Gizmo Project not that open after all

14 Comments

Gizmo Project has garnered some decent press and kudos from the VoIP blogger community. Its nice interface might have something to do with it, especially when compared to the other client, Pulver Communicator. Aswath decided to compare the two, and also Gizmo Project with Skype, and has some interesting conclusions. He more or less approves of GP, but notes that GP lacks the ability to text. But that’s minor quibble. I think one point Aswath made which got me thinking.

> As far as I can determine Gizmo is locked to use only SIPPhone. This is from the company that sued Vonage for locking their ATAs. Have they gone native? In the same vein, I wish they supported Speex, an open source and loyalty free codec. (By the way I hope pC supports a wideband codec in the near future.)

If that is the case, Michael Robertson, often the champion of open-source is proving that he is not open at all. I hope that is not the case!

14 Comments

juan

I use Gizmo as a client with other SIP services.

Edit your account to use a secondary service. It’s simple.

John Draper

I have an asterisk running on my G4. Using a IAX card from Diguim ($70), I use a normal POTS phone. Can I use this to “call” someone on Gizmo?

I would have to modify my Dial plan and assign an “extension number” to a named Gizmo user. I also have the Skype API’s and was toying around with the idea of making a Sip –> Skype gateway. Not sure if this is possible, but based on the comments on this blog, it is something everyone wants.

I’m implementing a SIP application for the Mac. Porting “whitephone” to the Mac (it already exists on WinBlows). I’m doing it in Cocoa, using the “resiprocate” sip stack and JRTPLIB for the transport. Apple just does NOT support any API’s dealing with VIOP. Quicktime is mostly for high quality audio and video, plus there are licensing issues.

As a Mac developer, I sure would like not having to “roll my own” and not have access to something like the RTC API’s that WinBlows has.

John

Edgar

One thing I noticed is that even though I can call a non-Gizmo sip address by typing it into the field, I cannot bookmark the same sip address. Gizmo mangles the address. Odd, because I can bookmark PTSN numbers fine.

Tim A

Well, it seems like I was misled somewhat by these posts. I downloaded and installed this Gizmo thing and wasted a bit of time figuring out that it can’t do what I thought it could. And that is using it with another SIP provider. Yes, you can likely make calls to other SIP providers but I’m certainly not interested in that. I want to be able to use Gizmo with my own SIP provider not tied to SipPhone.

Tim A

This is the first I’ve heard that it can be used with other SIP providers. Because the website makes no mention of this anywhere I’ve been hesitant to download and give it a try. I will now and see how it goes.

Michael Robertson

Om,

SIPphone did not sue Vonage for locking the hardware units. Vonage is free to lock hardware if they so choose.

We sued Vonage for false and misleading advertising. Specifically, not mentioning that the device is LOCKED and in fact suggesting that it can be used with any compatible system when in fact it can only be used with Vonage. Also, suggesting that it’s free by putting on the box more then 10 times in all caps “FREE” without ever mentioning that a monthly fee is required and a termination fee applies. Finally, saying “No contracts” when in fact you have to enter in a credit card and agree to a contract before using the device. You can read the lawsuit at: http://www.sipphone.com/legal

Consumers deserve to know all the relevant financial details when making technology decisions and that’s something I believe in battling for in any industry (media, VOIP, etc).

I’m happy to say that Vonage recently updated their packaging and responded to every one of our claims in the lawsuit. That’s great. I actually like Vonage, I recommended them to my Mom. But I also think it’s important for everyone to play by the rules.

As for SIPphone being open, there are many different levels of open. Open standards, open directory and open source. Using an open standard like SIP is the most important step because it means interoperability is achievable. It means consumers can by hardware and software from different places and have it work together.

An open directory is also important meaning can a Gizmo Project user dial others outside the Gizmo directory proper and the answer is absolutely yes. We are very committed to that. We interconnect with everyone who asks. These could be other SIP providers, universities, businesses, enum and even the intriguing DUNDI system.

I think an open directory is critically important to avoid the balkanization of VOIP like we have with IM. That is, an AOL user can’t talk to MSN, can’t talk to Yahoo, can’t talk to Jabber. That’s awful. I don’t want that for the VOIP world, I want it to work like email where it doesn’t matter what software, OS, or service you use you can email me. The only way this happens is with an open directory and open standards.

It’s true the Gizmo software is not open source, there are licensing limitations which prevent that from happening, but to me that’s the least important component of creating a well functioning VOIP world where consumers avoid lock-in. We are working with several open source initiatives to create GPL clients, so that will be an option in the future.

— MR

Wes Felter

Haven’t we seen this idea before, when it was called Ineen? What is new about Gizmo?

Jake

As far as I know, the SIPPhone business is a service business – not a software or product business. Makes sense that the software would be tied to the service.

Here’s a related question: I believe Pulver/FWD has released an RFP for a software client where one requirement is FREE. How much would you be willing to pay for a SIP based software client that was unlocked?

For those who use MS Outlook as an email client, do you know how much you pay for that software?

[Hint, XTen charges $60 for single copy of Eyebeam]

Brian Breslin

now with yet another way of having another “phone” number, what the heck are we gonna do when everyone has like 8 #s in 6 area codes and 4 countries? This question could also be written as, is it worth it for me to sign up for yet another one of these things, and do i need an international #?

Aswath

There seems to be a misunderstanding on the meaning of “locked” as indicated by Chris and a comment posted on my entry.

Yes, with GP one can many other SIP services. But what I was trying to point out was that you can not use GP as a client that uses another SIP service. pC can be.

My comment was made in reference to the legal action taken by SIPPhone against Vonage. With Vonage ATA one can call some SIP services. But the contention of the suit is that it can not be used as a client of another service.

Jeff Bonforte

It is true, Gizmo Project is not locked. You can call hundreds of other networks directly. The information we shared with Chris Holland (previous comment) has been added to our support knowledgebase. Also, you can receive calls from hundreds of other networks. Every Gizmo user gets a SIP Number that can be called from FWD, SipGate, etc.

The reason Gizmo accounts are set up with SIPphone (Gizmo’s creator), is that the voice compression codecs at the core are dramatically better when it is Gizmo to Gizmo calling, all the way down to a dialup connection. This is because at the core, we share the same components as Skype. The difference is that rather than use increasingly unreliable P2P networks for NAT travesal and media relays, we use a private network, which lets our calls zoom around the globe on fibre when needed.

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