Your Linux Data Center Experts

This week's quick package review is of Twinkle, a SIP software phone.

A while back, Sean and I looked at a bunch of software phone packages. The goal at the time was for me to be able to connect to and use the office phone system (an Asterisk box) to make outgoing client calls, and also to allow incoming client calls to go to me whenever I was. At the time the winner seemed to be Kiax. It worked with the native asterisk IAX protocol and seemed to work. However, development has been very slow, and the performance had gotten really poor with kiax, so I went looking for another application.

I had problems with both kphone and linphone. Neither would support multiple users at the same time, and performance on both seemed sub-optimal.

Twinkle unfortunately doesn't do the native IAX2 protocol that asterisk and use, but it does use SIP, which they can also both use pretty easily. Performance seems to be pretty good most of the time. I use twinkle on my laptop, with a bluetooth headset. When calls come in, twinkle lets you decide to answer or reject the call (showing any caller ID) in a popup notification. DTMF works fine, either using the keyboard or with a DTMF popup you can click on numbers with your mouse.

Twinkle supports multiple “users”, which is a feature I use a lot. I am connected to our office phone system via vpn, connected to my home phone system (also via vpn), and to a 3rd party SIP provider to make cheap long distance calls out. I can decide which I want to use for any call. On incoming calls, twinkle indicates which user the call is coming in for, so you can decide to answer or reject (or just do nothing).

The twinkle interface is pretty simple and easy to use, with buttons for common actions, a pull down list to choose which connection you want to use for a call, and a input field for typing in the number you would like to call.

Twinkle is a QT/KDE application, but it works fine under Xfce for me. It's maintained by me and available in Fedora for a easy 'yum install twinkle".

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