Latest from the Bizarre Cathedral.
For the last few years I had occasionally been working on what is called the GNU Telephony Secure Calling initiative. The GNU Telephony Secure Calling initiative was itself originally formed specifically to make passive voice communication intercept a thing of the past using free software and public standards, and came out of ideas from and work of the New York City civil liberties community and New York Fair Use in the early part of this decade.
The results were great: a free infrastructure for secure calling. Here is how it all happened.
Free software is definitely going strong in some areas, especially in the server market. However, there are other areas where free software and free protocols have failed. Internet based voice and video communication is one of those areas. The market is basically fully owned by Skype, a piece of proprietary software based on a proprietary (and abusive) protocol in the hands the same company that runs eBay. Free software advocates have been saying "what if Skype was discontinued?" for years. Then I read about eBay considering shutting Skype down. Pardon?
Ekiga is the most popular, free VoIP software available. When I asked the Ekiga team for an interview, there was a lot I didn't know. For example, I had no idea I'd be interviewing quite so many people (coordination was quite a challenge!), and--more importantly--I didn't know that so much knowledge would have been uncovered. Every single member had something important to say, and the result is an interview that becomes a unique insight into Ekiga, the VoIP world, free software development and team work.
Julien Puydt, Damien Sandras, Matthias Schneider, Yannick Defais, Jan Schampera, These guys know telephony. They were born with a directory in their pockets. This interview is not to be missed. Enjoy.
Many thanks to Gary Richmond for editing this epic interview
The word is finally out. It was just a suspicion about a month ago, but it was finally, sadly, confirmed.
The OpenWengo project ceased to exist last November, and all the developers have been laid off. You may want to read the whole thread and see how much sadness there is amongst the developers and the community. All of the developers have to find other jobs, while we, the community, have to find some good alternative VoIP & IM software.
And it's going to be hard.
On Sunday, August 5, 2007 Bush signed the revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) into law, in which the U.S. Congress spinelessly caved in and gave legal authority to the Bush administration to continue to intercept and spy on electronic communications. Then, on Thursday, August 16, 2007 the whole worldwide Skype network goes down. Coincidence? I think if you use Skype, you should now be very, very, concerned about the privacy of your calls and had better start considering using FOSS alternatives.
For the few that liked my blog and, after a couple of months of silence, thought that I was dead... well I am alive and kicked (no that’s not a typo; I know it should be “kicking”, but the reality is that I feel like I’ve been kicked in my back). What happened... well, a lot of work and, finally, a two-week holiday in Brittany kept me out of the real World. And, now that I am back, I am taking a look around. A number of new interesting news items stand out from the rest.
With voice and video calls, file transfer capability and support for almost every instant messaging system on the planet, Wengophone candidates itself as the main free software competitor to Skype. With the 2.0 release, a pretty unstable, beta quality release, they failed the first attempt. What about the second?