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Is Linux Used in Production Telephony?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the interactive-voice-reponse dept.

Linux 354

jamesva asks: "The telecommunications industry is rapidly converging on Windows NT/2000 for all telephony and voice-related needs. Most ACD systems, virtual operators, and voicemail are being ported to Windows if they're not already running on it. In the past, telephony apps have existed most notably on OS/2, SCO, and even DOS. However, free Unix (or unix-like) platforms have absolutely no penetration in this area, with seemingly no chance on the horizon. The Bayonne app server from the GNU folks seems to be the one exception, but even then there doesn't seem to much built around it or anyone using it. It reached a 1.0 release in September and was met with no fanfare. Even the LinuxTelephony doesn't seem to have much news. Can someone prove me wrong? Why is this the case? I'm interested in finding out if anyone is using Linux (or any free OS) in a production environment for something like voicemail or ACD. These types of systems require high availability and reliability and Linux just seems like a natural fit."

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354 comments

FORST POST (-1, Offtopic)

LordHunter317 (90225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4507980)

I WIN WIN WIN

I WIN TOO!

Re:FORST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4507996)

Now if ony you could spell, you would be a winer^Wwinner.

Re:FORST POST (-1, Offtopic)

The Spelling Nazi (619562) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508006)

No points for you!
Come back when you've learned to spell "first"!

Re:FORST POST (-1, Offtopic)

nebenfun (530284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508036)

hey give the guy a break!
He is such a loser that he can't get first post...
he had to settle on the second prize, "forst post"...
nbfn

NATALIE PORTMAN NUDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4507990)

http://www.consumptionjunction.com/feat/cc/detail. asp?ID=13532&type=3&page=1

Re:NATALIE PORTMAN NUDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508241)

no shit, is that really her?!?!?!?! YOU goTTA TELL ME!

i only wank to grade A sluts. and natalie portman is A+!!

vote Me!

Niggers are fucking stupid. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4507995)

Discuss.

This is a local shop for local people... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4507999)


"However, free Unix (or unix-like) platforms have absolutely no penetration in this area..."

Oh really? [goatse.cx]

I tried! (4, Funny)

CySurflex (564206) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508005)

I tried to install Linux and Slashcode on my homebrew hacked PBX telephony system, but then all my calls were being routed to goatse...

Re:I tried! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508074)

INFORMATIVE! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Most rediculous thing -EVAR- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508010)

I assure you the telephony industry is -NOT- rushing to use windows, we're not using DOS, or OS/2 and yes.. we might just be using some flavor of unix...

So can just any Monkey post a question to slashdot?

Zeroth post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508011)

Hahahaha! I beat all of the first posts!

Wait a second.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508012)

Either this is complete & total ignorance on my part, or, well, it's just complete & total ignorance. I thought that Large scale Unix based systems basically ran the switches, backbones/large servers behind Telephone/Telecommunication Networks. That's how the uber geeks found out about it, trashing for manuals to all of these VAX/VMS/UNIX systems, dialing in to them, and hax0ring their way in to screwing with their friends/enemies who may have flamed them on a local BBS. Am I wrong?

Re:Wait a second.. (3, Interesting)

Spamuel (246002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508252)

There's a lot of Solaris being used from where I'm looking, and absolutely no Linux. It's still considered a "baby Unix" in the board room. It's not even considered.

Avaya (5, Informative)

Krypt Keeper (29245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508013)

Avaya does this now, and they are porting more and more of there application VoIP services to LINUX, as well as Win2K like you said.

Re:Avaya (1)

and by (598383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508095)

Unfortunately, they're still using H.323 instead of SIP and anything involving Avaya costs way too much for what you get.

Re: Avaya (5, Informative)

bb_referee (548705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508257)

Currently, Avaya (previously part of Lucent) has ported over its proprietary DEFINITY PBX software and AUDIX software to Red Hat. You have the option to purchase the PBX software/hardware as either based on Linux or based on the previous operating system, Oryx/Pecos (created by Bell Labs).

Avaya is betting the farm on Linux. It hit a performance ceiling with the propietary O/S (Oryx/Pecos - written by Bell Labs), and has some impressive results in its first Linux boxen. The PBX has three times the call processing capacity (counted in Busy Hour Call Completions) under Linux.

Re:Avaya (2, Interesting)

tourettes (97445) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508280)

The company I am currently employeed with use Avaya for their VoIP needs (an in-bound call centre), it works just fine on the win2k network we are currently running. I have thought about trying to convince the IT department in moving us away from the win2k to the linux platform, but one of the major stumbling blocks of this was the compatibility of VoIP with Linux systems. I was unaware that Avaya offered linux services as well. Is this on the server side only? Or is the CentreVu IP Agent being/has been ported to Linux? If so, this could change everything.

CmdrTaco is an ass-clown... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508014)

How has this had an impact on your day?

no linux (4, Informative)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508016)

but a lot of solaris/sparc machines doing our telephony. The uptime is just too good on a *nix vs 2K.

Re:no linux (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508150)

Yep. I belive our VRU is powered by solaris as is our switch. Maybe Linux isn't being used because of the GPL? Maybe some devlopers want big support contracts for the big UNIXES? I don't know. But what I do know is that the article seems to wrong. I don't see more telephony on Windows unles you count small systems, or user interfaces (operators would be more comfy on a Windows based screen then on a UNIX based screen). Any place that's large enough can get a UNIX based one and be much better off.

Geez (0, Redundant)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508025)

www.linuxtelephony.org [linuxtelephony.org]

Re:Geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508169)

Yeah Geez learn to read the actual story!

Geez! Mod the parent down! (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508285)

Why is the parent moderated "informative" when all it is is a link taken straight from the story! I don't know who's stupider or lazier, Christopher_G_Lewis for posting something redundant, or the moderators for not reading the story properly themselves.

I havn't found a good voicemail app. (2)

io333 (574963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508028)

Last year I tried to find linux software to use with my voice capable hardware modem. I looked *hard*. All I could come up with were a few pre-alpha apps that needed to be compiled that worked either very badly or not at all.

Re:I havn't found a good voicemail app. (1)

zome (546331) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508156)

I did too, same results. The almost work was vgetty, but it just didn't work.

Re:I havn't found a good voicemail app. (0)

kernelfoobar (569784) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508193)

what about mgetty+voice, is that the same? It seems to add voicemail and ansering machine capabilities. Here's a link to debians package(search "mgetty voice" in google for more): http://packages.debian.org/unstable/comm/mgetty-vo ice.html

Device driver issue? (4, Insightful)

ALecs (118703) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508030)

How many quality telephony cards are out there with equally quality drivers? I'll admit I've done no research on this but could this be the answer?

Linux being the DIY operating system that it is, people tend to write drivers for the hardware that they have. How many linux hackers have dialogic boards in their machines? At >$500, I doubt the number is very high. No drivers, no applications.

Re:Device driver issue? (4, Informative)

CBackSlash (613476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508211)

How many linux hackers have dialogic boards in their machines?


I do! But guess what? I didn't have to write the drivers because someone [intel.com]
already wrote them.


In my opinion, there is not a device driver problem here. Intel/Dialogic isn't the only vendor supporting Linux. And they don't support it out of the kindness of their heart: they support it because doing so helps sell hardware.

Re:Device driver issue? (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508273)

"In my opinion, there is not a device driver problem here. Intel/Dialogic isn't the only vendor supporting Linux. And they don't support it out of the kindness of their heart: they support it because doing so helps sell hardware."

All it takes is for there to be a perception that Linux isn't supported in the drivers area for somebody to say "I'll go with Windows". The solution for Linux may be out there, but I wouldn't bet >$500 on it.

Re:Device driver issue? (2, Insightful)

ALecs (118703) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508216)

Now that I think about it, I remembered constantly seeing ads for telephony, etc. cards on BSDMall. I would assume that a card proudly flaunted there would have BSD drivers at least, if not Linux.

This one here [bsdmall.com] lists Linux compatibility.

Re:Device driver issue? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508274)

www.quicknet.net

guy named ed okerson did the linux drivers originally. dont know who maintains them now.

Quicknet had some great engineers back in tha day - but due to shitty people management and poor business planning lost most of them. There were some very solid linux guys there pushing linux telephony....

anyway - they did have really good linux products. check them out.

Too bad they flushed their team down the toilet - otherwise we would probably be looking at this topic very very differently.

greg youngblood over at linuxtelephony.org worked there for a time. maybe he can shed some light on what went down and why they failed to be the leader in linux telephony people were hoping for.

Are the applications there? (5, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508031)

The first question I'd ask is: Are the applications there? If not, there it is.

You mentioned one application that uses Linux. There are probably many more that work under Windows, because that's probably what companies are developing for. More to the point, that's probably what companies are asking for -- "Give us something that looks like what we're used to for web surfing already!"

Now granted, within the past few years Linux's desktop has grown leaps and bounds beyond where it was -- but then, it wasn't there when these companies first started developing their apps, and wasn't an option then.

That, ultimately, is the issue.

Bottom line (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508111)

Use the right tool for the right job. If windows works the best then please don't let your bias affect how the company runs.

Asterisk (5, Informative)

redactor (1989) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508033)

Perhaps you should look into Asterisk: link [digium.com]

This is Mark Spencer's most recent project. Same guy that did Cheops and started GAIM. Really cool stuff.

Oh no! What's a Windows telephone going to be like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508037)

Pick up reciever:

"I notice you are trying to make a call!!! Press the buttons to dial a number!!!"

Press buttons:

"Sorry, the number you have dialed has crashed. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot your phone"

VxWorks/Windows seem to be it (5, Informative)

h2oliu (38090) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508042)

Within the last 6 months I went through a phone system evaluation process. I was focused on IP telephony to a certain degree, so it was limited.

I agree that most items are being ported to Windows (scares the heck out of me, it's one thing for your web server to be down 6 hours, try having your phone system down for 6 hours).

The primary area where new development was being done, that wasn't Windows, I found to be in VxWorks. This makes sense to me since a RTOS really is a better platform, and at the same time, bypasses all of the Windows worms, etc.

My company's ACD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508105)

runs on NT 3.51 and is maintained by a lousy jerk. I can tell you it was not pretty when the thing borked on us... downtime was *only* 6 hours but it took another 5 days until our calls were properly routed again.

Rhetorical Systems (2, Informative)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508047)

OK its text to voice, but AFAIK they are selling hard to the telecoms industry with rVoice [rhetorical.com]
Their development platform is primarily Linux. I only know because a friend works there, I am not associated with them in any way.

The Answer Is ....... (5, Informative)

Jsprat23 (148634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508051)

Digium [digium.com]. A GNU/Linux telphony company based in Huntsville, AL. They sell T1 PCI cards for GNU/Linux machines and distribute a free as in GPLed software PBX. Check them out!

Disclosure: No, I don't work for them, but I have had lunch with them and they're pretty nice guys!

digium crooks? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508141)

for the record my corporate fire wall wont let
me connect to that site. "smart filter". are they crooks or something?

Re:digium crooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508203)

No, your corporate firewall was made by a moron.

Re:digium crooks? (1)

BluGuy (617572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508231)

Well, according to my SmartFilter, not only do they sell PBX stuff, but also oodles of sex..

Its being implemented. (5, Informative)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508054)

A company called West Telemarketing is working toward moving over their VRUs (Voice Recognition Units) from SCO to Linux by integrating the Dialogic (Intel) drivers into the kernel.

From what I have heard, things are in Beta but very stable and soon to be moving forward to production systems.

No UNIX penetration? (2, Insightful)

besh (10807) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508055)

What runs on my 5Ess then? Or Voicemail system? UNIX has had fantastic penetration in the telecom industry, what with being written in large part by a telco, for telco use. (SYSV)

Linux penetration is a totally different story. Unless I see less than 5 minutes a year of downtime, and more than 20 years of hardware and software support for a platform, I can't see using it any time soon.

-Besh!

Re:No UNIX penetration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508171)

UNIX - an old slow ATT 3B2? varient. At lot of companies using the 5ESS are currently getting raped by Lucent with reoccuring license fees making lot's of opportunities for anyone who can replace 5ESS features or functions with something else just as reliable. Linux in a lot of cases is ideal for this,
if you know what you are doing and where to do it at. In other words - YES!

3Com's NBX System is a BSD Variant (3, Interesting)

doc_brown (73383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508061)


Here at work we use a 3Com NBX 100 system [3com.com].

I've FTP'd into it and it seems to be running some sort of a BSD variant.

I guess it could also run linux.. but I don't quite feel like pokeing around in our production telephone system.

Re:3Com's NBX System is a BSD Variant (1)

doc_brown (73383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508080)

opps.

I guess I should read the text on that link. It runs Wind River VxWorks OS.

Re:3Com's NBX System is a BSD Variant (2)

schon (31600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508139)

I guess I should read the text on that link. It runs Wind River VxWorks OS.

Interesting.. I wonder if this is a change, because the last time I took a look at ours, it was BSD..

Re:3Com's NBX System is a BSD Variant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508221)

Wind River VxWorks OS is a BSD varient... based on FreeBSD

Re:3Com's NBX System is a BSD Variant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508214)

3com uses VxWorks.

http://www.windriver.com/

More Better Technology (1)

SolidCore (250574) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508071)

This seems promising. Zapata Telephony [zapatatelephony.org], dedicated to bringing the world a much-needed reasonable and affordable Computer Telephony platform, and hence a revolution in the arena of Computer Telephony.

Hee heeh hee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508077)

He said "penetrate"..
Hee hee hee.

He's going to penetrate my area.

Hee hee hee...

About to be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508085)

The company I work for is about to implement a full setup using Asterisk [asterisk.org] for all phone traffic in the company. A 4 span T1 card on a twin P3 1.0Ghz system with 1.0GB of RAM a 110GB raid 5 array (using ext3fs) is the system that will be driving everything. Needless to say, since this will be driving all telephone traffic it must NEVER be compromised. Ergo, this system is running Slackware 8 with minimally installed packages (only those essential to make the system run and allow compilation of software). Not even inetd is running on this server. The software has been compiled with GCC 3.2 that has had the IBM stack protector patch applied to it. Everything looks good, but the system will not be pressed into service until next week when the 2 T1s are activated.

OS/2 (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508086)

We're running voicemail on system called CallXpress (it has other names as well) on an older Pentium system with OS/2 Warp installed. There is NO network connection on it, nor will I ever allow it.

The reason for having Linux on a machine is to be able to access it via the net and/or play with it. Both of these are VERY BAD ideas when considering a telephony application. Telephone systems shouldn't ever allow remote administration, IMHO.

So, with no net, no place to play, what reasons are left to want to use Linux?

--Mike--

Re:OS/2 (2)

t0qer (230538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508145)

IBM officially dropped OS/2 support this year, it was on slash, can't find the link.

And what's to stop you from just unplugging your spiffy new linux voicemail server from the network? So you're os/2 arg is pretty flawed there bud.

Re:OS/2 (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508173)

hmm well our system is quite different. We have IP telephones that talk to a call manager running on win2k. Now the network that the phones and call managers are on is a vlan that can't be accessed by anything but those devices but it is the same physical network as the desktops. The call managers are also managed remotly by a team that is spread around the country that access the machines through secure wan links. We haven't had any problems with them and I don't think we will. The biggest thing is to use clustering and redundant hardware so that there is no single point of failure.

Which Windows are we talkinga bout? (1)

HealYourChurchWebSit (615198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508087)

Since we're talking telephony, are we talking embedded operating systems? Perhaps Windows CE, or more than likely Windows NT Embedded?

Could some of this reticence to Linux also be related to the available development frameworks for low-level coders?

Or is this just a case where managers are playing it safe?

Is it me...? (1, Insightful)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508091)

Or is this a very similar question (or at least a very similar answer) to this [slashdot.org] very recent Ask Slashdot?

asterisk (2, Interesting)

slashrot (564575) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508099)

I just installed asterisk [asterisk.org] PBX software at home this weekend; not exactly a 'production' environment, but I was impressed. Bayonne looks promising too.

limited penetration (2, Interesting)

CBackSlash (613476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508101)

Well, I wouldn't say free UNIX has "absolutely zero penetration". For example, Dialogic would never have released drivers for Linux if there wasn't a demonstrated need for them (i.e. they must have had a lot of their customers asking for them before hand). The same can be said for other board vendors, as well as software like SpeechWorks.

In other words, I think the fact that vendors support creation of telephony systems using Linux at all is an indicator that it is in fact being used. I would not use the relative success/failure of a handful of telephony related projects as a guage for the success/failure of Linux in telephony.

But for what it's worth, I am aware of a $7-digit custom speech system that's running reliably on RedHat 4.2

Voice Recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508110)

Qwest(USWest) has been using a Linux cluster for voice recognition on 411 calls for about 3.5 years now. the uptime is great.

Cirpack's Linux-based voice switches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508115)

Details on

http://www.cirpack.fr/products/hvs.shtml

3Com NBX product uses BSD... (2)

schon (31600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508119)

3Com's foray into telephone systems runs a BSD variant (NetBSD, IIRC)... (This is the stuff that's supposed to compete with the Meridian telephone systems)

We have an NBX100 system; the main chassis is modular, and connects to the telephones over standard ethernet ports (so there's no need to have separate phone wiring - the same jack used for your computer can be used for your phone; if you're short on network ports, the phone even has an RJ-45 passthrough, so you can plug your computer into your phone, and the phone into the walljack, which goes back to your switch.)

By default, the phones run their own protocol (not IP - possibly IPX, but I've never put a sniffer on the line to find out), but there is a mode to have them use h.323, so you can have remote extensions running over the internet.

Yes! (5, Informative)

Number44 (41761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508120)

Yes indeed, at least at the enterprise level.

I used to work for Lucent/AG Communication Systems. The project I was on, their ClientCare call center system (think big... an entire in and outbound call center solution for arbitrarily large companies), ran on Solaris and FreeBSD. We had Solaris for the big Oracle Parallel server DB and FreeBSD tied the little bits and pieces together such as the CSR clients [which ran on Windows], the ISDN line management, and the playback of our utterly annoying hold music. It worked rather well, in the end. I think they're still doing it that way.

Here's a link to the product itself: http://www.agcs.com/productsv2/CallCenter/works.ht m [agcs.com]

#44

Is this including VoIP? (2)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508123)

If you include voice of IP implementations on *nix, you have several choices. For instance, Clarent [clarent.com] does most of their implementation on Sun machines. This won't help you if you're looking for free stuff, but that is an entirely different question.

Mythological Beast

eOn Communications (1)

FistFuck (48079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508130)

We're running a system here based on a redhat 6.x distro.

eOn [eoncommunications.com]

It's a great system with tons of expansion. Ours is the older DSP model which tends to resemble a CO switch. We can provide just about the same services to our company as a smaller CO. It has two celeron (I think 366's) in a hot failover configuration. Our Windows based CRM app uses a CTI connection for autodialing. Pretty basic stuff.

Million Dollar Apps dont run on linux in our DC (5, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508131)

We only run unix os's with a few NT machines (mostly admin consoles) in our datacenter. The problem with putting a Linux box in production, we have platinum support from Sun. Every server is a sun box, and its standardized for backup, database and clustering. If we put a Linux box, it has to run it on sparc hardware, and we have to have special procedures just for this one box.

Its much easier to run GPL'ed software ported to Solaris, than to switch the OS. We in fact run many GPL'ed software packages, the cost saving is amazing. The backend software is highly specialized, and will not be ported to linux.

To make sure the software is locked in production, the developers put license strings for everything, and then they lock it down to IP/Domain/Hardware/os version/etc..

Sometimes you want the software to be written in house, but with the features, support, updates to software, its easier to write a check and get everything at once. If you want to know who the main players are, Nokia, Nortel, Software.com and Ericsson are the largest players.

Yes ... and no (3, Informative)

databaseguy (537504) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508136)

For us it was a balance of Windows and Unix.

I used to work for a Fortune 100 software and hardware distributor that also has one of the highest revenue-generating sites on the Internet. We ran a all of our call routing and control services on Unix (can't remember if it was Solaris or HP-UX for those servers). BUT we then transferred all the post-event descriptive information to an MS SQL Server to do data mining against the data. Some people might have thought that MS software ran the whole show, since most managers would use the SQL app to see how their sales teams were doing, but the whole thing was in fact fed by Unix.

Not the fit you want (3, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508152)

These specialized applications are generally installed only with a single Windows OS release. The OS is not patched or updated unless by the vendor. Applications other than what the vendor supplied are not installed. The user does not configure the hardware or the software; all of this is done by the vendor. If the user does tweak the machine, it becomes unsupported by the vendor, unless you pay them big bucks to come in and reinstall everything.

They probably *could* do the same thing under Linux, but I'd rather that they not do it. (The situation with Oracle on Linux is already too close IMHO).

I can tell you why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508154)

I worked for 4.5 years in the telecommunications industry using Unix (SCO) servers and I can tell you why people are using Windows. I always heard from IT managers "I don't want a Unix box on my network! I don't know how to admin Unix and I do not want learn how, so if you don't have a Windows solution, we don't want your business." These IT managers were just not interested in a machine that would not crash etc... they are used to the reboot and GUI tools. It was pathetic! Plus they bought into the idea if it is all from one company it has to work seamlessly together, yeah right.

Is it worth it for the companies? (2, Interesting)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508158)

A company offering telephony related services has enough to sort out without having to use a non-established(for telephony) platform. If other operating systems have already proved suitable and reliable in this field, then why should they increase their workload by working out how to do it on Linux?

CHeck out VOCAL at www.vovida.org (4, Informative)

Shishak (12540) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508159)

VOCAL is a SIP based phone switch for handling VoIP calls. It works with Cisco 7960 phones and most of their VoIP POTS boxes (NM-HDV-1T1-24 on a 2620, or 5300 series with VoIP DSP's installed). I've used it and it is production ready. A recent test processed several million calls/hour if I remember correctly. seems pretty robust to me.

VOCAL [vovida.org]

Voicemail System (5, Informative)

Hobophile (602318) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508162)

I use VOCP [sourceforge.net] for my home voicemail system. It is essentially a Perl script that sits on top of mgetty+sendfax to provide entry level voicemail functionality (using the vgetty program that comes with mgetty+sendfax).

The real bear in getting this to work was finding a modem suitable for use with vgetty; vgetty's docs list some voice modems known to work, but most of these are 5+ years old and $300 and up, if you can even find them for sale.

Clued in by a Usenet post, I found a modern modem that works: the 3Com 2976 Voice/Fax/Data modem. It sells in online stores for around $50. (Note that not all modems which purport to have voice functionality are supported, and controllerless "winmodems" are not likely to work.)

I also tried using Asterisk [asteriskpbx.org], but it wasn't really suitable for my voicemail needs. As I recall it did not handle disconnect detection very well, potentially leaving the phone off the hook for a long time. There was also a pronounced lack of any HOWTOs or detailed documentation available either with the program, with the PBX card I purchased from them to run the program, or on the Internet in general.

My sense is that Asterisk's creator actively discourages freely available documentation, in order to have people avail themselves of paid support. To his credit you do get one month of free support for the software and the card when you purchase the latter, and he was helpful in IRC when I spoke with him.

Here's one... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508166)

Plum Voice Portals [plumgroup.com] uses Linux for their VoiceXML IVR platform. As far as I know they are one of the few companies that use linux for VoiceXML [w3.org] telephony systems.

That's Strange, my company has integrated Linux (3, Offtopic)

dmsetser (7663) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508172)

Let's see... Linux RedHat 7.1 and 7.3 for the Operating system, Oracle 8i Database, Oracle 9i Application Server, Oracle's integrated Apache, X.25/HDLC hardware/drivers. Collecting 100's of thousands of AMA/OCC/CDR/EMI call records a day from telco switches... DMS, 5E, EWSD, DCO, Softswitches. Loading the call records into Oracle, running statistical reports against the call records. Collecting OMPR traffic reports. Mediating call records, sending them to billing. Nope... I guess that Linux isn't involved in telephony at all...

http://www.nams.net/
doug@nams.net

Re:That's Strange, my company has integrated Linux (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508277)

How is this post "Informative" ? I could post about my large penis, but you won't see me getting "Informative" for that.

Next time try to be less of a dick.

"Is Linux Used in Production Telephony?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508177)

Nope. Next question.

Avaya/Lucent/Bell Labs (2)

Dimwit (36756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508179)

I know for a fact that the AUDIX system from Avaya/Lucent/Bell Labs runs on SVR4 Unix. I watch it boot up every time we loose power. :)

I also know that Avaya is moving a lot (maybe even all) of their voicemail stuff over to Linux and W2k.

Answer (2, Informative)

AUsBandit (601113) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508185)

http://www.digium.com/

In 2002, Linux Support Services, Inc. changed their name to Digium, as the focus of the business had grown to include not just Enterprise Linux Support but Linux-based Telephony development. Digium has developed the Open Source Asterisk PBX Software Suite. Finding a lack of high-quality, reasonably priced telephony hardware for Linux, Digium has moved to develop powerful hardware solutions for Linux based telephony. Digium offers a range of professional services to complement our hardware and software offerings. Custom software development services are available. We can enhance and extend our software offereings to provide custo mized solutions for telephony customers, and consulting services are available to help plan and implement enterprise telephony systems and Linux based data networks. Digium, based in Huntsville, AL, is located in Cummings Research Park, 3 minutes from Interstate 565 and 10 from Huntsville International Airport. If you are interested in visiting, please contact us for driving directions and staff availability.

Mission Critical Systems : Carrier-Class Linux (2, Informative)

Merlin_ (22156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508190)

There has been a lot of Linux buzz over at Ericsson [ericsson.com] for quite some time now. They are betting the shop that the underlying JAMBALA architecture [ericsson.com] will run on Linux Clusters [linuxjournal.com]. The lab that is working on this initiative is located in Montreal, Canada.

Cisco's AVVID IP Telephony (1)

ncowger (611402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508192)

Rumor has it that Cisco is planning to port it's AVVID (Architecture for Voice Video and Integrated Data) IP telephony server to Linux in the near future. Hopefuly that is still the case, The management front end used to run on Apache on NT 4.0. Since it's evolution into 2000 server with CM 3.0 release it moved to IIS (with all the risks and problems that come with it, I might add.) All you out there should bug your Cisco reps about a Linux port and creat the demand. FYI, Cisco's SIP Proxy [cisco.com] does run on RedHat Linux 7.0 or later or Solaris and is very nice, I have used it and am happy with it, but as we all know SIP lacks features right now (Like VM.)

NT/2000 reaching EOL with Microsoft (2)

RichMan (8097) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508201)

With Microsoft's new product life cycle plan here [microsoft.com],
windows NT and 2000 are now approaching their decayed support eras.
This would mean no new licenses for Windows 2000 only three years after the release. So "new" products are going to have to use something else. I don't know how dependant on the OS the applications are but the savings and customizability should make it worth it.

Microsoft would push them toward XP embedded.

Re:NT/2000 reaching EOL with Microsoft (2)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508281)

This would mean no new licenses for Windows 2000 only three years after the release.

Have another look at the document you link to. Mainstream support for 2k (and XP, etc.) was extended to five years from release very recently, so 2k has a bit of life left.

Embedded market, thats why... (3, Insightful)

ipmcc (466386) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508208)

I can't speak to what software runs on phone switches, but I can speak as a user at the "medium sized company" level, and as a user I can say that the industry seems to work primarily with embedded boxes for telecom. When you want a switch you buy a switch, and it does what it does. Whether that switch runs linux or SunOS or VxWorks or some proprietary OS is pretty much irrelevant to you if it functions for you in its capacity as a switch. If linux is being used as the basis for phone switching equipment, people probably wouldn't know, unless they had some contact at the company who developed the switch. This is a traditionally very embedded market, where name recognition of an OS like "Windows" or "linux" or whatever is irrelevant to the function of the device. Telecom can be thought of as the ultimate high availability application. In all my dealings with telephone switches, nothing ever crashed or needed to be rebooted. EVER. Even when installing new hardware. This kind of high availability doesn't readily lend itself to traditionally end-user oriented operating systems. I suspect the reason linux isnt perceived as penetrating the telecom sector is because its not, and if it were, it wouldn't matter because people who set up and managed the switches, by and large, dont give a shit how it works, just that it works, that it works all the time and never stops working. :) If your job is to turn a nut, does it really matter if you use a wrench, pliers or your fingers as long as the nut gets turned?

just call 202-462-rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508210)

it's perl and mgetty and vgetty

Low But Increasing Visibility (2)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508213)


There does seem to be efforts afoot to use Linux in the telecom arena, maybe slanted towards embedded Linux, but evidence here. [linuxjournal.com]

Not for central office switches (1)

imnoteddy (568836) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508217)

The asker wrote:

"The telecommunications industry is rapidly converging on Windows NT/2000 for all telephony and voice-related needs."

Perhaps for customer offices, but not for their own switches. I worked for a cell phone company a couple years ago and part of my job involved getting data off their central switches. All of the Lucent and Nortel switches were running UNIX - their own, but UNIX nevertheless.

3 linux solutions: (5, Informative)

Geminatron (616988) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508222)

Quicknet has a low - cost 1 port card that will do the trick with Linux and Windows drivers:
http://www.quicknet.com [quicknet.com]
Also check out Pika for 4 port cards with traditional analogue and VoIP capabilities with Windows and Linux drivers:
http://www.pikatech.com [pikatech.com]
Aslo check out the Bayonne project. Linux based Open Source telephony system with interfaces to Quicknet, Pika, and other cards:
http://bayonne.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]


Dialogic cards have linux drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508228)

Dialogic (intel) is a voice specific hardware card that can perform many telephony tasks, although they aren't cheap consumer type cards. They have drivers for linux though, although they aren't nearly as mature as the win32 drivers from what I understand.

Not linux...and not windows (2)

GreenCrackBaby (203293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508235)

If you are talking about OSS (Operational Support Software), then you are talking big-boy UNIX (AIX, HP, SUN). You are also talking big honking hardware (32-way boxes, 16 gig ram, terrabyte disk arrays, etc). Nothing suitable for linux or windows.

However, if you are talking GUI junk (CSR front end, billing system GUI, middleware junk) then you are probably talking windows. You won't see these ported to LINUX any time soon.

For the record, I work as an integrator for telecom software.

It all depends on what you're looking for.... (2, Informative)

the_othergy (619121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508250)

I know of several call-center (telemarketing) solutions that run on Linux. There are Dialogic drivers (and isn't $500 a bit conservative for a dialogic board?)

In any case, if you're looking for some sort of call center solution with built in data and scripting solutions, one of the largest developers of such a product uses Linux - Noble Systems http://www.noblesys.com

I certainly wouldn't say that they've got the best solution or the most intuitive interface, but they have the best call prediction engine that I've seen. They actually just (18 mo. ago?) re-outfitted the 2nd largest telemarketing company in the world with their solution.

Warning: even though their server software is Linux based, their client software is either terminal or Win32 based (through FourJ's)

Yes, there is someone (2, Informative)

funaho (42567) | more than 11 years ago | (#4508286)

I manage two Asterisk servers used in production environments. It's rock solid and the hardware is inexpensive and reliable. Best of all the code is freely available so you can hack on it to your heart's content. In fact I'm working on integrating it into the billing/provisioning system of my ISP so we can get customer info pulled up on the help desk person's screen as the phone is ringing.

Check out http://www.linuxsupport.net/ for information on Asterisk and telephony hardware. I believe they sell some starter kits ranging from about $100 (with a USB FXS adapter and an FXO card) up to $1000 (includes a T1 card and channel bank.)

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4508293)

My employer [amcomsoft.com] provides call center software, and while our client-side apps run on Windows, we've been moving many of our server-side telephony applications from SCO to Linux.

This includes our speech-enabled automated directory and paging applications.
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