Ekiga SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messenger

Ekiga SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messenger

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).

Ekiga was first released back in 2001 under the GnomeMeeting name, as a graduation thesis. In 2001, voice over IP, IP Telephony, and videoconferencing were not widespread technologies as they are now. The GNU/Linux desktop was at its infancy, and let’s not speak about multimedia capabilities. Most webcam drivers were buggy, ALSA had not been released yet and full-duplex audio was something difficult to achieve. General performance could also be an issue, especially when most efficient codecs were closed source. Generally speaking, the technology was not ready yet but Ekiga was already kicking!

Nowadays, everyone knows about voice over IP and videoconferencing. However, proprietary programs using closed communication protocols are dominating the market. Few people know that alternatives exist, and even less people know that using standard tools allows doing voice over IP, videoconferencing but also IP Telephony. The purpose of Ekiga has always been to be a mix between a simple chat application and a professional IP Telephony tool for the GNU/Linux destop. As a SIP softphone, it can completely replace hardware SIP IP phones and many people are using it as such.

With the upcoming 5.0 release, we were very ambitious. Most of the code has been reorganized, some parts have been completely rewritten. Things are getting simplified to attract new contributors (I am now 15 years older than when I started coding on Ekiga). The user interface is completely new and is now using cutting-edge technologies like GTK+3 or even Clutter to display video. New codecs have been added, and new features are still being added regularly (I would like to complete TLS and SRTP support before the release as well as MSRP chat).

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