5 open source VoIP softphones to watch

Open source softphones can be deployed on as many devices as required throughout the enterprise -- without additional licence fees.

The steady rise in people using IP telephony to communicate -- for personal and business reasons -- has led to the development of a number of different VoIP “softphones” that can be used on a PC or notebook.

Softphones offer the flexibility of making a call without the need for a dedicated device. If you’re a Skype user you’re probably used to the benefits of free and cheap international calls while you’re on Facebook.

In this edition of "5 Open Source things to Watch" we take a look at VoIP softphones. Unlike their proprietary counterparts, open source softphones can be deployed on as many devices as required throughout the enterprise -- without additional licence fees.

1. QuteCom

QuteCom began life as OpenWengo developed by French VoIP provider Wengo as a free softphone for its telephony service.

QuteCom is cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X) and integrates voice and video calls and instant messaging. The number of protocols supported is on the same level as other multi-protocol IM clients. The application is developed with the Qt cross-platform toolkit.

URL: http://www.qutecom.org/
Licence: GPL

2. SIP Communicator

SIP Communicator is a cross-platform VoIP and instant messaging client developed in Java.

Like other multi-protocol IM clients, SIP Communicator supports the popular protocols like Jabber, AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo! Messenger.

As the name indicates, voice communication is done with SIP and file transfers between clients is now supported for the XMPP, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ and AIM protocols.

SIP Communicator recently received development funding from the NLnet foundation.

URL: http://sip-communicator.org
Licence: LGPL

3. SFLphone

SFLphone is a SIP and IAX2 (Asterisk) compatible softphone for Linux developed by Canadian Linux consulting company Savoir-Faire Linux.

The SFLphone project's goal is to create a “robust enterprise-class desktop phone” and is designed to cater for home users as well as the “hundred-calls-a-day receptionist”.

Its main features include support of unlimited number of calls, multi-accounts, call transfer and hold. Call recording is another useful feature.

SFLphone has clients for GNOME (integrated options), KDE and Python and it now supports the PulseAudio sound server, so users can experience additional functionality like sound mixing and per-application volume control.

The softphone is designed to connect to the Asterisk open source PABX.

URL: http://www.sflphone.org/
Licence: GPL3

4. Empathy

Empathy is a unified communications client that supports text, voice, and video chat and file transfers over a variety of protocols. Empathy uses Telepathy for protocol support and is the default chat client for the GNOME desktop. Fedora Linux has also adopted Empathy as its default UC client.

Being multi-protocol Empathy supports popular messaging services like XMPP (Jabber/Google Talk), MSN, IRC, Salut, AIM, Facebook, Yahoo!, Groupwise and ICQ. Voice and video call support is also multi-protocol and can us SIP, XMPP, Google Talk and MSN.

Empathy’s other features include sharing and viewing of location information, group chat, and support for collaborative applications (“tubes”).

URL: http://live.gnome.org/Empathy
Licence: GPL

5. Ekiga

Ekiga (formerly known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source VoIP and video conferencing application for the GNOME desktop, but it can be used with KDE as well. Ekiga uses both H.323 and SIP for voice and has a number of enterprise features like integration with Novell Evolution and LDAP support. Administrators can block some settings if required.

To improve the user experience, Ekiga supports jitter buffering, echo cancellation and wideband codecs. Simultaneous account registration is supported as is multiple network interfaces Ekiga.net also offers free SIP accounts for VoIP.

URL: http://www.ekiga.org/
Licence: GPL

For more articles in this series, be sure to check out:
5 open source security projects to watch
5 open source network management projects to watch
5 open source virtualisation technologies to watch
5 open source CRM systems to watch
5 open source billing systems to watch
5 open source office suites to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 open source help desk apps to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try

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Susie Boatman


How can I listen to the recordings on the calls made with QuteCom? Our company is trying out the system and the owner wants me to monitor the calls made by the employees. I understand how to use the phone system I just do not know how to listen to the calls.

Best Regards
Susie Boatman

Susie Boatman


How can I listen to the recordings on the calls made with QuteCom? Our company is trying out the system and the owner wants me to monitor the calls made by the employees. I understand how to use the phone system I just do not know how to listen to the calls.
Also.How can I upload the calls and sent them to our mother company, We have a site at GoDaddy.com Work Space Files ?
Please help!! Please e-mail me with help at susieboatman@gmail.com

Vitali Fomine


Press Release

For Immediate Release

OfficeSIP Communications

OfficeSIP Communications Makes Its VoIP SIP Products Open Source

OfficeSIP Communications makes its two enterprise VoIP SIP clients officially open-source. OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger are now publicly available, and their source code published under the GPL license. The two products complete with the source code are available for immediate download at the company's Web site, officesip.org.

OfficeSIP Communications is committed to continuous development of both SIP clients, and invites developers to join the project. The company believes that opening the source code to the community will benefit the development of the project, and will help it gain trust and popularity among its users.

About OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger

The two VoIP applications enable users to communicate via the industry-standard SIP protocol. OfficeSIP Softphone is a simple, straightforward SIP client enabling voice and video communications, while OfficeSIP Messenger offers enterprise customers the ability to communicate via text, voice and video chats for free. Compatible with Office Communications Server 2007, OfficeSIP Messenger delivers reliable performance combined with trouble-free deployment and management. OfficeSIP Messenger implements ICE, STUN, and TURN protocols to seamlessly traverse NAT and firewalls, and supports secure communications via the TLS protocol.

OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger are written in C# in .NET framework. The two applications make use of Microsoft Unified Communications Client API SDK, ensuring the highest quality of audio and video communications. The use of underlying Microsoft platform ensures the greatest level of compatibility with a wide range of hardware devices such as webcams. OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger have been extensively tested, and offer the complete SIP functionality.

About OfficeSIP Communications

Established in 2007, OfficeSIP Communications has been developing open-source instant messaging and VoIP solutions for enterprises. The company established solid reputation among its customers, and gained expertise in meeting the communication needs of its corporate customers.

# # #

OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger along with their source code are available under the GPL license at http://www.officesip.com/

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