not being able to use Skype is a big problem

Stroller linux.luser at
Fri Jul 4 14:20:34 CEST 2008

On 3 Jul 2008, at 18:45, Forrest Sheng Bao wrote:

> Well, I happen to have a bunch of friends which are not tech geeks,  
> as well as my family members. They can follow instructions to use  
> Skype without bothering me.

This is the same open/closed problem that exists with many protocols.  
I find it inconvenient chatting to people on the MSN or Yahoo!  
messenger networks, and later Word documents feature password  
protection which may render them difficult to read in other word- 

> Plus, I am using SkypeIn/SkypeOut plan. I don't have a cell phone.  
> So I hope I can continue using it on my new handset.

Well, if you have a new Openmoko handset one would expect you to get  
a cell phone plan.

> PS: If you wanna call a traditional telephone from a VoIP client,  
> there must be a company providing the service to bridging Internet  
> and telephony network, right? Do you have such open source  
> solutions? I think the company need to pay money to telephony  
> service operator. Who will pay it?

This is basically the same as the SkypeOut plan you mention. You pay  
for that, right? The difference is that, using a standard SIP client,  
you have a choice of multiple providers (who may offer competing  
rates and quality of service) and you may run the telephony-out on  
your own landline.

Skype is great for individuals - if we ignore the Freedom element of  
the software & service - but SIP allows you much more flexibility.  
Sure, there would appear to be fewer people using standard SIP  
(although here in the UK many broadband suppliers offer discount /  
free phone plans which involve connecting a standard telephone  
handset to a DSL router which has a telephone socket and runs SIP  
software) but you can certainly make free internet calls with it. Not  
only that, but you can enable multiple clients to do so at one  
location, transfer calls cleverly between them, do call-forwarding,  
and if they need to phone out to the conventional telephony network  
then one billing account can be used for multiple users (presumably  
giving cost savings).

Geeks like SIP because they can run it on their own Linux server or  
choose to rent hosting. They can run clients on their PCs, on Macs on  
under Linux, on any mobile handset they like. We can rent multiple  
phone numbers - with non-geographic area codes (0845 or freephone),  
or with area codes in London or Los Angeles - and then do what the  
heck we like with those calls. We can answer them at the telephone on  
our desk or with software on our laptops; we can route them to  
different destinations depending on the time of day and allocate  
different extensions to different desks in the office. Outgoing calls  
can be routed by different providers depending upon costs - SIP can  
be used to link branch offices with free internet calls (multiple  
calls simultaneously) and calls outside the office can go through an  
ISDN bank, if you prefer that to paying someone else for point-of- 
presence on the POTS network.

If you have friends who use Skype there's not much you can do about  
it - evangelising SIP is about effective as telling them to use Linux  
instead of Windows - but outside of the free calls there are VERY  
many advantages to open protocols.


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