VoIP has improved a lot since its first days, today a lot of multinational business are using it as a reliable way to keep stay in touch. In this post we will briefly discuss the most popular VoIP applications for Linux distros.
Skype is the most popular VoIP application, with almost 500 million users. The reason why Skype is so popular is that it was built on a separate VoIP service, without the need for users to have to get their hands dirty in tedious SIP settings. The Linux version is a little behind that of Windows, but works pretty well. Some people, however, have some problems to properly detect Skype video camera for video calls.
Download Skype from here
Ekiga, formerly known GnomeMeeting is a free software application for video conferencing and IP telephony for GNOME. It uses the hardware or software compatible with H.323 (such as Microsoft Netmeeting). It is also available for Unix and Windows.
For proper operation, you need to have SIP accounts which can be set free from Ekiga.net. On the other hand to make calls to regular phones from your PC, you must have an account with any Internet telephony server. The same program provider recommends Diamondcard Worldwide Communication Service, although there are many others like VoIPBuster. These services are not free but is paid to the service provider depending on your destination according to their rates.
To install Ekiga in Ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04 / 10.10, Open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install ekiga
Empathy is an instant messaging client based on the Telepathy communications environment. It also provides a common framework for applications to access instant messaging features. It supports many common protocols including Jabber / XMPP, Google Talk, MSN Messenger chat network and local Apple Bonjour / Rendezvous.
Empathy is included by default in GNOME since version 2.24.
Gizmo5 (formerly Gizmo Project) is a VoIP (Voice over IP) client to call PC to PC free of charge which was acquired by Google for a while. Much like Skype, Gizmo5 has nice features like answering service, call recording, missed calls and, of course, text messages “Messenger style.” With the use of additives like Call In and Call Out, Gizmo5 can also be used to call from the PC to landline or mobile.
Download Gizmo5 from here
The following applications also work with SIP and H.323 protocols and are designed for KDE: KPhone and Twinkle
Perhaps the most widely used Linux based SIP softphone. Twinkle only supports Linux and its totally open source SIP Client.
a)Supports upto 2 parallel lines.
b)Multiple active call identities
c)3-way conference calling
e)Out-of-band DTMF (SIP INFO)
f)STUN support for NAT traversal
g)Secure voice communication by ZRTP/SRTP
h)Available as Firefox Extension- TwinkleFox
To install twinkle in Ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04 / 10.10, Open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install twinkle
KPhone is a SIP User Agent for Linux and also acts as a VOIP/SIP softphone.
a) IPv4 and IPv6 support
b) Multiple parallel sessions (in the case of audio, one may be active, the others are held)
c) NAT-traversal and STUN support
d) SRTP encryption for voice (not yet for 64bit processors)
To install Kphone in Ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04 / 10.10, Open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install kphone
Asterisk is a free software program (under GPL) that provides functionality of a telephone exchange (PBX). Like any PBX, you can connect a number of phones to make calls to each other and even connect to a VoIP provider or to an ISDN basic and primary. Asterisk includes many features previously only available in expensive proprietary PBX systems such as voice mail, conferencing, IVR, ACD, and many more. Users can create new functionality by writing a dialplan in Asterisk scripting language or adding modules written in C or any other programming language recognized by Linux. Asterisk recognizes many VoIP protocols such as SIP, H.323, IAX and MGCP. Asterisk can interoperate with IP acting as a registrar and as a gateway between them. Asterisk is starting to take in some corporate environments as a large low-cost solution with SER (Sip Express Router).
To install Asterisk in Ubuntu 9.10 / 10.04 / 10.10, Open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install asterisk
If you have any difficulties please leave a comment.