OpenZoep Builds on Jabber Voice

Yet another entrant joins the fray as an open source VoIP solution.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Feb 13, 2006
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Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Voipster has set up an open source foundation with the aim of promoting its new OpenZoep VoIP communications engine.

OpenZoep is based on the Jabber XMPP protocol, and according to Voipster will allow developers to develop their own VoIP software clients using the OpenZoep VoIP engine.

Jabber and its XMPP protocol are already widely deployed in a myriad of clients as an instant messaging and presence application. OpenZoep adds what it calls "stanzas" to XMPP, which facilitate better operation with various audio equipment including sound cards, speakerphones, and microphones.

The OpenZoep application programming interface (API) itself includes a number of functions that let a developer establish a network connection and then send/receive data over that connection. The goal of OpenZoep is to enable any service provide to offer an open standards-based VoIP solution, complete with PSTN, voicemail, SMS, and other services.

Voipster spokesperson Erik Van Eykelen explained that though OpenZoep is XMPP based; it is not competing against Jabber or other Jabber clients, such as the popular GoogleTalk client.

"OpenZoep even uses Jabber for its IM (chat) functions, buddy lists, and for the establishing of peer-to-peer (p2p) and PSTN calls," Van Eykelen said. "OpenZoep is looking at interoperability with GoogleTalk, perhaps by adopting "Libjingle" [see below] or perhaps via other technical means."

In December 2005, Google made freely available "Libjingle", which is the code Google Talk uses to negotiate, establish, and maintain p2p voice sessions. At the same time, the Jabber Foundation announced the associated Jingle specification for doing voice over Jabber's XMPP protocol.

OpenZoep has a few Jabber VoIP ideas of its own as well.

"OpenZoep is actively working on a Jabber Extension Proposal (JEP) to enhance the Jabber XMPP protocol with VoIP functionality," Van Eykelen stated. "In case OpenZoep makes enhancements to the Jabber server implementation it's using, we'll contribute this code to the community for sure."

Though OpenZoep claims to support open standards, it apparently uses ENUM instead of the open source DUNDi for directory services.

"Besides already using ENUM for our soon-to-be-released PSTN-in services, we're looking towards a much bigger scale directory—one that allows any IM and VoIP technology to share and discover contact details from users who wish to be found in a global directory," Van Eykelen commented.

In addition to the developer API, there is also a Zoep Firefox extension, which embeds a VoIP endpoint into the Firefox web browser.

Open source and open standards are what OpenZoep hopes to be its biggest strengths. The open source community however may well be another issue altogether.

According to Van Eykelen, the biggest challenge facing OpenZoep, is adoption by the open source community.

"We'll take our time and slowly but progressively work towards a fair market share, perhaps by converging other VoIP projects into one big open source VoIP solution."

Considering that Google Talk, Gizmo, and others are already XMPP based—and trying to do the same thing in a market that's worth billions

Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Voipster has set up an open source foundation with the aim of promoting its new OpenZoep VoIP communications engine.

OpenZoep is based on the Jabber XMPP protocol, and according to Voipster will allow developers to develop their own VoIP software clients using the OpenZoep VoIP engine.

Jabber and its XMPP protocol are already widely deployed in a myriad of clients as an instant messaging and presence application. OpenZoep adds what it calls "stanzas" to XMPP, which facilitate better operation with various audio equipment including sound cards, speakerphones, and microphones.

The OpenZoep application programming interface (API) itself includes a number of functions that let a developer establish a network connection and then send/receive data over that connection. The goal of OpenZoep is to enable any service provide to offer an open standards-based VoIP solution, complete with PSTN, voicemail, SMS, and other services.

Voipster spokesperson Erik Van Eykelen explained that though OpenZoep is XMPP based; it is not competing against Jabber or other Jabber clients, such as the popular GoogleTalk client.

"OpenZoep even uses Jabber for its IM (chat) functions, buddy lists, and for the establishing of peer-to-peer (p2p) and PSTN calls," Van Eykelen said. "OpenZoep is looking at interoperability with GoogleTalk, perhaps by adopting "Libjingle" [see below] or perhaps via other technical means."

In December 2005, Google made freely available "Libjingle", which is the code Google Talk uses to negotiate, establish, and maintain p2p voice sessions. At the same time, the Jabber Foundation announced the associated Jingle specification for doing voice over Jabber's XMPP protocol.

OpenZoep has a few Jabber VoIP ideas of its own as well.

"OpenZoep is actively working on a Jabber Extension Proposal (JEP) to enhance the Jabber XMPP protocol with VoIP functionality," Van Eykelen stated. "In case OpenZoep makes enhancements to the Jabber server implementation it's using, we'll contribute this code to the community for sure."

Though OpenZoep claims to support open standards, it apparently uses ENUM instead of the open source DUNDi for directory services.

"Besides already using ENUM for our soon-to-be-released PSTN-in services, we're looking towards a much bigger scale directory—one that allows any IM and VoIP technology to share and discover contact details from users who wish to be found in a global directory," Van Eykelen commented.

In addition to the developer API, there is also a Zoep Firefox extension, which embeds a VoIP endpoint into the Firefox web browser.

Open source and open standards are what OpenZoep hopes to be its biggest strengths. The open source community however may well be another issue altogether.

According to Van Eykelen, the biggest challenge facing OpenZoep, is adoption by the open source community.

"We'll take our time and slowly but progressively work towards a fair market share, perhaps by converging other VoIP projects into one big open source VoIP solution."

Considering that Google Talk, Gizmo, and others are already XMPP based—and trying to do the same thing in a market that's worth billions—OpenZoep's challenge is a large one indeed. OpenZoep's challenge is a large one indeed.

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