SIP Communicator the only show in town for VOIP in Linux

I have been trying to reach a holy grail. Well, not a big holy grail and to some people this will seem silly, but I have been longing to be able to use VOIP in Linux and until I discovered SIP Communicator it wasn’t viable.

Ekiga the default VOIP soft phone in Ubuntu just doesn’t cut the mustard. It crashes is difficult to setup and just plain doesn’t work properly for me (I have a mobile broadband connection so jitter is an issue).

As for Twinkle I couldn’t even get it to work. Qutecom was the best soft phone I had used. It crashed a lot on start up, would crash sometimes in calls but at least it was easy to setup and worked up to a point. And then, while trying to help somebody on the Ubuntu forums, the poster, after tearing his hair out trying to find something that just works recommended SIP Communicator. I thought I would give it a try and it was and is a revelation.

Installation, even though SIP Communicator isn’t in the Ubuntu repositories, is as simple as typing a few commands and completing a wizard. First go into System -> Administration -> Software Sources. Then click the other software tab and hit “Add” and put “deb unstable/” into the text box. See screenshot below:-

Then go to a terminal and type the following commands:-

apt-get update
apt-get install sip-communicator-keyring
apt-get install sip-communicator

Then go into Applications -> Internet -> SIP Communicator, on first start up you will be presented with a wizard screen as follows:-

Simply type in your sip username followed by an @ sign and your sip provider e.g. “” and your password and click “Sign in” and you’re good to go!

Using is as easy as typing in numbers and saving contacts.

Congratulations to the SIP Communicator developers as well as creating an easy to setup and use, cross platform VOIP soft phone. They have also managed to blow away the competition (at least in Linux) with an Alpha stage product! Whatever jitter buffer handling they have coded it works and it works well. Latency varies on my mobile broadband connection from sub 100ms to over 300ms so jitter is an issue with other VOIP soft phones.

Don’t talk to me about Skype I prefer to have an open product that I know won’t mine my home directory.

10 thoughts on “SIP Communicator the only show in town for VOIP in Linux”

  1. Hi thank you for you post. But you know, sip-communicator also requires teh sun version of the java jdk to be setup not the openjdk. So, one needs to configure this by using the following command:
    “sudo update-alternatives –config java”
    and then selecting the sun version of the jdk. If there is no sun version installed the list won’t show it so we will need to install it first then follow your step. You know I had properly installed the client without an error but when i tried to run it, it raised so many exceptions and just froze. So, I figured out this with the help of anotehr fiend. Hope this helps anotehr person.


  2. I have no idea. I wish I had kept the log. I struggled a lot to install this thing the last couple of days using the source and the package but it only worked when i did the above thing. They should mention this, I think. The error was related to sometype of java framework. I don’t exactly remember what it was. Anyway, thank you for sharing us.

    1. Yes that is strange. Until a few weeks ago I was running Karmic too, and I didn’t have any issues installing. Again, I may have had the sun jdk installed though. So, for anyone reading this there may be issues installing under Karmic with open jdk.

  3. I’m running latest nightly build with openjdk on a debian machine atm. I don’t see a difference with sun JAVA. I’m having troubles though with bad sound seems like because of high CPU usage. Not sure where the problem is but I experience this with portaudio/alsa and java audio equally.

    1. I suppose it’s a while since I wrote this post so the java situation could’ve changed. It’s difficult to say without looking, but is it possible there is high latency on your internet connection, jitter could be causing sound quality issues? It may also be an idea to do a fresh install, as I’m sure you’re aware that the various sound stacks in Linux have experienced issues, I’ve found with Ubuntu that sometimes upgrading inherits problems from the previous version of the OS, with a fresh install the only easy way of sorting them out. It may also be worthwhile to try another SIP phone such as Qutecom or (shudder) Ekiga, even though I’ve found the latter to be a big pile of pants. I’d be interested to find out how you get on.

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