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What the heck are you doing it like that for?!!

A “what the heck are you doing it like that for?!!” post popped up on the Forums today and I thought that given I end up answering the question every few months I’d copy it here.

You are correct that your observations have been made by others quite a few times in the past 6 months. I’d also agree that the user experience offered by sipsorcery is pretty poor; the help documentation is next to nothing; the user interface is far from universal and I’m sure contravenes most good usability principles; the list could go on…

Most people have come to associate open source software with being free and generally of a reasonable quality. What is normally overlooked is that successful open source applications – for the sake of argument I’ll classify successful as a project you have had the inclination to use – generally gain a bit of momentum as they grow and pick up a few extra hands to help with the programming, documentation, web site etc. To date that hasn’t happened with sipsorcery/mysipswitch and that’s in part why there are a large number of shortcomings.

At the moment the sipsorcery project consists of:

    1. Me writing the software in my spare time,
    2. The and associated developments servers hosted on Amazon’s EC2 and Microsoft’s Azure platforms for a cost of around USD500/month,
    3. Me administering the service in my spare time. A large portion of which time goes into shutting down fraudulent users attempting to exploit SIP Providers,
    4. Packaging up what is really architected as a centralised server application into a local install for those people with a high enough pain threshold to attempt to run the software on their own machines.

(Another developer, Guillaume, was previously able to help in the mysipswitch days but his work is now too busy)

Luckily I highly enjoy all those activities and get a kick out of keeping the whole thing working.

My priorities are:

    1. To make the service highly reliable. A short sentence with a very scary amount of work involved (it’s now been over two years since mysipswitch went from a pretty solid single process application to a multi-process, multi-server application with some very difficult stability and scalability problems to solve),
    2. Provide a REST API into to make it easier for anyone so inclined to come up with an alternative user interface,
    3. Expand the Siverlight interface to become a real-time call switchboard.

In answer to you main question “…what the heck are you folks doing…”, which is actually “…what the heck are you, Aaron, doing…”, the answer is whatever most interests me. It interests me to be able to write and run a highly reliable SIP platform. Unfortunately, and I’m not being facetious, it doesn’t interest me to write javascript/HTML/AJAX based interfaces, I spent a decade doing that and just got completely sick of it.

You or anyone else are more than welcome to contribute to the project in any way you can or try and encourage another programmer to develop the features you want. I’m not going to develop every feature ever requested but if someone else develops it and it’s useful I’ll happily host it on