I have been using Skype for the past few months to take advantage of the promotion they had of “free calls to the US & Canada until 2007”. It has been nice to use a free phone service while my cell-phone battery has been dead. Starting Jan 1, 2007 however Skype will begin charging $14.95 / year for unlimited calls. While it is very convenient and a very competitive price I will no longer use Skype at the end of the year.
My reasons are not the price. Yes, free is appealing and $14.95 / year is by no means a large expense to anyone. My main reason is that Skype does not use a standard protocol for its communication. There are many other SIP options available, most of which use an open communication protocol.
What does that mean? This means that whether you use Gizmo, Ekiga or Wengo, Linphone, Kphone or gphone you are using a “free” open protocol. This does not apply to Skype.
I’ll admit that Skype is a very nice option with a clean interface. It has worked very well for me in the past, but it is the open protocol that is more important to me. It comes back down to freedom. Freedom to choose your own program. Freedom to communicate with whomever you please. Freedom to, if you so pleased, create your own VOIP program and interface using the open protocol. Skype uses a proprietary protocol. My Skype days are done.
I should mention that I have only recently started investigating alternate options to Skype recently. I wasn’t using Skype merely for the free calls. It was the only option I knew was available. Now we know better.
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Try Voipbuster (http://www.voipbuster.com/en/index.html) it uses the SIP protocol and can be set up to work with Ekiga. For a one-time payment of 10 Euro, you have free calling to many countries.
To set up in Ekiga:
1.- Edit -> Accounts -> Add.
User: (your voipbuster user name)
Password: (your voipbuster user password)
More options-> Realm/ Domain: voipbuster.com
2.- Edit -> preferences -> protocols
–NAT pass type: IP translation or nothing. Not STUN
–Stun server: stun.voipbuster.com
SIP settings: Outgoing proxy: sip1.voipbuster.com
A few months back I was also in search of a VOIP provider that supported open standards and I discovered BroadVoice which uses SIP. BroadVoice permits BYOD (bring your own device) so one can use a softphone like Ekiga or any SIP-compliant hardware. I am using BroadVoice with a Linksys Sipura ATA (analog telephone adapter) so that I can use the service with my cordless telephone–it works great. Plus, it’s nice to know that if the telephone or ATA ever break, I can use Ekiga as a fallback.
I’ve always used sipphone and the gizmo softphone or use an ATA then connect a regular phone. Works great!
It would be nice if you could see IM/voice presence from Evolution/kontact and then just “call” them. It would then call the contact trying the methods/softwares that you prefer but falling back until it finds one that the contact has.
I don’t mind having 10 IM clients open, that is why I have a gig of ram.
Users want stuff that works and open IM is not yet working on common setups for common usrs.
I want open-source (GPL) clients from these people. If we have open clients, with code that can be re-purposed, it will be huge.
Perhaps the best way to fight the dominance of skype would be to push for a GPL’ed version. Then embrace their client and then extend it to work with Evolution/Kontact and Xmpp.
Will the Maemo version (Nokia N800) be GPL or BSD?
That’s what Wengophone is intended for…
I met its people recently and found that in spite of being entirely backed by Wengo they are willing to design the software as flexible as possible. Currently it works with all IM providers and they’re trying to make it equally easy to call with any SIP providers.
Who cares? I mean really.
Skype is good and chances are you’re going to have more free to call contacts from Skype->Skype, 14.95 is hardly a big price for unlimited calls compared to pay per call systems.
But hey go ahead if you really believe an invisible protocol is going to keep you awake at night.
it is true that nowadays the easiest way to communicate with someone from another country is to use voip applications. I use Skype.
And, why not, the financial part should not be ignored. This type of calls are free.