Video-Conferencing – An open Source software Ekiga – Review
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Ekiga (formely known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source VoIP and video conferencing application for GNOME. Ekiga uses both the H.323 and SIP protocols. It supports many audio and video codecs, and is interoperable with other SIP compliant software and also with Microsoft NetMeeting.
Few people know that Ekiga (GnomeMeeting) was started during the Christmas break in 2000. It means that the oldest lines of code are 7 years old. What an old VVoIP project!
What is Ekiga.net?
Ekiga.net is a free Voice over IP, commonly VoIP or internet telephony, service provider.
Using VoIP is like using electronic mails:
* You need an address. That’s mainly what Ekiga.net is for: giving free SIP-Addresses.
* You need a software to use this address. Any SIP aware software will do, but we recommend our free Ekiga softphone, which has Instant-Messaging, Audio and Video built-in.
Joe Barrlinks provides an insight about his experiences in installing, configuring and using Ekiga for Linux.com. Ekiga is an open source VoIP and video conferencing application for GNOME. Ekiga uses both the H.323 and SIP protocols.
|Mr. Barr quips|
|“Video quality was very good, the only caveat being that when my colleague moved quickly, I saw pixellation. I could hear my colleague well, but she complained of low volume from my end. This proved to be a problem with my audio set up, not a fault of SIP or Ekiga. I corrected it by activating Mic Boost in my sound card via using the alsamixer. But as good as the audio quality was at my end, it was not as good as I remember Skype being a couple of years ago, when I first tried SIP.”|
Currently, Ekiga has the following objects :
* The Call: A Call object represents a call. You can trigger actions on that Call (hangup, hold, pause streams, …), and you can also listen to signals (cleared, established, held, retrieved, …). We have an OPAL implementation of that object.
* The CallManager: The CallManager object handles calls. It has few actions because most actions are implemented by the Call object itself. You can for example create a call, and once that call has been created, you can use the Call object API directly. We have an OPAL implementation of that object
* The CallCore: The CallCore is the object managing the CallManager’s. It relays signals emitted by the various Call’s handled by the CallCore using various CallManager’s. Implementers will usually only use the CallCore and the Call API’s.
There are several advantages to that modularisation :
* The GUI does not depend on OPAL anymore. It depends on the CallCore which can handle OPAL CallManager’s and OPAL Call’s. It means we could use other CallManager’s for a different set of protocols. It also means that it is easy to write alternative user interfaces to Ekiga, for example targeted at the embedded world.
* The engine does not depend on the GUI. That means that it can be reused easily by other projects.
* Everything is done through signals. It means that it is easy to write new components reacting accordingly to those signals without having to touch to the core of the program. I’m thinking to DBUS, sound events, …
* Ekiga now has a call-centric approach. Every part of the GUI is a view of a Call. That means that it will be very easy to make it handle concurrent calls for advanced IP Telephony usage.
Ekiga 3.0.0 is a major release in the sense that there are now major contributors without who there would not be so many features : Matthias Schneider, Julien Puydt, Jan Schampera have worked daily on Ekiga. Eugen Dedu has participated with Yannick Defais to the revival of the nightly precompiled snapshots.
Graphical User Interface
* New user interface with a buddy list
* Accelerated video display (Unix: XVideo, Windows: DirectDraw)
* Nice incoming call notifications
* Easier configuration assistant
* New quality meter in the status bar
* Buddy list with extended status information
* Displays network neighbours in the buddy list
* Better keyboard shortcuts
* Automatic account completion in the URL bar
* New chat window
* New address book supporting Evolution contacts, LDAP contacts and more
* New account window allowing easier account creation
* New call panel
* Framerate up to 30 FPS
* Resolutions (up to 704×576) (at best it is DVD quality)
* Audio and video codecs as plugins
* Support for Intel IPP codecs
* SIP/SIMPLE presence support
* Line monitoring with software like Asterisk
* Custom presence message support
* Dynamic detection of network interfaces
* Register/unregister accounts on interfaces going up and down
* Better NAT traversal
* SIP requests originated from a unique port
* Support for several network interfaces at the same time (e.g. VPN and normal network)
* Full SIP capabilties exchange for codecs (unique in the Open Source world)
* SIP INFO DTMF support
* Possibility to send SMS using the Ekiga Call Out account
* Many compliance fixes
* Hotplug support for audio and video devices (even when being in a call)
* Hotplug support for network interfaces
For Developers and Packagers
* Brand new Ekiga Engine, fully separated from the GUI and reusable in other projects
* Reworked WIN32 build
* Better autoconf support for OPAL
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