Best FOSS alternative for skype?

Tim ignored_mailbox at
Wed May 11 19:09:59 UTC 2011

>> I do, I mind that a lot.  At home, I have one telephone on my desk,
>> and I can ring anybody on the world with it, no matter what telephone
>> network that they're on.

James McKenzie:
> That is because their are strict standards on how a phone MUST work.
> Not so for most of our in-use computer products.  There are only two
> standards that have existed over the years:  ISA (created by IBM) and
> the connectors that are in use.  Everything else is a "Request for
> Comment" type document.  This is how we ended up with the mess we have
> today.

No, not really.  I'd say that the majority of the RFC-compliant stuff is
interoperable, and opposite of the chaos you describe.  Because we have
open specifications / long term reliable specifications / a specifiable
way to interact between the things that aren't able to directly

Compare that against ad-hoc multiple manufacturers/designers doing their
own proprietary thing.  Who only care that their product "A" can talk to
their product "A" and "A.1" for a couple of months while they sell them.
Then screw you...  You want to chat/compute/game next month, buy the new
product "B".  Rinse, lather, repeat.

The RFC stuff that really works, email, HTTP, etc., is because it was
designed to work.  Sure, there'll be some proprietary crap that's also
published some specifications, but more as a PR stunt than for the good
of all.

> And I'm not arguing that this is a good or bad thing, it is the way
> we've boxed ourselves in.

Um, no.  It's how we've *been* boxed in, and how far too few protest
about it.

Linux is a bit of a quiet revolution.  Every now and then there's a bit
of a public flap, but mostly it's in the background.  Rather than try to
fix the cock-ups the /others/ have made, it's an alternative that does
its thing, and lets the rest carry on going to hell in a hand basket,
under their own steam.  I'm just wondering how long it'll take the "give
them enough rope" approach before the other /bad/ ones put the final
nail in their own coffin.

[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r

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