Not long ago, I started using Franz, a chat messaging unification application and I had a good experience with it. I had talked to a few e-friends about it and some advised me that I should also try Rambox. Since I had just installed Franz, I wasn’t about to try something else, not yet anyway. After some time of very happily using Franz, something had happened and it wouldn’t start. Since I was using a community repository and I could have very well chosen another community repository and kept going but it was time to try this Rambox all the kids have been talking about. So I did.
Like anything else in openSUSE, the installation is easy, just search and install. Since I did that part, you can just check here:
Once the installation is complete. A menu entry will appear under the “Internet” category. Click there or whatever method you see fit.
How It Runs
The application runs well and it is as intuitive as one would expect. The difference that I noticed, as compared to Franz, is that having an account with an external service is optional. Franz requires you to sign into their service in order to use their software and in doing so, synchronizes all your systems that are running Franz. This is quite handy. Rambox too as this option but it is not compulsory.
Rambox has many built in options for services for you to configure. In fact it has more service options than Franz does, most notably, Mastodon. If there is a particular service you want and it is not available, you have the option to add a custom service. This was particularly handy as Rambox does not have a Google Calendar service.
Rambox has several customization features to it. Notably, there is application behavior for notifications, a hardware acceleration feature and start automatically on system startup.
The customization feature I do appreciate is the service bar location. I put the bar along the left, as opposed to the top… no speculation on that location necessary.
Adding a service is incredibly straight forward. Select the service you want and fill in all the necessary bits. After you add the new service to the application, it will appear on the service bar.
The order of applications can be reordered to your hearts content and services eliminated if they are no longer desired in this application. It is incredibly flexible. In this manner.
Overall, this This application works very well and I intend on using it a bit longer and do some more comparisons to determine if I will continue using it or go back to Franz.
There are cases that a service doesn’t start or restart when network access is lost and reestablished. There is an option to Reload offending service or reload all of Rambox. Under the View menu.
What I Like
When comparing it to Franz, the feature that I appreciate the most is the ability to enter a custom service. In my case, I added the Google Calendar account related to my employer.
Like Franz, this is a fantastic message unification application. that has a lower memory footprint than using a browser. Rambox uses just under 1.8 GiB for 12 services which shakes out to about 150 MiB per service. I still think this is far too much for what they are doing but not being an expert in this area, I couldn’t tell you why.
Having one application that has all my messaging applications consolidated is very handy. It has a nice notification applet that lets you know when you have a new message on any of your services and mute the notifications if necessary. It should be noted, if you mute your notifications, you won’t hear anything within each service, like an inline video.
Lastly, the option to Synchronize your configuration or not is a handy feature. You can push or pull your configuration as you see fit for each machine. I didn’t try pushing two different configurations to see how that might affect each client.
What I Don’t Like
There is a lack of Dark Theme. I would much prefer that service bar have a dark background to fit the rest of my desktop theme but that is a small potatoes item.
The user interface on the application for the settings or adding another service just do not seem to have that nice modern look as you’d see on Plasma. When loading or saving, the application brings up the GTK File Dialog of which I am not particularly fond.
The biggest sore spot for Rambox is that it does not have a spell check. This is the one area where Franz excels. It is also the only area where Rambox falls short. Outside of that, it is a pretty fantastic application.
Rambox is a fine application that I enjoy using. It works well and is more convenient than using a web browser. It also seems to use less memory than a browser so that is also a plus. I don’t know or understand the mechanics as to why but even at approximately 150 MiB per application does seem a bit steep for something that just sends text messages.
If Rambox is an application that works well for you consider supporting the project or if it improves your work flow, try out the Rambox Pro. The application may be free but it isn’t free to make.
For the time being, I am going to continue to use Rambox on my primary machine and Franz on another machine just to see how it shakes out over time. If you are running multiple chat clients and don’t want to authenticate with a third party service, Rambox just might be the application for you.