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Yahoo! Buys Internet Phone Provider

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Sci/Tech

Yahoo Inc. said Tuesday it had acquired DialPad Communications Inc., a 6-year-old company whose software lets people to place calls over the Internet for a fraction of the cost of regular telephone service.

The companies would not release financial details of the deal, which closed Monday.
The Internet's leading portal will use DialPad to expand its product array in the burgeoning niche of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, said company spokeswoman Joanna Stevens.

The technology converts conversations into data packets that traverse the Internet over broadband connections. Some in the industry think VoIP will eventually nudge the 130-year-old circuit-switched phone network into obsolescence.

Milpitas-based DialPad, which has about 40 employees, competes with a growing number of startups that reroute calls from computers to servers to telephones.

Current mainstream VoIP services let callers use standard phone handsets or even cell phones to make or receive calls, a big improvement on the computer-to-computer of early Internet telephony.

Depending on the subscription plan, Dialpad charges as little as 1.7 cents per minute for calls, including international calls to more than 200 countries. DialPad subscribers can also buy a prepaid VoIP calling card. The company has been offering calling plans for about two years and has more than 14 million users.

New products from Yahoo that integrate DialPad technology could debut within a few months, Stevens said.

It's unclear what Yahoo might charge for VoIP service involving calls to traditional phones.

"We still need to integrate the technology and roll out a product, and we haven't disclosed those details," Stevens said.

The acquisition is Yahoo's second VoIP announcement in less than a month. In May, Yahoo introduced a test version of its instant messaging software with an Internet telephony component that lets users make free computer-to-computer calls.

By RACHEL KONRAD
Associated Press

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today's howtos

Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0

Uruk GNU/Linux appears to be a fairly young project with some lofty goals, but some rough edges and unusual characteristics. I applaud the developers' attempts to provide a pure free software distribution, particularly their use of Gnash to provide a pretty good stand-in for Adobe's Flash player. Gnash is not perfect, but it should work well enough for most people. On the other hand, Uruk does not appear to offer much above and beyond what Trisquel provides. Uruk uses Trisquel's repositories and maintains the same free software only stance, but does not appear to provide a lot that Trisquel on its own does not already offer. Uruk does feature some add-ons from Linux Mint, like the update manager. However, this tends to work against the distribution as the update manager hides most security updates by default while Mint usually shows all updates, minus just the ones known to cause problems with stability. As I mentioned above, the package compatibility tools talked about on the Uruk website do not really deliver and are hampered by the missing alien package in the default installation. The build-from-source u-src tool may be handy in some limited cases, but it only works in very simple scenarios with specific archive types and build processes. Hopefully these package compatibility tools will be expanded for future releases. Right now I'm not sure Uruk provides much above what Trisquel 7.0 provided two years ago. The project is still young and may grow in time. This is a 1.0 release and I would hold off trying the distribution until it has time to build toward its goals. Read more

OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2 OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver. That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue). I hope that is fixed in time for the final release. Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box. Read more