Debian.org enabled for SIP federation, who will be next?

The Debian community has announced the availability of SIP for all of approximately 1,000 Debian Developers who comprise the membership of the organisation.

Benefits for the wider free software community

This means packages providing SIP (and soon XMPP/Jabber) will hopefully be under much more scrutiny from developers in the lead up to the next major Debian release, codename jessie, expected early 2015.

Although the user guide provides setup details for several packages and softphones, including Jitsi and Lumicall, the developers of the core SIP server have not indicated that any specific package should be preferred and it is up to each user to choose the client that best suits their needs.

Who will be next?

Discussion has already started about replicating this technology for the Fedora community.

Users of the Lumicall softphone on Android are already able to make federated SIP calls, so just dialing username@debian.org from Lumicall is sufficient to make a call to a Debian Developer and see federated SIP working.

People who want to try SIP federation for their workplace or any other organisation are encouraged to see the Real-time Communications (RTC) Quick start guide

Comments

We had Fedora Voice in Fedora for a number of years but when it was shut down it was used for around 1 call a month (check list archives for details).

You points in the follow up to your post to the list aren't exactly accurate:
a) MS Lync and Skype are irrelevant in the argument, we've never done something because someone else is and Skype has been around for years.
b) Marginal whether it's of impact and there are other infrastructures that can be used.
c) Not really changed or improved too much since we shut down the original voice service.

You also completely ignore the time it takes to ensure it works properly and is secure and updated regularly. It was deemed, after running for a number of years, to be not worth the effort and I'm unconvinced anything has changed and your arguments aren't overly compelling.

There are two things that are different here though

a) Fedora Voice was not federated, it was just an internal service.

b) I'm told Fedora Voice was based on Asterisk and therefore more complicated to support and secure than a simple SIP proxy

However, I agree that all solutions, even the most simple, require some ongoing effort and nobody has an infinite amount of time to support all these things.

On the other hand, Fedora people do make more phone calls than 1 per month, they just weren't making those calls through SIP. It is my belief that better NAT support and better federation are two ingredients that will help get more of those calls coming through SIP.

I agree with Peter; it was kinda cool to have Voice, but it just wasn't any *use*. The only phone calls I ever make for work are RH management chain stuff, not really Fedora business. Even for meetings, whenever the topic comes up, I oppose using voice because:

i) it's imprecise: you really can't be sure *precisely* what people say, which is important in a technical project
ii) it's much more inconvenient for storage and future review than text
iii) it's no good for hearing- or speech- impaired people; I believe text-to-speech works much better than speech-to-text, so we're more accessible standardizing on text (and anyway, we could never convert ALL fedora business to voice, so best not to use it for any)
iv) similarly, non-native speakers have a much easier time dealing with text than with voice

I just find text a better communication method for a project like Fedora than voice in just about every way possible, and the usage stats for the old Voice seem to suggest others generally agree.

federated XMPP might be nice, but we're so tied to IRC I'm not sure anyone would use it. I have it set up on my personal domain - my XMPP address is the same as my personal email address, adamw AT happyassassin DOT net - but no-one ever contacts me on it. Still, it's much easier to setup and maintain than SIP, so might be worth doing.

If I understand correctly, the original service, dubbed Fedora Voice probably gave people the suggestion that SIP (in that case, anyway) is for voice.

While SIP is very widely used for voice, that is not the argument here at all. SIP simply creates more options (it can also be used for desktop sharing, etc) and SIP and XMPP are both far more widely used than IRC.

Within a project like Debian or Fedora people are probably likely to continue using the things they know and love (like email lists and IRC) and only use SIP or XMPP when they really have to (like a webcam interview for a GSoC student).

It is those cases where we are talking to people outside our communities that it becomes a lot more relevant. It helps prove that we really can do everything with our own technologies. It lets us use our brands (domains) instead of relying on some third party services. It also means people test more of the stuff we distribute.

So, to summarise, I don't expect anybody to abandon any existing free solution that works, I'm looking at this from the perspective of what new things can it add.