Wengophone: VoIP done right

Wengophone: VoIP done right


A new, full-featured free software application pops its head into the VoIP world, and it nominates itself as the most serious competitor of Skype. Its name is Wengophone.

What is Wengophone?

Figure 1: Wengophone “NG” 2.0 beta running on a Debian testingFigure 1: Wengophone “NG” 2.0 beta running on a Debian testing

In short: Wengophone is a communication-over-IP application. With Wengophone you can:

  • place voice calls to other Wengophone users
  • create audio conferences with up to three users
  • place video calls to other Wengophone users
  • exchange instant messages with other Wengophone users, or MSN, Yahoo, AIM/ICQ, Jabber and GoogleTalk users;

And this all comes for free. If you also buy credits from Wengo, a French Voice-over-IP service provider that backs the development of Wengophone, you can also:

  • place phone calls to land lines at very low rates;
  • place phone calls to mobile phones as well, for rates that are still too high for national calls, but very good for internationals;
  • send SMS messages everywhere for 8.5 cents Euro (plus VAT where applicable)

Wengophone is a communication-over-IP application

This may sound a little like “deja-vue”, so let’s take a closer look at Wengophone and make a comparison with its most famous competitor: Skype.

Wengophone vs Skype

It was the beginning of 2005 when I discovered Skype; I liked it because it worked and it was multi-platform. Well, it was proprietary software, but there was nothing like Skype in the free software world.

Figure 2: Skype running on GNU/LinuxFigure 2: Skype running on GNU/Linux

All in all, I was happy with Skype, even if the GNU/Linux client had some “quirks” that made it less functional than I had liked, and needed some tricks to fix (as an exercise, look up “skype_dsp_hijacker” in Google). But, after some months, things began to get frustrating: Skype was acquired by eBay, they were pushing a lot of effort in the Windows version that quickly reached version 2.0 and 2.5beta, while the GNU/Linux version was stuck at the 1.2.0.18 released in October 2005. Skype didn’t show any release plans for a newer GNU/Linux version, no new features were in sight but, above all, no bugfixes were happening.

Some days ago, while I was googling around trying to find if there was any news about a new GNU/Linux release of Skype, I stumbled on the name “Wengo”. I never heard about Wengo before, so I pointed my Google searching toward it, and I got a surprise.

I discovered that Wengo is a French Voice-over-IP company that develops an Internet phone using the standard SIP protocol; they had a so-named “Classic” client for Windows, MacOS and Linux (in DEB and RPM packages!), and were developing a new, full-featured client.

I am all for standards, so that all sounded interesting and I kept reading, going from one surprise to another. I saw that fares were really cheap (actually cheaper than Skype’s); that Wengophone supported SMS messages as well as phone and video calls, and (oh, my!) it was compatible with a load of instant messaging systems! And when it turned out that the Wengophone was developed as a free-software project, I nearly fell out of my chair!

That was all very good to read, and I really wanted to test it. Luckily, they run an “Introductory offer” for new subscribers: when you subscribe you get an unlimited number of two-minute land-line calls for two months for free. So I downloaded and installed the 2.0beta client and placed a call, and discovered that the audio quality was very, very good. I was sold!

This is the story so far. Now I’ll try to do a feature comparison between Wengophone and Skype for GNU/Linux and review all points one by one. I’ll assign +1 (good) or +2 (distinct advantage) points to each competitor for each “yes” in the table.

Wengo Skype
Free software yes no
Multi-platform yes yes
ALSA Audio yes (in heavy development at the moment) no
Supports phone calls yes yes
Supports video calls yes no
Supports SMS yes no
Good audio quality yes yes
You are free to choose your VoIP service provider not yet (will be there in the 2.2 release) no
Standards-based yes no
Supports Instant Messaging yes yes
Supports other IM protocols yes no
Has a large user base no yes
Centralised, server-based contact list not yet yes
Stable not yet (still in development and improving from day to day) yes
Easy to install not yet yes (packaged)

Comparing Wengophone and Skype

Free software

Well, since you are reading Free Software Magazine, I’ll assume that you understand why I consider Wengophone superior to Skype in this respect. If it isn’t clear to you yet, there plenty of articles in this magazine that will help you to understand why. I don’t want to sound like an extremist here, and I’ll give a +1 to Wengo.

Multi-platform

Having a multi-platform application means that if you have to work outside your operating system of choice, you can still use the application. I think this is a distinct advantage and give a +2 to both.

ALSA audio

This needs a bit more of explanation. Audio in GNU/Linux means mainly two things: OSS (Open Sound System, born in 1992) and ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture). With the advent of the 2.6 kernel, OSS was deprecated in favour of ALSA. Skype is using a deprecated sound system, Wengo is not.

ALSA has many advantages over OSS. The main one we are interested in here is the friendliness of ALSA in respect of the access to the sound card. An OSS application tends to take exclusive access to the sound card, not allowing any other application to use it: unless you trick it, you can’t have both Skype and XMMS playing nicely together, for example.

On the other hand, ALSA supports many applications sharing the same sound card, and this is a really good thing. All this is enough to give a +1 to Wengo, even if the ALSA support is still in heavy development at the moment.

Supports phone calls

Well, we are talking about softphones, so this feature is actually a “must” and expected. +1 to both.

Supports video calls

This is just a nice feature, not really necessary but a nice-to-have one. Skype doesn't have it in the Linux version, Wengophone has it on all systems. +1 to Wengo.

Supports SMS

As above, a nice feature. Wengo has it: +1 for it.

Good audio quality

The audio quality is good in both. I had phone calls with both Skype and Wengo. In particular, I tested Wengo calling Tony Mobily to his phone in Australia: good audio, low latency... Good in both: +1.

You are free to choose your VoIP service provide

With Skype you are bound to Skype. Fullstop. With Wengophone, plans for the 2.2 release say that you will be able to choose any service provider that supports the SIP protocol. Taking this the other way round, you are not forced to use Wengophone to use Wengo’s services: any SIP application will do. That’s what I call “freedom to choose”, and deserves at least a +1.

With Skype you are bound to Skype. Fullstop.

Standards-based

Using standard protocols means that you are more free to choose which application to use for a service (see above). Wengo supports many different standard (or de-facto standard) protocols, Skype supports itself. +1 for Wengo.

Supports Instant Messaging

This is a nice feature, and both of the competitors have it: +1 to both.

Supports other IM protocols

Using standard protocols means that you are more free to choose which application to use for a service. Wengo supports many different standard protocols

This is a very nice feature: you can still use your IM contacts without having half a dozen IM applications spread on your desktop. Wengo supports a lot of IM protocols, Skype again supports just itself. +1 for Wengo again.

Has a large user base

According to the status bar of Skype, every day you have more than six million users online during business days; when I started using Skype last year it barely had 4 million users online: that’s a 50% increment in one year and it’s a huge user-base spread all over the globe. Wengo doesn’t seem to have as large or widespread a user base as Skype, which means that at the moment there is still a user community to build, it will take time and it will need your help. This is a distinct advantage for Skype, and a +2 for it.

Centralised, server-based contact list

Having a centralised, server-based contact list means that you don’t have to keep your contact list in sync when you use an application on two different computers (e.g.: at home and in the office). I have a few Wengo contacts in the office, and a few more at home, and keeping them in sync is a headache already. Believe it or not, this feature is a distinct advantage; Skype has it, and it’s a +2 for it.

Stable

Well, we are talking about a stable release of Skype versus a beta version of Wengophone (and the beta 1 version actually has alpha quality): it’s clearly an easy win for Skype, at least a +1.

Alpha and beta releases

What is meant when people say software is alpha or a beta? I’ll pick a couple of snippets from Wikipedia, leaving it to you to read the full article if you want to know the whole story.

The alpha version of a product still awaits full debugging or full implementation of all its functionality, but satisfies a majority of the software requirements. It often lacks features promised in the final release, but demonstrates the feasibility and basic structure of the software. The alpha build of the software is the first build delivered to the software testers.. A beta version or beta release usually represents the first version of a computer program that implements all required features although additional features may be added. It is likely to be unstable but useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but not yet ready for release. Some developers refer to this stage as a preview, as a technical preview (TP) or as an early access..

Easy to install

Skype builds both DEB and RPM packages of his software, and has a repository that Debian and Ubuntu users can use to keep the application up-to-date. Wengophone 2.0 beta doesn’t come in a package yet, and hence is not as easy to install as Skype. Of course, when the final release of Wengo is out you’ll have a DEB package just as you have one for the “Classic” client. So for now, it’s +1 for Skype.

Summing up...

Summing up, I should say that Wengophone beats Skype 12 to 11. It’s not a big win, but if you look at the points where Skype beats Wengo you can expect the situation to change as soon as a stable release comes out (e.g.: Wengo will gain some more points for stability and ease of install with a stable release). Letting it gain other points for the user base will depend on you using it, and getting a centralised contact list may depend on you whether you are a developer... So, download a copy and lend a hand!

How far are we from the final release of 2.0?

I had a chat via IRC with Julien Gilli, an active member of the Openwengo team. Julien says that the 2.0 final is expected for the end of June 2006. The final release could have a centralised contact list provided via the Jabber protocol. Hence, another important feature could see the light with the final 2.0 release.

A final release of Wengophone 2.0 is expected for the end of June 2006

Installing Wengophone “Classic”

Figure 3: Wengophone “Classic” running on a Debian testingFigure 3: Wengophone “Classic” running on a Debian testing

Wengophone 2.0 is not yet available in packaged form and hence cannot be installed from a standard repository on an Ubuntu or Debian Linux. If you’re a user of the brand new Dapper release of Ubuntu, you will find the “Classic” client in the repository “universe” and hence you can install it easily using synaptic. Wengophone Classic lacks many features of the 2.0 version, so it can barely give you a taste of it. Debian testing/unstable users have Wengophone Classic available as well. To install it, just follow the instructions found in my article published in FSM, issue 11.

Installing Wengophone 2.0 beta

As I wrote above, there is no pre-built package for installing Wengophone 2.0, so you will have to give up the comfort of your graphic interface and switch to the command line interface. Don’t panic, I am here to help.

Step 1: Download Wengophone

Figure 4: Downloading Wengophone 2.0 official beta from the wengo.com site; the link of interest appears zoomed in the red boxFigure 4: Downloading Wengophone 2.0 official beta from the wengo.com site; the link of interest appears zoomed in the red box
Figure 5: Downloading one of the Wengophone 2.0 builds from the wengo.fr site; the build you are interested in is usually the last one in the listFigure 5: Downloading one of the Wengophone 2.0 builds from the wengo.fr site; the build you are interested in is usually the last one in the list

First, choose if you want to download the latest official beta from the Wengo site (figure 4) or one the latest periodic build that includes more bugfixes but could hide other problems somewhere (figure 5). In the first case, just download the Wengophone 2.0 binary; in the second case, get the last file in the list.

Figure 6: Opening the archive directly with the Archive ManagerFigure 6: Opening the archive directly with the Archive Manager

If you’re using Firefox to download it, you should have the option to open the file directly with the Archive Manager: just do it (see figure 6). It’s 16MB, it will take some time if you have a slow network connection.

Figure 7: Downloading the softwareFigure 7: Downloading the software

Step 2: extract the archive

Figure 8: The Wengophone archive opened in the Archive ManagerFigure 8: The Wengophone archive opened in the Archive Manager
Figure 9: Extracting the archive with the Archive ManagerFigure 9: Extracting the archive with the Archive Manager

In the Archive Manager push the “Extract” button: a window named “Extract” pops up. In the “Extract in folder” menu choose your home directory, then press the “Extract” button. The archive will be unpacked into your home directory (see figures 8 and 9).

Step 3: running Wengophone

This could be a bit tricky for the entry-level; don’t worry, it’s nothing special, really.

Figure 10: Open a terminal from hereFigure 10: Open a terminal from here

Open a terminal from the Accessories menu (see figure 10).

Figure 11: Welcome to the wonderful world of the command line!Figure 11: Welcome to the wonderful world of the command line!

You will get a window like the one in figure 11 above. Type in this command:

cd wengophone-ng-binary-latest

and then:

./wengophone.sh
Figure 12: First time using Wengophone? Please create an account!Figure 12: First time using Wengophone? Please create an account!

A lot of messages will scroll into the terminal, you don’t have to worry about that. After a short time a couple of windows will come up (as shown in figure 12). You don’t have an account yet, so you should click on the “Click here” link.

Figure 13: Creating a Wengo account!Figure 13: Creating a Wengo account!

Your browser will open a page on the Wengo site (see figure 13). Fill in the necessary information and press the “continue” button at the bottom. You will receive a confirmation e-mail at the address you typed in on the form. Follow the instructions of the e-mail and log in: Welcome to Wengophone!

Hic sunt leones (or: instructions for the brave user)

If you’re a bit more than entry-level, or you’re a System Administrator, you may want to install Wengophone for all users. Here I describe how you could do the installation, but in less detail than above. If you are more than entry level I guess that you won’t miss anything. I also put together some scripts to make this task easier.

First of all, get root access because you will need it. Download the binary and unpack it; then move all the stuff into the /opt/wengophone directory (or the one that better suits your taste).

Copy the script below in a convenient place, e.g.: /usr/local/sbin/wengoprep

#!/bin/bash

if [ -z $1 ]
then
  echo "No args!"
  exit 1 ;
else
  echo "WENGODIR is $1"
fi

WENGODIR=$1

cd $WENGODIR || exit 2

echo "Fixating ownerships"
chown -R root:root .

echo "Fixating directories permissions"
find . -type d -print | xargs chmod 755

echo "Fixating executables permissions"
find . -type f -perm -u=x -print | xargs chmod 755

echo "Fixating common files permissions"
find . -type f -print | xargs chmod a+r

Make this script executable (with chmod u+x /usr/local/sbin/wengoprep) and run it as /usr/local/sbin/wengoprep /opt/wengophone; you may want to change /opt/wengophone with the directory where you put the files. The script will do several things:

  • give the ownership of the package to the root user;
  • allow everybody to read in the /opt/wengophone directory and subdirectories
  • spread the execute permission of some files to everybody;
  • spread the permission to access all the Wengophone files to everybody.

Then you will need a convenient way for all users to run Wengophone. If you want, you can copy and use the following script, copying it as /usr/local/bin/wengophone and giving all users the “execute” permission with chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/wengophone:

#!/bin/bash

WENGODIR=/opt/wengophone
WENGOBIN=qtwengophone
WENGODOT=$HOME/.wengophone
WENGOLOG=$WENGODOT/wengo.log
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$WENGODIR

mkdir $WENGODOT 2> /dev/null
echo "Wengo starting: `date`" > $WENGOLOG
cd $WENGODIR || exit 1
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
exec $WENGODIR/$WENGOBIN >> $WENGOLOG 2>&1

And that’s all! Now every user that wants to use Wengophone should just run the wengophone command with some means. I’ll leave up to you to find the best way for your users to do it.

Using Wengophone

So you have fired up your Wengophone but it’s so sadly empty and you don’t know what to do with it. Again, I am here to help. I’ll start with instant messaging.

Using Instant Messaging

You probably have an IM account somewhere already (on MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, a Jabber service or GoogleTalk). You will be happy to know that it’s not difficult at all to use them all in Wengo!

Figure 14: Instant messaging in WengophoneFigure 14: Instant messaging in Wengophone

In the Wengophone window, open the “Wengo” menu, and then “Edit my profile” (see figure 14)

Now, in the “Instant Messaging Accounts” section, press the “Add” button and choose the IM network you are connecting to, e.g.: AIM/ICQ.

Figure 15: Adding an IM accountFigure 15: Adding an IM account

Fill in the text fields in the window like in figure 15, then press “Save”. Press “Save” again in your profile window. It will take some seconds to Wengophone to authenticate, after which you will see your contacts filling your Wengophone! Repeat these steps with all your IM accounts and you’re done!

Figure 16: Starting a chat; the chat button is zoomed near the Wengophone windowFigure 16: Starting a chat; the chat button is zoomed near the Wengophone window

When you want to start a chat with someone, just click on the contact and then select the “cloud” icon (see figure 16). You will get a chat window where you can type.

Placing a phone or wengo call

Figure 17: Placing a phone callFigure 17: Placing a phone call

It’s just as simple as typing the full number in the textbox near the bottom of the Wengophone window and pressing Enter. Or, if you have a contact in your list that has a phone number, you can click on the icon near the number. If the phone number is registered but not displayed (e.g., the Work Phone number), then right click on the contact to get a contextual menu, select “Call” and then the number you want to call (see figure 17). Placing a wengo call is no different from this, but of course you will need a wengo user to call.

Quitting Wengophone

Figure 18: How to quit WengophoneFigure 18: How to quit Wengophone

When you had enough of it you can quit it right-clicking on the green ball on the system tray, and choose “Quit Wengophone” (see figure 18).

Summing up

Wengophone 2.0, when it comes out, will have all you ever wanted from Skype: Free software, multi-standard, supporting SMS messages and video calls out of the box. Don’t miss the opportunity to get an early taste of it and be a part of the free software VoIP revolution. Please remember to give your contribution where you can.

Thanks

I would like to thank the following people:

Julien Gilli, one of the great people at Wengo that are developing this fantastic application. Julien gave me a lot of insight into the development, and his help has been invaluable in getting this article right quickly

Antti "al" Laulumaa for reviewing the article and pointing out missing information

All the developers of the OpenWengo project for their great work.

Bibliography

Wengo web site—Wengo is the VoIP service provider that backs Wengophone development

OpenWengo web site—web site of the community and developers of Wengophone

OSS in Wikipedia

ALSA in Wikipedia

Skype DSP hijacker

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License: 

Comments

johnmoffat's picture
Submitted by johnmoffat on

Interesting article, but the version of Skype that I am using does support SMS messages and video calls.
I think that puts Skype in the lead!
(Also, I do not understand why you do not regard Skype as free. I have not paid anything for the software.)

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

johnmoffat,
I am trying to run wengophone 2.0 not from terminal as described in Free Software Magazine.
The article was great and easy. But, do I have to run wengophone from terminal all the time?
Please help me.
Thanks
sramires

dagb's picture
Submitted by dagb on

At least not from a privacy point of view. Nor is the lack of support for encryption.
In fact, from browsing quickly through the article, there was no mentioning of encryption *at all*, which I find a bit disappointing.

Is there any progress on zfone?

Otherwise, thank you for the article. I'll certainly try out wengophone.

Dag B

Marco Marongiu's picture

Hello Dag

While I don't agree about the centralized contact list (I keep my opinion: it's a fundamental thing, and not having it is an headache), you got a point with the encryption thing. Yes, encryption is another +1 (at least) for Skype. I don't know about zfone, but maybe someone at Openwengo will pop up here and satisfy your curiosity :-)

Thanks for the compliments.

Ciao
--Marco

julien.gilli's picture

That's definitely an interesting concern. We're going to think about it in the near future. Many thanks for your insightful input!

Best regards.

julien.gilli's picture

Hello,

Just check out this article on OpenWengo's blog: http://blog.openwengo.org/index.php?/archives/55-Everbee-and-OpenWengo-partnership-to-achieve-open-source-VoIP-security.html .

There is no progress regarding zrtp yet, but it might change soon. Stay tuned on blog.openwengo.org for more information!

Best regards.

apyles's picture
Submitted by apyles on

Hi Marco,

I think this was a good article. But you missed a critical point: Firewall traversal. As much as I like SIP,
it is notorious for NAT / firewall issues. For example I was recently in a network where ALL outbound tcp and udp connections where blocked. In fact the only way out was through a SQUID web proxy. I'm curious to see how openwengo performs in an environment like this. Skype WAS able to traverse through this environment. It looks like openwengo has some support for this kind of thing. But, how well does it work?

Secondly, lets look at the easiest solution. A home network with a cheap NAT router. In this environment using sip, how does the Wengophone send and receive RTP packets? In most environments it is forced to be relayed through an RTP relay server. Solutions like STUN, TURN, etc, only work so well, in most cases in my experience the RTP has to be hairpinned through a remote server. This has some severe scaling issues. How does openwengo perform here?

Andy
http://www.thevoipblog.org

maurizio.dececco's picture

From a free software perspective, i think the major point about Skype is not being not free software,
but being a closed service based on proprietary protocols.

The whole Internet Telephony business is organized around closed islands. Either with proprietary protocols
or with SIP, but very few VoIP providers play the open game.

This doesn't make sense, because stricly speaking the actual service is not provided by the telephony provider (Skype, Wengo, or whatever) but by the internet connection itself. The provider just put you in contact.
SIP is an open protocol that can work in an open environment, like the Web, where multiple Internet/PSNT gateway service provider can compete against the same user base.

Instead, each SIP VoIP provider (Woize, Wengo, Abbeynet, Free etc) try to keep the user base closed by providing closed client software, even if it use open protocols. The important point of OpenWengo may be having a role in opening this situation, but being financed by one of the player, i am skeptical.

Unless the small players understand they have to open up and interoperate, the proprietary big player, Skype, will build a planetary monopoly that will us European ask to go back to national monopolies :-< ..

Maurizio

nagyv's picture
Submitted by nagyv on

The main drawbacks of the article (like encryption) have benn noted already. What I would like to hear your opinion about is another free/open source VoIP application, called Gizmo. What are the kex differences, advantages, disadvantages, etc. www.gizmoproject.com/

I know that it uses the SIP protocol too, it is already connected with GoogleTalk given that both use some very similar protocols (so it was easy). This connection does not mean that google talk is simply integrated, but you need to have a google talk account too. No, this is a true interconnection! (You can have a conference with 2 friends, 1 useing gizmo the other googletalk. Can you achieve this with wengophone's MSN support for example?

Any other ideas?

Marco Marongiu's picture

Hmmmm... if it was, I could download the source code somewhere. But after some searching in the site I can't find any. So is it free just as a free beer?

Ciao!
--Marco

Terry Hancock's picture

Um, okay you all have made this very fuzzy for me...

Which systems are free-licensed software?

Which are using open/free standards

I'm confused about this -- and on the FSM website, I don't feel I should be. This is one place I'd expect to keep these things really clear!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

As far as I can tell, gizmo and openwengo both use the open SIP standard. gizmo, however, is closed source software (just as Skype is), while openwengo is free software. Skype is both closed source and using a proprietary (i.e. non-standard) protocol.

ve3sre's picture
Submitted by ve3sre on

Thanks for the article!

I was initially pleased that Skype had Linux support but saw as you mentioned that once eBay bought it out they let the Linux version lag way behind the Window$ version. Not good!

The other thing that cheesed me off was reading about Skype's deal with Intel where they "cripple" the number of users you can have in a conference call if you use a non-Intel processor. Crippling hardware is pure corporate evil in my books. All of my machines run AMD processors...guess I always like the "underdog"... and have always felt that AMD gave you a bigger CPU bang for your buck...pound, euro, yen whatever ;)

Right now Skype has a "deal" in Canada and the U.S. that runs till the end of the year where they let you "Skype-out" to the phone system for free. I'm hoping that by the time the "deals" end Wengophone will be a little further along towards being stable and I along with my friends will make the "switch".

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

There is another third party site called voipreview.org that lists many voip providers, most of which are unfortunately not free but many provide more secure features than wengo.

Jerry Huyghe
SageCom

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I use wengo for calls to landlines.

I prefer Wengo and look forward to encryption. Interoperability is what is most required. Wengo is more likely to acheive it. This is clear from their philosophy and decision to go with . CoIpManager as a better IMWrapper in the future. See http://blog.openwengo.org/index.php

A lot of people would like to use WengoPhone with other SIP providers.
CoIpManager will provide this feature since everything (MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Wengo, GoogleTalk, FreeWorlDialup...) will be the same for WengoPhone GUI. This is CoIpManager main purpose anyway.

iraysyvalo's picture
Submitted by iraysyvalo on

Last time I checked wengophone, I dismissed it temporarily (till the 2.0 release, I hope) because the client was only tied to the wengo company.

What I'm looking for is kinda general purpose SIP client so that you only need to change your settings if you want to call with another SIP network provider and that's it.

By the way, I refer you to STUN for a few things on the firewall traversal side.
________________________
Let's go party.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

about encryption: this could be interesting: according to it OPENWENGO DOES HAVE ENCRYPTION NOW!?

guydjohnston's picture

The only thing I care about really is that Wengo is free (as in freedom obviously), and uses a free and open protocol, whereas Skype doesn't. That's why I don't use Skype. I use exclusively free software almost all of the time now, with Kubuntu. I'm having trouble installing Wengo on GNU/Linux at the moment because I use the amd64 version, but I have tried the proper 2.0 release under MS Windows and it is very nice.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I once read that skype worked as "a super node on the local PC", hence why it is ressource hungry, so you bring cpu ressource to the skype network. (If I understood correctly) Is this true?

AFAIK openwango does not do that

Looking to move from skype to openwango when
my credits have run out

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Ciao Marco!
I want to thank you and congratulate for article.
I followed and could install the Wengophone without a problem.
I'm running away from Skype as the communications and services get worst.
I also had problem with Gizmo.
I believe that Wengophone could succeed, as they had the same structure as Mozilla.
An open source community (www.openwengo.org) and the corporate one (wengophone).
I still could not connect to aim, googletalk, neither could the phone call....but
I know I will be soon sorted out, there more people trying to help people (Linux user in fact) than in Skype.

talueguito
raul

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Ciao Marco!
I hope you don't mind I posted your article in the wengophone forum.
I find your article very useful.
I've made to small changes in your method. I installed in /usr/local/
and instead of making a new script, I linked the shell script that came with the ditribution
( ln -s /usr/local/Wengophone/wengophone.sh /usr/local/bin/wengophone)

thanks Marco

talueguito
raul

Marco Marongiu's picture

I am definitely not afraid you post my article somewhere else (as long as its license is not infringed, of course :-) Could you please provide a link to the forum?

About the /usr/local/packagename choice, I am definitely against that approach and that's why I choose a /opt/packagename-version instead, and use stow to report everything to /usr/local. But that's a subject for another article or blog post.

Cheers!
--bronto

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Just tried Wengo on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, where it is included in the repositories, making installation trivial.

First impressions are very positive: Easy signup, UI -way- better looking than Skype, Integrated support for most (if not all) protocols supported by Gaim.

However, no luck actually using the thing yet. Since it's been trying to 'connect' for over half an hour now. That in spite of the fact that I used Wengo itself to setup my account, and despite the fact that I'm actively using Skype and Gaim at the same time, which obviously have no trouble connecting. Now maybe it's a bug in the ubuntu package (feisty fawn is still in beta for the next two months), but sure would have been a lot more impressive if it had worked out of the box. Will try it again in a month or after Feisty is released. Installed version is 2.0rev8108.

Marco Marongiu's picture

Ciao!

Can you try to start it without having skype and gaim on? Maybe it's just they can't stand one another :-)

Seriously now, try it without too many programs contending resources and let me know if it works!

Ciao and thanks
--bronto

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Well Mandy must be getting a back hander to push Wengophone so hard,default install and entry on toolbar in FF.
Wish they hadn't,wasted 2 hours trying to get it configured. And then when I finally got it working it crashed on every call, would only crash even when not making a call and would not work with my c-media card or my creative card (Aud2).
No-one I know with K/Ubuntu has it working,and I have a couple of buddies using Mandriva Spring,neither can make even a pc to pc call without it crashing,one has no sound,the other no video and sound very poor even with an 8mb broadband connection.
Best thing about it is the ui....oh and uninstalling the rubbish and using Twinkle,or Ekiga (when ekiga.net is up and running that is)

Johannes Eva's picture

The Wengophone furbished with Feisty Fawn Final doesn't function: impossible to make calls or send sms. Downloaded 2.1 RC2, well now i can send sms (german, spanish or french accents do not work), but still impossible to cake phone calls :(
Let's hope it will work with 2.1 RC3!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Wengo is a free software, so what? The quality of the calls are not that great. I consider Raketu the best in calling and plus now it seems that they added a new feature similar to Jajah. Now Raketu has sort of Skype and Jajah combined. Wengo's rates are way too high. I prefer Raketu better.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I have a problem! I tried installing wengophone and didn't find the sound quality good. I immediately uninstalled it. However I am unable to avoid the wengophone on my screen (during the start up and is always there on the bottom screen) although the entire thing has been removed.

Can anyone help me uninstall the whole thing. Its pretty annoying!!!

wengo former customer's picture
Submitted by wengo former cu... (not verified) on

yeah im all for open source, I have Linux at home, but when it cam to VoIp, first I jumped on the "free software" bandwagon, I did many calls with Wengo, and then, all of the sudden they raised my rates from 2cts/min to 30cts/minute! all of the sudden, so of course,They did not refund my money for these calls at new rates! I changed to skype with 3ct/min rates.
With wengo , I pay:MEXICO MEXICO CITY 0.251€ 0.300€
With Skype I pay: €0,017 (€0,020 incl. VAT)
So maybe your destination is cheaper with Wengo, but I can't be paying 15 times for a service that is too expensive.Thanks Wengo!

Glander's picture
Submitted by Glander on

Hi people,

I'm using Wengo for some months and I'm very satisfied with the software. Because I like to experiment with several software, I;m trying to get the video options also running on my normal home line.

I've connected my PC to the sip url of my normal internet homer phone line en for now it's working sometimes with a videophone on a standard phone line via the regular telephone company like AT&T or Bell, in the Netherlands KPN.

There are some errors and it's not completly running well, but I guess in some time it wil be running.

A programmer friend is busy to make an change inb the soiftware and when finished, we will send it to de Wengo Company.

I let you know when all is working 100%

Greetz,

Glander

gordman's picture
Submitted by gordman on

It looks like the feature is pretty much complete, and of course very competitive. My first Voip experience was Skype, ever since then new Voip options spread by the year and sometimes by the month. I can only be glad about it.

Author information

Marco Marongiu's picture

Biography

Born in 1971, Marongiu graduated in applied mathematics in 1997; he's now a full-time system administrator for a well known software company in Oslo, Norway. He's also a Perl programmer and technical author and lecturer by passion.
Marongiu has been a Debian User since version 1.1.10 and he helped found the GULCh Linux Users Group (Gruppo Utenti Linux Cagliari), the first one in Sardinia.