Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Popular VoIP software is closed source with plans to be evil as Google

VoIP with plans to be evil Following from my post on Gizmo Project, it turns out that more than a handful of VoIP companies are already in direct competition with Skype. I suspected as much, but didn't expect that several of these would be offering the free calls to landlines like Gizmo and Skype. All the same, it seems that Gizmo is the first to offer free calls to landlines in Australia.

I also checked Wikipedia for a comparison of VoIP software. Wikipedia is a such very good place indeed to start a comparison of any category of software, that it might have been started for that purpose! Anyway Wikipedia's comparison of this category of software is marked as being under development, but it looks like both Skype and Gizmo Project are guilty of being closed-source software and Skype, as we know, is further guilty of using a proprietary protocol to send the voice packets. The upshot of this for me is that Gizmo Project and Skype, now being owned by eBay, are just as evil as Microsoft's Windows Messenger and Google Talk.

Asterisk PBX logo The only VoIP software app I could find that is dual licensed is Asterisk, an open-source implementation of a telephone exchange. It's used by the popular calling shop software *starShop, a great example of how to make a business model on open source software. More strength to this "only pay for commercial use" model I say. And hopefully the flawed-but-useful model of capitalism will bring more competition to providers like Gizmo Project and eBay/Skype from providers who use open-source VoIP software and non-proprietary transmission protocols!

To non-geeks who read, apologies for these overly techy posts. I'll try to stick more to the social-relevance side of the techy pool as was the original plan on this blog!

Coming up: I want to write a more extensive blog post on this idea of making profit from open source software in the spirit of doing well while doing good.

"VoIP plans to be evil" image derived from image of author.
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Anonymous jair said...

You should see the range of software for biological data mining - most of that is open source, with commercial use costing a fortune. Research use is generally free. This is often the case with lab equipment as well.

And if you think software and music are the only versions of piracy, you should see what they charge for vectors (proprietary DNA constructs to move pieces of DNA around from organism to organism). A lab I used to work in paid $1000 for a strain of bacteria, and a further $700 for the DNA vector. Of course, we made massive amounts of both, and allowed the entire department to use it (well, they gave us the money in the first place, so it was only fair... right?)

Awesome pic, by the way.

July 27, 2006 9:07 am  
Blogger DelorumRex said...

Lisa, you are an angel!

August 02, 2006 8:15 pm  
Blogger tahpot said...

I can understand Skype using closed source code as they are the dominant market player. Gizmo or any other player attempting to challenge Skype though does not make sense. Surely they would use an open protocol to give them a marketing advantage?

October 03, 2006 10:12 pm  

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