Re: [Ekiga-list] [Ekiga-devel-list] Ekiga 3.00 available for WIN32 *only*


> I have used [Skype] for 2 years very successfully.

I had been forced into using Skype quite a number of times through the last years and I have some mixed experience with it. But that's not at all the point.

The question is rather: Would you want to use a closed user group email system on which you can only write mails to people having an account on the same system and where you couldn't use your favorite MUA to read mail, but the only available option would be the closed source binary only specific OS platforms only mail client that comes with the service?

I remember using two such systems back in the 80ies, one we may all remember, it was called CompuServe, the other one (for the Germans here) was BTX, the predecessor of T-Online. But 20 years have passed since then and even they pretty soon installed an Internet mail gateway to leverage Metcalfe's Law. They have been a bit slow when it comes to waiving their proprietary software and opening it up to POP3/IMAP/SMTP, though.

Why are people so happy to leap back that 20 years when it comes to VoIP telephony?

Comparing Skype to Ekiga (the software called Ekiga as opposed to the SIP service) is comparing apples to pears. It's like comparing CompuServe to Thunderbird.

I'argue that one of the reasons why Skype is as successful as it is the fact that VoIP telephone is still in it's infance. I know hardly anyone who is using Skype for serious business. (EBay's idea when buying them was just that, but it never materialized, AFAIK.) So as long as this is in the toy and novelty phase, fine.

But nobody wants a monopoly, right? So we want competition. But how many different apps to you want to install onto your PC to make sure everybody else can reach you? How many contact IDs from different networks do you want to give out to people to be able to call you? Espeially given, that there is simple no need for these except to keep Skype Inc. and similar companies happy.


There are two universal addressing systems available to make an audio or video call to people. One was invented by the ITU a long time ago and is known as the world telephone numbering plan. The other one is known as a SIP address (that stuff which looks like an email address, i.e. sip:someone somehwere com).

While SIP addresses are easier to memorize, they are somewhat hard to enter on classic phone devices (these gizmos with a 0-9 keypad), which is why a mapping from telephone numbers to SIP addresses makes sense. There is a well defined and accepted worldwide standard for this, known as ENUM.

If I want to keep my contact details short, then all I need is a phone number and a SIP address which can be the same as I email address if I want to. Two things to remember for anyone who wants to contact me. And I can decide on which terminal device I will accept communication and I am free to switch my user agent if I feel a need for it. 

If I switch from Skype to Acme, I need to make sure everybody has the new contact details. And in Skype there isn't even anything like call forwarding. Consumer protection agencies together with telecom regulators in many parts of the world have fighted for years to enable portability of phone numbers as this is a prerequisite for serious competition among telcos (fixed and mobile). Why would we want to drop these achievements without any need?

Coming back to the infancy of VoIP telephony: Don't mix up geeks and the rest of us. Skype looks successful, because a lot of people who have a PC have downloaded it once in their live. There is a ratio of downloaded copies versus users online of 10:1 or worse. And even if you take the some 2-digit million downloads of Skype, that would make for a market share in the single digit percents. No, not of the VoIP market, of the telephone calls market. Any medium sized european country will have more GSM subscribers than Skype worldwide.

I can see a number of roadblocks for the further success of VoIP telephony:

* Protocol fight. That SIP / H.323 / IAX2 thing is like the VHS / Beta or HD-DVD / BlueRay thing. Did SMTP / RFC822 ever have to seriously compete against any other protocols? I am very frustrated that often I can find a VoIP termination provider which is offering nice rates for a certain destination, but unfortunately, they don't speak my protocol.

* The de-facto ENUM boycott. There is exactly one way to handle this IMO: Regulation. Period. Telco's don't want is, as they did not want number portability as they did not want a lot of other things.

* Flatrates and the GSM revolution. I know a number of countries where people know fixed line phones just from old movies and laught at it. Where people still use landline phones, more often than not you can get a flatrate for unlimited national landline calls, for a bit more also national mobile networks or landlines on the same continent. The argument that VoIP is cheaper only work in niche situations any more. On the other hand, if GSM operators keep one thing up, it's their termination fees. (They usually keep them exactly at what the regulators allow them to charge.)

There is nothing wrong with GSM, don't get me wrong. But again, IMO regulation would be needed to force them to open up their networks to VoIP.

If all that would happen, then a VoIP client (such as Ekiga for example) would be as popular as a webbrowser (such as Mozilla, for example) just because everybody needs it, not just some geeks.

And by the way:

> (1) Damien currently has 248 error reports on bugzilla unresolved

No, not Damien. The Ekiga community. If you're annoyed by a bug, you got two choices: Use something else which is better (for many people this isn't Skype) or fix it. If you're a business and have a business need: Pay someone to fix it.


-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 11:17:49 -0400
> Von: Stuart Lesnett <stuart_lesnett lesnett com>
> An: Ekiga mailing list <ekiga-list gnome org>
> Betreff: Re: [Ekiga-list] [Ekiga-devel-list] Ekiga 3.00	available	for	WIN32	*only*

> If find Dee's comment interesting since, I came from the Windows/Skype
> community to investigate UBUNTU/Ekiga or at that time gnome community.
> I think 2 things have happend: (1) Damien currently has 248 error
> reports on bugzilla unresolved and the ekiga windows package even in
> beta form has always run much better. (2) SKYPE own this all ready
> established market and he's looking for a free ride.
> Personally, I have had nothing but link-ekiga and received nothing but
> attitude from Damien some of the other staff members have very hard and
> my thanks to them.
> I hope they will work to cleanup the current bugs on linux. I have used
> SKYPE for 2 years very successfully.
> Stu
> On Wed, 2008-04-02 at 09:20 +0000, D Webb wrote:
> >  > Le mercredi 02 avril 2008 à 00:57 +0200, Torsten Schlabach a
> > écrit :
> > > > Mhmmm ...
> > > > 
> > > > 2 hours before the end of April 1st!
> > > > 
> > > > You got me for some minutes.
> > > > 
> > > 
> > > It was indeed an April Fool ;-)
> > > -- 
> > > _ Damien Sandras
> > 
> > Sad! Windows is a commercial operating system. Commercial software 
> > is quite fitting. It is now 2 April and I am not fooling.
> > 
> > Dee
> > 
> > 
> > ______________________________________________________________________
> > Going green? See the top 12 foods to eat organic.
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > ekiga-list mailing list
> > ekiga-list gnome org
> >

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