New GNU telephony platform released

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced Tuesday the release of the GNU free software project – the first complete version of its platform for telephony services applications.

The GNU Project is a volunteer effort by developers around the world, sponsored by the Boston-based FSF to create a full operating system that can be freely distributed.

Dubbed GNU Bayonne Version 1.0, FSF said the new software platform enables developers to write open-source enterprise applications for phone system functions including call direction, voice prompts, voice mail and automated order processing.

Carriers also can use it as the basis for applications such as customer voice mail and prepaid cell phone services, according to David Sugar, head of the GNU Bayonne project. Sugar also is the chief technology officer of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based telecommunications hardware, software, and services firm Open Source Telecom Corp., which has provided commercial sponsorship of GNU Bayonne development.

“Any type of voice application that requires application programming logic can be (created with) Bayonne today,” Sugar said.

GNU makes its software available under the GNU General Public License, allowing developers view and modify the source code of the software as long as they make their modifications freely available to other users. GNU Bayonne is part of GNU Enterprise, a subset of the GNU operating system, which is based on the Linux kernel.

Free software not only saves enterprises and service providers money but also allows them to adapt a piece of software to their own needs, a big benefit in telecommunications, according to Sugar. Currently, many telephony applications run on proprietary hardware and software platforms.

Support for telecommunications platforms based on free software and standard, interchangeable hardware components is coming from several quarters. Earlier this year, vendors including Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. announced a working group to develop and promote a version of Linux that meets service providers’ reliability standards. In addition, an emerging new version of the Compact PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) hardware interface may make it possible for users to mix and match telecommunications switch and server components.

The developers of GNU Bayonne paid attention to the emerging carrier-class Linux code as they developed the telephony software and intend to make it compatible with carrier-class Linux, Sugar said.

Development versions of GNU Bayonne are already being used by government agencies, mobile operators and corporations around the world, according to Sugar.

“At this moment, a good portion of the Internet is served by free software solutions based on GNU/Linux. Similarly, we believe that free software solutions will be the dominant solutions for telephony infrastructure,” Sugar said.

GNU Bayonne can be downloaded now from More information about GNU Bayonne is available at

– With files from IDG News Service