[Linux-aus] NBN discussion

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Mon Jul 1 16:32:28 EST 2013

On Mon, 1 Jul 2013, Russell Stuart wrote:

> On Mon, 2013-07-01 at 04:50 +0800, Bret Busby wrote:
>> What I had written, in context, was that high definition video call
>> software, and, video conferencing software, appears to be not yet
>> available in the VOIP software that is available for Debian 6 Linux.
> My mistake, Bret.  Yes you did.
>> I believe that to still be correct.
> I am running Debian Stable.  And I have both Skype and Google Hangout's
> running on it.  Being proprietary means they are not in the standard
> repository, but they are available and easy to install.
> I doubt you could call them "High Definition", but I am not sure that or
> even having video matters.  The quality of VOIP without effective end to
> end QOS is very hit and miss - ranging from better than the analogue
> system to unusable, and it varies during the call.  The only time we use
> it is for calls to family members who are overseas where "free" matters
> more than "reliably being able to communicate".  The video is just a
> nice extra.

In a previous incarnation of the Skype web site, from whence I (now) 
believe that I downloaded my current version of Skype, was a web page 
that referred to the features of Skype including high definition video, 
which was available (at that time) only in the version 4 (.2?) for 

I believe that the web page and its content, that I previously cited, 
that included the bandwidth requirements for various uses of Skype, 
including the high definition requirements of at least 1.2-1.5Mbps, was 
from that incarnation of the web site, and, related to the particular 
version of Skype that was then available for MS Windows, that gave what 
was then defined (on that web site in its then incarnation) as high 
definition video calls.

The then defined high definition video calls, were, I believe, defined 
as having higher resolution, and, faster frame speeds (30fps rather than 
15 fps (as arbitrary number purely for the sake of comparison)  (?) ), 
and was thus touted as being of superior quality relative to what was 
then available in video call quality for Skype for operating systems 
platforms other than the then latest version of MS Windows.

With the other person who was running a different version of Linux to 
me, when we were using the VOIP software sucessfully, the other person 
told me that the sound quality was superior to the landline telephone 
network. That involved calls over thousands of miles

I personally find the use of video calls, to be of great advantage. 
Having not seen some family members (siblings), for a number of years, 
with the cost and trouble of international travel ("You want a seat? 
That will cost you extra. You want to be able to use the toilet? That 
will cost you extra. You want to take luggage? That will cost you extra. 
You want to book a ticket? That will cost you extra. You have to pay 
for a ticket, and that will cost you extra." Etcetera, Etcetera, 
Etcetera.), having the facility of face-to face communications, through 
video calls,, without having to be physically present, is, to me, an 
exciting and worthwhile development.

In terms of the free calls, Optus had, as part of its household phone 
packages, included up to 100 minutes of calls, with call durations of up 
to 30 minutes, per month, to two countries of the customers' choice, to 
most countries in the world, free of charge (and then, being a 
telecommunications company, with the telecommunications companies not 
being subject to regulation, they deleted that contract condition, 
without notice).

But, the cost of international calls, to some countries, is now, not so 
great (I can remember when it was over a dollar a minute, with expensive 
phone calls, when the dollar was worth much more than it is now), and, 
with free calls to landlines within Australia, included in household 
landline packages (of differing degrees, depending on the particular 
package), the cost of voice-only, landline calls, is not so great.

So, my primary, and, substantial, interest in VOIP, is the as yet 
(mostly) untapped provision of video calls, which many people apparently 
have an aversion to using.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992

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