By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2004-03-25 Print this article Print

.org to Go Live Next Week"> The nonprofit will go live next week with its Web site,, which will lay out the communitys objectives, projects and infrastructure—including mailing lists, a source repository and the ability to report bugs. Whether its efforts will be successful depends on how well the market embraces an open-source approach to VOIP. Without a single point of contact to consult when something goes wrong in an open-source IP PBX, it could be an uphill battle.
"If this were to take root, it could really shake up the enterprise PBX market as its structured right now," said Brian Riggs, industry analyst with Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va. "But the movement from systems to software has not really been complemented by any real movement from proprietary to open systems."
Its possible that the initiative is too early in the nascent market for IP telephony, Riggs said. "Im not entirely convinced now that this meets a need or solves a problem that currently exists in the enterprise. As IP telephony staffs gain more experience actually supporting software-based telephony platforms, this sort of strategy seems like something that they would be interested in. "As it stands now, a lot of the individuals implementing IP telephony networks arent accustomed to thinking of the software in the products this way," Riggs said. "No one knows [how enterprises will respond to open-source VoIP]," said Cullen Jennings, distinguished engineer in Cisco Systems Inc.s voice technologies group in San Jose, Calif. "A lot just wont care how they bought their technology. They are interested that theres some way to support it," added Jennings, who is on SIPfoundrys proposed board. Thanks to the involvement of projects such as Vovida and reSIProcate, a year from now anyone doing development will be aware of the ongoing work in SIPfoundry, Jennings said. "I think that within the telecom engineering community—people who actually build SIP phone systems—everyone will be aware of whats on that site, what code they can use, what it does," he said. Still, large industry vendors wont welcome the initiative with open arms. "What were doing is very disruptive. It wont be embraced by Avaya, Nortel or Cisco. Avaya is a hardware company selling proprietary boxes, Steinmann said. "As enterprise communications becomes an IT application, software will run on standard PC servers sold by Sun, HP and others." The first open-source release under SIPfoundry will be Pingtels source code for its SIPxchange IP PBX and Instant Xpressa soft phones, under the GNU Lesser General Public License. Projects under way include sipXpbx, a small- to medium-sized enterprise SIP PBX; sipXpublisher, an SIP subscribe/notify server for handling SIP event subscriptions; sipXregistry, a SIP registrar/redirect server; and a call-processing library dubbed sipXcall. Other projects include sipXmediaLib, a media processing library; sipXvxml, an XML-based voice-processing engine; sipXproxy, service-level routing and forking proxies; and sipXphone, an SIP soft phone that runs on Linux and Windows. With the release of its intellectual property into the open-source community, Pingtel of Woburn, Mass., will shift its business model to sell a subscription service. "We will acquire code from open source on a regular basis, test it on different hardware and SIP platforms and certify it to work [reliably] with those platforms," said Bill Rich, Pingtels president and CEO. "We will offer the best of both worlds—low cost and the flexibility of open-source software with the support you get with a proprietary solution." Check out eWEEK.coms Server and Networking Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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