Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

GNU Free Call Announced, SIP-based VoIP

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the free-is-better dept.

Communications 145

andrea.sartori sent in the "development plan for GNU Free Call, an open source VoIP service based on the SIP protocol. According to the announcement, it 'aims to be as ubiquitous and usable as the proprietary Skype VOIP service.'"

cancel ×

145 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Unfortuantly... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492804)

It will allow the government to track you.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

Billy the Boy (2016540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492824)

And just an announcement for development plan? Why not announce when something has been actually done?

'm not sure how they plan to get it as widespread as Skype. I'm sure you can't call to it using Skype, and do they plan to give out numbers and really cheap Skype2Phone calls for mobiles and landlines? Do they plan to get Facebook and all other services to use it? It's not only some client or server software that you need, you also need Skype's services and those landline phone calls and integration, and userbase.

Re:Unfortuantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492872)

you didn't RTFA did you.

Re:Unfortuantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492900)

You must be new to /.

Re:Unfortuantly... (0)

divxio (2016536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492878)

And just an announcement for development plan? Why not announce when something has been actually done?

'm not sure how they plan to get it as widespread as Skype. I'm sure you can't call to it using Skype, and do they plan to give out numbers and really cheap Skype2Phone calls for mobiles and landlines? Do they plan to get Facebook and all other services to use it? It's not only some client or server software that you need, you also need Skype's services and those landline phone calls and integration, and userbase.

iPhone and Windows Phone 7 don't even allow GPL'd software, so good luck with that.

Re:Unfortuantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492928)

SIP is SIP. Which means that any old fashioned SIP client should work with "GNU Free Call", regardless of what OS It's running on or the license.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493134)

iPhone and Windows Phone 7 don't even allow GPL'd software, so good luck with that.

Actually, GPLv3 software is unfortunately completely incompatible with the App Store model (it's in the GPLv3 terms). Microsoft explicitly calls out the GPLv3 in the agreement because it is fundamentally (and intentionally) incompatible.

The GPLv2 license is subject to interpretation. There's lots of GPLv2'd software in the Apple App Store.

The FSF case on GNU Chess (or Go?) was simple and succint, so Apple took it down promptly - I think it also helped that it was probably GPLv3. The VLC one took a few months while the devs bickered amongst themselves until Apple finally gave up and removed it. Funny enough, VLC hasn't seemed to make it on the Cydia app store, which is "open" but oh well.

And please make the distinction between GPLv2 and GPLv3 - they are two different (potentially incompatible) licenses - there are things you can do in GPLv2 you can't do in GPLv3. Whether or not those GPLv3 restrictions make it incompatible with GPLv2-only is up for debate (are they restrictions? Or closing loopholes?). No longer does GPL by itself make any sense - and it just serves to muddle the waters because there's still a lot of GPLv2 software out there and a growing set of GPLv3, and obligations are different.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493316)

No GPLv3 is fine in an app store model. You just can't tivoize it. You also have to make source available, which is easy enough.

Or is there some other clause I am missing?

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493468)

My understanding is that the Appstore ToS adds restrictions to the licensing of Apps that are sold through it, and that's expressly forbidden under the GPLv2, I assume that to be the case with the GPLv3 as well. Any individual or organization that does that or attempts to do that causes the license to be immediately terminated.

However, since the end users can still use the program and comply with the GPL I'm not sure how much of an issue it really is, but Apple would be infringing upon any software that it distributed in that fashion.

Re:Unfortuantly... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494028)

That sounds like an apple problem, not an app store one. Surely an app store without such restrictions could exist.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493690)

The point of the anti-tivoisation clause is to allow the end user to run modified binaries on the same platform that they run the unmodified version. If the device and app store in question do not provide a way for the user to grab the source, modify it, compile it (all can be on another device) and then install their modified version, then they can't comply with GPLv3.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494154)

An app store != App Store.

Apple's App Store (notice the capitalization) has terms and conditions that make it impossible to distribute GPL v3 programs on there. Other "app stores" such as Cydia, Android Market, and heck, even repositories like apt-get don't have such silly terms and it is possible to have GPL v3 programs on there .

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493160)

And just an announcement for development plan? Why not announce when something has been actually done?

Because it's a great source of memes. Just look at GNU Hurd, it's like our very own Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Unfortuantly... (5, Insightful)

cognoscentus (1628459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493040)

Well, they certainly seem to have thought about that aspect:

"This project’s definition of secure media is similar to Zimmermann’s work on ZRTP, in that we assure there is no forwarding knowledge by using uniquely generated keys for each communication session. Furthermore, we will use GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) to fully automate session validation. This will be done by extending the SIP protocol to exchange public keys for establishing secure media sessions that will be created by each instance of SIP Witch operating at the end points on behalf of local SIP user agents, and then verifying there is no man-in-the-middle by exchanging GPG signed hashes of the session keys that were visible at each end."

So there are encryption measures in hand. Even vanilla VoIP has SIP over TLS and SRTP to work with. ZRTP is reasonably well supported too. It also employs a Skype-style P2P routing system, which should help provide a comparable degree of anonymisation: "Our goal is to make GNU Free Call ubiquitous in a manner and level of usability similar to Skype, that is, usable on all platforms, and directly by the general public for all manner of secure communication between known and anonymous parties, but without requiring a central service provider to register with, without using insecure source secret binary protocols that may have back-doors, and without having network control points of any kind that can be exploited or abused by external parties. By doing so as a self organizing meshed calling network, we further eliminate potential service control points such as through explicit routing peers even if networks are isolated in civil emergencies."

So, which is preferable, transparency wise, a technology provided by a publicly traded company, or an open-source technology which can be administered by the end users if they so wish?

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

shic (309152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495342)

The problem I foresee with a distributed system (as I understand Freecall is intended to be) is nuisance calls - the so-called SPIT (SPam over Internet Telephony...)

Traditional phones mainly relied upon cost - and the likes of Skype have the benefit of infrastructure under their control.

Are there any plans to address this (orthogonal) issue, I wonder?

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493114)

It will allow the government to track you.

_newsflash_

And other "services" do not ? Look at skype for example you have to connect to other nodes to open a call it is not a direct connection. Who is to say that some rogue node is in between ? SIP can be 2 way and not multi node.

With GNU Free Call everything is open sourced. It would be a whole hell of a lot easier to find out and eventually block bad nodes, MitM, etc. Also not to mention some people who like to use OSS and operating systems will finally have a decent service/client to use on multiple platforms with other people if this takes off. Unlike the oh so "free" _less than better_ stuff we have now.

Re:Unfortuantly... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493490)

If it's that big of a concern, one really ought to be tunneling the SIP connection directly to the machine that they want to connect to anyways. That way you mostly have to worry about the end points and less so about the intermediaries.

Re:Unfortuantly... (5, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493282)

Oooo. Wire tapping. Waste as many CPU cycles as you want intercepting my calls about grocery shopping, how your day went and what time we're meeting at the bar.

If I *really* wanted to kill the president, start thermonuclear war, blow up dirty bomb in New York City, funnel money to Al Qaeda, etc. I'd find much better means of communication.

There are dozens of 'free image sharing' websites. Pair that up with craigslist, steganography and some pgp and best of luck tracking all of that. If for nothing else the noise ratio is way too high.

So I plan on blowing something up. I take a stock photograph of a car and dump a pgp message into it. I post it to craigslist under something that doesn't exist. Like "Rare 1963 Ford Mustang" My friends know what to look for and maybe an area.

For example this image: http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/5563/steghide.jpg [imageshack.us]
Download, then run it through:
steghide --extract -sf steghide.jpg -xf message.txt -p bomb

Or there's python-stepic. http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/4907/stepic.png [imageshack.us]
stepic -d -i stepic.png -o jnk

And you can embed more than just short messages. I tested out a 20 paragraph ipsum.
http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/4911/ipsum.jpg [imageshack.us]
steghide, password 'slashdot'.

It's only the dumb criminals/terrorists that get caught. If people WANT to hide messages, it's not that hard.

Re:Unfortuantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494834)

He's referring to this [slashdot.org] ...

Total Coincidence ... Right? (4, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492820)

Re:Total Coincidence ... Right? (4, Funny)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493214)

What are you suggesting? That there's some sort of secret conspiracy, planning to take over the world by posting an unusually high number of phone-related news articles on a tech news site?

Re:Total Coincidence ... Right? (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494376)

He's suggesting that there might be some synergy between RMS talking about how cellphones provide a way for The Man to track you, and a GNU project popping it that aims to route voice communications through a P2P mesh with privacy features.

Ya reckon?

Doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492866)

When was the last time something GNU became "ubiquitous and usable"?

Re:Doubt it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493154)

When people started using websites and home routers

Re:Doubt it (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493626)

Apache is a GNU project? Since when?

Re:Doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493170)

emacs, gdb, audacity, gcc, linux, filezilla, VLC

Re:Doubt it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493240)

audacity is not GNU, linux is not GNU, VLC is not GNU. hell even gcc isn't much GNU, and hasn't been for a long time. I don't know what's filezilla and can't be bothered to google it, but judging by the name I can safely say that it isn't GNU either.

Re:Doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493300)

gnu/linux is not gnu? it would be called GING.

Re:Doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493730)

The Linux kernel isn't GNU, but odds are if somebody is using Linux they're using it as part of a GNU operating system - thus, GNU/Linux.

Re:Doubt it (-1, Troll)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493846)

No, the odds are that if somebody is using Linux they're using it as part of an operating system cobbled together from various parts from various sources released under several different Free and/or Open Source licences, thus Linux.

Re:Doubt it (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493782)

Of those, gdb and gcc are the only GNU ones. Since gdb and gcc went GPLv3, they've become a lot less ubiquitous - the main effect that I've seen from GCC going GPLv3 has been that LLVM and Clang have gained a lot more developer time. GDB is still probably the best hippyware debugger. PathDB is slowly getting there, and LLDB doesn't seem to have much non-Darwin-related activity.

Re:Doubt it (1)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495228)

What? Emacs is not GNU?

Re:Doubt it (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495464)

All of that and you don't mention GNOME (or perhaps more importantly -- GTK)? :p

Drop the GNU. (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492926)

Its aims are going to be crushed by its terrible name. GNU Free Call is a mouthful that even I, knowing what the acronym means, don't like the sound of. If they want adoption they should quit their self-promotion-in-the-name and re-brand, even "GFC" would be a million times better.

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492982)

I would imagine that, like all GNU software, 99% of users will drop the GNU immediately and call it just Free Call, and the other 1% will bitch about it endlessly on slashdot while combing their neckbeards and wondering what a woman feels like.

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493650)

But your mom really likes my neckbeard and she feels like a woman. In fact, she's so fat she feels like two women.

Re:Drop the GNU. (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492986)

I hate to upset RMS again, but dropping the GNU and just calling it FreeCall would be fine.

Re:Drop the GNU. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493168)

GNUCostCall (pronounced nu cost call) would kind of work...

Re:Drop the GNU. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493526)

Actually, you're doing it wrong. That's pronounced. Neek. Cost Call.

If you do that again I shall say neek to you, good sir.

Re:Drop the GNU. (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493060)

It'll probably be a command line tool or library that nobody will use in its pure form; instead, they'll use a GUI frontend with a completely different name. I expect it'll eventually be built into Pidgin and other chat programs.

Of course, I didn't read the article so it's all a mystery! I love surprises.

Re:Drop the GNU. (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493226)

It'll probably be a command line tool or library that nobody will use in its pure form; instead, they'll use a GUI frontend with a completely different name. I expect it'll eventually be built into Pidgin and other chat programs.

Of course, I didn't read the article so it's all a mystery! I love surprises.

And finally one IM/SIP/irc/etc Client for all your needs .

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493756)

It'll probably be a command line tool or library that nobody will use in its pure form; instead, they'll use a GUI frontend with a completely different name.

No, they'll use 12 different GUIs that depend on a hundred different libs and apps on different platforms. You'll go to the "gnufreecall" website and get a list of links to FTP sites that contain different and incompatible versions of various backend tools and GUIs, with "installation instructions" that start with, "To install from github..."

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493962)

I see this "Average Joe installs from source" story so often that I've started to think it really isn't a joke. I thought it was but considering that it's not really funny and gets re-told so often... maybe it's real.

Do people really not understand that instructions for "installing from source" aren't put there just to insult normal users? That users are just supposed to go to whatever their "Apps Manager" is called and click the "Install Free Call" button? If the button is not there, then the app is not available...

Or maybe I just don't get the humor value.

Re:Drop the GNU. (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494186)

It looks like what they're doing is using SIP Witch [gnu.org] as a basis. As far as I can tell, SIP Witch just connects endpoints to each other, allowing those endpoints to negotiate a protocol for what they're streaming to each other independently. I think the new thing here is that it'll be able to route through a P2P/mesh type arrangement, for privacy and independence from a single central service provider -- but everything else is existing code. ... and SIP Witch has the GUI separated from the daemon, as any sane architect would.

That's what I gleaned from TFA and its comments. I could have misunderstood large parts of it. Feel free to correct me.

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493124)

Do you think yourself a Sean Parker or something?

Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493176)

There are many GNU tools prefixed with "GNU/" but in practice the "GNU/" is always dropped in everyday use.

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493216)

Its aims are going to be crushed by its terrible name. GNU Free Call is a mouthful that even I, knowing what the acronym means, don't like the sound of. If they want adoption they should quit their self-promotion-in-the-name and re-brand, even "GFC" would be a million times better.

True. Let's name it Libre Call.

Re:Drop the GNU. (1)

funky_vibes (664942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493272)

I'm not sure I agree, the GNU in the name commands seriousness, and dedication of the project.
From it people immediately understand, that there are some technical hard-hitters behind it, and that it won't suddenly turn into a free (but you need to pay) kind of thing, that happens to most of these so called "free" things.
Without it, what's to differentiate the project from all the googles, voddlers, moogles, twitters, flickrs and all other stupid names that one can't even remember the difference of?

Re:Drop the GNU. (2)

surgen (1145449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493440)

I'm not sure I agree, the GNU in the name commands seriousness, and dedication of the project.

Like the dedication to GNU/Hurd where they'll give up as soon as something better comes along?

It doesn't command seriousness or respect. gcc and linux both have gnu in their name, but most common users never see it. When I see GNU in a name, I don't think there are smart people are behind it because of the name, there are smart people behind plenty of non-gnu open source projects too, I just see shameless self promotion.

Frankly, outside of Free software communities, the GNU folks are acknowledged to do good work, but their brand is a bit of a laughingstock.

GNU FC-IT (1)

Zed Pobre (160035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493744)

Meh, personally, I hope it goes through, because if you ever have to support it, you'll be in the Gnu Free Call Information Technology group, and get to say to people...

GNU -- FC IT, but how can I help you anyway?

Re:Drop the GNU. (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494714)

Gnu Free Call would be a pain to say every time...which is probably why it will be commonly referred to as GFC if it acquires a significant userbase...

Re:Drop the GNU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495410)

Sorry, but in the spirit of open source hobbyist software, ugly interfaces and strange names (Such as Freshmeat) are a prerequisite. You are now officially out of the loop.

Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1, Insightful)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35492940)

In case you're not aware, Ekiga already exists and is a free-software SIP client implementation. See http://ekiga.org/ [ekiga.org] . At best this should be an extension for Ekiga, not an entirely new project.

-molo

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493000)

Telepathy framework plugin, since Ekiga and most of the other free SIP clients use Telepathy.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493126)

Ekiga predates telepathy (framework) and does not use it. There is a SIP provider in telepathy, which uses another codebase to talk to SIP.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495408)

Moreover, that SIP UA (telepathy-rakia based on sofia-sip) does not work with ekiga.net from behind a NAT, due to broken ways in which the ekiga.net server(s) implement NAT traversal.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

InterStellaArtois (808931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493198)

Telepathy framework

Falls off chair reaching for tin-foil hat ...

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493020)

In case you're not aware, this is about a VoIP service, not a client. So, yes it could be an Ekiga extension.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493028)

In case you're not aware, Ekiga already exists and is a free-software SIP client implementation. See http://ekiga.org/ [ekiga.org] . At best this should be an extension for Ekiga, not an entirely new project.

-molo

Ekiga is a softphone client, not secure self-organized communication services.

This project aims to implement the entire VOIP network back-end, vaguely similar to how Skype does it (largely P2P).

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493166)

This project aims to implement the entire VOIP network back-end, vaguely similar to how Skype does it (largely P2P).

I sure hope they won't need any central servers, including DNS, that could be used as choke points by any entity (commercial or government) to shut off the network.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493732)

Yeah. I'm also hoping they route all internet traffic by satellite, otherwise the government could use routers as choke points to shut off the network.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493066)

What are you talking about? This is free, open-source software, where fragmentation and throwing a hissy fit by starting your own fork are the first steps to the path of failure and obscurity.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493128)

So if a friend and I install it on our computers can we talk to each other? Or do we both need to pay for a third-party SIP service? Note that neither of us is running a server with a fixed IP address.

Maybe I'm out of date, but the problem used to be that you couldn't do peer-to-peer without a third-party (e.g. Skype) at a known address. Yet another SIP implementation won't fix this. If this is not a problem now, please point me at a free Skype replacement and I'll ditch Skype immediately. Seriously, I hate Skype.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494352)

Maybe I'm out of date, but the problem used to be that you couldn't do peer-to-peer without a third-party (e.g. Skype) at a known address.

I'm not sure what you mean by peer-to-peer, but if your friend knows your IP address, and your home router is forwarding connections to some port (UPnP will do this automagically), and your host is listening, then they can open a socket to you, and that's p2p as far as I'm concerned.

If your IP address isn't static, then you have the difficulty of communicating your current address to them. I guess most of the various ways you could do that -- dynamic DNS, emailing it to them, some sort of centralised hub used to negotiate the connection (Skype, a BT tracker, ...), etc. -- would count as a third-party.

It seems as if their vision is that the "third party" be a self-organising mesh of servers. I don't know who'd run them, but then I'm not sure who runs Bittorrent trackers either :)

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494930)

BitTorrent Trackers are a centralized hub. While anyone can run a tracker, everyone thats sharing still has to use the tracker to find others.

While an entirely P2P setup sounds great, from a practical standpoint, it pretty much is an utter failure when you have dynamic addressing and routing ... i.e. the way the Internet works.

You have to find out how to find other users from somewhere, someone thats trusted to not feed you bogus information. In a true P2P mesh, where no one is 'trusted' its (from a practical standpoint) impossible to prevent rogue nodes from screwing up the system. The damage may be limited, but it still occurs.

You can (using PKI) prevent someone from pretending to be someone they aren't, but you still have to find them, and a rogue node can ruin that for anyone that uses it.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495054)

Well, there ya go.

More for other readers than for you, here's what TFA has to say about peer discovery.

Initially we will extend sipwitch to become aware of peer nodes by supporting host caches, and then support publishing of routes to connected peers. This work builds upon the already existing routing foundation in sipwitch itself. The use of host caches is a mechanism used in older p2p networks, it is generally well understood, it would meet the initial goals of establishing a self organized mesh network, and it is rather easy to initially implement to fully demonstrate the potential of sipwitch as a mesh calling system. More advanced methodologies can then be added later on.

Re:Peer-to-peer module for Ekiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495164)

I'm not averse to using a third-party. I'm just not too keen on paying for one (like a SIP service). Maybe dynamic DNS is the way forward.

My main problem with Skype is the appalling call quality and it continually dropping connections. But that may be down to the ISPs, in which case no service is going to work well.

Thanks anyway.

all mommys get your butts to ME JP LA etc.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35492994)

the improved phone chip system would be an improvement. there'll be no sequel.

Open Sourced? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493032)

Oh oh! Being GNU, does that mean that my conversations become open sourced by purely communicating over this service? I'm wondering this because technically my voice is being de-compiled into a byte stream and then re-compiled on the other end. Doesn't that make all my conversations bound to the terms in GPL? And how would I attach the source code of my conversation? Would I have to have some sort of text-to-speech implemented (non-proprietary of course) to facilitate this? And if I am discussing something related to application design and as a result of the conversation we implement new features, does my application then become bound to GPL? And if so do I need to attach source code to the GNU VoIP service to my application?

Hmmmmmmm

Re:Open Sourced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493202)

You're being silly and you know it.

Re:Open Sourced? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493276)

This is satire. There are people that actually believe this kind of reasoning. See: managers.

(Off-topic: but you would have to admit the "derivative works" parts of the GPLv2 is vague terminology, and can give odd ideas like using gcc means you must open your code.)

Re:Open Sourced? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494960)

(Off-topic: but you would have to admit the "derivative works" parts of the GPLv2 is vague terminology, and can give odd ideas like using gcc means you must open your code.)

Fortunately, at least in America, there is legal precedent already which says that the GCC example doesn't hold true. MS doesn't own your word docs, Adobe doesn't own your PSDs and GNU doesn't own your binaries, no matter how much anyone tells you otherwise.

Erm... (3, Informative)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493046)

Empathy, Ekiga, Twinkle... the list goes on. Even pidgin has SIP plugins. Why is this project special or needed?

Re:Erm... (4, Funny)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493072)

None of those have GNU in the name.

Re:Erm... (1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493318)

Oh and if you say that the new application will implement the entire VOIP backend, then have you heard of Asterisk?

Re:Erm... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494936)

This is supposed to be a peer to peer system. Which makes me wonder how will it interface with POTS or will it just be an internet only system.
In which case why not just use voice chat over any number of jabber clients?
Of course you are correct in one really important way. It would be dumb to not develop a plug in for Asterisk for this. You can buy a Skype gateway for Asterisk now.

Re:Erm... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495126)

This is supposed to be a peer to peer system. Which makes me wonder how will it interface with POTS or will it just be an internet only system.

I'm not sure they're thinking that far ahead, but perhaps the POTS gateways would just be "peers?"

Re:Erm... (2)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493652)

Empathy, Ekiga, Twinkle... the list goes on. Even pidgin has SIP plugins. Why is this project special or needed?

As I understand it, the crucial difference here is that their objective is to implement the VOIP back-end as a P2P service. Something like what Skype does now, but without being evil.

Aims to be as ubiquitous as Skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493074)

...and it will never, EVER happen. For one, it would have to be available on smartphones, which seem to give Stallman a rage-boner so hard that it sucks all the blood out of his brain, resulting in this sort of rant: http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/03/15/0432226/Richard-Stallman-Cell-Phones-Are-Stalins-Dream Not to mention the myriad other devices that Skype runs on -- there's even a Linux client for it, no less. Freecall is just another one of GNU's pet projects that's never actually going to -go- anywhere, outside of the circle of sad and fanatical folks that still think HURD is going to replace the Linux kernel one day.

Re:Aims to be as ubiquitous as Skype... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493242)

Oh it could be as ubiquitous as Skype. It just requires the project to have the dedication and pragmatism to see the idea through from the concept to a real world client and infrastructure which is comparable (preferably better) than what's already there. That means an attractive client that works on every major OS, a protocol seamlessly adapts to runs through firewalls and so forth, and an infrastructure which is adaptive, secure and cheap and beneficial to run.

But as this is a GNU project we're talking about it will probably be none of those things.

Re:Aims to be as ubiquitous as Skype... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493392)

That's exactly the problem, I think, and I'm glad you pointed it out -- the GNU folks and Stallman in particular are so detached from reality that they don't even seem capable of developing software that meets a casual user's needs. It's a sad state of affairs considering how much GNU has contributed to the open source world, only to become increasingly irrelevant every time Stallman opens his mouth. What they probably need is new leadership, but if that neckbeard is willing to get himself worked up into a frenzy over "it's GNU/Linux, not Linux," I sincerely doubt he'd be willing to step down and allow for some sensible decisions to be made for a change.

YASI Yet Another SIP Implementation. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493110)

Summary:

  • They are taking SIP Witch and adding GPG integration.
  • Each device that wishes to communicate will run its own SIP Witch instance....
  • ... though you can still run a central SIP Witch instance like today.
  • The modified SIP Witch will initially rely on host caches for P2P connection...
  • ... and in the future will move away from that to Some Sort Of Magic for node discovery and connection.

SIP is a terrible protocol, why not IAX2? (2)

funky_vibes (664942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493164)

SIP doesn't even traverse NAT firewalls without help from outside, and even then, barely.
SIP is also too verbose, and therefore it's hard to tweak the network to avoid jitter. (This is a huge problem currently)

A large reason why Skype became so popular is, that it didn't have the same problems as SIP.

IAX2 has none of these problems, supports multiple line trunking, and, it's already supported by lots of software and hardware.

IAX2 was developed out of a need for an efficient call trunking protocol for the free PBX called Asterisk.
In the beginning, the author clearly stated IAX shouldn't be used by others (moving target), but since it's clearly being used already, it's become a sort of de-facto standard since nothing else works as well.

Re:SIP is a terrible protocol, why not IAX2? (2)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493378)

"SIP doesn't even traverse NAT firewalls without help from outside, and even then, barely."
Yep, thats what ICE is for.

What do you mean, if it traverses NAT, then only barely? I didn't know you could barely send an IP packet. is there anything like an O_BARELY flag? ;)

Re:SIP is a terrible protocol, why not IAX2? (1)

funky_vibes (664942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493550)

;)

Depending on the type of NAT and the SIP implementation, it either works or it doesn't.
Also I don't want to reconfigure my client each time I change network.

In my view, this is the *main* reason for the weak adoption of SIP, it's also getting way too complicated.

Re:SIP is a terrible protocol, why not IAX2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494156)

SIP doesn't even traverse NAT firewalls without help from outside, and even then, barely.

NAT is the problem, not SIP, its just that NAT is so pervasive, we have to ensure that protocols support this hack. NAT, by design, breaks end-to-end connectivity. Don't be surprised when it works (ie- breaks things)

SIP is also too verbose, and therefore it's hard to tweak the network to avoid jitter. (This is a huge problem currently)

Not sure I understand this. Are you referring to the impact of signaling protocol on the audio stream once it is established?

Re:SIP is a terrible protocol, why not IAX2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35494556)

...it's become a sort of de-facto standard...

As opposed to an actual standard. I agree with you on point one that SIP needs to be revised to better support NATing firewalls, but I think you fail to realize just how widely adopted SIP has already become not just in IP Telephony software and PBX systems, but in hardware appliances and handsets (maybe it's an actual standard instead of a de-facto one).

Request to the developers (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493220)

A last moment request to the developers: Please make exiting of the reference client the key sequence ESC:wq\n and not Ctr-X Ctrl-C. Please?!

Re:Request to the developers (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495068)

If you're referring to the problem with Empathy, the solution was posted in the bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/empathy/+bug/486508/comments/11 [launchpad.net]

I just had that issue, you can modify /usr/share/empathy/empathy-chat-window.ui and change the line that says:
<accelerator key="W" modifiers="GDK_CONTROL_MASK"/>

to

<accelerator key="Escape" />

and ask for forgiveness to the gods that decided that would be a sin, cheers

Will likely never work in the USA (1)

Algorithmn (1601909) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493306)

Congress passed a law requiring US based ITSP's to provide E911 support. If this idea ever went live it would require the same connections to E911. This connection costs money, its not free...

GNU VoIP would have to pay Verizon/Comcast/et cetera to connect to E911 and who is going to pay for that?

Unless congress provides an exemption.. (pfft, yahh)

Re:Will likely never work in the USA (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493396)

So don't base it in the USA. That does not mean folks in the USA can't use it.

Re:Will likely never work in the USA (1)

Algorithmn (1601909) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493534)

First implication that comes to mind is...

If you want to get sued when someone picks up your phone and dials 911 during an emergency.. Does a sticker really prevent liability (this phone isn't connected to 911)?

Re:Will likely never work in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493578)

If it's peer to peer it probably won't matter anyway, sipwitch just allows the phones to connect directly to each other, so technically there is no ITSP involved that could tap phones, store E911 data, etc.

The only issue is that it's crapware! (1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493350)

Seriously, I tried sipwitch on my laptop, and quickly removed it when I realized that it was often using 100% of my CPU. Bad experience. I hope they will improve, because I, too, need a free software alternative to Skype.

I'll wait until (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493426)

Steve Ballmer intimates this is infringing on Microsoft patents; then I'll know it's real.

Unstable (1)

MyGirlFriendsBroken (599031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35493524)

I miss read the summary at first and thought they are aiming for it to be as stable as Skype, I thought can't you aim a little higher than that guys.

Reminds me of someone talking about how they got 5 nines uptime with Windows, some else asked if they were aiming for 10% next year

I've hurd of that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35493632)

Think it will ever happen? Or is this just more GNU vaporware

Resemblence (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35494758)

As others noted, it bears some remote resemblence to skype. I wonder why they chose GNU Free Call and decided to go the peer to peer route. I would think having a community hosted, distributed PBX would be a much better solution. I happen to really like SIPXECS at http://www.sipxecs.org./ [www.sipxecs.org] It lends itself to distribution quite well. Plus, SIPXECS is quite mature as a platform. I cannot help but cast a somewhat dubious eye at GNU Sip Witch.

What an unfortunate name... (1)

Kaldaien (676190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495286)

I was all excited to see what a VoIP program that distinguishes itself as being "free of GNU" really meant. Come to find out, it is just a GNU project with a terrible name.

I hope they actually ship something (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495320)

Whether you like Stallman's politics or not (i think he's a bit of a zealot, but I'm sure he'd agree and think as a compliment) there's a decent history of projects launched and ending up in some kind of Limbo someplace. Even emacs, his pet project, got forked into xemacs because of inactivity. The hurd has gone through many iterations, many underlying microkernels, and seems irrelevant. Even gcc, probably the best known and used FSF project, was forked by the egcs team and moved so much quicker than mainline gcc that it eventually became the new Guardians of gcc. Remember that The Cathedral and the Bazaar used FSF gcc development as the closed Cathedral model.

So, will this be a typical FSF project where they copy something badly (GNU gdbm vs Berkely dbm) just because they can? Or will Stallman realize that the best way to get people to use his code is to get them something actually usable, and not rely on the excuse 'well it's OPEN'.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>