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default softphone in Debian stretch

Before the jessie release, I started a thread about the default
softphone in Debian[1]

Nothing really changed, the thread appeared to fizzle out with comments
from more than one person that Debian would ship whatever was
recommended by the desktop maintainers / GNOME upstream[2]

GNOME upstream have subsequently made statements that the default
softphone they provide is not maintained and may even be dropped[3]

That third email also suggests that the GNOME philosophy is not quite
the same as the Debian philosophy: "popular
chat protocols are mostly closed nowadays, meaning that having a
built-in chat client potentially isn't as important as it used to be."

Going forward,

a) is this consistent with Debian's philosophy, or do we value having
the choice of using a free and open softphone?

b) if the answer to that is "yes", then should stretch continue to rely
on Empathy, or should we open it up to competition, giving all the other
softphone developers an opportunity to be installed by default?

There is more than one way forward though, for example, the
telepathy-resiprocate project[4] may make Empathy work better with SIP
and I will ask the developers of Ring, which is a peer-to-peer protocol,
if they would consider making a Telepathy connection manager too, then
it could be used from Empathy.  On the other hand, if Empathy is going
away, then such initiatives may be a waste of time.



1. https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2014/03/msg00595.html
2. https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2014/03/msg00638.html
3. https://mail.gnome.org/archives/release-team/2015-April/msg00050.html
4. http://danielpocock.com/enterprise-grade-sip-coming-to-telepathy
5. http://ring.cx

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