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Firefox VoIP Client 177

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the communication-dashboard dept.
libocannici writes "Abbeynet Labs has released the first version of a Firefox VoIP extension which is a full featured SIP user agent plugin for Firefox." The Firefox extension is completely stand-alone, with all VoIP functionality built directly into it. From one-click calling to SMS sending, this promises to be quite handy. All Internet calls are currently free, just requiring an abbyphone account, while PSTN calls have a small charge.
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Firefox VoIP Client

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  • AMD (Score:5, Funny)

    by celardore (844933) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:11PM (#15577853)
    Will it work on my AMD processor?
  • Err, why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Poromenos1 (830658) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:13PM (#15577875) Homepage
    Why does this have to be a Firefox extension? Why can't I just use Skype (or at least make it standalone)?

    I use Opera, damnit!
    • Re:Err, why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:21PM (#15577935)
      Good question. It isn't like it is cross platform or anything. So not only is it limited to Firefox, but also Windows. Seems like a silly set of restrictions just to get the "convenience" of clicking on a phone number and calling or whatever it does. How often does that happen, anyway? Calling tech support from a vendor support page?

      -matthew
      • Windows let's you register your own protocol handlers, if you wanted you could easily register "skype://" and have the Skype client pick up on in webpage clicks, if Skype haven't already done so (I've never used it).
        • Actually, after some more thought i realized that it would require an extension to make the phone number clickable in the first place which could be done in a relatively simple extension and then call an external app as you say.

          -matthew
          • Actually, after some more thought i realized that it would require an extension to make the phone number clickable in the first place which could be done in a relatively simple extension and then call an external app as you say.

            Actually, it would probably best be done as a greasemonkey script, at least for the issue of making phone numbers into links. I'm not sure how to best add a protocol handler.

    • Re:Err, why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by coreyb (125522) <coreyb@j2 t . c j b . net> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:21PM (#15577939)
      RTFA - you click on a phone number in a web page and it calls it. Not that cutting and pasting 10 digits would be that difficult, but there it is.
      • Re:Err, why? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ugot2BkidNme (632036)
        umm useing the callto:############### can prompt skype to make the call for you as well. it's not like it is genious or anything it defaults to the application set same as the mailto: function on the href.
      • Re:Err, why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:52PM (#15578173)

        you click on a phone number in a web page and it calls it.

        You still don't need to build the VOIP into the browser. Just a Greasemonkey script to convert plain-text telephone numbers into <a href="tel:..."> [ietf.org] links and a handler to pass off tel: links to an external program just like mailto: links are handled.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:24PM (#15577956)
      http://www.skype.com/download/skypewebtoolbar/fire fox.html [skype.com]

      I maintain a salesforce database and this thing is brilliant. Just click the #.
    • Re:Err, why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wfberg (24378)
      Why does this have to be a Firefox extension? Why can't I just use Skype (or at least make it standalone)?

      There are a zillion stand alone SIP applications, which is beside the point.
      From the company's perspective this is great for 3 reasons;
      1) one-click install; no setup.exe, no .zip files people can't open, no folders they shouldn't delete; it's all hidden away, much like it's pretty hard to fudge up your macromedia flash "install".
      2) silly browser integration; it recognizes phonenumbers and makes them cli
      • If it's really that useful, Opera will have it integrated in 3 months time anyway ;-)

        You laugh, but Opera for mobile phones already implements RFC 3966 [ietf.org], which means you can click on a link in a web page to call somebody.

    • The same could be said about Opera widgets, most of which have nothing to do with being useful to web browsing.

      When Web 2.0 calms, and the dust has settled we will see what consequences have swept in with all this madness.

      How about a simple extension that'll make it easy to transfer webpage bookmarks across IM network during conversation, without having to go edit your bookmark and copy and paste the url, that may actually be a useful integration for heavy VoIP users...no no lets just put the whole VoIP cli
    • compatibility (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrYak (748999)
      Why can't I just use Skype ?
      Maybe because Skype uses some closed proprietary protocols, and is only compatible with Skype,
      whereas this extension use the SIP protocol (documented and open), and therefor is compatible with the gazillion of other SIP-compatible VoIP applications (e.g.: Ekiga [ekiga.org] - H323/SIP VoIP software).
  • Ticked Off Ma Bell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:15PM (#15577891)
    I betcha if this every caught on ... it could really tick off the big phone companies.
    • Yeah, because you know everyone is just dying to be able to make personal phone calls from their web browser. Seriously, the only VoIP services that pose any serious threat to the big phone companies are real POTS replacements like Vonage or Speakeasy VoIP, etc. You know, the services that you can plug your regular phone into and not be chained to your computer. Services that offer 911.

      -matthew
    • by vishbar (862440)
      Remember the lack of net neutrality? Now, Ma Bell just calls up her ISP division, and oops--VOIP transmissions are suddenly shaped into 1kb/s oblivion...
    • I betcha if this every caught on ... it could really tick off the big phone companies.

      *sigh* Fine then... You've convinced me. I'll give it a try.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So if it's a standalone extension, why is it an extension? Just for the GUI?
  • by AWhiteFlame (928642) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:18PM (#15577915) Homepage
    Firefox Plugins: Why run anything else?

    I'll just run Skype in my tray, thanks..
    • It would be kinda interesting to be able to visit someone's blog and be able to talk with other visitors and the author live time. And it could also be handy if you keep a "speed dial" list on your startup page, no need to dig out numbers, just hit the home button and click the link to your favorite relative.

      -Rick
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:18PM (#15577917) Homepage

    With all this development for FF, it makes me shed a tear for IE users. If they only knew.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by file-exists-p (681756) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:19PM (#15577920)

    This is a non-free windows VOIP application. There are zillions of similar things already on the market. Why is this one noticeable ? Because it was stuffed into firefox-the-free-software ?

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:22PM (#15577946) Journal
    How about a FORTRAN compiler plugin or a plugin to catalog the users collection of anal beads?

    Seriously, can we say feature bloat?

    The next firefox news I want to here is the news that firefox 1.5 isn't a memory leaking bloated piece of shit under linux. I'm not joking when I say that running IE under wine is faster and more stable on my machine. FF is leaking memory just sitting there doing nothing -- I can see it happen with top.
    • Seriously, can we say feature bloat?

      Not really...this is an EXTENSION which means it is not built into the firefox code base. You have to put extra effort to actually download and install it. If you download and install then obviously you know what you are doing and the extension is worth something to you. Other could care less and can simply chose to ignore. I don't see how that is a feature bloat.

      I'm not joking when I say that running IE under wine is faster and more stable on my machine. FF is leaki
    • s/EMACS/Firefox (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anothy (83176)
      Eighty Megabytes And Continually Swapping?

      Firefox is my operating system; linux is its device drivers?

      Future, meet the past. Past, the future.
    • Odd that a Linux user savvy enough to run top and spot memory leaks could be so completely ignorant of a concept as simple as Firefox extensions.

      You're right about it being unstable though. But the memory usage is for a reason. It's wasting a lot of memory to track how much time you've spent typing a textarea. It then takes this data and uses even more memory working out the exact right moment to crash and lose all your work on you, for maximum psychological effect. Bastards.

    • How about a FORTRAN compiler plugin or a plugin to catalog the users collection of anal beads? Seriously, can we say feature bloat?

      Doesn't that depend on how much of your bead collection you use at once? ;)
  • by dubmun (891874)
    I'm just not sure I want to open Firefox everytime I want to make a phonecall ;)

    Seriously, I don't think phone companies are going to care too much about this. They are more concerned with cellphone and how to continue to be profitable in the rapidly changing telecommunications marketplace.

    Home telephone service is dying. (Please excuse the redundancy of that last statement. It just seemed like it needed to be said.)
    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:40PM (#15578084) Journal
      Home telephone service is dying.

      Home telephone will die when:

      1) Cellular coverage is complete and solid. There are still large chunks of rural areas with no service at all.

      2) Cellular service becomes reliable. I run into "network busy" at least once a month; I've never had such a problem with my land line.

      3) cellular service becomes truly affordable. I can get a land line with unlimited long distance for somewhere around $60-70. If I go with the most basic service, I can get it unlimited local for under $40. My cell phone plan with 600 "any time" minutes costs more than either. First cell company to unlimited minutes for $50 a month wins my cash vote.

      4) DSL is available without telephone service. That's where the phone companies like AT&T are already going: they see a severe decline in landline subscriptions coming and are trying to dig into the cable market. "Fiber to the home" is becoming quite the popular phrase.
      • costs more than either. First cell company to unlimited minutes for $50 a month wins my cash vote.

        They win [metropcs.com]. Coverage areas are limited, as they are a new launch and they are apparently building out their network. Even so, in the limited places where they offer service, this price point -- unlimited airtime for $45/mo -- has arrived.

        Even more fun, there's no contract and no activation fee. While the phones aren't portable to other carriers (CDMA) and the selection of handsets is limited, that will chan

        • Five states, and only minimal coverage in most of those. They don't even cover Houston, and I live in a little rural Texas town hours from any of the major metros. They're not a viable solution for the vast majority of us. I'm talking about national coverage, not some little startup...you know most of those fail in a few years, right?

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:26PM (#15577977) Homepage Journal
    With my normally running Skype and/or gaim, I've already got all that functionality. I love Firefox and all, but I really see no need to use my web browser as yet another 3rd-party non-free VOIP app.
  • by OverDrive33 (468610) * on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:32PM (#15578022) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me, or is it getting more and more possible to do away with Windows completely and just use a plethora of Firefox extensions to accomplish the same goals?
    The more I think about it, there certainly are enough extensions out there to just have Windows boot firefox.exe rather than explorer as a default shell. Forget the start menu! Everything you need is built into your web browser!! As for office apps, there's a good range of "Web 2.0" office suites that you could use.
    I can't decide if this is a good or a bad thing.
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:03PM (#15578228)

      Yes, Firefox is truly becoming the 21st century EMACS. It's a decent OS, all it needs now is a good web browser ;).

      What really worries me is when the EMACS developers realise that they can replace their built-in web browser with Firefox and when the Firefox developers realise that they can replace their built-in text boxes with EMACS. The resulting bloat will collapse in on itself and the Earth will be sucked into the newly-formed black hole.

    • You are correct ... well ... except for the fact this is extension is for Windoze only (abbeyphone-ff.xpi/components/SIPXPCOM.dll).
    • Re: extensions. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by linvir (970218) *

      I can't decide if this is a good or a bad thing.

      Good:

      • OS independance
      • Mostly open standards and open source
      • World peace
      • A cure for AIDS

      Bad:

      • The price of OS independance (in this case) is incredibly high-level programming, with system requirements to match
      • PAEDOPHILES CAN USE BROWSERS!!!

      My Pentium III can still handle KDE + Firefox + Extensions, so I'm not complaining yet. And at 4 - 2, it's a net win for Good Thing.

    • I can't decide if this is a good or a bad thing.

      I'll help you out: It's the latter.

      Features are nice as long as the UI is clean and performance doesn't suffer. FireFox accomplishes neither at the moment. Opera, on the other hand, have in my opinion been walking a fine line, performance is still good enough, but occasionally I have my doubts about the interface (usually after having seen my step-mother using it, but she's capable of not understanding anything, including 'click there','click with the left

  • by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:33PM (#15578030) Homepage
    As others have pointed out, it's not the first VoIP extemsion for Firefox.

    There's also an IAX client for Asterisk fans called MozIAX available here [mozdev.org].

  • by Se7enLC (714730) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:38PM (#15578067) Homepage Journal
    ... No, it doesn't work in linux

    Saying "firefox plugin" is not enough if you don't plan on supporting ALL versions of firefox. You need to specify "windows only" so we can lump it in with the rest of the windows VoIP crap.
  • aw, geeze ..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gorshkov (932507) <admgorshkov AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:39PM (#15578076)
    Somehow, I don't see me trusting the technical excellence of anybody who is going to try to talk me into trying something on a webpage with a dark blue background and small, light grey text

  • by OlivierB (709839) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:41PM (#15578093)
    Wengo's had a Firefox multi-plateform (Mac, PC, Linux) and multi-architecture (x86, PPC) VoIP extension available for about 4 months now. See it here [wengo.com]

    Wengo btw is my operator of choice here in Europe with top-notch voice quality and reliability with prices lower than Skype. Only problem is their inbound number is France only atm. Did I mention that they have a working Gaim port? [wengo.com]

  • Who wants to take bets on how long before someone writes an office suite plugin?
  • VoIP in a browser? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mnmn (145599) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @03:50PM (#15578153) Homepage
    Forgive me for asking but what part of the browsing experience makes up voip? How is voip browsing?

    Things like xmms and mplayer are more 'browsing' than voip. Things like email clients, voip, financial applications, spreadsheets, idsoftware games are all non-browser software and should not be a part of the browser. A browser should include things that are required for browsers, and wont go anywhere else like shockwave flash players.

    And I've seen other comments before, people dont like their firefoxen growing fatter.
    • One "VoIP in a browser" scenario that immediately springs to mind is customer support. Say you go to your bank's web site to look at your statement, and something doesn't check out. It would be nice to be able to click on the button that says "Speak with a representative" and be on your way. Same for retail, or any other industry, really. Or, with your Yahoo/Google/MSN contact list, it would be nice to be able to click on an icon next to someone's name to speak with them.

      And don't get sucked into Skype
  • Flock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tecker (793737) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:02PM (#15578224) Homepage
    This seems like something that would be better suited for Flock [flock.com] rather then Firefox. Wouldnt it make more sense for You to be able to see who was on and then be able to call them for free. Im guessing that someone will do this.
  • by dmbtech (790450) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:03PM (#15578229) Homepage
    A great alternite to this extension is the openwengo firefox extension. Its a little buggy, but gets its job done and looks very nice. Its called openwengo, and you can get it from http://www.openwengo.org/ [openwengo.org] . Its open source, lightweight and also allows free phone line calls, which Abbeynet doesn't do.
  • ...is this /. news? Does anything that happens with firefox by definition make it news? A VoIP client is just a SIP or perhaps an IAX2 stack with a text interface. There are many libraries for doing this now. A java sip library and a few minutes of ui code can build a SIP client. What value is there in having it part of firefox and not a standalone bit of java that runs in your KDE or Windoze desktop? Is there a reason you'd only want to make or receive calls when firefox is loaded?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:09PM (#15578272) Homepage Journal
    I hope that the wide deployment of Firefox makes this SIP client catch on fast and replace the proprietary Skype clients that created the market.

    And I hope this SIP client pushes Firefox into even further deployment.

    Simple integration of voice into the Web has the power to be the "new Netscape", combining multiple related functions into a single integrated experience among hundreds of millions of people around the world.

    Calling the PSTN for a charge might become like the mid-1990s paying small dialup prices to access the rest of the Net for "free".
  • What phone+video communication software do you recommend?

    It must run at least on Linux and Windows, and running on OpenBSD would be a plus.

    PSTN connection is not a must, but would be nice as well.

    So, what is the best software for phone and/or video communication?
  • by freelunch (258011) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:37PM (#15578446)
    Voice Over NSA.
  • This is a great step but I've been dying to find a relatively cheap java VOIP Applet.

    My parents are technophobes - replacing IE is possible but having them download an extension is a bit much.

    Show me a working java VOIP applet I can put on my webpage (I don't care if I need to pay to sign it) and I'm definitely willing to shell out some cash.
  • by Queer Boy (451309)
    How is this the first? Especially since you can use Wengo on Macs and Linux [wengo.com].
  • ...3D Realms has announced that Duke Nukem Forever will be shipping soon as a Firefox plugin.
  • Firefox is the new emacs D:

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