Reply of FSF Radio Interviewee about Skype
Peter Brown replied:
"Thanks for the message. Here are some comments on the issues you
"> - On the Radio New Internationalist show "Up in Smoke", during an
interview with Peter Brown of FSF (about 43 minutes in), I was surprised
to hear the following revelation that FSF uses Skype and the failure to
challenge the claim that Skype is free software:"
The FSF doesn't use Skype. I would appreciate if you would clarify that
on your blog post. The interviewer used Skype to telephone me on an FSF
telephone. I agree that from what I said, it would be easy to infer that
FSF uses Skype, but it doesn't. The interview lasted about an hour and
we covered a lot of ground. Also, in this exchange I didn't clarify for
the listener that when the interviewer remarked that "Skype was free",
they meant as in price, but not as in freedom.
"> - I was disappointed not to find much on the FSF web site about the
need for free VoIP software, building on GNU oSIP and other free
software, instead of Skype's proprietary software, which has contained
spyware and worms already. Will you be adding such information soon?
What is the official FSF view of Skype and similar proprietary VoIP
Skype is proprietary and we don't use it. In that section of the
interview we were discussing telecoms monopoly and net neutrality, and I
lost the focus on the free software issue - my bad. As far as adding an
article about VOIP on fsf.org I think that's a great idea.
Unfortunately, I don't think we can cover that immediately, as we have
some campaigns we have other campaign activities to focus on. We would
be glad to take a contribution though, if you would like to write such
an article - we might also want to think about using such an article as
a basis for a campaign.
"> - Nevertheless, well done for covering DRM, net neutrality and the
privacy problems of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft in a relatively short
Thanks. I actually used to work at the New Internationalist in Oxford,
and they are a great coop. I have been working with them now for a
couple of years, tying to encourage them to cover free software related
issues for their audience. Have you seen
the article Bruce Byfield (Newsforge) wrote that I got placed in the November issue of the magazine?
all the best
Thanks for the reply!
To my shame, I'd completely forgotten that
Skype can also call ordinary telephones and
the interview didn't remind me. I guess that
might be because my main awareness of Skype
is when it's a problem, when someone gives a
skype: address instead of a sip: one or a
real phone number.
However, I'm not
sure a called person would usually say
that they were being called over Skype,
rather than being telephoned.
FSF people are smarties, though, so can
hear the artefacts, or maybe the interviewer
had mentioned it beforehand.
Anyone else want to summarise the benefits
of free software VoIP compared to Skype
systems? I won't get time before next month.
it has more features than skype (i.e. video), is encrypted, open and free. Enjoy."
I keep meaning to try openwengo, but each
time I look at it, I fail to find the source
tarball for the latest release.
It also seems to be Qt-only,
which I also try to avoid installing
(as it'd be a fourth set of desktop widgets).
At the moment, I'm using
from the command-line.
I sometimes consider replacing it with a
stand-alone telephone adapter.
I wonder: are any running free software?
Syndicated 2007-07-25 20:51:00 from MJR slef-reflection Recent Changes