Friday, May 6, 2011

The Others - We 'Switched' the Seats

The other day I saw on the web space the launch of a new mailing list about IPv6 by SIP Forum. SIP Forum seems to be an exclusive club of Telco vendors/equipment manufacturers and operators (annual membership fee $7500). Claiming to some extent they help promoting adoption of SIP, the group is well known, also maybe due to organization of various SIP related events such as SIPit (where I participated several times).

Do they help with SIP adoption? I don't think so. Why?

Just short details about what triggered this post now, but the facts are actual since many years. So I subscribed to the new IPv6 mailing list using my address used everywhere on all the mailing lists I am member of. It is from one of the very popular free emails providers. And I got rejected, with the following reason:

Your request to the IPv6 mailing list
Subscription request has been rejected by the list moderator. The moderator gave the following reason for rejecting your request: "As a SPAM control measure, all SIP Forum WG mailing list subscriptions must be from an address (domain name) that has an obvious association with SIP and IP communications technology. Please re-subscribe under such an email address, or send email to describing the organizational affiliation with SIP and your interest in participating in the WG mailing list. I hope you understand and appreciate our desire to keep spam from the list, and will bear with this inconvenience." Any questions or comments should be directed to the list administrator at: [email address]
To clarify, I don't claim my name or address is something well know in the SIP world, that is the most irrelevant aspect in this context. For the record and the reason I'll point out later, in summary: I have 10 years working with SIP and only SIP, spoke every year at least 3-4 times at SIP related events, participated to many SIP Forum events (including SIPit in Stockholm where I helped setting up the IPv6 SIP testbed, providing several Kamailio instances on IPv6 to be used by all the others for various use cases testing). It was not even SIPv2.0 when I started (RFc3261, June 2002), since then managing and developing SIP Express Router (SER) and/or Kamailio (OpenSER) SIP server projects. The IPv6 support is in our project (May 2002) also before SIPv2.0 was out. My interest was not in learning anything, but helping others to figure out the way to SIP IPv6. We did our work back in 2002.

The issue here is something that's being a reality for many year, nobody is speaking about it. SIP has been hijacked from the purpose of innovating the real time communications over IP networks. It is going to be killed if the situation goes on like this.

Back in early 2000, people working with SIP were open minded, the specification written at that time were for IP networks and new services. It was small companies, enthusiasts, academic institutes and open sources projects really pushing SIP ahead. It was cool, it was fun. Just as an example: KPhone, a very early implementation of SIP softphone, it works even now with audio, video and, surprise, PRESENCE, based on initial specifications (end to end presence) -- and see author's picture, Billy Biggs, when he did it in early 2000.

Now, all organizations that eventually coordinate SIP independent activities, mainly including SIP specifications, are controlled by the old Telco vendors/operators and polluted with Telco mentality. If you are not one of us, fuck off. Besides that, basic concepts of real time communication became nightmares in specifications (did I say SIMPLE?), events and conferences have prohibitive fees, and I can continue...

Hey guys, you do have to retire! With this way of thinking you stopped innovation in SIP, you turned SIP in a protocol to put PSTN architecture on IP. It is not going to work, trust me. We do not longer need PSTN-type of communications, we need new ways of communication. You forced many ideas of services that could have been done very easy via SIP to hack-around solutions through web technologies or similar. Just because it was not a "heavy, well know guy in the gang" doing it.

I may be nobody or somebody in the SIP world now (provided the summary above) and can send an email justifying my interest in SIP and IPv6, that I am not a spammer and beg for acceptance. I'll eventually get it. But if I was just an young guy with good ideas with no experience in the field, just knowing what would make my life easier with VoIP? Should I fax photo ID with SSN and last bill to my Telco?

You, Telco guys, are here for ages. What you brought us lately? Nothing. All SIP desk phones, TDM phones and mobile phones (up to very few years ago) have more or less the interface from 1960 - 10 digits dialpad. You always claimed it is what people want. Right now, you, the vendors, don't how how to get out quickly your touchscreen devices (concept which was brought to the market by a non-Telco-related company) or, you, the operators, how to start social interaction services. Cheaper rates and any kind of innovation in telecommunications lately were because of open source, better and feature rich VoIP switches, plus the new alternative communication streams, don't even think to claim any of those.

You are not capable to change the trend of becoming a bunch of wires and antennas. Soon you won't be even useful for that, as major Internet companies are laying down fiber and power up wifi and wimax networks. I travel a lot, I rather pay 5 bucks for 2 hours internet, check the email, do some voip, video and messaging, than paying you 1 dollar roaming fee per minute.

Your end is coming unless you open your minds and let new, young and enthusiast people coming in and you listen to them. They know what they need, they build their future right now.

The other day experience shows you consider everyone else irrelevant, a bad guy or potential enemy. You could have banned me with my first spam message. You could mark on mailing list settings first (or all) post by 'untrusted' members to be moderated. No, my email was not known to moderator, I am high risk spammer for a 2-hours-ago started list. How many were registered? 10, 20? It was only the welcome message in the archive at that time.

I am not going to try joining again, with less relevance for the benefits of that mailing list. But how many brilliant minds were kicked out from Telco environment because the old dinosaurs in the key positions spending investors and share holders money love their commission with expired vendors? You stay on your private yachts now and need just to call secretary to ship cold champagne, thus, by now smaller, bricks with 10 keys dialpad are more than enough, it would have been even better with ONE KEY. But the rest need to properly interact and communicate.

Fortunately there were and still are THE OTHERS, those rejected with stupid reasons that made no point to retry in the same direction. And they succeeded, my SMS is now Twitter, Facebook & co, my voice (and video and presence which are yet years away to your offerings) is now my own SIP server most of the time, for the rest I have cool options such as Rebtel, Truphone, Gtalk or Skype.

I no longer want to be +123456789, I have a name and cool email address everyone important to me knows and it is easy to remember for them. Btw, if Enum would have made it out, being the unique 'contact address' for all communication meanings, were you able to detect faster that my Enum number belongs to a person with real interest in SIP and IPv6? Would you have been capable to do copy of the number and DNS NAPTR lookup faster than a copy of the email address and web search? Pathetic.

Guess what Telco guys, we were the others, those isolated, but now it is your turn to be. And we will make sure that you change for better or vanish!

PS. The guys behind IPv6 mailing list at SIP Forum might be good people, this is not something personal to anyone. The debate here was about the policies of such organizations, about the management thinking: a walled garden environment, always killing evolution, thing which is present in most of telecom related organizations.


  1. Daniel:

    Sorry to see that you have taken a basic mailing list security precaution and turned it into a personal rant against "walled gardens".

    It is SIP Forum policy to reject most gmail, yahoo, hotmail and other "free" email addresses with such domains if the individual doesn't add his or her name to the subscription request so that they can easily be identified (which you did NOT do). We are simply being deluged with spam, and as our mailing lists are public, they are spam magnets. We need to do this or we are forced to have emergency moderation (where EVERYONE's post is moderated and held in a hold queue) turned on forever.

    Did you read the full text of the rejection notice? Specifically, we invited you to "send an email to the managing director -- me -- describing your organizational affiliation with SIP and your interest in participating in the mailing list."

    Rather than do this -- (and if you had we would have been happy to add your gmail address to the list) -- you dedided to get angry and post what I consider to be a completely unjustified critique of the Forum's activities -- of which you have not been a part of for many years.

    And while we may have Full Member companies that spend $7500 on their membership -- which funds the operation of our non-profit association -- we also have more than 10,000 "Participant" members from around the world whose membership is completely FREE.

  2. Marc:

    I did post the content of the message regarding the reject reason. It is italic-red part, with emails addresses removed "not to get you more spam".

    Now, whether you want or not to be a walled garden, it looks like it is. The same like with other Telco related organizations. Besides that, the spam reason reject makes it even a cheaper excuse, IMO - the way is written, arguments you give after.

    You say it is SIP Forum policy to remove (reject) "most" gmail & co free mail services unless full name is provided. "President's Name" and '' would have made it?

    A search on email address isn't it more or less the same operation as searching name? It should be even better since it is unique, while a name such as John Smith will return gazillions of results.

    Also, if the benefits will be so big, buying a domain and making a website saying SIP and/or IPv6 will be 20 bucks and 1 hour job (i.e., see scam sites for banking/e-commerce).

    The whole point here: this kind of organizations think the 'unknown' people trying to join any effort are bad, guilty until proved otherwise.

    Do you think anyone new in area with brilliant ideas is going to write a memo to you or to any unknown moderator, to explain why he wants to join a simple (publicly advertised) mailing list, what it is his/her interest in SIP and IPv6, what is his/her organization affiliation?

    This policy is like doing a PSTN interconnect: you are not a well know operator, then show me all about you. Public mailing lists should be different.

    These things are small details, but because for such insignificant aspects is so much hassle, what should new/young people think about more important matters? The post I did was not for me, I don't have anything to gain from being on that ML, was for the SIP world, to become what used to be when it started: an open environment.

    On the other hand, you are free to do what you want in your yard. But saying you want to promote SIP, inviting publicly people to join the new mailing list and then doing puerile rejecting, isn't bringing you good image at all.

    You can at least add a text with the conditions/restrictions on the subscription page so people know about it. You'll get less subscribers to reject, I'm sure.

    Finally, yes, I am not part of SIP Forum for many years because I haven't seen any good reason for that and there is no notable outcome from it. I think SIPit (the one I have some interest in) is the success of local organizers and Robert pursuing it for quite some many year.

    Over all, I am in the SIP world way longer than others, giving lot of time and knowledge in the SIP open source space, involved in many cases in SIP reference implementations.

    And for all that I was just an 'individual'.

    I don't think SIP should end up in just an upgrade for PSTN protocol, it has to be involved in satisfying the current and future needs of communications. It is flexible, it can do it, but doors must be completely open to fresh minds!