Rambox: messaging frontend for the desktop

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 11, 2016

Rambox is a free open-source cross-platform messaging and email frontend for the desktop that provides you with access to more than 20 different services out of the box.

Messaging applications are everywhere. On your smartphone, on the Web, and as desktop programs. While some services provide you with tools to run them on any device you use, others are only available on certain device types or operating systems.

Rambox is a free solution that brings many popular services to desktop computer systems. Its two main functions are to provide you with access to services that are not necessarily available on desktop systems, and to provide you with access to multiple services at once.

Rambox: messaging frontend for the desktop

rambox desktop messaging

Rambox is a wrapper application that unifies messaging services and email services on desktop systems. It supports a variety of services out of the box: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Hangouts, Gmail, Discord, Yahoo Messenger or WeChat to name a few.

Simply click on one of the available services to add it to the list of enabled services. You are asked to enter your credentials, and depending on the service, authorize access before it becomes available.

Each service you add this way is listed in its own tab in the Rambox interface. There you may interact with the service as usual. You may access the message history, write messages to contacts, or use other means of communication if supported by the service.

rambox messenger

Notifications are handled individually for each service. Sounds are enabled by default, but desktop notifications need to be turned on before they become available.

Simply click on the cog wheel icon that is displayed on service tabs, and select settings from the menu to get started.

While you can configure notifications this way, other features are restricted. This includes blocking users, adding or removing contacts, or looking up information about individual contacts.

Adding new services

add custom service

One interesting feature supported by Rambox is support for adding new services. This works only if the service is accessible via a URL.

If that is the case click on the plus icon to get started. Enter a name, URL and logo URL for the service, and configure notification options.

If things work out well, the service is added to Rambox so that you may access it just like any of the default services.

Other features

Rambox highlights new messages on each of the services individually in the program interface. It may also display desktop notifications for services you have enabled them for, and play sounds if messages arrive.

You may turn on do not disturb mode in the program interface to block notifications for as long as the mode is enabled.

Another useful feature is the ability to sync data across all computer systems by logging in to an account. This is completely optional though.

Closing Words

Rambox is interesting to two main groups of users. First users who work with multiple messaging and email services regularly, and second users who want to use a desktop client for messaging even if none is provided or if the program that is provided is not cutting it for one reason or the other.

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  1. Robert said on July 18, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Is it possible to build something on top of rambox, in order to listen to notifications?
    What I mean is , is it possible for my friend Bill to send me an email on gmail and twitter. If as long as I have his email address and twitter handle, would I be able to throw it into some sort of contact management system that would show my interactions with Bill?

    Any response would be appreciated!

  2. tmonti said on July 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    There is a new version of Rambox and in this case, it explains about privacy here (http://rambox.pro/#privacy).

  3. jmjsquared said on July 12, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    This looks interesting… until you actually look.

    Even if the application works flawlessly, I completely agree with @ilev’s concerns, Just who is this developer; how does s/he handle my credentials; why don’t they provide encrypted connections to their website; why haven’t they tried to instill confidence by digitally signing their work; where are details about how this program does whatever it does, etc., etc.

    It is completely foolhardy to install such an program that requires extraordinary levels of access and trust without first having verifiable answers to those questions. I looked and found nothing. Does anybody know here I can find them?

  4. Agent Smith said on July 12, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Dear Ilev, most users today do not care about it: they have nothing to hide.

    1. ilev said on July 12, 2016 at 6:51 am

      Everyone has something to hide, many won’t like identity theft…, draining their bank accounts…
      Many value their privacy.

      117 Million LinkedIn Emails And Passwords for sale

      427 Million MySpace leaked

      TeamViewer users PayPal accounts drained

      uTorrent community forums have been hacked, exposing the private details of hundreds of thousands of users.

      If you have installed The game Pokemon GO, the game has full ADMIN access to all your Google accounts.

      ALL these hackes (there are more) are just form 1 month, June 2016

  5. ilev said on July 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Not a word about security, encryption of credentials, where those credentials are saved (if on Rambox’s servers, they will be hacked)….secure connections to services…

    1. pd said on July 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Agree that a review without this information is useless in this day and age.

  6. Maelish said on July 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    So it’s just a chat client like trillian or pidgin?

    1. Niko Z. said on April 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      It seems to support Gmail and Outlook as well, which is quite nifty.

    2. John said on September 29, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      No. Pidgin integrates all accounts in a single view, has the same chatting UI for all your contacts.

      This just opens all the services separately in different “tabs”.

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on July 11, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Functionality-wise yes.

  7. Mike said on July 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

    The size is quite large, seems like it’s using electron like Franz?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Yes that is correct. You find information about the used technologies on the website.

  8. coc said on July 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

    downloaded 32 bit for win. trying to install. it gives me an error , something with setup log.

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