wonderful world of ubuntu

30 07 2007

After a brief adventure with PCLinuxOS, Iam back with Ubuntu. Reinstalled fiesty (07) version from scratch. Almost anything you need under the sun is in the repository .

  • openSER
  • astrisk
  • drivel
  • drupal
  • gnome-mail-notification (yes! this was missing in PCLinuxOS ’07 and getting it to install from source was such a pain)




Whats the deal with the white rabbit ?

29 07 2007

Ooma deviceScoop: 27M of VC money, 2.5 years of development for another VoIP service that essentially exploits the free termination loophole? I wonder what the deal is with Ooma? This is a service that gives you a set-top box that acts as ATA (broad band in, standard telephony jack, perhaps mutliple? out and vice versa). Call termination is simple. its just going to be like any other VoIP offerings such as Vonage. But for callout, it seem to route the calls to any Ooma user near to its location who has a local landline, terminate it at his box (basically then the box acts as a CO switch — now wait until the telco’s respond to that :-)), place a regular local call from there. Is it innovation or twisted PhoneGnome, sort of both or or just plain boring ? I guess it depends on who you ask!

Pricing: $399 for the box. Free USA and Canada calls forever.

My Thoughts: So for this to succeed, Ooma must be counting on large number of its customer base to have traditional local service. Otherwise it has to pay for these local routing. And for money stream, they may offer some enhanced and premium services and charge a monthly fee. I can’t imagine they can run the company from just selling the set-top box for $399.





sunrocket … gone

29 07 2007

After few years of being the low cast VoIP provider, finally sunrocket closed down for good, quite unceremoniously. Few friends of mine (few of 200K customers) who had this service told me that they did not get any advance (or post) notice from the company. Some other blogs said they had a “Closed” board on the building.

Is this the tip of the iceberg or just an isolated incident. I suspect the first though.

If you are a Sunrocket customer, you may want to check this link.





Interesting VoIP services

29 07 2007
  • PhoneGnome: This service offers to provide VoIP connection to any phone. Wonder how they did that. Have not tested it.
  • TalkPlus: This offers a web based callsetup for any phones (landline/mobile) for a competitive rate. Also offers a call-forward # from international to US (no India though), virtual telno that maps to real telno (like some CreditCards do). Interesting and useful features.
  • GrandCentral: Provides find me follow me and unified voice box (now part of Google)
  • Yoomba: offers voice over email. wonder how the heck they did it, but with almost all email SPs also offering voice (Google, Yahoo) I wonder if there is a market for this still.

Interesting Companies

  • Logitel: promises TDM, IP and Mobile convergence. Is n”t the Voice 2.0 (or 10.0) nirvana ?




Linux VoIP tools

29 07 2007

Some Do It Yourself VoIP services, Servers and tools
Softphones:

  • Ekiga is a tool to communicate with video and audio over the internet.
    It uses both SIP and H323 protocol and is compatible with Microsoft Netmeeting.
    It used to be called GnomeMeeting

This seem quite usable. A client, service provider + a sip address (sip:bsnram@ekiga.com). Right after the signup, echo test with placing a callto sip:500@ekiga.net. Works great!

  • Twinkle is a soft phone for your voice over IP communcations using the SIP
    protocol. You can use it for direct IP phone to IP phone communication or in
    a network using a SIP proxy to route your calls

Service Providers (free)

  • SipGate: also has client X-Lite (do they have linux version?)

Proxies and SIP Servers

  • SER: SIP Express Router from iptel.: SIP server (redirect, proxy and register server). Not a call session aware B2BUA (Back to back user agent). I have n’t tried it yet, but seem like the configuration might be quite involved.
  • OpenSER: free proxy server. This is a SIP proxy, registrar, location, app and dispatcher server. If this sounds similar to SER, it actually is. This claims to be low latency dev cycle and more open than SER and here is abrief comparison of SER and OpenSER
  • sip-tester: for testing sip proxies and devices.
  • sipsak: the swiss army knife for test testing and debugging.

Resources:

  • Wiki: from voip-info.
    • List of SIP software in Wikipedia
    • List of SIP S/W in iptel site




    Open source VoIP Apps

    28 07 2007

    Softphones:

    • Ekiga is a tool to communicate with video and audio over the internet.
      It uses both SIP and H323 protocol and is compatible with Microsoft Netmeeting.
      It used to be called GnomeMeeting

    This seem quite usable. A client, service provider + a sip address (sip:bsnram@ekiga.com). Right after the signup, echo test with placing a callto sip:500@ekiga.net. Works great!

    • Twinkle is a soft phone for your voice over IP communcations using the SIP
      protocol. You can use it for direct IP phone to IP phone communication or in
      a network using a SIP proxy to route your calls

    Require a sip service provider a/c (see below) or just select IP-IP mode. Just for the kicks, I opened twinkle and ekiga on the same box and tried to call each other. The basic call setup (SIP signalling) went alright. But due to resource collision I can’t basically have a voice path setup. Got to try from different machines.

    You can see the SIP (and SDP) messages exchanged for callsetup under logs (View->Logs in Twinkle)

    +++ 29-7-2007 00:01:52.058494 INFO SIP ::send_sip_udp
    Send to: 86.64.162.35:5060
    INVITE sip:bsnram@ekiga.net SIP/2.0
    Via: SIP/2.0/UDP 192.168.0.101:5061;rport;branch=z9hG4bKoztcbmsj
    Max-Forwards: 70
    To: <sip:bsnram@ekiga.net>
    From: “Ramesh Natarajan” <sip:bsnram@ekiga.net>;tag=rgkpq
    Call-ID: cmepyztepvlzdoj@192.168.0.101
    CSeq: 29 INVITE
    Contact: <sip:bsnram@192.168.0.101:5061>
    Content-Type: application/sdp
    Allow: INVITE,ACK,BYE,CANCEL,OPTIONS,PRACK,REFER,NOTIFY,SUBSCRIBE,INFO
    Supported: replaces,norefersub,100rel
    User-Agent: Twinkle/1.0.1
    Content-Length: 309

    v=0
    o=bsnram 1474529385 737035147 IN IP4 192.168.0.101
    s=-
    c=IN IP4 192.168.0.101
    t=0 0
    m=audio 8002 RTP/AVP 98 97 8 0 3 101
    a=rtpmap:98 speex/16000
    a=rtpmap:97 speex/8000
    a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000
    a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000
    a=rtpmap:3 GSM/8000
    a=rtpmap:101 telephone-event/8000
    a=fmtp:101 0-15
    a=ptime:20

    Service Providers (free)

    • SipGate: also has client X-Lite (do they have linux version?)

    Proxies and SIP Servers

    • SER: SIP Express Router from iptel.: SIP server (redirect, proxy and register server). Not a call session aware B2BUA (Back to back user agent). I have n’t tried it yet, but seem like the configuration might be quite involved.
    • OpenSER: free proxy server. This is a SIP proxy, registrar, location, app and dispatcher server. If this sounds similar to SER, it actually is. This claims to be low latency dev cycle and more open than SER and here is abrief comparison of SER and OpenSER

    I choose to download the source tar (non TLS, no DB) and install it. Here is some more info on install.

    Basically its,

    make
    make prefix=/usr/local install

    and Iam done. (I just had to install bison via Synaptics). Thats simple!

    Next step, start it from /usr/local/sbin/openserctl. (I had to stop ekiga since it was using the same port. ekiga was still running in the background after closing the window. Had to do a killall, not sure if there is any ctlfunctins to gracefully exit ekiga)

    [root@marvin run]# openserctl start

    Starting OpenSER : Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin openser: init_tcp: using epoll_lt as the io watch method (auto detected)
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO: statistics manager successfully initialized
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: StateLess module – initializing
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: TM – initializing…
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: Maxfwd module- initializing
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO:ul_init_locks: locks array size 512
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: TextOPS – initializing
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO: udp_init: SO_RCVBUF is initially 109568
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO: udp_init: SO_RCVBUF is finally 219136
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO: udp_init: SO_RCVBUF is initially 109568
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14941]: INFO: udp_init: SO_RCVBUF is finally 219136
    Jul 29 01:18:41 marvin /usr/local/sbin/openser[14943]: INFO:mi_fifo:mi_child_init(1): extra fifo listener processes created
    INFO: started (pid: 14941)
    [root@marvin run]# ps axw | grep openser
    14634 ? Ss 0:00 gvim openser.cfg
    14941 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14943 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14944 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14945 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14946 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14947 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14948 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14949 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14950 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14951 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14952 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14953 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14954 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14955 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14956 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14957 ? S 0:00 /usr/local/sbin/openser -P /var/run/openser.pid
    14962 pts/1 R+ 0:00 grep –color openser ( I love this grep –color enhancement)

    Resources:

    • Wiki: from voip-info.
    • List of SIP software in Wikipedia
    • List of SIP S/W in iptel site





    PCLinuxOS 2007 .. a brief encouter

    26 07 2007

    After random freezes in Ubuntu, trying this out on unused partition. So far so good.

    Good:

    • Easy clean install
    • Mandrake Control center
    • RPM and Synaptics
    • Most freq used apps are in repository

    Bad

    • Does not handle dual screen well
    • gnome terminal has some odd bugs (resizes when switching tabs)
    • No gnome mail-notification applet

    Apps:

    • XFCE: The Gnome Terminal bug is too bad Iam dumping Gnome altogether and using XFCE now. xfterm does not show that bug. Xfce also handles the dual screens better.
    • gnome-mail-notification: Trimmed the installation down. Removed KDE and most dev libs I installed as part of my attempt to installing mail-notification applet. Just can’t do it.
    • MyPasswordSafe: Downloaded binary from here. worked like charm.
    • TrueCrypt: Downladed source from here, compiled and installed.
    • tkbiff: Downloaded src from here, compiled and installed
    • tomboy: installed from repository. (needs mono!)

    Resources:

    • Official PCLinuxOS Page: ofcourse
    • The Wiki Page
    • The News page
    • PC Linux Mag : mostly basic stuff (atleast the latest edition)
    • A deverlopers blog: some news, some scoop, some info from the inside
    • MyPCLinuxOS : right now an empty blog, hopefully more interesting things to come

    Followup (Jul 29): Reinstalled Ubuntu fiesty, mainly for package availability in repository. Ubuntu also has no noticeable UI bugs. But the down side is that Ubuntu runs considerably slower, esp when accessing repository.