Ekiga (formely known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messenger application over the Internet.
It supports HD sound quality and video up to DVD size and quality.
It is interoperable with many other standard compliant softwares, hardwares and service providers as it uses both the major telephony standards (SIP and H.323).
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signalling protocol used for establishing sessions in an IP network. A session could be a simple two-way telephone call or it could be a collaborative multi-media conference session. The ability to establish these sessions means that a host of innovative services become possible, such as voice-enriched e-commerce, web page click-to-dial, Instant Messaging with buddy lists, and IP Centrex services.
To get a free SIP account @ekiga.net you can register your information here
Ekiga is available in most Linux distributions so just use your favorite package manager to install it, on my Ubuntu 11.04 I’ve the 3.2.7 version.
To test your setup simply get a free account at Ekiga.net and call the echo test at sip:[email protected] If you can hear and see yourself back, then your setup is working.
Setup of Ekiga is trivial, on the first run you’ll be presented with a configuration assistant that will show you 8 windows to set up your name/surname, username and password, if you want also a numeric ID, your connection type and the audio/video setup.
You can also check this short video, it’s an older release but it’s not so different.
I think that the Skype, Microsoft affair should teach us a lesson, never use proprietary protocol/format, also if they are good or seem the best options. SIP it’s an open protocol and Ekiga it’s one of the many clients available, on Linux there are many other good clients like Empathy and Linphone, so this assure that there will always be a good client available as open source software.
And now the bad news,
Meanwhile Windows, MacOS and all mobile customers are supported there is not a real reason why the most of the users may leave Skype, so we, Linux users will have to look for an alternative, but an alternative to connect to the Skype network, and not an alternative Network, or we’ll end up alone in that network.