Tag: voip

How to Install Jitsi on Ubuntu 16.04

Yes, this is the hard way but seems to be the ‘only way’ right now at the time of this blog.  Always first check to make sure it’s not simply sitting in the software center before beginning this tutorial.

No, I can’t figure out why the packages aren’t in the Ubuntu software centre.

All I did to make this tutorial was update the wget link from this fine lad’s blog post so thanks Mr. Ji M

For 32-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_i386.deb

For 64-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_amd64.deb

To actually install what you just downloaded on both 32-bit & 64-bit run following command:

(hint: as soon as you have hit the 2.5 part and press ‘tab’ button it will auto-fill the rest then just press enter and it starts)

sudo dpkg -i jitsi_2.5-latest_*.deb

When it’s done doing it’s thing then just hit your super button and start typing jitsi and you should find it. However, mine would not work until I did a software update.

I am not sure the best way to trigger the software update but I did it by going through my dash to
s ‘system settings’ then ‘details’ and then click the update button and upon restarting my machine
i went to the dash, searched Jitsi, opened it and it started working.

Hope this helps because I was pretty surprised to see it wasn’t in apt repositories (ubuntu software center) and more surprised that there wasn’t a tutorial like this as a work around until it was!

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SIP VOIP Clients for Ubuntu for PBX for Business

So you have a business and you also want to build that business on Ubuntu.  You have this annoying need for the old school ‘phone’ and maybe even the older-school ‘fax’.  Your team is all over the place and you want it to appear as if you are a big, professional organization.  The answer is simple – Voice Over Internet Phone (VOIP) system using the SIP protocol. These systems are called “PBX” or “Hosted PBX” for those who don’t have the bananas or are too busy to try building their own phone system (like me).  If you do have both time and bananas, you could get an old computer and build an asterisk machine which essential does what these paid companies do for you.  But time is money and mucked up phone systems could be lost $$… Sup to you.

Just as a reference and a quick plug, I use this Vancouver Canada based company Peopleline because they have proven to be very solid, reasonably priced and very reliable technology running it.  Simple, works, and I don’t have to think about it.

Assuming you have chosen your PBX provider or have your own box running in your basement, now you have to put a ‘softphone’ on your computer, or even your smartphone.  You can do both of these but I will focus only on Ubuntu because Ubuntu is the future and Ubuntu is now.  The rest is just noise.  However, that said, you may have a few team members who have not fully woken up to the fact that their operating system is killing them so for this blog I will be focusing on SIP clients (soft phone software) that will work on Ubuntu and on these horrible other operating systems.  I will be making quick notes on them and giving them a quick review, however, please note that each project is open source so it could be that the day after I post they are already fixed and working.  As of today, though, these are my thoughts:

Twinkle

I should promote Twinkle because Twinkle *only* runs on Ubuntu (not on fruit or redmond, for example).  I wish that I could use Twinkle in our organization but we have a team member who is still booting fruit and so we have to let that story play out to it’s inevitable destination.  I remember using Twinkle and remembering that it was very solid, like Jitsi.  I cannot speak from recent experience about it, but I would recommend any organization that is fully Ubuntu to explore Twinkle and perhaps even add your comments below for the world to benefit from.  I will hopefully be able to switch to Twinkle one day, however… Jitsi is here…

Jitsi

The final verdict is that Jitsi is the best, the most bug-free, always working, pretty robust ‘answer’ for now. It also works cross platform, so they say, which I will have some other victims test for me since I won’t be booting up fruit or redmond.

Jitsi also can take both 555-555-5555 and 555.555.5555 formats, strip the stuff and make the call. This was the deal breaker for me because over one year it will probably save me a who day worth of clicking as some other clients cannot do this simple task

Jitsi is a bit sluggish, however, and seems to take a while to boot up.  If you have a newer machine, it should be fine.

Jitsi also provided me some initial headaches when I first got set up.  The default settings didn’t work with Peopleline, but after a while I found a blog post, copied the settings and it has been a dream ever.  It may be that these settings will work for 99% of the clients out there so I plan to blog those settings with screen shots after posting this.

Yate

Yate is more simple, nicer interface, always works, if you can work with two bugs:

Bug 1: you have to remove the – or the .  from any phone number before you call it.  Unlike Jitsi, Yate doesn’t seem smart enough to strip these away.

Bug 2: There is some audio problem where when a call comes in, you have to hit the pause button twice to engage the call.  This creates about a 2 second lag when you answer your phone which isn’t cool.  However, there is a workaround.  If you shut off your ringer in the settings (permanently) it will answer perfectly, but – you don’t have a ringer and that is kind of an important feature on an old-school phone 🙁

Yate is my second choice so far.

Ring.cx

Honestly, I was really hoping that Ring was going to work.  But there are so many major bugs I had to actually uninstall it completely.  I could make calls but no sound was there. I tried to muck with the settings like I did with Jitsi, but no go.  Ring is the coolest of the options because you can make decentralized ‘phone calls’ from it.  So, I love the project itself but it is definitely *not* a good choice for running a business phone on Ubuntu.  I definitely hope to change this report.

 

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Free Secure Instant Reliable Skype Alternative

Update (150922): less than 24 hours after publishing this post was published confirming that the very next release of Firefox (version 41) will have the key missing ingredient of instant messanging (IM) or text chat built into the Firefox Hello! part of the browser.  This is huge news and great news.  Read on!

Skype Down.  Good.  ‘Bout time a Fire is Lit Under Our Butts

With Skype being down again and having foolishly made the mistake of relying on a product owned by Microsoft [palm smashes forehead] I decided to get busy and find a good solution to share with the world that is really an awesome alternative.

Solution

Firefox Hello! by the makers of the world famous Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.

Download it Without Google Play

First of all, I had no idea that Hello! worked on an android device.  It does.  However, I’m not connected to anything Google (ie. Google play) so I needed to be able to download it on my isolated mobile.  Good news.  It worked although for some reason Firefox made it hard to find the link to do so (likely because they don’t want people having to manually update their browser on their phone).  Anyway, point here is that if you are wise you should download and install your apps away from google to protect your information and private life.  Here is the alternative .apk download link for the most recent Firefox browser for Android.  Otherwise, you can easily and foolishly go and connect to google and get it through ‘play’ while they play with your privacy parts.

Once Firefox browser is installed on your mobile device (or on any device you plan to use) the process is easy.  Just click the link that was sent to you (from a laptop/desktop for now) and make sure you open the link with Firefox (if you have another browser installed).  It works. And it works pretty dang awesome, too!

How to start a conversation from Firefox Android

Honestly, I don’t know how to do this.  There is probably a way but I can’t find anything built into the browser that makes this possible, or easy.  So, for now, start the conversation on a regular desktop/laptop browser and send it to the mobile device.

There you go.  You are now having a high quality video and audio chat with anyone on any kind of computer and you are doing so *much* more privately than via Skype.

Some challenges to be overcome

  1. there is currently no text chat feature (believe it or not) or file sharing, but I have seen online that it’s nearly ready.  Hang in there.  It’s worth the wait.
  2. It seems Firefox browser is not working on the ubuntu phone.  Wait… maybe it is now (I’m out of the loop).  Someone try this bad boy out and let me know if a video/audio Firefox Hello! chat works, please.   I was guessing this didn’t develop as fast because Mozilla was trying to make their own mobile OS….
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