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VoIP Now confirms that the cool kids hack telephony with their list of 74 open source VoIP / IP telephony projects

As I travel around giving presentations about the technologies that are disrupting telephony, one of the themes I discuss is that one of the most severe disruptions brought about by VoIP is that people now have the ability to "play" with telephony in ways that were never possible before.  Pre-VoIP, you needed special (and typically costly) equipment.  Yes, there have been any range of CTI cards that let you play to a degree, but buying the real equipment was just not possible for most folks who might want to "hack" in the original meaning of the word.  Enter VoIP.  Now all you need is an old PC and some open source software and... ta da... you're playing with telephony. 

What I also see out there is that this ability to hack on telephony is happening at the same time that hacking on networks or operating systems seems to be getting less exciting and interesting.  Oh, don't get me wrong, there's still amazing things happening out there... but for people who want to "play" with technology, those areas aren't as exciting or novel as they once were.  So many of those early adopters have moved on to hack on other things... primarily, it seems to me, on "Web 2.0" apps/services/mashups... or telephony.  (And you'll note the already happening collision of both.) 

Because I like giving presentations with very minimalist slides (unless forced to bulletize), I often summarize this latter point as:

The cool kids now hack telephony.

Whether you agree or disagree with my point, I don't think anyone can deny the continued growth in the number and capability of open source telephony projects.  By way of voiploser's blog (also worth checking out), I learned of VoIP Now's list of 74 Open Source VoIP Apps and Resources.  It's a great list, which really serves to illustrate the amount of open source activity happening with regard to telephony.   Some of the projects on there have been around for quite a long time, while there were certainly some there that were quite new (and I'd not heard of them).

My only quibbles with the article would be these:

  • There appears to be no way to leave comments, which is too bad, because you would undoubtedly get all sorts of other developers coming out of the woodwork and leaving comments saying "Hey, what about my project?"
  • No matter how you structure a list, people will always say it's wrong.  So naturally, I question why you would start with "H.323 Clients" given that all the major work these days is on SIP.
  • Given my past interaction with FreeSWITCH (read the comment left by the lead developer), I somehow doubt that they would want to only be classified under "H.323 Clients".  In fact, the inclusion there really makes absolutely no sense to me given that FreeSWITCH is decidedly not a client, but rather more a telephony platform.  It should probably have gone down near the PBXs or in a separate "platforms" category.  Ditto with YATE.  Part of me wonders if the author just wanted to list FreeSWITCH as #1...
  • Under "SIP Test Tools", they list some of the more prominent ones, but the VOIPSA "VoIP Security Tools" list has far more, most all of which are also open source and are used to "test" your VoIP system.

Quibbles aside, the list is definitely a good one, and kudos to VoIP Now for putting it together.