Skype is out, Ekiga is in — and Truly Free

As many of you know, I have been somewhat of a Skype evangelist ever since the first time I tried it. Skype is the software that makes your computer into a video telephone for free worldwide calling.

In the past year, however, I’ve had more and more concerns over Skype’s secretive excessive use of your internet bandwidth — even when you’re not making calls. Also, I’ve been reading some very disconcerting news about Skype’s secretive and proprietary protocols, and how they may already be abusing them.

There are also reports about Skype engaging in censorship and government espionage in China — assisting the government of China in monitoring and censoring their own citizens.

Also, because Skype does not adhere to open standards, you’re really locked in to one company… with no possibility of fair and open competition. They could begin charging for the service any time they want to, and you and all of your contacts are really locked in to a certain degree.

See:

Meet Ekiga — my new favorite internet telephone and videoconferencing software

Now, I have a new hero: Ekiga.org

Ekiga is completely Open Source / Free – which means that it is, and always will be, free for all to use… and it will continually be improved by developers who donate their time and effort to make it better.

Even the regular telephone number is free!

Here’s what you do:

(1) If you are using a Windows computer, go to Ekiga.ORG to download the Windows version of the Ekiga software for free. If you are already using Ubuntu (which I recommend, by the way), then you already have Ekiga — it’s built-in. Simply go to “Applications–>Internet–>Ekiga Softphone” to launch it.

(2) Go to Ekiga.NET to register a new account. This will give you what is called a “SIP number”. It is like a “user ID” for the open internet telephone network. For example, mine is: sip:brucewagner@ekiga.net and Ed’s is sip:edgel@ekiga.net

(3) To get your own absolutely free normal telephone number assigned to your Ekiga softphone, go to IPKall.com. On this sign-up page, you’ll: (a) select an area code for your phone number, (b) where it says SIP phone number, enter the first part of your SIP number — as in my case it would be “brucewagner”, (c) for the SIP proxy, enter the last part — as in my case it would be “ekiga.net”, then enter your email address and a password and click SUBMIT. You’ll receive your new phone number in your email within moments. It should be working right away. When anyone calls it, it will ring on your computer. Mine is 206-456-0597, and Ed’s is 206-456-0585. Call us now and try it out!

Telephone service can’t get any more free than that!

~

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__________________
Bruce Wagner
http://brucewagner.com
http://brucewagner.com/blog
bruce@brucewagner.com
646-275-2195

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5 thoughts on “Skype is out, Ekiga is in — and Truly Free

  1. Alan

    Bruce,

    I just wanted to post an update. In my previous comment I was still in America, but now I’m in Kenya in the “bush” and I’d like to share my experiences!

    I still have the same Linux setup with Ekiga, IPKall, etc, but now my internet connection is a USB 3G modem. I don’t have 3G out here in the bush, but I get about 10-30 K/sec via GPRS if I’m lucky. I had my girlfriend call me the other day and I was shocked how well the setup worked!

    I anticipated getting less than 10K/sec so I switched my audio codec to SPEEX at 8K/sec… I could hear her voice VERY well, and she could here me well, just broken sentences and a little bit of lag.

    Thanks again for the tips… I can’t wait to try this in Nairobi where 3G is more prevalent!

    -Alan

    http://alaninkenya.org

    Reply
  2. Dongxu Li

    skype always cheats by taking customer money, then blocking the user account and not replying customer support requests.

    so, skype charging whatever they like, it’s a reality, not just hypothetic.

    wikipedia has great reference about skype traps, and it’s chilling that ebay owns a public cheating company.

    Reply

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