Linux Voice Over IP

Voice Over IP on Hardy

In a separate post I talk about how Pulseaudio has broken some proprietary applications on Ubuntu Hardy. What’s worse is that many of the open source voice over IP clients (SIP, in particular) are broken on Hardy, which is a shame since Pulseaudio has been in the works for a while now and most major distributions are shipping it by default these days.

Here’s a list of the SIP clients that I have tried.

Ekiga: Just doesn’t do any sound in the call when using ALSA-via-pulseaudio (a real shame since this is the most GNOME-flavoured app and I’d really expect it to work on Ubuntu).

Gizmo: Ringing/Dialling noises work if you set ‘paplay %s’ in the “Use command to play sounds” option. Audio in call is missing when using ALSA-via-pulseaudio. Won’t start with OSS using padsp.

OpenWengo: This is barely maintained at the moment, it’s sad. And it’s tied into the Wengo side of things which seems to have fallen by the wayside (incoming SIP via doesn’t work). I’d like to see the client return, open to multiple VOIP providers since it’s pretty solid software. But the microphone doesn’t seem to work in calls with pulseaudio at the moment!

Twinkle: Confusing interface, but it does work. Set it to use OSS for audio input and output, set the ringing to use ALSA default device (which is pulseaudio) and start the program with ‘padsp twinkle’. Not ideal since you lose a lot of the benefits of Pulseaudio, but at least it works. Wish we had v1.2 in Hardy which figures out which network to use automatically – at the moment I need to restart the program if I move from wired to wireless.

Empathy: Cool idea but SIP support isn’t really ready yet. The SIP configuration dialog is insufficient, it doesn’t offer all the fields you need to login to something like or FWD. Actually, that’s not Empathy’s fault but the “Mission Control” configuration app. Also, I’d like to get an audio ringing sound for incoming calls, and I can’t add SIP contacts via the main interface (it silently fails). I think Empathy is basically alpha software so I’m looking forward to these issues getting fixed – it has the promise of being the ultimate IM/SIP/Video client for GNOME.

Linphone: Works pretty well! Use the default ALSA device (which is pulse) and you can take/recieve calls and the ringer works. Great! I have a few issues with the interface: I’d love to see a tray icon and better visual ringing notification, but this is a solid app that actually works. Good stuff.

2 replies on “Voice Over IP on Hardy”


very interesting article.
In my company we are using twinkle as our phones.
It works very well.

We are now moving to an LTSP setup on kubuntu thanks to pulse audio.

I managed to get audio form twinkle with padsp, but no microphone.

who would be in charge of getting voip running in ubuntu?


Note on Linphone: It works pretty well but I have a major issue with it..
No GSM support and my VoIP provider doesn’t support speex, so it’s not very useful when I’m on the go in the areas with questionable internet access.
Yes, I know that GSM is closed and pay to play, but it’s supported by everybody and their grandmother. If they did a donation drive, I’d be glad to offer a few bucks.

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