Why I’m sticking with Skype

According to this article at Free Software Magazine, the OpenWengo project is officially in limbo. Development has stalled, and it doesn’t look like it will be revived any time soon. The Wengophone service is still working, and you can use Wengos (the WengoPhone equivalent of SkypeOut credits) to call telephones anywhere in the world.

That only leaves two VOIP projects that can really compete with Skype: Ekiga and the Gizmo Project. I’d love to replace Skype with either of those projects. For better or for worse, I’m sticking with Skype for the time being.

While I’m a supporter of free and Open Source software (FOSS) — I wouldn’t be using Linux if I wasn’t — I also run a business and have to be pragmatic about the tools that I use. It would be nice if everyone used Linux, or just the FOSS that’s available for their operating systems. Unfortunately, a large number of people don’t. That includes many of the folks with whom I do business.

In order to stay in business, I need to play nicely with the Windows and Mac worlds. Not just with the software, but also with the mindset that many of these folks have. They’re essentially good people, many of them very tech savvy. However, for better or for worse, they’re locked into the software that they’ve used for a long time. Applications like Word, like FrameMaker, like Photoshop, and like Skype.

I’ve repeatedly encouraged them (without being too pushy or too much of a zealot) to use FOSS alternatives. Some have tested the waters. Most haven’t budged. So, to communicate by voice, we still use Skype because it’s far cheaper and more convenient that using a landline or a mobile phone.

That said, I am going to keep Gizmo on my computer. It’s the only Linux VOIP tool that’s compatible with [Google Talk](http://talk.google.com], as far as I know. And that’s the way it’s going to be until there’s a truly viable FOSS alternative to Skype. One that achieves the wide adoption that Skype has experienced.

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