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Cross-Platform VoIP Software?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the triplatform-at-least dept.

Communications 205

feilkin writes "With the release of Skype's Linux client, I'm wondering about alternatives. Namely, cross-platform solutions for voice communication. I've got friends who are using Windows, Linux and OSX, and I'm hoping that there is a way to communicate with all of them. I myself am using Linux, and I haven't been able to find any solutions that seem fitting to my situation completely. Does anyone have a solution that'll be useful on all three platforms, or solutions that may be coming in the near future?"

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SIP (5, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490224)

http://www.sipforum.org/ [sipforum.org]

Re:SIP (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490506)

for those who don't know what SIP is.

A number of years ago, the telecom providers got together and tried to do VoIP. They came up with H.323, which was a terrible mess and near impossible to do anything with. To top that off, you have to pay for access to the spec (I'm only pretty sure about this, please correct me if I'm wrong) So VoIP didn't go anywhere for a while.

Then the IP folks (the people who designed the internet protocols like IP, TCP, UDP, etc) came together and designed SIP. The entire protocol is described in a mere 150 page RFC [faqs.org] . Anyone who's implemented a standardized protocol from a spec knows what a godsend a short spec is.

In short, SIP is a protocol designed by the Internet folks for the Internet. It's layered on RTP [faqs.org] , so the audio quality degrades gracefully with the link quality. You can operate it point-to-point by simply running two clients on two machines and pointing one at the other's IP address. Or, if you want an easy to remember URL, you can sign up for a free account at places like fwd.pulver.net. You'll then be accessible as sip:username@fwd.pulver.net.

Google for "SIP softphones" and you'll find quit a few clients. The big ones on linux are kphone [wirlab.net] and linphone [linphone.org] . Shtoom [divmod.org] is making some headway also, and runs on linux, windows, and os x.

Skype decided they don't like either H.323 or SIP, went off and designed their own proprietary protocol, and is keeping it secret from everyone else.

Re:SIP (3, Informative)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490835)

Disclaimer: I just finished studying this and haven't implemented any of it so could be miles out.

The actual phone conversations run over RTP whether you're using SIP or H.323. It's how the call is set up that differs.

SIP uses set-up mechanism that works over HTTP, arranging the caller, receiver and codecs etc. Because of this it is simpler than H.323, which uses loads of other protocols that run over a mix of UDP and TCP, such as H.225 (call setup/RAS), H.245 (call management) and a few more I should probably know but have forgotten. H.323 needs a separate "gatekeeper" to control connections whereas a SIP client can use the DNS to find it's destination, addresses in SIP look similar to email addresses but may include a port number aswell.

Re:SIP (2, Informative)

muonzoo (106581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490940)

SIP uses set-up mechanism that works over HTTP

Bzzt!

SIP (aka RFC3261 [ietf.org] et al.) uses SIP to setup calls. The syntax of SIP is clearly inspired by HTTP, but HTTP it ain't.

Location of SIP services is handled through DNS operations as described in RFC 3263 -- Locating SIP Servers [ietf.org] .

Why, oh why we don't locate HTTP services using SRV or NAPTR records is really a sad question -- virtual hosting would work so much better.

Most everything else you mention is fairly accurate. There are excellent SIP resources online at Sip Forum [sipforum.com] .

The NAT problem is over-rated. Service providers routinely solve it with an SBC [google.com] or special ATA devices.

RFC 2543 is obsolete, see RFC 3261 (5, Informative)

lazzaro (29860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491052)

The SIP RFC you linked to is obsoleted by RFC 3261 [ietf.org]

Re:SIP (2, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490519)

I use SIP devices with Asterisk, FWD, etc. Sip has one major flaw - horrible support for NAT. If you are behind NAT, you frequently need to use an external proxy. Considering that SIP is not all that old, it boggles the mind that it handles NAT so poorly.

Re:SIP (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490591)

SIP can handle NAT situations just fine, you just need to ensure your endpoint as declared in the SIP packets is your real address, and the devices between do The Right Thing.

* from 0.7.x onwards can force the address to be correct, and works fine for me behind a 1:1 NAT.

Better yet (2, Informative)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491016)

BudgeTone 101 - $75 [yahoo.com]

It is basically a phone with an ethernet port and SIP built in. Not bad.

FP? (-1, Offtopic)

dosius (230542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490226)

I can't even get my mic to work on Linux for some reason, hm, maybe it's software, I'm still a bit of a n00b, but that's the first thing I'd need.

FP?

-uso.

Re:FP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490291)

Of course it doesn't, Linux doesn't have support for sound cards yet. Sorry :-(

Re:FP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490614)

Open your mixer app, e.g. aumix or kmix, and check the inputs. Chances are the mic inputs are muted.

Kopete in mandrake10 (1)

doorbender (146144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491146)

i am not one to toot any given distros horn but ...

mandrake10 installed all my drivers (the sound drivers were the ones that I had problems with in mdk9 AND appears to automount my keyfob USB flash memory "HD".

Kopete was(is always?) installed by default. and is a nice little program that manages and interfaces with all of the IM services I've heard of and a few i hadn't. If someone can configure or tell me(you) how to configure audio chat via Kopete i'm pretty sure there must be ONE of the IM programs that will run on MAC and MS

err... (3, Insightful)

errgh (744846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490227)

http://www.skype.com

Re:err...Yes Skype (5, Informative)

Tuna_Shooter (591794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490329)

I've just tested the Linux version of Skype here -Local box to box - Linux to windows - 2 accounts etc..works as advertised. But just from a technical point of view being an old coder myself, i'd like to know how they minimize the lag.. Dam this thing works better than my cell from a lag-latency point of view.

Re:err...Yes Skype (0, Troll)

Sleetan (679171) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490478)

No kidding. A friend and I played around with it in the same room.

The lag-latency was null and void.

I was using a 1 ear headset and between it and him it was almost stereo.

Re:err...Yes Skype (1)

8282now (583198) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490522)

Why would you think there'd be a huge lag working local-local connections?

The problem with most voip is with network induced latencies. So a local-local test is less interesting as say a system - nearby network test.

Re:err... (2, Informative)

MinutiaeMan (681498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490403)

I believe that the original post specified cross-platform, including Macintosh. Skype does not work on the Mac.

Re:err... (2, Informative)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490423)

Mac support is coming real soon if the reports a month ago were true. http://www.macnn.com/news/24820

By the power of grey skull (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490229)

I HAVE THE POWER OF FRIST

jaoighwaeoihgoa agoihago oaighaoigi hao ah

Re:By the power of grey skull (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490240)

Or perhaps the POWER OF FAIL?

MOD PARENT UP +1 ON THE MONEY (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490255)

bitches

Ohh Slashdot! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490238)

hh Slashdot, in this story, you have not provided any external web-sites but only yours....So I am anxious to see whether Slashdot will itself be slashdotted!

Disclaimer: I do not know what I am talking about!

Re:Ohh Slashdot! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490391)

Slashdot, in this story, you have not provided any external web-sites but only yours....So I am anxious to see whether Slashdot will itself be slashdotted!

Can't happen. It wouldn't be possible for more people to click the link than came to the website to begin with.

Re:Ohh Slashdot! (1, Troll)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490426)

"Oh Slashdot, in this story, you have not provided any external web-sites but only yours....So I am anxious to see whether Slashdot will itself be slashdotted!"
  • You forgot ... Real Slashdot readers don't read the articles.

Re:Ohh Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490484)

What you say? I did not read your post.

pulver's FWD is fantastic (5, Informative)

webperf (560195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490242)

fwd.pulver.com it has clients on all platforms. the other one is called asterisk

Re:pulver's FWD is fantastic (4, Informative)

Roofus (15591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490584)

Yes, but Asterisk [asterisk.org] is not a client, it's an Open Source PBX.

FWD (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490260)

http://www.freeworldialup.com/

I've got friends on it using windows and linux (I personally use both, and have clients installed on both). I'm pretty sure they've got osX clients aswell.

Re:FWD (3, Informative)

RoRo_the_Troll (562987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490317)

Yes there is a Mac OS X version of XTen X-Lite SIP soft phone (www.xten.com). I'm using it to call friends with windows machine and linux machine.. works great. For "commercial" SIP services there is also nikotel (www.nikotel.com) and they also are using XTen soft phone.

Re:FWD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490498)

"I'm using it to call friends"

Troll alert!

SIP solutions (5, Informative)

p80 (771195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490266)

I know nikotel [nikotel.de] works great on windows and macOS and as it is SIP compliant it works with linphone [linphone.org] and kphone [wirlab.net] on linux.

OpenH323 (5, Informative)

klingens (147173) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490270)

OpenH323 [openh323.org] is available on all 3 platforms and has very good voice quality. It can do video as well. Setup is not always trivial: it needs lots of open ports, udp and tcp. The license is MPL.

Re:OpenH323 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490485)

OpenH323 sucks though. It's not too bad getting to work on Linux but on MacOS it's a HUGE pain in the ass.

Plus it's not friendly or anything. Kinda meh as far as phone apps go. Common people need to be able to use these things, not just geeks. It needs to be a convienent phone replacement.

The Case For Eliminating VoIP (-1, Troll)

ideut (240078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490547)

VoIP has had a short and patchy history. In fact, it has been argued by some of the Internet's most respected architects [catb.org] that we may be better off without it altogether!

Remember,

  • VoIP requires H323 and other setuid scripts, potentially opening your network to crackers [gnu.org] .
  • The internet was simply never designed for realtime interaction, and post-hoc hacks [insecure.org] won't make it realtime: instead the system would probably have to be redesigned from the ground up using realtime-XML.
  • VoIP completely bypasses the government's [disney.com] anti-terrorist infrastructure, which depends on intercepting phone calls arbitrarily: it is estimated that each percentage point of calls which are transferred to VoIP will result in 600-800 American deaths per annum through terrorism
I hope people think about these fundamental issues before deploying this sort of technology on the networks they administer.

Re:The Case For Eliminating VoIP (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490888)

GNAA in full effect, use your brain before modding.

VoIP requires H323 and other setuid scripts

Yes cos H323 being a protocol is really likely to be setuid.

The internet was simply never designed for realtime interaction

No because nobody ever thought humans might use it.

VoIP completely bypasses the government's anti-terrorist infrastructure

None of the two main VoIP protocol suites include any encryption so beep, 3 out of 3 wrong, but some dick gave you the informative mod so again here I am wasting my time putting crap right.

I think I just hit the point where I no longer want to visit, read or post to slashdot. When this kind of completely idiotic crap is getting modded up whats the point. I might aswell join GNAA and start trolling, at least then I'll get some fun out of it....

Re:The Case For Eliminating VoIP (0, Flamebait)

CasaVacas (720327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491235)

re: Protocols and the rest of your first two bullet-points. I have no idea how this works / should work. So i don't have an opinion.. but your last point... I know im going to come of as a troll here, accepting this flamebait.. but i don't care... I am a reasonable and responsible adult and i will exorcise my right to express my views. I am thinking that you forget that the majority of people on this planet doesn't answer to your goverment or falls under its "anti-terror infrastructure" protection. You say 6-800 american people dead per year because the U.S. goverment doesn't have insight into VoIP? I then wonder how many swedish people it would protect if we let the U.S. monitor our phonelines. My guess is none. Why should "Homeland security" be alowed to listen in on my phonecalls you ask? There is no reason for it. Can you garantee me that this obvious power wouldn't be missused to listen in on the swedish calls? I am all for democracy and freedom for all men and women to live in peace, but I wouldn't want american goverment listening in on my phonecalls no matter what. I'm swedish. I don't answer to Gerorge W.Bush and his obviously hypocratic people. I don't want the swedish security agencys to listen either, but i realy don't think the U.S. should police the internet. Lets form an international board for that one! Then i might be ok with insight into my phonecalls. Peace /casa

Bayonne (2, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490273)

I haven't checked in on the project in a while, but Bayonne [gnu.org] was coming along nicely in this area and is currently used in a few production facilities.

You might have to roll your own, but the framework is certainly there.

I GOT A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490275)

GO LINUX!!!!!11 ror!@!

Non-OSS sip for windows and macosx (2, Informative)

termdex (444600) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490283)

http://xten.com/

I know how it feels (-1, Redundant)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490294)

I myself am using Linux, and I haven't been able to find any solutions

I was using linux and had the same problem.

MOD PARENT DOWN!!! THIS MAN IS A KNOWN TROLL!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490325)

MOD DOWN!!! This man is a know troll who uses Crapintosh computers!

SpeakFreely used to be an option... (5, Informative)

SteamyMobile (783822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490296)

SpeakFreely [speakfreely.org] used to be a fairly good option. I tried it several years ago, and it did work ok so long as everyone was on broadband. The project has been abandoned, though, and no future releases are planned.

At this point, all the tools needed to create an Open Source cross-platform VoIP system are easily available. The Speex [xiph.org] codec is specifically designed for low-bit-rate voice, is BSD licensed, and is implemented in both C and Java. It would not be hard to take this codec, throw in some good sound libraries and some crypto libraries (OpenSSL perhaps) and roll up a VoIP client. In fact there is a Speex implementation for Java, so you could write one in Java, and yes, Java really is "write once run anywhere" these days. Someday when I have more time I might do this. As a Java applet it would be great because there would be nothing to install.

Re:SpeakFreely used to be an option... (5, Informative)

p80 (771195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490371)

it's not abandoned, the new webpage is here [sourceforge.net] it works on windows, linux and macOSX+X11. It has encryption and is compatible with any RTP or VAT programs. Check the FAQ here [sourceforge.net]

Re:SpeakFreely used to be an option... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490512)

Keep your facts to yourself, asshole! This is slashdot.

Re:SpeakFreely used to be an option... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490996)

There isn't a Mac version, unfortunately. Since Mac OS X doesn't have a /dev/audio device, it'll take more than a recompile of the Linux version to get it working.

Re:SpeakFreely used to be an option... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490528)

Don't forget IAX. IAX is much more firewall friendly than SIP/H323 as it only requires one port.

All the libraries and everything are open-source but there is a serious lack of good client software. I've tried some of them and have yet to find something that works reliably on OS X.

IAX works with Asterisk which is supposedly a pretty cool conferening/call managment/voice mail type system (PBX).

I know how to do it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490297)

Does anyone have a solution that'll be useful on all three platforms?

Son, I have a solution! Pick up the phone and call your friends!

simple solution ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490300)

... just install windows everywhere

Re:simple solution ... (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490337)

And the simple solution to your simple solution: right-click "C:" and click "Format."

A cost-effective solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490309)

I have found that two tin cans connected with the best string money can buy is very cross-platform. This solution has no problems at all running on Linux or even BSD (despite the fact that OS is dying!)

Related question (-1, Redundant)

Utopia (149375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490314)

I am looking for a computer-to-computer Voice over IP solution other than Microsoft's Netmeeting.
Any recommendations?

Re:Related question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490375)

Dude, read it again. That was the question.

Re:Related question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490580)

Yes, that was the original question. Read all the posts to get more informed (and this is needed: if you decided quickly without information, you'll decide wrong).

Now, for an appetizer, search for GnomeMeeting on Google.

SIP (3, Informative)

pirodude (54707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490328)

You're looking for a standard protocol that can be used across all platforms, and that protocol is SIP. I've used several VOIP products that have SIP support and currently am using a Grandstream Budget Tone 100 VOIP phone ($65) to do my calling and can contact anyone on any platform that can support SIP.

Open Standards (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490334)

There are two main standards in use for VOIP:

SIP and h.323. There are lots of clients out there for both of them.

There should be a checkbox next to the "ask slashdot" submission box that says "did you use Google first?"

Re:Open Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490502)

There should be a checkbox next to the "ask slashdot" submission box that says "did you use Google first?"

Pffft, that's not as easy as it sounds for this one. I've been looking for months trying to find something that really works on Linux and OS X. Something that's easy to setup and use.

It's been really damn hard. Dispite there being some good stuff out there (SIP, H323, asterisk, etc.), there isn't much in the way of end user stuff that's free and actually works well.

You should not spend that much time with computers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490350)

Why do you even dare to ask such a question? Don't you realize you should be out there calling to girls and not to some GNU hippies like Miguel Icaza who has a dirty troll feet? Who do you really want to call? Why don't you just call it a day! The best thing you can do is to CALL YOUR MOTHER AND GET IT OVER WITH!

Unreal Tournament 2004! (5, Funny)

A.T. Hun (192737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490356)

UT2K4 has built in VoIP support and is available for Windows, Linux (32 and 64 bit), and Mac! "No, sir, we're not wasting company time, we're _collaborating_! We're enhancing shareholder value! It's a whole new paradigm!"

Re:Unreal Tournament 2004! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9491127)

UT2K4 has built in VoIP support and is available for Windows, Linux (32 and 64 bit), and Mac! "No, sir, we're not wasting company time, we're _collaborating_! We're enhancing shareholder value! It's a whole new paradigm!"

Hmm, 'twould make conference calls a bit more enjoyable, and I don't think anything could really make them _less_ productive

Standards? (-1)

drewbradford (458480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490372)

Someone should create a VoIP "standard". It could be a protocol. That way, people could write different applications on different operating systems, and it could all work together!

Re:Standards? (3, Informative)

RoRo_the_Troll (562987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490381)

SIP is a VoIP standard used by a lot of company doing VoIP comercial services like vonage or cisco.

Re:Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490428)

VoIP is built around several "standards", mainly SIP and MGCP, both of which are network protocols.

Is this an advertisement for Skype (0, Troll)

McDiesel (447709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490380)

What a coincidence- Skype releases on Linux on June 21, and someone posts a "question" about alternative VOIP- but the "question" is a thinly disguised publicity announcement of Skype on Linux. Is feilkin somehow associated with Skype?

Re:Is this an advertisement for Skype (1)

Aderym (677909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490477)

Bah. You paranoid people. Skype don't need any advertising. They've managed without it so far and has still gotten several million users and the trend does not seem to be slowing down, so why should they suddenly feel the need for advertising, and moreover, why would they feel the need for advertising "subliminal" on slashdot?

Re:Is this an advertisement for Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490608)

> Skype don't need any advertising. They've managed without it so far and has still gotten several million users and the trend does not seem to be slowing down, so why should they suddenly feel the need for advertising, and moreover, why would they feel the need for advertising "subliminal" on slashdot?

Here they go again, it's true! Run for your lives!

Re:Is this an advertisement for Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490551)

Don't worry, I'm wearing my tin foil hat.

Re:Is this an advertisement for Skype (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490905)

I feel it more like "today was an story about skype and linux, but, there are other programs that do the same?". The original story [slashdot.org] not had a lot of comments on alternatives, but yes some reports on that is spyware and things like that.

What you think is more possible? Skype people posting two stories about it in the same day in slashdot (when just one do the job and don't expose them to someone giving alternatives) or my explanation?

And, btw, when i saw the freshmeat announce today morning was tempted to announce it, before the actual story was posted, and i'm not related to skype in any way. More people could had thinked the same as me, so probably no story was posted by people related to that company.

Vonage (3, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490389)

For 29.99 USD a month, Vonage [vonage.com] is the way to go.
No fscking around with codecs.
No gcc bullshit.
No patching, only to have an OS upgrade break your app.
Pay for it, be done with it, move on. What's your life worth? Time = money.

Re:Vonage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490479)

my life is my life, it does not have a monetary value you capitalist pig dog. therefore my time is not money, it is mine to use how I wish.

Re:Vonage (1)

photon317 (208409) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490554)


None the less, you are being presented with a choice in which the primary deciding factor is whether you'd rather give up 29.99/mo or give up your time and energy to get something else working and keep it working. If you are to make a rational decision on the matter, you must be capable of equating your time and energies to a monetary amount. Or you can just be an irrational dickhead idealogue.

Re:Vonage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490583)

Hmm, that $29.99/mo of savings, if it takes you a whole hour every month equals $62K/year.

Sure, the initial setup may take more than an hour, but there are setup charges/fees too.

And btw, why not broadvoice for much less money?

Re:Vonage (1)

photon317 (208409) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490544)


I second Vonage. Vonage is one of the big reasons why so many DSL providers won't unbundle their DSL service from their local phone service. I'd much rather give Vonage $30/month for a pretty incredible VoIP solution over my DSL than buy Bell's gimpy bundled voice line that I'm forced into.

Re:Vonage (1)

oisteink (234061) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490565)

Huh. for $30 a month i hope it's worth it. I can not check for myself, since the page tells me i've got no flash (And no, I don't want it either:)

Re:Vonage (1)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490571)

No kidding. Plug it in and rock on. Let's be productive now and then.

The OS X client is either out now or imminent, too.

Re:Vonage (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490577)

"No fscking around with codecs."

Usually, codecs doesn't involve file system checking, I think you hard drive is fucked, you should consider reinstalling on a new one.

TeamSpeak (4, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490393)

Sure, you can't talk to people who only have POTS.

Sure, its designed to be used with online games.

But really, its just IRC with voice. I talk to people in Australia with it all the time, for free. You can turn the bitrate down and even talk to people with dial-up. I usually just use gaim to tell someone "hey, join the teamspeak server, let's talk".

Also, this way I don't have to remember phone numbers.

Re:TeamSpeak (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490592)

But can you show them your genitals when they least expect it?

Re:TeamSpeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490663)

Question:
I tried using teamspeak for windows and suffered from major lag problems. Even when connected to a local machine on a 100Mb network the lag in voice was about 1/3 to 1/2 a second. Skype on the other hand works with no noticeable lag. Did anyone else have this teamspeak problem and figure out how to fix it?

Re:TeamSpeak (1)

ksiddique (749168) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490982)

My buddies and I use TeamSpeak [teamspeak.org] often and it works well for us. The server took a little bit of time to get running but now that it's up (24 hours a day) any of us can chat at any time. :)

Teamspeak & Ventrilo have Linux Servers & (1)

enderwig (261458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490394)

While reasearching this to play online game with buddies, I found that ventrilo and teamspeak were the most popular. Ventrilo has clients for many platforms (Win32, OSX, Linux, BSD, Solaris) but only a client for Win32. OSX and Linux clients are in development. Teamspeak seems to have only Win32 and Linux client and servers.

My friends and I couldn't get Teamspeak to work, while ventrilo worked straight from install (on Win32 client & server or linux client).

To bad neither are Free Software/Open Source since both are distributed as binaries.

Re:Teamspeak & Ventrilo have Linux Servers &am (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490495)

too bad TS is a horrible piece of QT shit

Ventrilo (2, Informative)

trawg (308495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490417)

http://ventrilo.com

Has Win32, Mac and Linux clients.

It is client/server, so you'll need a server, but you can get 8 users (I think) on the regular server. It is relatively bandwidth-friendly and awesome quality.

Probably a bit harder for computer illiterates to use but its very cool software.

Re:Ventrilo (2, Informative)

Hank Reardon (534417) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490762)

I've used the Windows version and it seems to work really well. We had 15-20 people on a server to help with organizing parties in Star Wars: Galaxies.

Unfortunately, the don't have Mac or Linux clients. Or, at least they're not available. Both are listed as "In Development" on their download page.

You said cross platform but not free ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490444)

... so you could use

Windows Clients
- NetMeeting
- Windows Messenger

Linux Clients
- Gnome Meeting

Mac Clients ?

To get them all talking to eachother in a group conference I recommend the battle tested CTM Conference Server (Windows or Linux) :-

http://www.fvc.com/eng/products/conference_serve r. htm

It's not free, but you didn't ask for free :)

h323, sip (2, Informative)

w4rl5ck (531459) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490487)

as many others pointed out, natural joices would be h323 (very wide-spread) and sip.

I don't know much about sip, but everyone tells me "stop using h323, use sip". Seems to be better, but never change a running system.

h323 is only for VoIP, not for calling real phones - unless you have an gateway to the "real" world.

There are many h323 programs available, like netmeeting (really hardcore connectivity problems through firewalls, better use...), openphone (openh323/windows), gnomemeeting(openh323/linux) and so forth. Normally, all h323-compatible apps should be able to communicate. You can use many different audio codecs, depending on your bandwith and data rate quality. There's even the (in)famoues GSM codec that's used in european cellphones, sounds quite good for 1.6k/s+overhead.

Can't you use a regular old phone? (1, Redundant)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490534)

It works across all platforms, including all future OSes, and it is cheap to buy and operate.

If you want mobile, get a cell phone.

Re:Can't you use a regular old phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490601)

are you stupid?

complete solution! (3, Informative)

shokk (187512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490549)

For a complete VoIP Linux solution, check out Asterisk [asterisk.org] .

H323/SIP/GnomeMeeting/NetMeeting (1)

cthrall (19889) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490563)

H323 is a huge ball of protocols (H245/Q931/etc) for communications technologies. See the OpenH323 project [openh323.org] for more. You can use it for connecting, say, VoIP and a regular phone using a Cisco PSTN gateway. The two main reasons for using something like the H323 protocol set are for session initiation (can you do video? What audio codecs do you support?) and data format (G721/722/726/etc).

NetMeeting and GnomeMeeting both support some subset of H323 that lets them talk. So you can do audio/video between platforms that way.

There's another protocol called "SIP," for Session Initiation Protocol. H323 is extremely complex (until OpenH323 you needed to pay $$$ to license an ASN1 compiler to compile the protocol into headers so you could code to the spec) and a pain to tunnel over HTTP. SIP was created by some folks who recognized the weaknesses in H323 and decided to create their own protocol.

Bottom line, you can use GnomeMeeting to talk to NetMeeting. I have no idea about to OS X world.

h.323 for all (2, Informative)

marcjw (546823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490575)

All of these will interoperate. They get tricky when used behind NAT. The best option I have found in that case is to use a gatekeeper.

Gnomemeeting for Linux [gnomemeeting.org]

OphoneX for OS X [sourceforge.net]

Netmeeting for Windows [microsoft.com]

Asterisk (5, Informative)

Michael Spencer Jr. (39538) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490606)

www.asterisk.org

This thing is a VoIP BEAST. It's an open source PBX which runs on Linux. This will solve your problems by connecting all of these incompatible VoIP clients, making them all seem like virtual telephones, each with their own extensions. (This is good, if you don't mind them using your bandwidth when they bounce off of your Asterisk server to communicate with each-other.)

"PBX" seems scary -- it's the same kind of system large businesses use to manage tons of phone lines, both inside their company and connecting to the outside world.

For the needs of people like you and I, don't think of it in terms of "a solution used by people with lots of phones" -- think of it in terms of the kinds of technology it uses and can connect with.

"Physical layer" stuff: with dedicated hardware it can talk to existing phones and existing phone lines. There's even a PCI card that can communicate with four T1 lines, for nearly 100 phone lines out to the telephone company. It can also do VoIP using standard interfaces like SIP, using its own unique (but open-source, not proprietary at all) interface called IAX, with existing programs like Netmeeting or MS Messenger, or with any number of Linux programs. (There's even an IAX client for my Zaurus PDA. That's not all that practical for receiving calls, but I have successfully placed phone calls with that client, over 802.11b.)

Logical stuff: each of these connections to the outside world is given a context, and you can do things with those contexts. A connection to your outside phone line will be used by unknown callers, so its context shouldn't have access to features that cost money. A connection to an inside phone is "trusted", so it should be given access to these features.

The system has something like a "dialplan", which is a rather flexible set of scripts you use to handle calls. There's a lot of room for creativity here -- you can make your system do anything you want with any call.

This is so flexible because you form your dialplan from a bunch of references to "applications", either built-in or external. Some are very simple: play this wav file, transfer to this extension, go to this voicemail box, etc; some are more complex, such as "shell out to this executable CGI-style and do whatever that executable tells you".

Asterisk also comes with a bunch of audio samples recorded by a "professional PBX voice", and many of them are saying some rather funny things, only useful for a home user. "All representatives of the household are currently assisting other telemarketers. Please hold, and you call will be answered in the order it was received."

Asterisk can email you your voicemail messages as wav files. This is a KILLER feature. But you weren't asking about voicemail, you were asking about VoIP.

Pros: VoIP BEAST. Take all your friends with VoIP clients, give them signins and extensions and voicemail, give them conference capabilities, etc. (Then they all use your bandwidth.)

Cons: Complexity. Even if all you want is a simple call routing tool to make incompatible VoIP systems talk to each other, you have to learn the entire system to make it work. This is a typical Linux problem: you have to read tons of documentation / visit forums / discuss with others to figure it out, but because it uses "real world" concepts and is designed intelligently, once you're finished you have spent 30% of your time learning the quirks of a single software package you could care less about, and 70% of your time learning about how the subject works, gaining knowledge about that field that will follow you to any other program.

(That's definitely true here: Since playing with Asterisk I've talked with professional telecom guys, and found what few terms and concepts I've learned from Asterisk definitely overlap with their "real world" stuff.)

Weird system service requirements. Some software features rely on a very high-resolution system timer, and (allegedly) can't get this from the stock kernel. One solution (which the program authors would hope you choose) is to buy hardware made by the program authors, because this hardware and its kernel modules provide that system service. Another solution is to do a Google search and figure out how to take a cheap modem and unsolder one resistor and make "workalike" hardware for cheaper. Yet another solution is to patch your kernel to provide an "emulated" system timer.

(The kernel patch didn't always exist, so some people have dismissed Asterisk as "dependent on proprietary hardware" and thus broken. This isn't true any more.)

I guess it depends on what you're looking for, but if you don't mind connecting all these various VoIP clients using one central server, with all the bandwidth and reliability implications that has, then Asterisk is what you want.

--Michael Spencer

Re:Asterisk (1)

Aderym (677909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491015)

Sounds interesting. I'll have to look into that.

SMTP (1)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490611)

Its this really cool new protocol that lets you communicate and its supported by all major platforms. So far Microsoft has not embraced and perverted it so its cross platform future looks good. It great because it usually gets delivered right away but your friends don't expect a response within thirty seconds. You can send to an two way pager or a cell phone. You can even claim that you haven't been checking your email for a while if you don't feel like answering right now. And you can send HTML email that looks just like a web page including embedding graphics and sounds. You can even "attach" files to the message. Is that freaky or what? I think I just blew my own mind.

shtoom (5, Informative)

anthony_baxter (48233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490660)

Shameless self-promotion - check out the shtoom program. It's cross platform (although the Mac support is incomplete, it in theory works, thanks to portaudio[1]), it has user interfaces for command line, Tk, Gtk, Qt, and wxWindows. Audio support is via PortAudio and OSS. It handles most NATs correctly (using STUN).

It also includes 'doug', an application server for writing voice apps. There's a simple voicemail and simple conference server implemented in doug.

It's pretty rough - it's certainly not something you'd give to your mother to use, but hey, it's free software.

It's also entirely in Python.

At the moment, the best bet is to use the svn trunk.

URLs:

Software: http://shtoom.divmod.org/

PyCon paper (also possibly useful for an overview of VoIP): http://www.interlink.com.au/anthony/tech/talks/PyC on2004/

[1] Native Mac support will be finished Soon, I have a mac being shipped to me.

Re:shtoom (2, Informative)

Packets (8071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490682)

Shtoom is the only voip client that *just works*

I installed the libraries, installed the client, ran it, typed in a sip address, hit 'call' and *volla* I was talking to some dude from alabama (I'm in .au).

Cred to anthony for writing it.

Shtoom - Cross platform VoIP in Python (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490691)

Shtoom [divmod.org] is a open-source, cross-platform VoIP softphone, implemented in Python. As well as the basic phone, the package also includes a number of other applications -

shtoom - the end-user phone
shtam - a simple answering machine/voicemail application
shmessage - an announcement server

Gnomemeeting/Netmeeting (1)

saroth2 (718286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9490735)

Maybe?

Crossplatform Opensource VoIP 100% Python - Shtoom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9490967)

Shtoom is a 100% VoIP implementation in Python.
It rocks. Homepage of Shtoom [divmod.org] , Shtoom is a open-source, cross-platform VoIP softphone, implemented in Python. As well as the basic phone, there are many other services. PyCon Paper on Shtoom [python.org] .

How do you pronounce VoIP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9491050)

is it VO-IP or V-O-I-P or VOYP or VOY-P or what?

re: software is lame (2, Interesting)

Rage Maxis (24353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9491303)

don't fuck around with a stupid software phone.

just get a grandstream budgetel or a sipura or a wisip or any number of other SIP hardware phones.

You will be happy you did. I am.

plus wearing stupid headsets looks retarded.
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