Open Source Telephony [8:44 am]
Some of the chatter has been dismissive and critical of Skype and its “peer-to-peer” technology. But the Skype deal and smaller acquisitions by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. also are sparking optimism that the industry is now pushing into the consumer and corporate mainstream after a decade of promises.
“Skype has done the community at large a favor,” said Mark Spencer, a mini-rock star in that community who created a free “open source” platform for office phone systems based on Internet Protocol technology. [...]
[...] One Asterisk programmer at the show used the platform to create a service to connect people displaced by Hurricane Katrina with friends and family. The service, called Contact Loved Ones, lets evacuees punch in a home number where they’re no longer located and record a message. Acquaintances who dial in and enter the number will be played that message and can leave their own.
Yaacov Menken, one of several Princeton University alumni who collaborated on the service, said doing that with a traditional phone system would have cost tens of thousands of dollars.