Is Linux Voice over IP Ready?
Overall, the experience was quite positive. Although the open-source programs KPhone and GnomeMeeting are somewhat more difficult to use, because you need to know about URLs and such, it is easier to get documentation on exactly what you need and to get that documentation directly from the makers of the program, instead of having to be satisfied with a general help page and some vague complaints or tips from users.
For Skype and X-Lite, you need to connect to a server. The nice thing about GnomeMeeting and KPhone is that you can use them directly from client to client, even if you do not register on a server, be it one that you set up on your own network or an external one. Maybe I am a bit paranoid, but I don't trust Skype. The company says that its service will remain free, but it says nothing about its software. As it uses a proprietary, poorly documented protocol, I worry about vendor lock-in. For the time being, I'll stick with GnomeMeeting. Why? It worked from my first attempt, it is stable, it does everything it promises to do, and it's Belgian, like me.
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Machtelt Garrels has published two books for Linux beginners, which are also available as guides in the Linux Documentation Project (LDP) collection. Currently, she works as a freelancer in the UNIX Competence Center of the Belgian Railways and has a part-time assignment as Translation and Vendor Coordinator for the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). Her spare time goes to—don't laugh—knitting and stitching for friends and family, because you can't sit in front of a computer all your life.