Say Hello to 5 VoIP Solutions for Linux
Landline phone service is so last week, but many people don't want to use up huge chunks of cell phone minutes while chatting with friends or dialing into conference calls. Using your computer and a headset to make calls via VoIP seems like a no brainer and there are several applications to choose from that run really well on Linux and are great for personal or small business use. Let's take a look at a few.
Skype for Linux - When it comes to making calls over a computer connection, Skype is probably the first VoIP service that springs to mind for most people. Skype for Linux lets users make audio and video calls to other users anywhere in the word for free, and to cell phones and land lines for a very low price. Set up group chats with up to 150 people or manage a conference call with 25 people. One thing to note: Although the Skype software runs on Linux, it is not an open source app.
Asterisk - This open source telephony engine and tool kit is popular with small businesses trying to keep communication costs down. It's a fully featured PBX that includes call waiting, hold, and transfer, caller ID, distinctive ring, text-to-speech recognition, and more.
Ekiga - Here's an open source VoIP and video conferencing app designed especially for the GNOME desktop. It can handle multiple network interfaces at once, and includes an advanced contact book, configurable sound events, call hold, transfer, and forwarding, and a host of other features. Ekiga also integrates well with Asterisk and Novell Evolution.
Linphone - This VoIP app includes instant messaging capabilities and works with most Web cameras to provide audio and video conferencing calls free to users. You can also use Linphone to call a land line, however the Web site notes "those calls are not free since PSTN networks are costly." Linphone is perfect for anyone looking who needs a simple app without a bunch of unnecessary bells and whistles.
Callweaver - This vendor-independent, cross-platform open source PBX system was derived from Asterisk and supports analog and digital PSTN telephony. Along with standard features like conferencing and call queue management, Callweaver also includes support for fax-over-IP.
Flickr image courtesy of law_keven.