This morning's eTel presentation on open source VoIP was compelling. Erik van Eykelen from Voipster BV stood up to talk about OpenZoep. OpenZoep (pronounced "open soup") is a neat-looking solution that offers plenty, and you can have this under either a GNU/GPL or a commercial license:
- in/outbound P2P calls
- outbound PSTN calls
On the client side, OpenZoep has a VoIP engine built using C, and an
XPCOM API that makes the engine accessible from either Firefox or other
Mozilla-based applications. This client creates a VoIP app on your own
desktop, which then does the work of translating simple commands (hang up, pick
up call, etc) into complex commands that are sent to the server. Voipster chose Jabber XMPP to handle this server communication.
Server-side on OpenZoep is also built using Jabber code. This handles SIP/PSTN well, but accounting and billing are still difficult, since there isn't a good open standard for accounting.
Eykelen must constantly be asked why they are bothering to develop
this software, when Skype is still free. His answer? OpenZoep offers
both a GPL and a commercial license, is interoperable with both IM and
SIP, and (so he claims) offers an easy, extensible API. The company's
goal is to drive complete interoperability (and hence competition)
between VoIP systems, so that there is just one VoIP phone book.
More info is at extensions.mozilla.org - the company just uploaded
OpenZoep yesterday and they've 1,000 downloads so far. Try it out and
let them know what you think.