of your system on oldstable.

    echo "deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian jessie main" | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jessie.list

And make sure that apt knows to only use Jessie's packages when instructed to.

    echo "Package: *
    Pin: release a=oldstable
    Priority: 999

    Package: *
    Pin: release a=stable
    Priority: 500
    " | tee /etc/apt/preferences

Remember these steps are only necessary on oldstable(Debian 7 “Wheezy”) and older versions of Ubuntu.

You'll also need to install the Tox AV libraries to build ratox. Here's how to work out it's dependencies, including on older versions Debian based systems.

    sudo apt-get install libopus-dev libvpx-dev pkg-config

If you're on an older version of Ubuntu and you do not have access to libopus through the repositories, the simplest way to get it is though the Ubuntu SDK team's private package archive. Only follow these steps if you don't have access to the packages through your repository.

3.c libopus backport, the Ubuntu way
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-sdk-team/ppa && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    sudo apt-get install libopus-dev
3.d libvpx is available all the way back in squeeze, but if you need a newer version then you can always build it from source or add it from Jessie using backports as well(See above).
    git clone https://chromium.googlesource.com/webm/libvpx
    cd libvpx
    make -j3
    sudo make install
    cd ..
If you're using Debian Squeeze, you may need to compile libvpx from source or install it from squeeze-backports. The instructions for using a backports repository are identical to the instructions for using a distribution repository like Jessie (See above).
    wget http://downloads.xiph.org/releases/opus/opus-1.0.3.tar.gz
    tar xvzf opus-1.0.3.tar.gz
    cd opus-1.0.3
    make -j3
    sudo make install
    cd ..

Step Four, download and build the old Tox API

For this part, we first need to retrieve the old Tox API. It's available as a "Release" from Github, dated March 11.

From within your chroot, wget the old API as a tar.gz.

    wget https://github.com/irungentoo/toxcore/archive/api_old_version.tar.gz

Now untar and gunzip it.

    tar -xvzf api_old_version.tar.gz -C toxcore-old
    cd toxcore-old

Finally, you can just compile and install toxcore.

    autoreconf -i
    sudo make install

Step five, compile and install ratox

All that work you just did makes this step really, really easy. Just

    git clone git://git.2f30.org/ratox
    cd ratox
    sudo make install

and that's it. You now have a ratox binary you can use, study, modify, or package as you see fit.


An old, but possibly still useful way of using ratox, catox

SSH over TOX for the practical paranoid

On the sender side (the client): 1) cd into the friend's directory (the server) 2) nc -lv 1234 > file_in < file_out

On the receiver side (the server): 1) cd into the friend's directory (the client) 2) cat < file_out | nc localhost 22 > file_in

Now on the client run the following: ssh -o ProxyCommand=“nc %h 1234” user@localhost

Screencasting using ffmpeg and mplayer

On the sender side: ffmpeg -f x11grab -r 10 -s 1366×768 -i :0.0 -vcodec libx264 \

  1. pix_fmt yuv420p -preset fast -tune zerolatency -b:v 500k \
  2. f flv pipe: > file_in

On the receiver side: mplayer -cache 1024 file_out

You may have to play about with the cache size.

Other clients

The following is a list of some other Tox clients that you may be interested in using.

Popular Tox clients
qTox µTox Toxic Toxygen aTox Antidote