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Ekiga 2.0 Released 203

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the truly-free-speech dept.
Some Anonymous Coward writes "After about one year of development the former GnomeMeeting team has released Ekiga. Ekiga is the successor of the popular GnomeMeeting. Ekiga calls itself the very "first Open Source application to support both H.323 and SIP". Ekiga is based on the h323/sip codebase, provided by the openh323 project. Also introduced with this release is ekiga.net, a platform to provide the community with free sip addresses."
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Ekiga 2.0 Released

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  • Ready? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:13PM (#14909772) Homepage
    Will this successor be successful in placating the higher ups in my office if I start converting XP machines to use this instead of MS's equiv?
    • C'mon! "Ekiga?" Is that the sound of a penguin expectorating?

      I can deal with some odd-ball names. Heck, I run "Ubuntu" with Gnome and "Sylpheed". But Ekiga - It's not really "Skype" [skype.com] or "Gizmo" [gizmoproject.com], is it?
      • C'mon! "Ekiga?" Is that the sound of a penguin expectorating?

        Only if you show it drawn by a Japanese person in the 'dramatic' style. [wikipedia.org]
      • Plus it's not very descriptive. Nor, for that matter, is the summary, which was pretty much a bunch of non-informative buzzwords. I did learn, however, that Ekiga supports h323/sip, whatever that is, and that there's an Ekiga forum/site that supports Ekiga, which, remember, supports h323/sip.

        This must be the open-source answer to marketing-speak: "Ekiga, a world-class provider of world-class solutions to world-class problems, has..."

      • Well, MS manage to sell Axapta, which sounds a bit like the noise a toy gun makes.
    • My guess is "no" considering I can't reach ekiga.net right now.
    • ass and breasts in high res

      Could you change your sig? For some reason I don't continue reading the rest of the commentaries after seeing it.
  • by Illbay (700081) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:17PM (#14909824) Journal
    ...than Netmeeting.

    I remember trying NM for the first time several years ago--maybe 1998 or so. I couldn't believe how badly it DIDN'T work.

    Flash forward to about three months ago. Our company HR department is having a presentation on the new benefits package. Seems like the SAME OLD PROBLEMS that were "en vogue" eight years ago are still around.

    I have asked, and been given no satisfactory answer, why we do not look around for a better alternative. "Well, it's supported by Microsoft" seems to be the only cogent response.

    • At least with a name like Netmeeting I had some idea what
      the software did.

      Now with names like Ekiga in my menus I won't have a clue.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:37PM (#14910022)
        Now with names like Ekiga in my menus I won't have a clue.

        Yeah, it's like calling a spreadsheet "Excel". How will anyone know what it does with a name like that. Or calling a retailer "Amazon". In the business world you'd be dead in the water if you used names like that.
      • sure word and netmeeting have meaningfull names but you can hardly say excel or powerpoint do. access and outlook are borderline cases.

         
    • Recently I poked around to find out the state of the art for videoconferencing. The best appears to be Sightspeed [sightspeed.com]. The quality is good, and they have Mac and Windows clients. Family using Windows can point IE to a webpage which downloads an ActiveX control to display video in the browser.

      The free service has a 30 second limit on video mail, and only allows one-to-one conferencing.

  • by nubbie (454788) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:18PM (#14909838) Homepage
    Ekiga is the first Open Source application to support both H.323 and SIP.

    Depends on what you consider an application. I'm pretty sure http://asterisk.org [asterisk.org] has a few months on you.
  • by Orrin Bloquy (898571) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:19PM (#14909843) Journal
    "As soon as we were able to confirm that 'ekiga' is not Japanese for Happy Fun Tentacle Rape Time, it was a go."
  • by fak3r (917687) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:19PM (#14909846) Homepage
    Will this be compatible with consumer VoIP? In otherwords, I'm considering signing up for Speakeasy VoIP (already have DSL with them) which would cut out our phone company ( something I'd love to do ), so would this work with that? At home I would use a normal 'phone' but on the road could I use this to make/recieve calls on my laptop? What other advantages would this provide? Back in the day I did some internet phoney thing, but it was early in dev and not very useful. With all our calls going out on TCP/IP I'd imagine this app would be helpful, but I still haven't grasped what it's all about.

    Thanks.
    • Depends on what you want it to do versus what speakeasy would allow you to do.

      If you have some access to the url's of your speakeasy voip account, you can probably use the same url's to do an SIP call on your linux desktop. I'm making a very generous assumption speakeasy would "play nice" with their sip setup and keep it relatively open.

      The h.323 features are a whole other bag though. The average company would see h.323 as an "additional feature" and demand a hefty premium payment.

      How much would the voip c
      • How much would the voip cost you on top of your regular ISP bill?

        $27.95 per month - much less than the ~40$ we're giving to Bell right now.

        They don't list the 'advanced' features that you're talking about, but still, it looks like you can do a ton more with it than with a standard POTS line:

        http://speakeasy.net/home/voip/features.php [speakeasy.net]

        So at the very least I'll finally be able to say f-you to the 'big bells' and get voicemails as email attachments.
        • Re:Advanced Features (Score:3, Informative)

          by mpapet (761907)
          The h.323 standard allows for some desktop interactivity, whiteboarding and a few other things in a conferencing mode.

          SIP on the other hand, is pretty narrowly defined to voice/video communication. From recollection, conferencing can be done, but it has something to do with number of lines your SIP phone can handle and the number of "lines" your SIP provider allows.
      • Re:Depends (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pdbogen (596723)
        For what it's worth, Speakeasy tends to be a VERY nerd-friendly company. (I want to say "hacker-friendly," but people would almost certainly get the wrong idea.)
        • Re:Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fak3r (917687)
          Yep, and that's why I like them so much. If you call and have a question the person who answers (and that usually takes 2-3 rings) will know what's up. Linux question? Go for it. Server question? Same thing...they know their stuff and are a joy to deal with, that's why I'm happy I'm going to get to move voice alongside data to Speakeasy.
    • Most all providers will not support anything but their locked down hardware.
      companies like Broadvoice and others that are not hostile to customers will be able to have this application work with their service.

      Vonnage and Speakeasy (and packet8) will never ever allow you to use any device that is not completely controlled by them and locked down tight with their service.
    • I use Twinkle [twinklephone.com] together with a SipDiscount [sipdiscount.com] account, FWIW. Works quite well for me so far. Will think of buying real SIP hardware later, maybe.
    • We're this far down the comments, and this is the first mention of VOIP. When a technical person sees video standards and GnomeMeeting in an article they make assumptions, but I do believe it could have been spelled out a little clearer. Don't you?
  • by foxtrot (14140) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:20PM (#14909853)
    I might have been able to guess what GnomeMeeting did. I would have guessed that it was perhaps a collaborative whiteboard tool, perhaps with a dose of voice-chat built in. I'd bet it worked in Gnome.

    I would have no bloody clue what an Ekiga is if the article hadn't mentioned it was the successor to GnomeMeeting. I'm sure it means something really appropriate in Sanskrit or something. How very clever.

    And so, another project winds up with a useless name and they get to wonder why nobody uses their product, because folks see "Ekiga" and have no idea that it does exactly what they need, where GnomeMeeting might've hinted that at least.

    -F

    • by Slack3r78 (596506) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:23PM (#14909879) Homepage
      Ekiga is the name of the project's primary coder's girlfriend from what I've read. While a sweet sentiment, it's still a terrible name for a software project - as I've already posted elsewhere in the thread.
    • by Rac3r5 (804639) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:30PM (#14909957)
      Actually, you're not the only one who is confused by Ekiga. I think its a really cool name. The problem lies with the website and its FAQ on what Ekiga is. It tells me about SIP and H.323 bla bla, but that doesn't tell me what it really is. I had to lookup wikipedia to find out that its a video conferencing tool.
    • by tpgp (48001) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:34PM (#14909992) Homepage
      Of course, everyone can immediately tell what skype does.

      Seriously, is anyone else getting a little sick of the plethora of "me too" comments about the appropriateness of a software product's name on slashdot?
      • No skype isn't immediatelyobvious - and perhaps on that basis skype was a poor choice of name.

        But in addition to this there is one other major difference - the advertising budget.

        Skype has thrown a huge amount of money and resources into turning itself into a 'name' brand and as such it makes sense that they should go with something original and snappy.

        Unless we want to put together a community project to fund an advert in New York Times for every open source project it probably makes more sense to pick obv
        • Unless we want to put together a community project to fund an advert in New York Times for every open source project it probably makes more sense to pick obvious names.

          I take your point about advertising and brand recognition - however, the flip side of the coin is brand protection.

          I know its not a registered trademark - but taking a unique name like 'ekiga' rather then 'openconference or similar means:

          1) It's less likely the domain name has been registered.

          2) Its harder for someone to muscle in on your bus

      • I agree here. All of a sudden, the thing to do is to mud sling about package names. Come on. If the guy named it after his girlfriend, that's great. If he named it after his favorite cartoon, that's great. The POINT is, if it gets used widely enough, it won't matter what it's called. How about Trillian? EMule? EDonkey? Acrobat?

        Get the point? If it's a good app, help expand its user base. If you really want to help, do that. Anyone can sit around and bitch.
    • I might have been able to guess what GnomeMeeting did. I would have guessed that it was perhaps a collaborative whiteboard tool, perhaps with a dose of voice-chat built in. I'd bet it worked in Gnome.

      I would have no bloody clue what a Skype is if the article hadn't mentioned it was VOIP. I'm sure it means something really appropriate in Sanskrit or something. How very clever.

      And so, another project winds up with a useless name and they get to wonder why nobody uses their product, because folks see "Skype" a
      • To be honest, I had to look up Skype on google to find out what it was. It's not a good name either.
      • by foxtrot (14140) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:41PM (#14910055)
        Even ignoring the fallacy in the "they're doing it, why don't we do it?" argument, there's a big difference here.

        Skype comes from a business. They've got money to throw at Madison Avenue, and the advertisements will make sure we all know exactly what they do.

        Where, exactly, is Ekiga's advertising money going to be coming from?

        -F
        • Look, the name does not matter as much as the Branding.

          Firefox, or even Opera. Much less descriptive than INTERNET EXPLORER (something you use to explore the internets).

          GNOME. KDE. Linux. What the hell are these things? Do they display windows on a computer????

          Google? What does that do? Yahoo? What ?

          Skype was chosen because the domain was available, as long as the software is solid you shouldn't have a problem with the name.
        • You don't need money for that. Ekiga will get its advertising exactly the same way the rest of open source gets it - word of mouth.
    • I might have been able to guess what GnomeMeeting did. I would have guessed that it was perhaps a collaborative whiteboard tool, perhaps with a dose of voice-chat built in. I'd bet it worked in Gnome.

      And you would have been partly right, partly wrong. GnomeMeeting used to provide video/voice conferencing along with text chat. It used to be a NetMeeting clone but it has grown beyond that original aim.

      I would have no bloody clue what an Ekiga is if the article hadn't mentioned it was the successor to Gn

    • Yeah, and Adobe Acrobat is really inidicative of the fact that it is a portable document viewer.

      God I am sick of this BS.

      • Acrobat had the marketing dollars of Adobe behind it. Your average layperson doesn't talk about 'PDFs' they talk about 'Acrobat files.' Ekiga is a bit player in a saturated market. It is not Kleenex, Coke or Xerox.

        If it was a market leading product with a budget behind it, they might have the luxury of choosing an esoteric name and still gaining acceptance from the average user. The reality is, that luxury doesn't exist for them.
        • What are you smoking? Ekiga is not a player in any market. It is a Gnome-only app. It is not a Windows application. Sure, in theory someone could write a Windows port, but A) why would you, and B), if you did no one but OS freaks would use it anyways.

          Ekiga is not competing against anyone else. They will already have the leading market share.
    • FWIW, I just found this blog post [gnomemeeting.net], which explains where the names come from.
    • And what does Apache have to do with webserving? or Firefox with browsing? I can't believe people are bitching about the name. You left out Linux, Debian (is Ian still going out with Deb?), Gnome, and Gimp, and are picking on Ekiga?!
  • Name Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Slack3r78 (596506) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:21PM (#14909862) Homepage
    Since I have the karma to burn:

    GnomeMeeting to Ekiga is quite probably the single worst name change I've ever seen in a piece of software, commercial or free aside. They went from a name that clearly communicated the software's purpose to something cryptic that isn't even easily pronounceable. (Yes, I am aware of the new name's origin, that doesn't make it any less terrible a name for a software project).

    So the new name fails on pretty much every front. It fails to communicate the purpose of the program. It fails to be something the average person will actually remember. It fails to be something that's not going to scare off a neophyte. As a program that's bandied about for inclusion in Gnome proper, this pretty significant IMO.
    • You must be new to the Gnome project.



      :)
    • In short, it sounds like a name the programmers would have chosen. See, marketing goons *are* useful sometimes.
    • Re:Name Change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caseih (160668) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:34PM (#14909989)
      Skype anyone?
      • At least "Skype" has an easy and un-ambiguous pronunciation. (At least to an English-speaker.)

        I agree, though, that "GnomeMeeting" make far more sense.

        ttyl
        srw
      • As another pointed out, Skype is at least pronounceable. Secondly, Skype has a commercial venture with marketing dollars behind it to engrain a brand in the average person. That's not exactly a luxury Open software has.

        The only piece of free software aimed at end users to really get that kind of marketing push to date is Firefox, and even so, only a fraction of the general public would know what you're talking about if you brought it up.

        This is all ignoring that Ekiga isn't going to be a good name to market
        • Pronouncable to who? Try telling a Japanese, Chinese or Korean to pronounce it. America != world.
          • The skype homepage is translated into chinese, japanese, and korean, and I'm pretty certain it has a fairly large userbase in each of those countries. So I don't think it's really a problem.
      • To be fair to Skype, you can actually remember it if you know English. It is easily pronouncable and is simply one syllable. Ekiga on the other hand....

        --
        Gaute
      • Internet Explorer
        Office
        Word
        Messenger
      • Yes, Skype has a silly name too. However, they didn't start with a sensible name and then change it to something silly. I mean, Paula Yate's daughter is called Heavenly Hirani Tigerlily, but that doesn't mean I'm going to change my name to Fiddledy Pimple Grimblewart, 'cos that would be stupid.
    • Reminds me of a satire I once read in which the author "rebranded" the United States of America. This mean a new, spiffy, streamlined flag, currency redesign, and, of course a new name: USAM.

      Wish I could remember the book.
    • It's just Linux becoming too popular. Can't be all elitist and smug running your niche OS if your grandma uses it, can you? It's like with Windows and hardware, the more it becomes available, you have to apply an equal amount of complification to make sure you stay in equilibrium. Or maybe I should reaaaaaaally cut down on my conspiracy theories.
    • Yep, it also fails the number one rule for naming an IT product, it doesn't lend itself to being a verb.

      "Hey, let me google that real quick."

      "Ya, I'll skype you in a few minutes"

      Those both work well, but try to say "Ok, let me Ekiga you".... wtf?
    • I for one welcome the change. I depise the trend of naming software Gnome* just because its a Gnome application (K*, etc). Its a totally intractable approach to naming, not to mention redundant. And "GnomeMeeting" sounds like event planning software for mythical creatures that live in peoples' gardens. At least Ekiga is not at risk of being confounded for something that its not.

      Uniqueness is of huge importance for visibilty in text search engines also, i.e., google. When applications are given totally
    • You mean like GIMP, SAP, Paradox, or any other of a bunch of other programs that have been around forever. Or websites like Google, Yahoo, and Slashdot.
      Hey at least it doesn't start with a G or a K.
    • GnomeMeeting to Ekiga is quite probably the single worst name change I've ever seen

      Granted 'Ekiga' is annoyingly Web2.0-ish, but GnomeMeeting isn't exactly the dog's bollocks. Yes, 'Meeting' gives you an idea of what the software does, but wtf does 'Gnome' tell the average PHB, or even a good business exec who came from Finance, Operations, or elsewhere and who just isn't familiar with hacker culture? If hackers want this stuff to go mainstream, coming up with more mainstream names, even meaningless but n
  • Ekiga - great name (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:31PM (#14909960)
    I don't get the complaints on the name-change.

    "When communicating using drums, the sender will identify himself at the start of the transmission with the specific notes corresponding to his personal moto, and those of the other correspondant in order to draw his attention. This technic is also used in another communication language, without drums, called Ekiga, which consists in reproducing the notes, without words, emitting the syllable "ke" in a falsetto voice, and repeating it with the corresponding tones."

    Where are the complaints on firefox/ubuntu/debian/gnome/thunderbird/evolution?

    Gnomemeeting linked the application to much to the god-awful Netmeeting, and needed a change.

    Once a brand name is established, no-one bothers anymore. This release is about establishing that brand name.

    Focus on the quality of the software instead of useless trolling.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:31PM (#14909961)
    • any clients on MacOS
    • any clients on Solaris
    • any clients on Windows

    If there's a yes answer to all of those, we'd likely recommend it for work.
    So far we're using skype for a lot; but it's not a complete answer to our needs.
    • Yes, Yes, Yes, provided the clients you are interacting with support the industry standard SIP and H.323 protocols. Certainly it can talk to netmeeting. I believe it can also talk to any SIP VoIP service out there (computer->computer and computer->land line).
    • MacOS - OphoneX [sourceforge.net]
      Windows - Netmeeting [microsoft.com]

      As for solaris, I believe it will run Ekiga/Gnomemeeting itself anyways (guessing but very probable)
      • Netmeeting. No, it does not in any meaningful way. It only supports audio to NetMeeting, which is NOT the way NetMeeting is actually used in the real world. NetMeeting is primarily used to share slide presentations and views of office applications among 2-100 remote meeting attendees, and to remote control someone's desktop for support purposes. Saying GnomeMeeting/Ekiga supports NetMeeting is like saying elinks supports the Web. Technically, its true, but practically, the web is more than text. Voice
    • by Bob Loblaw (545027) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:47PM (#14910573)
      Ekiga should work with and SIP service that openly peers to other networks. I have personally used it with Gizmo for voice-only chat and it works fine. Unfortunately, the text chat does not work with Gizmo. Gizmo is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

      In my experience, Ekiga is better than Gizmo in that:
      - it is open source
      - it can register with multiple providers simultaneously
      - integrates with your Evolution contact list
      - has support for more codecs
      - is not tied to a particular SIP provider so you can use it as your Gizmo voice client and access all the features of the Gizmo SIP provider
      - has video
      - communicates with old and new NetMeeting

      Gizmo client is better than Ekiga in that:
      - it has built-in Jabber presence and messaging although you can use Gaim as your Gizmo Jabber client
      - has a mapping button to see where your caller is calling from

      So pick whichever suits your needs.
  • Anyone knows whether this, any other SIP, any other H.323 or any other free (RMS-style) supports acceptable encryption? Public key preferrable? Since Skype did the Intel thing I'm about to ditch the last non-free app I commonly use, but encryption would be a necessity for me (Given recent court decisions in Germany my trust is waning :-P).
    • I'm not an expert, but the wind is blowing towards TLS encryption of the call.

      I'm not aware of any softphones that have TLS features. Not to mention anyone providing TLS capable SIP service. But, it's been a while since I've looked it over.

  • What ekiga means (Score:3, Informative)

    by milgr (726027) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:00PM (#14910187)
    According to the blog [gnomemeeting.net] where the ekiga [gnomemeeting.org] name change was announced,
    When communicating using drums, the sender will identify himself at the start of the transmission with the specific notes corresponding to his personal moto, and those of the other correspondant in order to draw his attention. This technic is also used in another communication language, without drums, called Ekiga, which consists in reproducing the notes, without words, emitting the syllable "ke" in a falsetto voice, and repeating it with the corresponding tones.
  • Anyone have a side-by-side comparison of Ekiga/GnomeMeeting with Asterisk, at least on their common telephony/conferencing features?
    • Asterisk is a PBX. Ekiga is a user agent.

      Apples to oranges.
    • Any such side-by-side comparison would be like comparing shiny red buttons to nuclear bombs.

      Ekiga is the end client that would connect to Asterisk which would provide the PBX and infrustructure to route your call. Not exactly the same animal and the only comparison that could be usefully drawn is that they communicate with one another.
    • Yes, and does anyone have any spec sheets comparing Firefox to IIS?

      Or thunderbird to sendmail?

      How about any comparisons on my ADSL modem to a DSLAM?

      (pssst... one is a client, one is a server)
  • I've uploaded package of Ekiga 2.0.0 earlier today to Mandriva Cooker, a version built for GNOME2.14 is available from my private repository: http://gpwgnome.osknowledge.net/ [osknowledge.net]
  • Wanted to give it a try but then I read that it needs ALSA. The Nvidia driver for NForce4 mobos only implements OSS.
    • You should bug Nvidia to make a driver that impliments ALSA since that is the standard these days whereas OSS was the standard 10 years ago.

      Or even better, try to convince them to contribute directly to the open source drivers for their boards.

      Ekiga supporting OSS would be a giant leap backwards and I'm glad they don't. Hauling around code to support an obsolete legacy interface is just a drain on developer time and asking for trouble as the code rots.
  • by jgaynor (205453) <jon AT gaynor DOT org> on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:08PM (#14910250) Homepage
    To echo the 15 comments above this, yes the name needs some work. While we're at it the logo sucks too - but that does not change the fact that this is a fantastic product. I've been using it for a few months now on in a 'videoconferencing only' role on my winboxen and I REALLY like it.

    Pros
    - relatively stable: only has problems when I try to redial before a previous session has properly terminated
    - interoperability: I've tested with Sony, Polycom & Tandberg H.323 codecs - flawless. SIP native means it will continue to work with equipment from these vendors.
    - Higher speed, more options than netmeeting or openphone (static images, video files, etc)
    - It's f**king free (Polycom PVX, Tandberg suite cost assloads and require support fees)

    Cons
    - relatively stable: see above, could be improved
    - adding codecs screws shit up - it comes with H.261 default. I've had mixed success trying to add 3rd party codecs (h.263, h.264)

    Microsoft gave up supporting netmeeting years go (and with it, open standard conferencing). They are now dumping all of their money into conferenceXP - a laggy, buggy and mem-leaky alternative which excludes anyone other than XP or win2k3 users. Win32 Ekiga is a godsend to anyone who has to support hardware video codecs in a windows environment.

    Here's the slow link to the port info: http://snapshots.gnomemeeting.net/win32/ [gnomemeeting.net]
  • Although there are a couple of softphones for Linux that do work with Vonage, I haven't been very happy with them, and they seem to be dead projects, so I'd like to see another option. Does anyone know if this would work? I don't see any mention of anything but the Ekiga "PC to Phone" account in the FAQ.
    • This is a very good question, and no where on the Ekiga site does it say,
      "You can use Ekiga with SIP services from Vonage, SIPDiscount and others!"

      The FAQ makes it seem like Ekiga will *only* work with services from Diamond.

      I'm totally lost here; I was using Skype until Ebay took over and the linux port supporting ALSA was dropped. Then, I moved to Gizmo, dropped $10 for PC to phone calls and the service is 100% unusable (drop outs, really bad delay, echo problems, you name it).

      All I want to do is use lin

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