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Re: Skype under Fedora-10

Rick Stevens wrote:
> I disagree, Tim.  Skype is a good idea.  There are bits that could be
> done better, but parts of the service require quite a bit of capital
> investment and there has to be a way to fund that.  Subscriptions is
> one way.

It's not. It locks you into a proprietary protocol and by using it, you also
lock in all your friends. So you're actively promoting proprietary
software. This is a very bad and antisocial thing to do.

> When I was in Europe two years ago, I was able to call my mother in the
> USA on her land line to check on her (she's 80 and lives alone).  The
> cost using Skype was easily less than 25% of what it would have cost me
> using my cell phone and standard connections.

There are other providers offering the same kind of services over the
standard SIP protocol. (I'm not going to advertise any particular one, but
I know they exist!) A proprietary protocol is not needed to offer paid
services, it's perfectly possible to enforce payment with SIP or another
open and interoperable protocol.

> That ability alone as well as the converse (permitting regular telephone
> users such as my mother the ability to contact my computer via a phone
> number) is terrific.  My mom is something of a technophobe.  She'll deal
> with the phone, but will have nothing whatsoever to do with computers
> (took me weeks to teach her how to use the OnStar in her car...and that
> uses voice commands!).

See above, you can have the same with SIP.

> You don't need to hack the system.  Use H.323/SIP clients (ekiga, etc.)
> and talk computer-to-computer all you want.  I don't buy the "if it's on
> the  Internet it HAS to be free, therefore we should hack into it"
> mantra.  If it's something that services a need I have, I don't mind
> paying for it--in fact I expect to.  I don't believe in entitlements of
> any sort.  In Skype's case, someone's got to pick up the bill for the
> PBX systems.  They only charge if you intend to use the PBX anyway.  Do
> you prepay your cell minutes?  I'm always dumbfounded by people who do
> that yet expect their Internet access to be free.

We're not asking for the PBX to be free as in beer. We're asking for the
software and the protocol to be free as in speech. That they don't charge
if you don't use the PBX is irrelevant, that doesn't make their software
any less proprietary. Of course they charge for the PBX, but they could do
that without proprietary lock-in. Other services do that.

> Do I wish their Linux client was more solid?  Yes.  Do I wish they had a
> native 64-bit version?  Yes.  Do I wish it was open source and able to
> be improved upon by others?  Yes.  However, even in its current state it
> works (even with PulseAudio) and I'm fine with it and their service.

But you're helping spread proprietary software, so you're doing the wrong

If you use proprietary software which speaks open protocols, you're only
huring yourself. If you use something like Skype which spreads like a virus
due to its proprietary protocol, you're hurting others too.

        Kevin Kofler

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