Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Is open source ready for VoIP?

Filed under
Linux

Open source in the enterprise is most widespread where end users don't see it - on specialised systems where the system only has to do one thing but has to do it well.

The best example is the Apache web hosting system, which has just under 70 per cent market share - but Linux is also widely deployed as an operating system for specialised security appliances.

There's one specialised device in an almost every office with more than a couple of staff - the private branch exchange or PBX, which handles incoming telephone calls, and distributes them to telephones on workers' desks.

These have typically been built on proprietary operating systems, from large companies such as Alcatel, Avaya, Nortel or Siemens. The arrival of IP-based PBX systems has allowed new entrants such as Cisco into the market. But a market already undergoing one revolution could well be fertile ground for another - the switch to open source.

The premise is certainly attractive. Instead of an expensive piece of proprietary hardware, you can get a generic server running a standard distribution of Linux such as Red Hat, and run a free open source PBX program, with no licence costs whatsoever.

The best-established open source telephony system is probably Asterisk, an open source initiative sponsored by Alabama-based company Digium. Another open source initiative, SIPfoundry, sponsored by Pingtel, was launched in Europe in May. The system costs around two-thirds of that for a proprietary PBX, at around £4,000 for a 20-user system. The major saving is in handset costs, just £50 for the Grandstream handsets.

As Eliot Robinson, executive vice-president of Sterling National Bank, says: "We knew we were interested in running voice over IP, and we were interested in open source because, obviously, the price was right."

The early adopters of open source telephony have certainly shaken things up. Last year Linux advocate John 'Maddog' Hall predicted that open source VoIP would be bigger than Linux, at least in revenue terms.

There's still some way to go before this comes true. But the arrival of such flexible, open and low-cost systems in a market dominated by high-margin proprietary products will certainly shake things up.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel

Similar to the kernel states of having a tainted kernel for using binary blob kernel modules or unsigned modules, a new tainting method has been proposed for warning the user about potentially adverse kernel performance. Dave Hansen of Intel has proposed a new "TAINT_PERFORMANCE" for the kernel that would proactively print a warning message about not using the kernel for any performance measurements. Dave explained in his RFC announcement, "I have more than once myself been the victim of an accidentally-enabled kernel configuration option being mistaken for a true performance problem. I'm sure I've also taken profiles or performance measurements and assumed they were real-world when really I was measuring the performance with an option that nobody turns on in production. A warning like this late in boot will help remind folks when these kinds of things are enabled." Read more

Scientific Linux 7.0 x86_64 BETA 3

Fermilab's intention is to continue the development and support of Scientific Linux and refine its focus as an operating system for scientific computing. Today we are announcing a beta release of Scientific Linux 7. We continue to develop a stable process for generating and distributing Scientific Linux, with the intent that Scientific Linux remains the same high quality operating system the community has come to expect. Please do not install Pre-Release software in your production environment. Read more

Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Now Features Linux Kernel 3.16.1

"The Utopic kernel has been rebased to the first v3.16.1 upstream stable kernel and uploaded to the archive, ie. linux-3.16.0-9.14. Please test and let us know your results," says Canonical's Joseph Salisbury, after the latest Ubuntu Kernel Team meeting. Read more