The FreeSWITCH team is happy to announce the advent of a new open-source project based upon FreeSWITCH: FreeSWITCH Communicator, the FreeSWITCH-powered softphone. It is available now in the FreeSWITCH source directory. The project leader is João Mesquita, an active member of the FreeSWITCH user and developer communities.
WHY A NEW SOFTPHONE?
I asked João Mesquita why he felt the need to start a new project. Regarding softphones he notes that there is no “open-source, cross-platform [and] stable solution out there.” He was already a FreeSWITCH supporter, and when considering how to use libfreeswitch in a project he felt that a softphone would be a logical choice. Certainly there has been a lot of talk about FreeSWITCH’s capabilities of scaling up, however the FreeSWITCH Communicator project will demonstrate the usefulness of FreeSWITCH being able to scale down.
Another advantage of using FreeSWITCH is that it supports many zero-cost audio codecs. Imagine a softphone that can support Siren, CELT, G.711, G.722, BroadVoice 16 and 32 and many others. Additionally, since FreeSWITCH is cross-platform it can be used as the telephony engine in FreeSWITCH Communicator running under Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.
WHAT IS INSIDE FreeSWITCH COMMUNCATOR AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Because the goal is to have a cross-platform softphone it was necessary to choose a GUI toolkit that supports cross-platform development. João relates that the choices are extremely limited and that for this project it was an easy decision: Qt from Nokia. The Qt toolkit supports numerous platforms as does FreeSWITCH. The FreeSWITCH Communicator project aims to support the “big three” of Linux, OSX, and Windows.
The softphone itself uses the FreeSWITCH softphone configuration as its base. The audio interface uses mod_portaudio and the SIP interface uses mod_sofia. All existing codecs are compiled and included. The project intends to support all codecs added in the future. (This is another reason to use FreeSWITCH as a telephony engine – new codecs and features are added very quickly and easily.)
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Like most open-source projects there are many ways that the community can help. The most important thing people can do right now is compile and test the new software. More information about using FreeSWITCH Communicator can be found on the wiki. João will gladly accept constructive feedback on compiling and using FreeSWITCH Communicator. There are certainly other ways that you can help. We can always use new documentation on the wiki page, including how-to information on compiling and running FreeSWITCH Communicator. Those with programming experience can assist with writing coding and adding Doxygen markup. If you have graphic design, art, or UI design skills then you are in a great position to assist with the usability and aesthetics of FreeSWITCH Communicator. Please contact João (IRC: jmesquita) if you wish to assist him with this project.
Thanks again to João Mesquita and the rest of the FreeSWITCH community for helping to make these wonderful open-source telephony projects possible. Please keep up the great work.