To be fair, I have not tried to use the web cam option (I don't have one), but Skype has worked very well for me on Ubuntu. You can download and use the calling features from computer to computer for voice chat or text chat for free (and according to their site video calls are free, too
). If you'd like to call landlines or cells, you'll have to purchase SkypeIn.
There is a binary available for Ubuntu on their site
. I use it exclusively for my home phone. The downside is that your family members would have to download the Skype client for their machines. Skype is not open source software.
To install, download the binary. Open a terminal. Type in:
sudo dpkg -i skype-debian_184.108.40.206-1_i386.deb