Zoom is a video conferencing software that literally exploded during the lockdown in 2020. It’s almost the default software now for any company to keep in touch with its employees, but also often used in other areas like education and marketing.
The goal today is to find the best way to access Zoom conferences from a Raspberry Pi.
How to use Zoom on Raspberry Pi?
The Raspberry Pi is not officially supported by Zoom developers, and there are no plans to develop it in the near future.
The best way to use Zoom currently is to use the web browser, Chromium.
So, in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the web version of Zoom on Raspberry Pi. I’ll also give you a quick overview of the current situation with other methods, and conclude with alternatives to consider, specially on Raspberry Pi.
How to Use Zoom with Chromium
Zoom is intended to work with a desktop app, to help you configure the audio and video, so the web access is a bit hidden when you join a conference.
As there is no app for the Raspberry Pi, I’ll give you a step-by-step process to use it from Chromium.
Prepare your system
I’ll show you how to use Zoom with Raspberry Pi OS Desktop, but you can absolutely use other systems if you prefer, you just need a compatible web browser: Chromium, Firefox or Edge.
It didn’t work for me with the Firefox version we have on Raspberry Pi, so the only way seems to use Chromium for this.
If you need help to install and configure Raspberry Pi OS, please check my dedicated tutorial on the topic here.
If you already have Raspberry Pi OS Desktop installed, it’s recommended to update your system before anything else. For example, in a terminal:
sudo apt update
sudo apt ugprade
If you need a microphone, I recommend starting by checking that everything is ok first. You can read this guide on how to install a microphone.
Same thing for the camera, my camera guide can help you if needed. I tried with the camera module and it’s working fine.
Once everything is ready, you can move to the next step!
Join a Zoom conference on Raspberry Pi
- Open Chromium (or a compatible browser)
- Go to Zoom.us
- In the top menu, click on “Join a meeting”
- On the page that shows up, enter the Meeting ID (or the link) and submit:
Note: If you are hosting the meeting on your computer for the test, you can get the Meeting ID by click on the little (i) in the top left of the window.
- An invitation will ask you to open “xdg-open”. This is the way to use Zoom if the app is installed on your system, but in your case, we don’t have it, so click on “Cancel”.
- On the same page, click on “launch meeting” to try again.
- You’ll get the same message, cancel again.
- Now, a new line appears on the page where you can join the meeting with your browser:
- Almost done, you can now enter your name and verify that you are a human 🙂
- Finally, accept the term of services to join the meeting
- If there is a password to access it, you need to type it here:
And that’s it!
You now have a window really close to the Zoom app, directly in Chromium:
Audio and video are working well if correctly configured on the system. You can also use screen share to stream your screen to the meeting. Also, I didn’t have any issue with the video stream from the host in my tests, despite what I read on some forums (but maybe you get this with more users or longer session).
Is there an app for Zoom on Raspberry Pi?
Ok, so this method with Chromium is working, but maybe not the best fit for you. Do you want to try something else? Here is a quick overview of the other solutions I tried.
There is an app in the Chrome web store for Zoom.
I found it was a good way to have the app without installing it, but it didn’t work entirely in my case.
If you want to try on your Raspberry Pi, here is how to install it:
- Open Chromium
- Go to this page on the web store
I didn’t find the app with the search engine from the Raspberry Pi, but the direct link is working.
- Click on “Add to Chrome” to install it:
- Accept the permissions
- The App is no available in chrome://apps or in the main menu
- The Chrome App starts correctly and seems perfect:
- But personally, I never managed to go further than this “Connecting” message:
Let me know in the comments if it’s working for you, but it doesn’t seem to be a real alternative to the web access.
Obviously, the best way would have been to use a native client, either from the repository, a package or even from sources.
Unfortunately, Zoom is offering many clients for different systems and software (computers, smartphones, mail software, etc.), but not for Raspberry Pi.
In fact, it seems that there is no intention to develop one in the near future, as you can read in this thread: “I definitely see the use case and wish we could provide this; however, we have to prioritize client and SDK engineering resources on other efforts at this time.“
I understand this. As I told you in the introduction, Zoom only took off in 2020, it was almost unknown before. They had 10 millions active users in December 2019 and over 300 millions during the lockdown. So, they probably have other priorities than Raspberry Pi users.
But, for now, we have to use the web browser, or the Chrome app if it’s working for you.
Let me know if you find other solutions.
Zoom alternatives for Raspberry Pi
Before ending this tutorial, I want to share with you a few other alternatives to Zoom, that work fine on Raspberry Pi.
If you are the host, or can influence the software choice, it’s definitely something to consider.
Jitsi Meet is the first Zoom alternative you can check.
The good news is that it’s an open-source video conferencing solution, which is pretty rare on the market currently.
The usage is really close to Zoom, you can also use it from your browser: https://meet.jit.si/
Audio, video and screen sharing are working correctly. You can even self-host your server if you want (link here).
And I found a tutorial to install the apps that I didn’t test yet (here). It doesn’t seem to be natively optimized for Raspberry Pi, but if it works why not? 🙂
Google Meet / Google Hangouts is also an interesting solution for video conference on Raspberry Pi.
It only works in a web browser, and you need a Google account.
But the advantage is that almost everyone has a Google account now (Gmail, YouTube, Android, etc.). So it’ll be easy to ask someone to use Google Hangouts rather than Zoom.
There is also a good integration with all the Google apps, so if you are using Google for other things, it’s an easy way to manage video conferences.
Skype Meet Now
And a last one to conclude, Skype is also a very popular software on computers, so it should be easy to find interlocutors that have it.
Even if Skype is losing users each month, they still have a solid base of people with the software installed.
As for the other solution, you only need a web browser to access it, here is the URL: http://web.skype.com/. An account is required.
From here, you can start a call or a meeting with the same options as the other alternatives to Zoom.
That’s it, you now know how to use Zoom on Raspberry Pi. As you have seen, it’s not really optimized for Raspberry Pi, but it’s working fine.
There are a few other alternatives that combine correct operating on Raspberry Pi OS and high usage over the world, but not really the perfect solution for everyone.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other alternative that you prefer to use.