Fred Posner

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Why I Love Kamailio

If we haven’t met yet, my name is Fred Posner. By day, I’m a VoIP Engineer and a baker (yes, a baker).

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved telephones — everything about telephones. Dealing with phone companies and carriers started to eat away at that love… but VoIP brought it back.

One of the products I get to work with is Kamailio.Many of you have never heard of this product.

Even more cannot pronounce it.

In a nutshell, Kamailio is an open-source SIP server. Now, if you’re not a techie, or know VoIP, then…

Kamailio is about communication.

Literally.

The word Kamailio originates from the native Hawaiian language; translating “to converse.” Kamailio is open-source software allowing people (great, huge amounts of people) to communicate.

Now, back to why I love Kamailio

Kamailio is Open Source

Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone. The Open Source Initiative

This makes Kamailio free.

Free as in beer, awesome, and no-yearly-fees.

Kamailio shares it’s code with every single person on the planet. Want to see it? It’s right out in the open. It’s been updated by over 130 people from across the globe with a combined effort of more than 229 years.

These people have provided their code for free.

They contribute to help others communicate and for the betterment of a software that they, too have come to love.

Me? I’m not that good of a programmer.

I love Perl and all, but Kamailio is real software and I’m best at design, deployment, implementation, and support. Sometimes I write a tutorial here and there, but the programming of the software is done by far better people than me.

Kamailio is Everywhere

You may not have heard of Kamailio — but the software has probably helped you to have been heard.

1&1 uses Kamailio to power telephony for more than 3 million users. That’s more than the population of Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, and Vermont… combined. And, that’s just one company.

When the software celebrated it’s 10th anniversary, a broad survey showed:

  • Kamailio powers more than 4 billion talk minutes and 500 million calls every month
  • Kamailio powers many phone carriers across the entire globe
  • Most installations of Kamailio use more than 10 million minutes of calls each month

Of course, at the bakery we use about 3,000 minutes — but, hey… we’re growing!

Kamailio Gives You Power

This software is incredibly fast, and yet incredibly light. Want to deploy one on a Raspberry Pi? No problem.

Want to run your enterprise phone system crossing multiple continents? No problem.

Want to create your own Skype-like service? No problem.

Kamailio provides you power — power to create, power to encrypt, power to communicate. Lately, encrypted communication is occupying a great deal of my time — and Kamailio is an amazing tool to create secure, encrypted communication.

With Snowden, NSA, surveillance, and more occupying our daily lives, the need for secure communication is needed more than ever. Kamailio helps you have secure, encrypted communication.

In fact with Kamailio and Jitsi, you can have a secure communication platform in under an hour.

I don’t want to go on a rant regarding my views on the right to privacy and the need for private communication… I’ll save that for another day.

The point here is that Kamailio provides you power. If you attended Astricon this year, you saw Peter Dunkley demonstrate using Kamailio and WebRTC.

Peter demonstrated communication from a browser (via websockets/webrtc) to a sip phone via Kamailio. And he did it on a raspberry pi. He also shared how you can do this yourself because Kamailio is about giving you power.

In the same conference, Klaus Darilion showed Asterisk users how to use Kamailio to protect their phone servers from SIP Brute Force attacks, create highly available communication, and redundant phone systems.

Kamailio has an incredible community full of people who take time to share, teach, and explain the software.

Mostly because…

Kamailio is a Class Act

History time.

The project is over 10 years old. Ten years in software is like generations. Most of you probably don’t even drive a 10 year old car. And, you’ve probably changed a lot over the last 10 years, too.

Since Kamailio is open-source, any person can “fork” the project and take it a different direction. When I first stated using the software, it was called openSER and we used it to power about 60,000 users.

Then, as with The Beatles, Van Halen, and even Blues Clues… the band split up. OpenSER was no more. We now had Kamailio and openSIPS. Many of us… didn’t know which to choose… where to go… what to do.

It was an interesting time to say the least.

Within days of the software changing names (a US company claimed that openSER caused confusion with it’s trademark SER), the management team and developers had split into two camps; both camps claimed to be the real openSER.

If you know me… I’m usually not someone to “wait and see.” I’m an opinionated person that generally has no problem expressing an opinion. The problem was that I didn’t have an opinion.

This was 2008, and I hadn’t been using the software for very long. I didn’t really know these people. I watched. I waited.

As most techs, geeks, nerds, whatever you call us would do… chat rooms, irc lists, and maillists were hot with accusations, claims, insults, and what have you… until I realized…

The insults were mostly one-sided — the Kamailio camp was quiet.

I was immediately reminded of an advertising class I took as a freshman. They showed us examples of car ads. Toyota, Chevy, Ford, Honda all acted the same; loud commercials with rapidly changing frames and huge text offering LOW prices.

Then there was BMW and Mercedes. Quiet ads. Small print. Heavy focus on the car. A great product advertises itself.

But that didn’t form my opinion… instead it was a simple email that Daniel-Costantin Mierla (@miconda) posted to the mailing list. My favorite excerpts:

What I can tell for sure, I am not going to join a fork of the original openser project. If something happened to make developers not working together, solution to solve nicely could have been found, in the worst, maybe just by splitting teams, but keeping old domain together just to show the new alternatives.

I am certainly assuming share of the failure in managing this project. I was there, in management, period. There is no single person responsible for mis-management, but it comes just easy for some to blame the others. But I am really confident we built outstanding sip server, all of us contributed with code, documentation, testing to an application that routes million and millions of minutes per day. @miconda

That’s just class. 

That single email allowed me to form an opinion. I reached out to the two people I had learned from the most, Jeremy McNamara and Olle Johansson, and I chose Kamailio.

Example has more followers than reason.Christian Nestell Bovee

Years later, I call many of these people friends. I made a great choice and I’m a very lucky man to have such great people as friends. I wish you that same luck.

I also wish you’ll drink the Kamailio Kool-Aid and see how this software can empower your communication.

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