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Re: So much for Skype.

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On 11 May 2011 15:42, Jamie Thompson <debian-user@jamie-
thompson.co.uk> wrote:
> On 2011-05-11 4:23 PM, Mathieu Malaterre wrote:
>> On Wed, May 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM, jeremy jozwik
<jerjoz.forums@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Wed, May 11, 2011 at 7:58 AM, Curt Howland
<Howland@priss.com> wrote:
>>>> So Skype has been bought by Microsoft.
>>>> I expect the Linux version of Skype to be abolished in short
order. Oh
>>>> well, thus the fate of proprietary software. I'm sure St.
Ignucious is
>>>> shaking his head with the inevitability of it all.
>>>> This aught to re-ignite the effort to develop the alternatives.
>>>> And if it doesn't, that will say more than any success could.
>>>> Curt-

Well, if you mean alternative ways to call Skype users without
actually running Skype, there are rumors the the Chinese already
succeeded in reverse engineering it.


If you mean alternative internet-based phones... well, there's
already a long list.

>>>> --
>>>> To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-user-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
>>>> with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact
>>>> Archive:
>>> better download that latest linux version now.
>>> annoying, but it does work.
>> Moving on to google talk...
> Wish I could get more to do so...
> The problem with social software is that you need to support the
> platforms non-technical users are using. That inevitably means
> and Macs.
> Problem is, there are no Windows clients AFAIK with decent Jingle
> support. Google, for some crazy reason, decided to put resources
> making a plugin for GMail rather than adding it to their GTalk
> software. Pidgin doesn't have video on Windows, and I've not
found a
> decent SIP client yet, let alone a "normal" user with a SIP
account to
> call them with.
> In an ideal world, I'd like to see ubiquitous Jingle support, and
> properly maintained XMPP transports for each proprietary network,
> Jingle support added to those if possible. A ubiquitous free
> for NAT traversal would be nice too, so you get the same "just
> experience" that Skype offers.
> - Jamie

I prefer SIP precisely because it's intercompatible with what
(nearly) everyone uses.

The standard isn't Skype. The standard is PTSN. It has been for a
long time, and it probably will be for a long time to come. If I'm
tight on money, and I can only afford phone or internet, but not
both, I'm going to pick phone. Why? Aside from usually being
cheaper, it's easier to live without home internet than without
home phone (or cell phone, but home phone is usually cheaper and
more reliable). More people expect to be able to contact me that
way. A lot of my friends don't have home computers or home
internet, and very few lack a phone of some sort, plus PTSN is the
standard real-time distance communications method. For occasional
internet to contact people who absolutely insist on using e-mail
instead, I can go to the library. Now, I could try to use an
internet phone, but then (with some exceptions) you have to leave
your computer on all the time you want to be reachable, miss calls
when you have it off, the phone doesn't work during power outages
(which can be a big thing), runs up the electric bill -- and that's
all assuming the connection between your client and the provider is
stable even when your computer is up and running, which it often
isn't. (Oh, and I might be able to get a few free hours of dial-up
every month, enough to check e-mail regularly, although a lot of
the free dial-up programs are Windows-only, unfortunately.) So,
given the choice between the two, I, and most people, would pick

And that's what I normally do, but as these aren't normal times,
and I couldn't actually afford either, were it not for the fact
that I'm getting internet for free right now (well, using someone
else's, with permission of course). But most people still use
phone. With Skype, I would have to pay for Skype-In and Skype-Out
to interact with them, which defeats the point of not having to pay
for phone service. Two choices (that I know of) left: Google Voice
and SIP. Google Voice gives me a free number, and free calls out to
the U.S. and Canada, which is great. The minority of people who do
not use PTSN, for whatever reason, can call directly via Google
Talk. And look! GtalktoVOIP, which basically makes Google Voice
compatible with most VOIP systems besides Skype, which is
apparently to proprietary to be easily supported. Two problems with
Google Voice, one minor and one major. Firstly, to make and receive
calls over the internet, I have to have Gmail open, in full
JavaScript mode, which is a pain on this old computer. Secondly,
it's x86/amd64 only, which means it's not just a pain, it's
impossible, since this computer is a powerpc. (And don't get me
started on emulators.) Tried pidgin: it crashed when I tried to
pick up a call.

So that leaves SIP. With a service provider like Sipgate, I get a
free number and incoming calls. So, now my friends don't have to
complain that they can only leave voicemails and I never pick up.
But I'd have to pay for outgoing calls. But look, it's compatible
with Google Voice. I can set Google Voice to forward to Sipgate's
PTSN number. (Unfortunately, Google Voice does not appear capable
of forwarding on the SIP side.) When I want to make a call, I can
go to the Google Voice webpage, and tell it to call my Sipgate PTSN
number and connect it to the person I want to call. Rather
inefficient, but it works.

So, using my SIP + Google Voice combo:
* I am compatible with normal PTSN phone users, incoming and
* I am of course compatible with SIP users, not that there are that
many of them.
* Via GtalktoVOIP, I am intercompatible with Google Talk, Yahoo
Voice, and MSN Voice users.

That basically covers all the major bases except Skype. Now, I can
understand not wanting to pay for phone and using a free as in beer
internet solution instead. At the moment, I'm in that position
myself. But really, Skype users are off in their own world. Short
of paying for Skype-in and Skype-out, nothing else can interact
with it, with the possible exception of some rumors about reverse
engineering in China. There are other options people could choose
for free as in beer VOIP that would allow them to talk to other
people using different programs. If they want to be cliqueish and
refuse to talk to non-Skype users, that's their problem.
(Alternatively, if they want to pay for Skype-in and Skype-out,
that's their dime.)

Now, if only I could find a SIP client that works on Debian and
OpenBSD (bonus points for Mac OS X Tiger/powerpc too) *and* is
robust enough to deal with my poor internet connection, which
sometimes has 50% packet loss, then it might not only work, it
might work reliably. I tried Ekiga, but it doesn't even notify me
when Sipgate no longer recognizes me as logged in, presumably
because the connection dropped. Ekiga thinks I'm still logged in.
Funny thing, I'm not sure, but I think a call which is already in
progress continues to work even when Sipgate no longer thinks the
softphone is logged in.

On 12 May 2011 14:04, Jamie Thompson <debian-user@jamie-
thompson.co.uk> wrote:
> On 2011-05-11 5:05 PM, Γαβριήλ Τασιόπουλος wrote:
>>> The problem with social software is that you need to support the
>>> platforms non-technical users are using. That inevitably means
>>> and Macs.
>> I use a mac and I'd like to think I'm a "technical user".
>> Linux users from the rest of the computer users as more
technical and
>> specialized is one of the reasons clients for mainstream
services are
>> not developed for linux.
> Perhaps, but the fact is I installed Debian on my parents PC when
> old XP install died (with install discs and keys nowhere to be
> showed them how to use it, and what happened? My old man went out
> bought a laptop so he could use XP again. I failed with him. My
> is fine with Linux though.
> You can't deny that when it comes to home users, the majority of
> users are technical users, and the majority of Windows and Mac
users are
> not. There are always exceptions; some people's relatives like
and can
> deal with Linux (great!), and likewise, some techies like Macs, or
> Windows. But the majority of Mac and Windows users are plain old
> peck-typing email, web, and basic document editing users.

So your father bought a new laptop to use XP again. If he really
wanted to use XP again, it would've been sufficient for him to
simply buy a new install disc and license, but in any case, he was
obviously sufficiently financially well off to afford it.

What about the people who aren't financially well off enough to
afford it? You know, blue collar workers, low level clerks,
agricultural workers, unemployed people, people dealing with insane
medical bills (because insurance sucks, and will pay for you to see
the doctor an excessive number of times to verify that you have the
flu and can't go to work that day, but is not interested in the
important stuff, like making sure you have an arm an a leg, life-
saving organ transplants, etc.), and so on and so forth. (Also,
people who are financially well off, but would rather buy a
vacation than a new computer.)

A lot of computer recyclers don't recycle computers at all, they
just ship them overseas to China, where they cause all sorts of
environmental and health problems. A lot of those computers still
work, even if they can't run all the latest and greatest software.
Imagine if instead of being given to some conman pretending to
recycle computers, they were given to a charity that serves poor
people, thus providing used computers to the computerless. Because
it's a shame, but a number of minimum wage jobs, or jobs that pay
little more than minimum wage, still require an online application,
which can really slow down the job search (or eliminate that
employer as an option) if you have no home internet and no car and
have to walk/bus to the library just to apply for a job whose
employer is anti-paper. And other useful things. Some disabled
people can't even make it to the library. Sure, a used computer
might not run the latest bloated 3D games, the latest version of
Microsoft Office, or the latest version of Photoshop, but spruced
up with Linux, it can be used for basic web browsing, digital
paperwork, e-mail, and a wide variety of other things.

So, the next time you have a used computer which is still
functional but no one uses or wants to use anymore, consider
donating it to a computerless person instead of taking it to a
dubious recycler or chucking it into the trash. (In fact, in many
cases, you could probably sell it. If it's a really old computer,
it might even be a collectors item by now.)

On 11 May 2011 16:44, Aaron Toponce <aaron.toponce@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, May 11, 2011 at 09:37:49AM -0700, CACook@quantum-sci.com
>> On Wednesday 11 May, 2011 08:59:24 Aaron Toponce wrote:
>> > First, you're speculating. You have nothing to base your guess
>> > Microsoft may not have been the most "Linux-friendly" company
in the world,
>> > but that doesn't mean that they are going to cut the GNU/Linux
client of
>> > Skype.
>> >
>> > Second, http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/05/ballmer-skype-
>> > Quote:
>> >
>> > Third, Skype is a proprietary client that uses a proprietary
protocol. If
>> > you're that concerned about it, then you'll run it on a
supported platform,
>> > even if it means the platform itself is proprietary, such as
>> > Windows.
>> LOL, what makes you think that wagging your finger at someone,
teaches them anything, or encourages respect for you?
> Wagging my finger? What wagging? I put a quick stop to the
spreading of
> FUD, gave support to back it up, and then explained that
GNU/Linux users
> that are hell-bent on using Skype will use it elsewhere, should
> support get dropped.
> I'm failing to see the "finger wagging".

It's a mailing list, not the New York Times. It's his opinion. He's
allowed to speculate. People do that in conversation. He didn't
even have to write "I expect". It's a convention of the English
language. You don't have to put in qualifiers like "I think" or "I
expect" or "maybe" every single time you are talking about
something that is an opinion or guess rather than solid fact.
Otherwise, our speech would be littered with such qualifiers
whenever we weren't talking mathematics. Now, it's still a good
idea to put such qualifiers in there sometimes for legal reasons
and/or to stress that someone should not go off and make an
important decisions based on your opinion or guess, but really,
we're talking about software, not cancer treatments. You don't have
to agree with him, but you're both speculating (in fact, most of us
are): pointing out that he is doing so and pretending like you're
all perfectly logical is just ad hominem.
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