News from Industry

Happy New Year 2019!

miconda - Tue, 01/01/2019 - 17:00
Fast, so fast, the 2018 is gone, one of those years of consolidation in terms of development and community activity for the Kamailio project, with another major release and an amazing edition of Kamailio World Conference! Thank you everyone for contributing to the project!We are now looking forward to a healthy and fruitful year 2019 to all Kamailio friends and the project itself, once again hoping to meet many of you at the 7th edition of Kamailio World Conference and other events around this magnificent world!Thanks for flying Kamailio!Enjoy 2019 and stay safe!Happy New Year!

A new design and what to expect in 2019 from BlogGeek.me?

bloggeek - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 12:00

The new look is here – and it is less… green.

I’m splitting this one into two main parts – the redesign and what’s going to happen in 2019.

BlogGeek.me – Redesigned

When I started this blog, what I didn’t want is yet another blue website. Somehow, it didn’t seem right to me. I ended up with a green one. So much so, that it stuck to almost everything else that I did online. As a kid, I really liked light blue – I don’t think green was anywhere in my sights.

Earlier this year, I wanted to refresh the look and the “brand” that is BlogGeek.me a bit. Luckily, the original designer just moved back from being a designer in an IoT startup to being a freelancer again, so I asked her for a new look. Which she happily and lovingly provided.

A few months later, with a lot of deliberation, hard work and updating ALL posts and pages (I had a lot of crap lying around due to custom shortcodes and plugins that accumulated in 6 years), I decided to take the plunge and update the main site with the new design.

What are the main differences?

There’s a lot… but here’s what you should know:

  1. I’ve removed the number and frequency of nagging popups. From now on, the only thing that will jump at you might be what is called an exit intent – it will show relevant content you may want to review further, and only once you’re ready to leave the page (no more searching for the x in the middle of reading an article)
  2. What is it that I do for a living? My site was designed and built as a blog. That last redesign I did was nice, but still left people wondering how I can actually help them. I tried fixing that with a new homepage and a simplified menu bar and footer area
  3. No course. I haven’t closed my WebRTC training – I just moved it to a website of its own: WebRTCcourse.com. This allows me to focus on the course and improve it in ways I just couldn’t do when it was part of BlogGeek.me
  4. Better reading experience. For now, I decided that article pages won’t have a sidebar, so you’ll get a distraction-free reading experience. The fonts are also bigger now (I am getting older, and with it my preference of font size seem to be changing)

Oh – and the pictures of me featuring on the website? They’re also new. Took them earlier in 2018.

Things are still broken

Not everything is working flawlessly. And there’s a reason for that. I knew that if I want just ship the thing, it will never come to be. So I decided to just release it “as is” at this point. I wanted to have a fresh start in 2019 with my website.

Here are somethings I know are broken:

  1. Mobile. Bad job there. This is known and will be taken care of through January
  2. Digital payments. The online store that I have/had was split into 2 – the one on BlogGeek.me which serves the reports and a separate one on WebRTCcourse.com which… needs to be fixed

Other than that, some pages are still ugly, and in other cases, there might be some dead or broken links.

If you find anything – just email me about it – I must have missed some of the ailments throughout this transition so I really appreciate your help here.

What to expect from BlogGeek.me in 2019?

Honestly, I don’t really know. At least not exactly.

Each year I start off with a plan, in which certain initiatives take place throughout the year. Some of them come to fruition while others – don’t.

Here’s what I decided for 2019:

Webinars

Last year was a rather slow year for webinars. Both on BlogGeek.me and on testRTC (where I am a co-founder and CEO).

This is going to change.

In 2019, I want, at least theoretically, to do a webinar a month for each. A line up of topics has been created and is maintained (I’ll need more topics, but I have a good starting point).

For BlogGeek.me, webinars would be around topics that make sense for me at a given month. First one will be around Mesh/MCU/SFU – one of those topics that I can endlessly babble about.

testRTC webinars are going to focus on things that you can do with testRTC. Instead of trying to aim for generic WebRTC industry/testing/marketing/promoting/whatever non-focus, we’re going to double down on best practices, hacks and interesting things we’re bumping into with our customers at testRTC.

testRTC

Speaking of testRTC – we’ve had a good year in 2018, growing our list of customers and getting into new areas. We’ve rewritten a big portion of our backend and we will continue with the rewrite in 2019 to close our technical debt.

Expect some new features and a new product or two from testRTC to be announced during 2019.

Articles on BlogGeek.me

I am going to write this year on BlogGeek.me, as well as other places when time permits.

For now, I plan to stick with a weekly article per week, something that was hard to maintain this year and I assume will be harder in 2019.

WebRTC Training

My online WebRTC course got over 250 registered students. I want to scale it up even further.

This year, I’ll be giving the course additional focus, making sure it stays the best alternative out there for those who wish to learn WebRTC.

In February, there will be a few announcements about the course.

Reports update

The reports will get some refresh in 2019.

The WebRTC for Business People is up for a 2019 edition (later this month). I’d like to thank Frozen Mountain for sponsoring this initiative and making this edition free for everyone.

I might do an update to Choosing a WebRTC API Platform report. There are enough changes in the industry taking place that merit such an update. If you are a CPaaS vendor, who is now offering WebRTC support of some kind and you’re not featured in this report already – contact me.

The recent AI in RTC report I’ve written with Chad Hart doesn’t need an update. Yet.

Kranky Geek

Unlike previous years, Kranky Geek already has a date for 2019: November 15, San Francisco, Google office – same place as always.

If you’d like to talk about sponsorships, speaking opportunities and such – we’re happy to start this earlier than usual.

In any case, mark your calendar.

Other projects and initiatives

As in previous years, more projects will crop up during the year. There are a few I am contemplating already, but not sure yet if I’ll be doing them.

If there’s a project you’d like to do together – just tell me.

2019

Have a great new year!

The post A new design and what to expect in 2019 from BlogGeek.me? appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

miconda - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 23:00
Slowly getting to another end of a year, the 18th since the project was started — a fruitful 2018, with a great evolution for project development and plenty of community interactions. We had another major releases, 5.2 in November and, after quite long time, a meeting dedicated for Kamailio developers, done by end of September 2018, in Dusseldorf, Germany. We are grateful to all developers and community members that contributed to moving the project further!The 6th edition of Kamailio World happened in the spring of 2018, now we prepare for the 7th edition during May 6-8, 2019, in Berlin, Germany. We look forward to meeting many of the community members there!Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Holidays!Santa is flying Kamailio!

All the Truth About the Latest (non)Hype of Fuzzy Testing WebRTC Applications

bloggeek - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 12:00

There’s a lot of fuzzing around lately about WebRTC. Which is really about SRTP. Which is really important. But also really misplaced.

Before I Begin

This all started when Google Project Zero, a team tasked with actively searching for zero day bugs (nasty crashes and similar bugs that might be exploited by hackers) set their sights on video conferencing and WebRTC. The end result of it all is a github repository with tools to test RTP streams (and some filed bugs).

A few things to put the house in order:

  1. These bugs are important. Go fix them
  2. I am not a security expert, but I know my way with security and have a few scars to show for it
  3. This isn’t the end of the world. A few bugs were found. Many of them old. This happens every day. Some are nastier than others
  4. These won’t be the last bugs in WebRTC and they won’t be the most serious that get found either. Just ask NewVoiceMedia about their recent audio issues
  5. We will all forget about this come 2019 and proceed with our normal daily lives

Now that we’ve cleared the air – let’s check what’s all that fuzz. Shall we?

What Fuzzing means

Wikipedia has his to say about Fuzzing:

Fuzzing or fuzz testing is an automated software testing technique that involves providing invalid, unexpected, or random data as inputs to a computer program. The program is then monitored for exceptions such as crashes, failing built-in code assertions, or potential memory leaks.

For me, fuzz testing is about the generation of malformed inputs in ways that the developers haven’t anticipated or tested for. This will result undefined behavior, which is largely a nicer word of saying a bug. In some cases, the bug will be an innocent one. In other cases, it can be nasty:

  • It might cause the software to crash
  • Go read or write where it shouldn’t (overflow)
  • Deadlock the whole thing (=cause it to freeze)
  • Cause a memory leak

The type of bugs that can be found is endless, which makes for really good FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) and lore.

A good malformed input can theoretically be used to grant you administrative access to a machine or to allow you to read memory where you shouldn’t have access to.

A simple explanation can be this: assume your software expects a user’s email to be 40 characters long. Lower than that is obviously fine, but what will happen if you use an email that is longer than 40 characters? Somewhere along the line, there will be a piece of code that should check the length and state that you’ve got it too long. And if there isn’t… well… we’ve reached the realm of undefined and potential security bugs.

The same can happen in network protocols,where whatever you send “on the wire” has a structure of sorts. The machines need structure to be able to parse the data and act upon it. So if you change the data so it is close to the expected structure, but off in just a bit – you might get to that realm of undefined as well.

Fuzzing is trying to get to that place – adding randomness in just the correct places to get to undefined software behavior.

Let me tell you a bedtime story

MY fuzzy life started in Finland, though I’ve never been there (yet).

At Oulu university, one day, a new something called “PROTOS Test Suite” was created. At the time, I was the project manager leading the development and maintenance of RADVISION’s H.323 protocol stack. We’ve licensed it to many vendors around the globe, all using our source code to build VoIP products.

The PROTOS Test-Suite was all about security testing. The intent behind it was to find bugs that cause crashes and other ailments to those using H.323. And they chose the best possible entry point. Here’s how they phrased it:

The purpose of this test-suite is to evaluate implementation level security and robustness of H.225.0 implementations. H.225.0 is a protocol responsible for signalling and setting up H.323 calls. […]

The scope of the test-suite was narrowed to H.225.0 version 4 Setup-PDU. Rationale behind this selection was:

  • Setup is the first message sent to a target H.323 endpoint upon call signalling, it is easy to deliver test-cases and to restore the implementation back to its initial state by disconnecting.
  • […]

I marked in bold the important parts. Specifically, the guys at Oulu decided to go after the “pick up line” of H.323 and try to come up with nasty Setup messages that will confuse H.323 devices.

And confuse they did. PROTOS has 4497 Setup messages. On my first run with it, probably 50% of them caused our beloved H.323 stack to crash. I spent a week building the software to automate using it and fixing all the nastiness out of it. I admired the work they did and the work they made me do.

PROTOS practically analyzed how the things go on the wire, and devised a set of messages that were bound to get picked by bad programming practices, which we all err on as humans. This isn’t exactly fuzzing in an automated fashion, but it is the “manual” equivalent of it.

This got its own CERT vulnerability note and we had a great time working with our customers on updating our stack and getting these security fixes to work.

I believe some of our customers actually upgraded and updated their systems due to this. I am sure many didn’t. I am also assuming many of our customers’ customers didn’t upgrade their own deployed equipment. And the world continued on. Happily enough.

All this took place in 2004. Before WebRTC. Before the cloud. Before mobile. With practically the same RTP/RTCP protocol and the same techniques and mechanisms in VoIP that we use today in WebRTC.

Why didn’t people look at RTP vulnerabilities at that time? We’ll get to that.

Google’s Project Zero and video conferencing

This year, Google Project Zero decided to look at video conferencing. The “way in” was through WebRTC. Natalie Silvanovich was tasked with this and she wrote a series of 5 posts about it. The first one was about her selection and adventures with WebRTC itself. In it, she writes:

I started by looking at WebRTC signalling, because it is an attack surface that does not require any user interaction. […] WebRTC uses SDP for signalling.

I reviewed the WebRTC SDP parser code, but did not find any bugs. I also compiled it so it would accept an SDP file on the commandline and fuzzed it, but I did not find any bugs through fuzzing either. […]

I then decided to look at how RTP is processed in WebRTC. While RTP is not an interaction-less attack surface because the user usually has to answer the call before RTP traffic is processed, picking up a call is a reasonable action to expect a user to take. […]

Setting up end-to-end fuzzing was fairly time intensive […]

A few things that come to mind here:

  1. The “signaling” layer in WebRTC (=the SDP parser) is rather robust against these types of attacks. Natalie couldn’t find anything there
  2. Signaling and SDP, is the equivalent of what the guys at Oulu did with their PROTOS test suite
  3. There is a notion here of “call answering”. This isn’t what WebRTC does. It connects sessions. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. And in all cases, there are layers above RTP that the users (and attackers) will need to go through first
  4. Setting up such a test, doing end-to-end fuzzing in the RTP layer is time intensive

Time intensive is important, as this raises the bar to those wishing to exploit such a weakness.

The fact that RTP isn’t the first attack surface and isn’t the first layer of interaction makes it somewhat less obvious on how to exploit it (besides instigating DDoS attacks on devices and servers).

Coupling these two – the complexity and the non-obviousness of an exploit is what kept people from putting the effort into it up until today.

The Fuzzy feelings of our WebRTC industry

Ben Hawkes, Project Zero team lead tweets on it garnered 3 digit likes and retweets, tapering off in the last 2 posts (I attribute that to fatigue of the subject):

Project Zero blog: "Adventures in Video Conferencing Part 1: The Wild World of WebRTC" by @natashenkahttps://t.co/pdtZLDDP9M

— Ben Hawkes (@benhawkes) December 4, 2018

That kind of sharing is an average day for most posts published by that team. A few immediately took the cue and started fuzzing on their own. A notable example is Philipp Hancke who aimed at the Janus media server and fuzzed REMB RTCP messages.

His attack was quite successful due to several reasons:

  1. He had he source code of Janus and was able to isolate the area he wanted to attack. This made the process easier than the work done by Project Zero
  2. He picked an obvious target that was bound to crash multiple times – a message buried deep inside the protocol that aimed at control logic that takes place a lot after the session gets connected
Should you start Fuzzing away your WebRTC application?

Probably not.

And let’s face it – in the list of tests that you want to do but don’t do today, fuzzing fits nicely near that end of the things you just never find the time and priority to handle.

The good thing? For most of us, fuzzing is something that “others” should be doing.

If you are using a CPaaS vendor, it is his task to protect his signaling and media servers against such attacks.

If you run on top of the browser… well… those who maintain the WebRTC code for the browser need to do it (and it is Google for the most part at the moment).

You should think about fuzzing in your own application logic and the things that are under your control, but the WebRTC pieces? Going down the rabbit hole of fuzzing RTP and RTCP packets? Not for you.

Your role here is to ask the vendors you work with if they have taken steps in the area of security testing and what exactly have they done there. Fuzzing needs to be one of them things.

Who should care about fuzzing?

There’s a shortlist of people that needs to deal with fuzzing.

  • If you develop and deploy your own media servers and client side frameworks – you should fuzz them away
    • The example above that Philipp Hancke did with Janus? It should be done on more such message types and protocol layers and it should be done for the other media servers
    • A WebRTC implementation in Python added some fuzzing related fixes in version 0.9.14: “Fix RTP and RTCP parsing errors detected by fuzzing”
    • That said, do we want them to do that or implement unified plan? What has a higher priority? For most of the industry, it would be unified plan…
  • If you are using third parties, you need to make sure you update them frequently
    • Using a WebRTC stack from a year or two ago isn’t something you should be doing
    • Using open source media servers without upgrading them from time to time (and actively looking for these security patches for them) is als not something you should be doing
  • CPaaS vendors…
    • These things is one of them things they live for
    • They deal with this headache so you don’t have to
    • If they don’t – you should take your business elsewhere. Just saying
  • Browser vendors. Enough said
Where do we go to next?

Fuzzing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you set off to build your business.

We are at a point where we are dealing and addressing fuzzing, and at the layers of RTP is what people seem to be doing (at least a bit). We’ve come a long way since we started with WebRTC and it is a good sign.

 

To Fuzz or not to Fuzz? Where should you spend your energies with WebRTC? If you need help with that, just contact me.

The post All the Truth About the Latest (non)Hype of Fuzzy Testing WebRTC Applications appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Lets get better at fuzzing in 2019 – here’s how

webrtchacks - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 11:47

Tribbles Startrek GIF from Tribbles GIFs

Fuzzing is a Quality Assurance and security testing technique that provides unexpected, often random data to a program input to try to break it. Natalie Silvanovich from Google’s Project Zero team has had quite some fun fuzzing various different RTP implementations recently.

She found vulnerabilities in:

  • WebRTC — mostly issues in the RTP payload
  • Facetime – a few out-of-bounds, stack corruption, and heap corruption issues
  • Whatsapp and what didn’t work

In a nutshell, she found a bunch of vulnerabilities just by throwing unexpected input at parsers.

Continue reading Lets get better at fuzzing in 2019 – here’s how at webrtcHacks.

Performance Tests For KEMI Scripting Languages

miconda - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 16:53
Two editions ago, Kamailio (with version 5.0) introduced the scripting languages embedded interface (short name KEMI) that enabled using Lua, Python, JavaScript or other scripting languages to build SIP routing logic. During Kamailio v5.1.x cycle, this framework became more mature and started to show its benefits: besides ability to reload the routing scripts at runtime, each of these languages come with tons of extensions and offer a more flexible programming eco-system.When preparing the latest major release of Kamailio (the v5.2.0) and the days after, I run some tests to compare the performances of using native scripting versus Lua and Python (v2). The tests were not focused on measuring the capacity of Kamailio, but to see the difference in executing similar SIP routing logic with different scripting languages.The results and conclusions are collected in a wiki page:It was pleasant to discover that native scripting, Lua and Python perform more or less the same, the differences are so small that can be just a side effect of what other applications are running at that moment in the system. The tests were related to processing registrations with user authentication, using MySQL as a backend.A test consisted of 20 000 registrations for 10 users being sent at a rate of 4000 requests/second, with a limit of 10 000 at the same time. Note that each registration was challenged for authentication and resent with credentials, then authenticated (this performs a MySQL query) and replied with 200ok. The average of running the routing script ranged form 60 to 80 microseconds, most of them being around 70 microseconds (for a better understanding, that means more than 10 000 authenticated registrations per second).The wiki page includes the sipp scenario, used configs and tools to perform the tests, therefore anyone can try to run and check the results.A bit of a surprise was to see that Python has really good results. I ran couple of basic tests during the development of KEMI framework for Kamailio 5.0 and using Python seemed slower. Not this time, so I will have to re-run the tests just to be sure I haven’t forgotten something.Anyhow, during the development of Kamailio 5.2, there were couple of additions to KEMI to improve the performances. Among the most relevant were to export several functions that are equivalent to some native scripting language conditions, such as matching From/To URIs against myself keyword or matching the SIP methods.The plan is to run the tests for the other scripting languages supported by KEMI at this moment, respectively Python (v3), JavaScript, Ruby and Squirrel. It would be also interesting to see the results of using Lua scripting with LuaJIT (an addition added for Kamailio v5.2 as well).Should you run the tests from the wiki, let us know the results for your environment via sr-users@lists.kamailio.org mailing list.Thanks for flying Kamailio!

Kamailio World 2019 – Call for Presentations

miconda - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:08
We would like to announce that Call for Presentations at Kamailio World 2019 is now open. You can submit your proposal or see more details at:The 7th edition of the event takes place again in Berlin, Germany, during May 6-8, 2019. Expect over 150 participants, developers and community members as well as representatives from other popular open source VoIP projects such as Asterisk or FreeSwitch.Looking forward to meeting many of you there!Thanks for flying Kamailio!

Is Chrome on its Way to be ONLY Browser out there? (Microsoft throwing the towel on Edge)

bloggeek - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:00

Chrome=The web. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I’ve always said that Chrome is almost the only browser we need. Microsoft Edge was always an easy target to mock. And it now seems that Microsoft has thrown the towel on Edge and its technology stack as a differentiating factor and has decided to *gasp* use Chromium as the engine powering whatever comes next.

A long explanation from Microsoft on the move was published on github (more on GitHub later).

What are Browsers made of?

I’ll start with a quick explanation of how I see a browser’s architecture. It is going to be rather simplistic and probably somewhat far from the truth, but it will be good enough for us for now.

A browser is built out of two main pieces: the renderer and the runtime engine.

The Renderer deals with displaying HTML pages with their CSS styling. Today, it probably also deals with CSS animation. It is what takes your webpage and renders it into something that can be displayed on the screen.

The Runtime Engine was all about executing JavaScript code inside the browser. It is what makes it interactive in modern browsers. It is usually called JavaScript Engine, but it is already running also WebAssembly, hence my preference in referring it as Runtime.

On top these two pieces sits the browser engine itself, which is later wrapped by the browser.

Who Uses What?

That illustration of the browser makeup above? It shows in gray the components that Google uses in Chrome. Each browser vendor picks and chooses its own components.

In the past, we effectively had 3 browsers engines: “Firefox”, “Internet Explorer” and “WebKit”

WebKit was used by both Safari and Chrome. That until 2013 when Google decided to part ways and create Blink – it started by deleting everything it didn’t use out of WebKit and continue from there. In a way, it is a fork of WebKit, to the point that code integrated into WebKit oftentimes comes directly by porting it enmasse from Blink/Chromium (this is how WebRTC is implemented in Safari/WebKit today).

Up until a year ago, we had 4 roughly independent browser engines for the major 4 browsers:

  1. Chrome, using Chromium, Blink and V8
  2. Firefox, using its own tech stack; with Gecko as the rendered, being replaced by Servo
  3. Safari uses WebKit and Nitro
  4. Edge had its own stuff – EdgeHTML and Chakra; now migrating to Chromium tech (and maybe a rebranded name instead of Edge?)

Internet Explorer is all but dead.

Edge was never getting useful market share and now moving to embrace Chromium.

Apple’s Safari… I am not sure how much Apple cares about Safari, and besides, WebKit gets its fare share of code from Google’s Blink project. On top of it all, it runs only on Apple devices, limiting its popularity and use.

In a way, we’re down to two main browser stacks: Google’s and Mozilla’s

Mozilla wrote about the end of the line for EdgeHTML and they are spot on:

If one product like Chromium has enough market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to decide not to worry if their services and sites work with anything other than Chromium. That’s what happened when Microsoft had a monopoly on browsers in the early 2000s before Firefox was released. And it could happen again.

I’ve tried Firefox and Edge a year or two ago. They worked well enough. But somehow they weren’t Chrome (possibly because I am a heavy user of Google services), so it just made no sense to stick with any of them when Chrome feels too much like “home”.

Is the current state of affair lifts Chromium to the status of Linux? More on that a bit later down this article.

Chrome’s Dominance

I’ve taken a snapshot of StatCounter’s desktop browsers market share:

If you are more interested in the numbers than that boring visual line, then here you go:

Chrome with over 72%; IE and Safari at 5%; Edge at 4%.

Firefox has a single digit 9%.

Funnily enough, all non-Chrome browsers are trending downwards. Even Safari which should enjoy growth due to an increase of Mac machines out there (for some unknown reason they are popular with developers these days – go figure).

Even if you ignore the desktop and check mobile only (see here), Chrome gets some 53% versus Safari’s 22%.

Investing in browser development isn’t a simple task. There are several vectors that need to be pursued at all times:

  • Adherence to the HTML5 specification(s), adding new components to it along the way (PWA, WebGL, WebVR, WebAssembly, Web Workers to name a few)
  • Deal with backward compatibility of the billions of web pages that are out there as much as possible
  • Handle security aspects
  • Deal with performance and bloat
  • Support hardware acceleration for optimized performance where possible, a trend that is becoming common

It would be safe to say that Chrome enjoys 100’s of Google employees developing code that goes directly into their Chrome browser.

Where will Microsoft take Edge?

Microsoft under the lead of CEO Satya Nadella has shifted towards the cloud and is doubling down on the enterprise. To a big extent, its XBox business is an anomaly in the Microsoft of 2018.

Where once Microsoft was all about Windows and the Office suite, it has shifted towards Office 365 (subscription versus licensing business model for Office) and its Azure cloud. Windows is still there, but its importance and market dominance are a far cry from where it was a decade ago. Microsoft knows that and is making the necessary changes – not to win back the operating system market, but rather to grow its businesses on other core competencies and assets.

Microsoft Edge was an attempt to shed Internet Explorer. Give its browser a complete rewrite and bring something users would enjoy using. That hasn’t turned well. After all the investment in Edge, it had a small market share to show for it, with many of the users switching to Windows 10 opting to switch to Chrome instead of Edge.

This user behavior is surprising to say the least. With a default browser that is good enough (Edge), why would they make the conscious decision of browsing to chrome.com to download and install a different browser that does what Edge does?

Microsoft tried and failed to change this user behavior, which led it to the conclusion that Edge, or at least the innards of Edge are a waste of resources.

Why is opting for Chromium as a browser engine makes sense for Microsoft?

As Microsoft is shifting to the cloud, and Edge focusing on web standards, the end result was that anything and everything that Microsoft invested in for its web based services (Office 365 for example) has to work first and foremost on Chrome – that’s where users are anyway.

Google is using Chrome to drive proprietary initiatives to optimize its services for users and push them as standards later (think SPDY turn HTTP/2, QUIC or its latest Project Stream). It can do it due to its market dominance in browsers and the huge amount of web assets they operate. Microsoft never had that with Edge, so any proprietary initiatives on Microsoft’s part in web technologies was bound to fail.

Microsoft derived no value out of maintaining its own browser technology stack, and investing 100’s of developers on it was an expensive and useless endeavor.

So it went with Chromium.

Chromium brings one more benefit – theoretically, Microsoft can now push its browser to non-Windows 10 devices. Mac and Linux included. And since Microsoft is interested more in Office and Azure than it is in Windows, having an optimized “window” towards Office and Azure in the form of a Chromium-based Microsoft browser that works everywhere made sense.

This also means where Microsoft does want to focus its efforts in the browser – the user interface and experience, as well as in delivering the Microsoft services to customers.

Microsoft cannot forgo having its own browser and just pre-installing Chrome or even Firefox on its Windows operating system. That would mean ceding to much control to others. It has to have its own browser.

Windows Chromiumized

Remember that browser architecture I shared in the beginning? It is changing in one critical way. Google decided to create an “operating system” and call it Chrome OS, which ends up being based to some extent on the browser itself:

We spend more time in front of web applications that reside in the browser (or in Electron apps) and less inside native apps. This means that in many ways, the browser is the operating system.

Google derives all of its value from the internet, with the browser being the window there.

Microsoft is heading in the same direction, and where it matters for it with its operating system, it finds itself now competing against Chrome OS and Chromebooks, making it a huge threat to Microsoft and Office.

And obviously, there’s a “lite” version of Windows in the works, at least by the reports on Petri. Is this related to Edge using Chromium in some way? Would Windows Lite be web focused in the same way that Chrome OS is?

Who Controls Chromium? And is it the new Linux?

Back to Chromium, and the reasons that the Microsoft news is making ripples in the web around openness and positive fragmentation.

Browsers are becoming operating systems in many ways. Can we correlate between Linux and its ecosystem to Chromium and its growing ecosystem?

Linux and Ownership

I’d say that these are two distinctly different cases. If anything, Chromium’s status should worry many out there. It is less about monocultures, openness and high words and more about control and competitive advantage.

On opensource.com, Greg Kroah-Hartman Feed wrote two years ago a piece titled 9 lessons from 25 years of Linux kernel development. Here’s lesson 6:

6. Corporate participation in the process is crucial, but no single company dominates kernel development.

Some 5,062 individual developers representing nearly 500 corporations have contributed to the Linux kernel since the 3.18 release in December of 2014. The majority of developers are paid for their work—and the changes they make serve the companies they work for. But, although any company can improve the kernel for its specific needs, no company can drive development in directions that hurt the others or restrict what the kernel can do.

This is important.

Who really controls Linux? Who owns it? Who decides what comes next? The fact that there are no clear answers to these questions is what makes Linux so powerful and so useful to the industry as a whole.

Chromium and Google

Does the same apply to Chromium?

Chromium is a Google owned project. Hosted on a Google domain. Managed using Google tooling. Maintained by Google. This includes all the main browser pieces that are created, controlled and owned by Google to a large extent: the V8 JavaScript Engine, Blink web renderer and Chromium itself.

When someone wants to contribute into Chromium, they need to go through a rigorous process. One that takes place at Google’s leisure and based on their priorities. This is understandable. Chromium is what Chrome is made up of, and Chrome gets released to a billion users every 6-8 weeks. Breakage there ends with backlash. Security holes there means vulnerability at a large scale.

While these aspects of stability and security are there with Linux as well, when it comes to Chromium, Google is the one that is setting the priorities.

It doesn’t end with priorities. It goes to the types of web experiments and proprietary features that end up in Chrome. Since Google controls and owns the Chromium stack… it can do as it pleases.

Will Google cede control of Chromium just because?

No.

It might benefit the open-whatever if it did, but it would also slow down innovation and won’t further Google’s own cause.

Microsoft and Chromium

Microsoft is painting this in colors of open source and collaboration with the industry.

It isn’t.

This is about Microsoft going with Chromium because Edge took a few bad turns in its strategy from the get go:

  1. Limiting Edge to Windows 10 only
    • Internet Explorer was always a Windows play, ignoring its stint on Mac
    • Microsoft today is in a very different place – access to its services across all devices is what is driving it
    • This requires its browser to run everywhere and not be limited to Windows 10
  2. Making Edge all about performance and security
    • When Chrome was released, its leading pitch was exactly that. A secure browser with high performance
    • As it grew in adoption, all browsers focused more resources towards that goal, and today, it is a moot point
    • While Chrome is definitely a memory and resource hog, there’s no big backlash due to it
    • Trying to take that same strategy as a differentiating point failed
  3. Not differentiating Edge through Microsoft’s assets
    • There’s a challenge in this one. Take Office 365. If you make it run better on Edge and purposefully harming it on Chrome, you lose on (1) – you limit it on non-Windows devices
    • Microsoft should have invested in a world where the user’s profile and preferences are stored in the cloud. Google and Apple devices “just work” when you plugin them in with your credentials. Microsoft doesn’t really
    • Having a user’s profile in the cloud, easily accessible via Edge would strengthen the tie between people using Office and Azure to an Edge browser, keeping them away from Chrome

Going with Chromium means two things to Microsoft:

  1. Working on making Chromium (and by extension the new Edge) work perfectly on Windows devices (not only Windows 10, but also Windows 7, HoloLens and whatever comes next in the Internet of Things). This is an optimization effort, simply shifting it from what was Edge towards Chromium
  2. Doubling down on the differentiation of Edge based on a single browser engine, which is where it should have focused in the first place anyway

The only challenge here is that it comes to Chromium as just another vendor. Not a partner or an owner.

A Single WebRTC Stack

At the recent Kranky Geek event, Microsoft discussed its WebRTC on UWP project. Part of it was about merging changes it made to the WebRTC code from webrtc.org (=the code that goes into Chrome). Here’s how James Cadd framed it in his session:

… after 4 years of maintaining a fork on github, we’ve been discussing with Google the possibility of submitting this back to the webrtc.org repo and we’re working on that now. The caveat is that there’s no guarantee that we’ll get 100% of the way there. We’re mostly using the public submission process, so we’re going through reviews just like everyone does, but that’s our goal.

The UWP specific changes are going to live in sdk-contrib-windows so we will have our own little area to contribute this back. Microsoft has comitter rights there, so we’ll be able to keep everything moving there. […]

So just wanted to say thank you to Google for that opportunity. We’re looking forward for the collaboration.

A master and a slave? A landlord and a tenant? A patron and a client? Two partners? I am not sure what the exact relation here is, but it should be similar to what Microsoft has probably struck with Google across the board for all Chromium related technologies that are dear to Microsoft in one way or another.

Is a single stack good or bad?

If we look at it from a browser level perspective, we aren’t in a different position in the technology diversity than 8 years ago:

And here’s where we are today:

The main difference is market share – Chrome is eating up the internet with Blink and Chromium. Factor in Node.js which uses V8 JavaScript engine and you get the same tech running servers as well.

WebRTC specific though? Now runs on webrtc.org code only. All browser vendors pick bits and pieces from it for their own implementations, and while they are differences between browsers they aren’t many.

As I said before in many of my articles here – most developers today can simply develop their code for Chrome and be done with it; adding support for more browsers only if they really really really need to.

Browsers are one piece of getting WebRTC to run. Check out what else you’ll need in this free video series unraveling the server side story of WebRTC:

Register to the video series

Could Microsoft Buy Their way into Browser Market Share?

Not really. If they could have, they would done so instead of going Chromium.

Let’s start from why such a move would be appealing.

GitHub

The recent acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft can be taken as a case point. Especially considering at the varied reactions it brought across the board.

6 months after that announcement, the sky haven’t fallen. Open source hasn’t been threatened or gobbled up by Microsoft. And Microsoft is even using GitHub for its own projects, and to announce its own initiatives – Edge using Chromium for example.

Time will tell, but my gut tells me that Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub is as meaningful as Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp and Instagram. These made little sense at the time from a valuation standpoint, but no one is doubting these acquisitions today.

With GitHub, Microsoft is buying its way into open source. Not only as lip service, but also in understanding how open source works. By owning a large portion of the open source interactions, and being able to analyze them closely, Microsoft can tell where developers are headed and what they are after. Microsoft was always successful due to the developers using their platform (top notch tools for developers – always). GitHub allows them to continue with that in an open source world.

Then why not the browser market?

There were two assets that could be acquired here – Mozilla and Electron.

Electron

Electron is already developed and maintained by GitHub directly. Microsoft owns it already.

What advantages does Microsoft derive from Electron? None, assuming you remember that Electron runs on top of Chromium.

From a strategic standpoint, there’s no value in Electron for Microsoft. At the end of the day, Electron is a window to Chromium and to web applications.

Microsoft is using it for its own cross platform applications – Skype on Linux has been known to use Electron for several years now.

Owning Electron through GitHub doesn’t help Microsoft in its browser market share.

Mozilla

Mozilla would have been an interesting acquisition.

Similarly to GitHub, it would be acquiring the obvious open source vendor. The challenge here is twofold:

  1. Mozilla wouldn’t want to be acquired and would rather stay independent, as this is their stance and current market position. It may change, but resistance internally from Mozilla employees would rather be big
  2. Firefox market share is now a single digit and the trend isn’t a positive one

Furthermore, acquiring Firefox as a window to Microsoft’s services and assets in the cloud is exactly one of them things that Mozilla is fighting Google against. It would be counterproductive to go there.

Microsoft has no one to buy in order to improve its position and market share in browsers.

It could only continue to fight it out with Edge or partner. And it decided to partner with the goliath in the room (an elephant wouldn’t be visible enough).

Will Chrome Reign Supreme?

Yes.

Anyone thinks otherwise?

The post Is Chrome on its Way to be ONLY Browser out there? (Microsoft throwing the towel on Edge) appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

What Does Machine Learning Have to do with MOS Scores?

bloggeek - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:00

What Does Machine Learning Have to do with MOS Scores?

Human subjectivity in MOS calculations doesn’t hold water when it comes to heterogeneous environments. That’s where machine learning comes to play.

MOS score. That Mean Opinion Score. You get a voice call. You want to know its quality. So you use MOS. It gives you a number between 1 to 5. 1 being bad. 5 being great. If you get 3 or above – be happy and move on they say. If you get 4.something – you’re a god. If you don’t agree with my classification of the numbers then read on – there’s probably a good reason why we don’t agree.

Anyways, if you go down the rabbit hole of how MOS gets calculated, you’ll find out that there isn’t a single way of doing that. You can go now and define your own MOS scoring algorithm if you want, based on tests you’ll conduct. From that same Wikipedia link about MOS:

“a MOS value should only be reported if the context in which the values have been collected in is known and reported as well”

Phrased differently – MOS is highly subjective and you can’t really use MOS scores produced in one device to MOS scores produced in another device.

This is why I really truly hate delving into these globally-accepted-but-somewhat-useless quality metrics (and why we ended up with a slightly different scoring system in testRTC for our monitoring and testing services).

What Goes into MOS Scoring Calculations?

Easy. everything.

Or at least everything you have access to:

  • RTCP sender and receiver reports
  • Received RTP packets
  • Knowing the voice codec used
  • Actually decoding the audio stream and “listening” to it
  • Understanding what the end user is really going to hear

Here are a few examples:

Physical desk phone

A physical IP phone has access to EVERYTHING. All the software and all the hardware.

It even knows how the headset works and what quality it offers.

Theoretically then, it can provide an accurate MOS that factors in everything there is.

Android native app

Android apps have access to all the software. Almost. Mostly.

The low level device drivers are as known as the hardware that app is running on. The only problem is the number of potential devices. A few years back, these types of visualizations of the Android fragmentation were in fashion:

This one’s from OpenSignal. Different devices have different location for their mics and speakers. They use different device drivers. Have different “flavors” of the Android OS. They act differently and offer slightly different voice quality as well.

What does measuring what an objective person think about the quality of a played audio stream mean in such a case? Do we need to test this objectivity per device?

Media server who routes voice around

Then we have the media server. It sends and receives voice. It might not even decode the audio (it could, and sometimes it does).

How does it measure MOS? What would it decide is good audio versus bad audio? It has access to all packets… so it can still be rather accurate. Maybe.

WebRTC inside a browser

And we have WebRTC. Can’t write an article without mentioning WebRTC.

Here though, it is quite the challenge.

How would a browser measure MOS of its audio? It can probably do a good a job as an Android device. But for some reason, MOS scoring isn’t part of the WebRTC bundle. At least not today.

So how would a JavaScript web application calculate MOS of the incoming audio? By using getStats? That has access to an abstraction on top of the RTCP sender and receiver reports. It correlates to these to some extent. But that’s about as much as it has at its disposal for such calculations, which doesn’t amount for much.

Back to MOS calculations

But what does MOS really calculate?

The quality of the voice I hear in a session?

Maybe the quality of voice the network is capable of supporting?

Or is it the quality of the software stack I use?

What about the issue with voice quality when the person I am speaking with is just standing in a crowded room? Would that affect MOS? Does the actual original content need to be factored into MOS scores to begin with?

I’ll leave these questions opened, but say that in my opinion, whatever quality measurement you look at, it should offer some information to the things that are in your power to change – at least as a developer or product owner. Otherwise, what can you do with that information?

What Affects Audio Quality in Communications?

Everything.

  • The quality of the microphone used to record the original audio (though this usually gets neglected in discussions around MOS)
  • The location of the person speaking – a crowded room, airport, next to a working vacuum cleaner – or in a silent recording studio
  • The voice codec used, its configuration and the level and aggressiveness of the compression it is using for this session
  • The network conditions – in the last mile from both the sender and the receiver, of every hop along the way and the routers and servers it has to pass through
  • The media servers – and every possible aspect about them
  • The receiver’s software. Especially the jitter buffer and packet loss concealment algorithms
  • The sender’s acoustic echo cancellation implementation quality
  • The receiver’s voice decoder implementation
  • The receiver’s speakers

I am sure I missed a bullet or two. Feel free to add them in the comments.

The thing is, there’s a lot of things that end up affecting audio quality when you make the decision of sending it through a network.

Is Machine Learning Killing MOS Scoring or Saving It?

So what did we have so far?

A scoring system – MOS, which is subjective and inaccurate. It is also widely used and accepted as THE quality measure of voice calls. Most of the time, it looks at network traffic to decide on the quality level.

At Kranky Geek 2018, one of the interesting sessions for me was the one given by Curtis Peterson of RingCentral:

He discussed that problem of having different MOS scores for the SAME call in each device the call passes through in the network. The solution was to use machine learning to normalize MOS scoring across the network.

This got me thinking further.

Let’s say one of these devices provides machine learning based noise suppression. It is SO good, that it is even employed on the incoming stream, as opposed to placing it traditionally on the outgoing stream. This means that after passing through the network, and getting scored for MOS by some entity along the way, the device magically “improves” the audio simply by reducing the noise.

Does that help or hurt MOS scoring? Or at least the ability to provide something that can be easily normalized or referenced.

Machine Learning and Media Optimization

We’ve had at Kranky Geek multiple vendors touching the domain of media optimizations. This year, their focus was mainly in video – both Agora.io and Houseparty gave eye opening presentations on using machine learning to improve the quality of a received video stream. Each taking a different approach to tackling the problem.

While researching for the AI in RTC report, we’ve seen other types of optimizations being employed. The idea is always to “silently” improve the quality of the call, offering a better experience to the users.

The next couple of years, we will see this area growing fast, with proprietary algorithms and techniques based on machine learning are added to the arms race of the various communication vendors.

Interested in more of these sessions around real time communications and how companies solve problems with it today?

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

The post What Does Machine Learning Have to do with MOS Scores? appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Kamailio 5.2: Deb And RPM Repositories

miconda - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:05
The packages of Kamailio v5.2.0 for Debian/Ubuntu and RPM-based distributions (CentOS, RedHat, OpenSuse, Fedora) are available to use.For Debian/Ubuntu, you can set the APT repository on your system to the links provided at:For the RPM-based distributions, their repositories are listed at:Enjoy!Thanks for flying Kamailio!

Kamailio v5.2.0 Released

miconda - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 19:30
November 28, 2018Kamailio v5.2.0 is out –  a new major release, bringing new features and improvements added during nine months of development and about two months of testing.In short, this major release brings 6 new modules and enhancements to more than 70 existing modules, plus components of the core and internal libraries as well as optimizations for embedded interpreters (KEMI framework). Detailed release notes are available at:This is the third major release in the series of 5.x.y versions. Besides adding plenty of new features, a lot of development was directed to unify the exports structure for modules, enhance dispatcher (the load balancer module), tls, RTP processing and to make available more functions to KEMI interface.Enjoy SIP routing in a secure, flexible and easier way with Kamailio v5.2.0!Thank you for flying Kamailio and looking forward to meeting you at Kamailio World Conference 2019!

HELLO 2. Is Hardware Gear Finally Taking WebRTC Seriously?

bloggeek - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 12:00

It is about time for video room systems to adopt WebRTC native approaches.

When I first started this blog, I had no clue where it was going to take me. I wanted it to be about developers. To be interesting. I also decided early on to write three posts about WebRTC:

  1. What is WebRTC
  2. How WebRTC is going to affect signaling
  3. What a room system needs to look like in a WebRTC world

Somehow, I ended up covering a lot more ground since then when it comes to WebRTC…

Signaling came a long way since then. Most of you might not even know what H.323 is. SIP is still important, but a lot less these days. Proprietary signaling mechanisms are thriving – and that’s a good thing.

The thing that never did come to play was WebRTC in video room systems. When you went to purchase a room system, you were tethered to the vendor providing you that system, along with the signaling standards it supported. It is still painfully hard to connect room systems of different vendors. And if you factor in the need to integrate it with other services the enterprise uses, it becomes even worse.

What’s a Video Room System Anyway?

This is called a codec for some arcane reason.

A video room system is a device split into 4 parts in most cases:

  1. High end camera
  2. Speaker pod
  3. Remote control
  4. The brains (that’s the “codec”)

The TV display itself is almost never included in the package (unless you’re starting to look at the new touch boards).

Speaker pods are sometimes integrated into the camera itself. This is suitable for smaller meeting rooms, also known as huddle rooms.

Remote controls were always nasty. A meeting room will have at least 3 of those: one for the TV, one for the projector in the room and one for the video room system. The one for the video room system is somehow the most complex to use. The projector one is gone along with the projector, now that we all just use the TV(s) instead.

In many cases, an external touch panel will be used to control the gizmos in the room, including lighting and other moving parts. And today, in many cases, these room systems are capable of tethering themselves to apps on smartphones for the control, killing the need for the remot control altogether.

The brains? They are sometimes just wrapped into the same box as the camera, just to save on cabling and space.

It started off as an all customized solution. The hardware, the software – it was all proprietary and specific. DSPs made up the “brains”. High end cameras were purchased and branded from Sony. The software was written in embedded operating systems like VxWorks (anyone remembers that painful thing?)

We’ve standardized some of it as time went by. Cameras have become somewhat of a commodity, now that we’re all carrying powerful ones in our pockets. Operating systems for these devices have moved on to be Linux based. DSPs are less common now that we can just use SoC (system on chip, packing the host operating system and the DSPs nicely together) or just rely on Intel chips.

What never happened is the standardization and commoditization of the software in the brains – the actual video software running the room system.

Let’s Talk UCaaS

That may finally be changing. As we head to the cloud, UCaaS (unified communication as a service) vendors are beefing up their offerings. Adding contact centers, APIs, video support and other trinkets to their battle chest.

In the past few months, we’ve seen:

Each of these vendors is using today a third party for its video calling services but can now potentially displace them with its own technology stack.

While that solves their video software issues, how are they going to handle video room systems?

Lets see what the other notable players have done in that domain:

  1. Microsoft, which has Teams and Skype, has been partnering with hardware vendors for years, getting these vendors to build their stack to the Microsoft spec in order to integrate with it and become official partners
  2. Cisco has its own hardware products, giving it the full spectrum of the solution
  3. Google has its Chromebox

Vonage, 8×8 and RingCentral aren’t hardware vendors. They aren’t going to start designing and manufacturing video room systems. When it comes to physical phones, they partner with multiple device manufacturers. This is hard work when it comes to integration and to adding more devices into the fold and trying to introduce new features. The video room systems types of devices are limited today. Polycom offer partner-friendly solutions. Logitech sells components/peripherals (mainly the cameras). Lifesize has its own cloud service. And again, integrating these video room systems with other features and capabilities is sometimes close to impossible.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the customer. Banking on one UCaaS supplier is fine, but if you invest in hardware devices, will they be usable when switching to another vendor? What if you want more than a single service to run on a room system? Let’s say you want to record and transcribe physical meetings taking place in a room – when not on a call. Is the UCaaS vendor or the video room system vendor need to add such a capability? Can you add it on your own by partnering with a totally different vendor while still using the same hardware?

Now, here’s the thing:

  • TokBox uses proprietary signaling
  • Jitsi uses proprietary signaling
  • Microsoft’s own use of the SIP standard is notoriously non-standard to some extent
  • Cisco puts its own “secret sauce” in all of its devices
  • And Google uses Meet, which runs… proprietary signaling

How can you partner with video room system vendors (even if there are ones) in a way that is relatively easy?

You Redefine What a Room System is

The one thing that is now changing is the software that is built into a video room system.

That is done by first changing the operating system. Instead of Linux – Android.

And Android means we can start thinking of a video room system as a device that can run multiple different applications by different vendors for different tasks.

Need to run Zoom? Why not?

Wanna switch to GoToMeeting? Fine.

How about attending a WebEx call? Sure.

Just install any of these apps – or better yet – try joining them from an integrated Chrome browser if they happen to support WebRTC.

But what if you want to show internal news for your company on that display connected to the video meeting room? Or give the ability to record and transcribe local meetings? Or connect to other internal or external services with ease? Not a problem. Just install that app on Android and you’re ready to go.

The difference here is that there is no integration work required from the video room system vendor. This is something the UCaaS vendor can do – or god forbid – the actual enterprise who is using the video room system.

I’ve been waiting for this level of commoditization and flexibility to take place.

Enter HELLO 2

One of the vendors in this space, is Solaborate. I’ve interviewed Labinot years ago on this blog. That was about his enterprise social network service. Since then, he’s added a hardware device called HELLO which successfully launched on Kickstarter; and he is now running a Kickstarter campaign for HELLO 2.

The HELLO 2 is an “all in one” video room system capable of what I was looking for to happen:

  • The brains is built into the camera
  • It is based on Qualcomm chipset, giving it most of what a high end phone can do (which is… a lot)
  • It has a 4K camera with zoom capabilities
  • Built-in mic array
  • And … AI capabilities (why not?)

The best though? It runs on Android, so you can either use the HELLO 2 / Solaborate applications or any other application you fancy using (that said, the applications may not be as polished on the big screen as they are on a phone or a tablet and that requires a bit of reworking on their end).

This gives some real flexibility:

  1. UCaaS vendors can now offer a hardware video room system running their own software applications, not needing to rely on the vendor doing the work and the integration. This gives full brandability along with the ability to integrate intimately with all of UCaaS vendor’s services and capabilities
  2. End customers can install and add the other services and apps that they use within their enterprise, without needing to beg to the UCaaS vendor to support and integrate with them

One more thing – you can run Chrome directly on the HELLO 2, and it will successfully operate any WebRTC based web page with it.

The Future

This is the model of the future when it comes to video room systems. Generic types of devices, packing all the needed hardware, letting other vendors and customers handle the software components.

And today, there’s no easier way to do that than using Android as the baseline operating system. Having a Chrome browser inside the device is just an added bonus to let you join with guest access to those pesky calls your suppliers and customers schedule on their own services.

The post HELLO 2. Is Hardware Gear Finally Taking WebRTC Seriously? appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Announcing Next Kamailio World Conference, May 6-8, 2019, in Berlin

miconda - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:00
The next edition of Kamailio World Conference is planned to take place at the same location like the past editions, respectively hosted by Fraunhofer Fokus and Forum in the city center of Berlin, Germany, during May 6-8, 2019.The website of the event and the call for presentations will be launched in the near future, stay tuned!Meanwhile, you can browse the website of the previous edition in order to get an idea about the type of event and its content:Enjoy the upcoming winter or summer season!Thanks for flying Kamailio!

Digital Ocean private LAN is totally useless

TXLAB - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:07

Digital Ocean is offering a private LAN for internal communication between the VMs, and they claim it’s isolated from other customers. You get some random addresses within 10.133.0.0/16 (or maybe some other range), and they can talk to each other on dedicated virtual NICs.

But that’s it. You cannot run OSPF because multicast packets are not let through. Even if you manage configuring direct neighbors in OSPF, it renders useless because the private LAN does not allow packets with destination IP addresses outside of the LAN range. So, any kind of routing with next hop in the private LAN would not work.

Too bad guys, very disappointed. So, we need to resort to Tinc VPN for internal routing, and this private LAN doesn’t make any sense.

Kranky Geek 2018. A post event post

bloggeek - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 12:00

For me, Kranky Geek 2018 was a tremendously fun experience.

We had our fourth Kranky Geek event in San Francisco last week. As usual, it is a nerve wrecking experience up until the point it ends. And it doesn’t start on the day of the event itself – we’ve been busy with content curation, handling presentation drafts and doing dry runs for a few weeks.

The result is quite satisfying. We’ve decided this time to dig even deeper into the domain of artificial intelligence and machine learning and its role in real time communications. As I’ve been saying, WebRTC is ready – so what would be the point of doing an event about WebRTC? We have a lot of WebRTC topics already covered from our past events – and they are all available in the Kranky Geek YouTube channel.

The way we see it, there are 4 domains we had to cover: speech analytics, voicebots, computer vision and RTC optimization.

So we went hunting for the event. In the end, we were able to cover all four domains and squeeze a few WebRTC specific topics as well.

The Sessions

This year, we had the biggest number of sessions. The event has become a full day event from a shorter one over the years. The people I talked to noted that the day was long and tiring, but somehow, almost everyone stayed to the end. Here’s what we had this year:

Our own welcome

Kranky Geek SF 2018: AI in RTC from Tsahi Levent-levi

One thing to note here – our AI in RTC report got a promotional discount of ~33%, which will be available until the end of the month. If this space interests you, then definitely check it out.

Discord

Discord operates a large chat operation for gamers. Part of that service includes voice and video calling. At peak, they handle 2.8 million concurrent voice connections to their service.

What they shared, was the changes they have done to the vinyl WebRTC code base in order to fit their needs.

Facebook

Facebook were kind enough to give a presentation around Facebook Portal – their new home device that is capable of handling video calls (using WebRTC of course). The device uses machine learning to track the people in the room during a call. They talked about the challenges that comes with automating the camera’s zoom and with connecting calls from Portal devices to mobile phones.

This was the first time they shared that information publicly at a conference.

Intel

Intel announced open sourcing their media server – the Intel Collaboration Suite for WebRTC – under the name of Open Media Streamer. They also shared information of svt-hevc, their open source HEVC encoder.

Voicebase

Voicebase talked about Paralinguistics – the way we speak as opposed to the words we are saying. They shared the path they took charting that space, and understanding what makes more sense or less sense in terms of value.

Voicera

Voicera discussed virtual assistants and how they need to understand transcriptions.

IBM

IBM explained the notion of voicebots and how it fits into contact centers. They explained the need to be able to handoff a voicebot to a human agent.

Nexmo

Nexmo showed a demo using Dialog Flow, connected to a voice service for ordering a pizza. It stressed the need to be able to connect communication services to various machine learning ones.

Dialpad

Dialpad explained how to take an open source speech to text engine and add some custom words into it in order to improve the accuracy of the transcription.

Callstats

Callstats clustered the sessions they are collecting, trying to figure out by that information the type of call and root cause of issues it may have.

RingCentral

RingCentral normalized MOS scores of audio calls across its network and devices, to be able to give a clear indication of call quality – it appears that while there’s a standard specification for MOS, asking device manufacturers to follow it to the letter is rather challenging, so using machine learning they are “fixing” that issue.

Google

Google talked about the current status and efforts in getting Chrome’s WebRTC implementation to 1.0 specification. It also shared the work being done to improve audio stability and performance in Chrome (lots of architecture changes in how devices get accessed in order to reduce the number of threads used and get a stable delay model for its acoustic echo canceller). There was also a look at what goes after 1.0 – WebRTC NV and what role may WebAssembly play there (I’ll write more about it in the future).

Agora

Agora showed how they use super resolution to improve video quality in calls, and what it means to run super resolution on a mobile device.

Houseparty

Houseparty used machine learning to improve video quality as well, taking a different approach. They shared the work they are doing and the effort it takes to bring it to production.

Microsoft

Microsoft shared the work done on WebRTC on UWP and explained how AR/VR fits into the story and the enterprise use cases they are seeing in the market.

Session Recordings

As always, all the sessions were recorded and are available online.

Kranky Geek in 2019

Every year we’ve done a Kranky Geek event, we came in with the notion that this is the last one. Not sure why, but that was always the case. Then about 9 months after the event, we started discussing with Google about the next event.

We’ve changed that this time. We are going to do an event in 2019, and we have a name for it:

Kranky Geek SF 2019

We have a tentative date for the event: November 15, 2019

Put it in your calendar.

We don’t yet know what the theme for next year will be, but I have a hunch that it will include WebRTC and machine learning

If you want to speak – contact me

If you want to sponsor – contact me

If you have feedback on what we should improve – you know – contact me

Oh – and if you are interested in AI in WebRTC, check out our report – there’s a discount available for it until the end of the month.

The post Kranky Geek 2018. A post event post appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Releasing Kamailio v5.2.0

miconda - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 11:59
We are considering to release v5.2.0 (the first stable version out of branch 5.2) next week, likely on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018.It still allows a bit more than a week of testing as well as well time to prepare the online resources for it (documentation, wiki pages, upgrade guidelines, etc…).If there is any issue you are of and not yet reported to github.com bug tracker, do it as soon as possible to give it a chance to be fixed in time for the next major release.Thanks for flying Kamailio!

8×8 Acquires Jitsi From Atlassian. Winners and Losers

bloggeek - Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:00

Jitsi was just acquired by 8×8, shifting hands from Atlassian. Here’s what to expect.

It seems that Jitsi has now switched hands, moving from Atlassian to 8×8.

Three months ago, Atlassian made a bold (desperate?) decision. It put up a white flag, decided to kill Stride, after investing in it huge amounts of money and resources, throw Hipchat along with it, and “sell” them to Slack, who “acquired” them.

The weird thing in this acquisition was that Jitsi was left behind.

Jitsi is an open source media framework. One of the most popular WebRTC frameworks out there. I wrote about that acquisition in 2015. The reason behind it was Atlassian’s need to own the video communications technically that powered Hipchat. And now that Hipchat is gone, what would Atlassian need Jitsi for?

The last 3 years

The last 3 years have been good for Jitsi in Atlassian.

The team of developers it had was big, considering its scope (and open-sourceness). Especially if you factor in the fact that everything that Hipchat (and Stride) needed from Jitsi was implemented directly inside Jitsi. Not on a private branch of the project available only to Atlassian.

Compare it to how Twilio treated Kurento after its acquisition… Atlassian did a great job at keeping Jitsi’s momentum and community. At the very least, it didn’t hurt the project, letting it grow and flourish, paying the salaries of its developers.

The interesting initiative that took place alongside the Jitsi open source project is Jitsi Meet – a free version of a group video calling service. One that wasn’t limited to a small number of participants or lower video resolutions.

Jitsi is in a better place than it were 3 years ago prior to its acquisition.

Leaving Atlassian

Leaving Atlassian was a matter of time.

There was no room in today’s Atlassian for an open source project like Jitsi that brings no added value to its commercial products.

Jitsi didn’t go to Slack as part of the Hipchat/Stride deal. Slack were already using Janus, and moving on to their own homegrown media server – something they shared with us at Kranky Geek 2017 (hint: come and join us this year at Kranky Geek 2018). There was no reason for them to further invest in yet another migration – or they might have wanted to migrate to Jitsi and acquihire the team but it didn’t pan out.

That left Atlassian with one of 3 alternatives:

  1. Kill the project and be done with it. Send the developers home or integrate them into some other parts of Atlassian. It would work nicely, but if the asset can be sold, then why not recoup some money?
  2. Spin out the project. Let the team go, giving them back ownership of the code, and have them go scrape for a livelihood around Jitsi. Probably by offering a commercial license, support and customization services, etc. – this isn’t that far out as an idea – it is how Janus (another open source media framework) operates today and how Jitsi operated prior to its acquisition by Atlassian
  3. Sell it to someone who’s interested in it. This is what it ended up doing. Given the other alternatives in front of them, I tend to agree with Andy’s statement that this is a mercy sale
Joining 8×8

8×8 acquiring Jitsi is an interesting choice.

Here’s where things get interesting:

8×8 already has a WebRTC based web conferencing solution called “8×8 Virtual Office Meetings Online”. Somewhere in 2016, this service got rewritten. At some point between then and now, guest access on Chrome was introduced. From the looks of it, based on WebRTC.

Why would 8×8 need/want Jitsi when it had a solution already?

I can think of three possible reasons for it:

  1. Their WebRTC solution isn’t that good, too expensive, and they were looking for a better alternative. Jitsi was a catch in such a case
  2. 8×8 is looking to own its video technology and not use third party software, commercial or open source
  3. They were using Jitsi for their 8×8 meetings thingy and Atlassian selling that assent was an opportunity for them to control the tech stack without relying on a third party – probably on the cheap

What would 8×8 do with Jitsi?

The obvious thing is to integrate the tech into its meetings service. If it is already there, then use the Jitsi team of developers to tweak and finetune the thing for the 8×8 use case.

If it isn’t there yet, then integrate it and replace its current WebRTC tech in the meetings app. This is a more challenging undertaking, as Jitsi will need to meet the current feature list of what 8×8 already has in that domain, along with integrating to an existing codebase of a service and an application.

Jitsi probably has most of the needed features to make this happen. It wouldn’t have been acquired otherwise.

On a different area, 8×8 has no real open source activity at the moment. Its github account is mostly forked repos. Searching for “8×8 open source” is dominated by the Jitsi acquisition news:

(the rest are comparisons to other vendors, who are leaning more heavily on open source)

If 8×8 is interested in embracing open source, then it just got an interesting opportunity to do just that. While brings me to the last topic –

The future of Jitsi

What will be of Jitsi?

Here we need to look at Jitsi and Jisti Meet separately.

Jitsi

The Jitsi Videobridge, along with its derivatives, add ons, plugins, extensions and client-side SDKs.

That’s the open source part of the project. At Atlassian, there was nothing kept for internal use of Hipchat/Stride. Everything found its way back to the open source project.

Will 8×8 continue in that path?

Their focus in the coming months is going to be the integration of Jitsi into their 8×8 meetings service. They are bound to use the resources of the Jitsi team to do that.

Managers may decide to implement some of the features in the 8×8 meetings service moving forward and not invest in adding it to the Jitsi open source project. Or they might decide to add everything via Jitsi.

8×8 might end up taking the extreme – ditching the Jitsi project as an open source one – embed it into their meetings app and from there on, invest in that privat branch only. I see that as a highly unlikely outcome in the next 2-3 years.

Time will tell which direction is taken.

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is a different story altogether.

It is a group video meeting service. One which doesn’t limit the users’ bitrate in sessions, doesn’t limit the number of users in a session, offers mobile apps, Slack and calendar integration and scales globally. All for free.

Would 8×8 see it as competition to their own 8×8 meetings app? If it grows in popularity and its maintenance costs increase, how happy would 8×8 be in paying the bills? Would it see Jitsi Meet as a sales tool for its other services? How would it measure the success of this service?

Whatsapp’s founders just left Facebook this year. It was over disputes about data, privacy and such. Most of all, it was probably a dispute around the future of Whatsapp and Facebook’s intent of monetizing the asset. The same (at a much smaller scale) can happen here at some point.

How would 8×8 monetize Jitsi Meet? Should it? If it doesn’t, should it kill it?

I don’t know the answers. I am sure 8×8 doesn’t either. It is just too early to tell.

Last Words

Jitsi is an open source success story in WebRTC. There’s no doubt about it.

It is now entering a new chapter in its life, under 8×8.

I wish the team the best of luck and us as an industry to have the option to use Jitsi for our future projects.

Media Frameworks are part of the picture of the backend story of WebRTC. Care to learn the rest? Try out my free mini-video series on WebRTC backedn servers:

Register to the video series

The post 8×8 Acquires Jitsi From Atlassian. Winners and Losers appeared first on BlogGeek.me.

Development Open For Kamailio v5.3

miconda - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:58
With the creation of branch 5.2 done yesterday, the master branch is from now on open for adding new features, to be part of future release series v5.3.x.Based on the workflow used during the past years, the next future release v5.3.0 should be out after another 8-10 months of development, plus 1-2 months of testing, so sometime in the summer or autumn of 2019.Even now there is a new pull request on its way to be merged in master branch that is adding a new module – the rtp_media_server:So the new development cycle is starting very promising. Expect plenty of enhancements and new feature during the development of v5.3 series.Thanks for flying Kamailio!

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