[asterisk-announce] iLBC support in Asterisk after Google's acquisition of GIPS

Asterisk Development Team asteriskteam at digium.com
Mon Sep 19 10:54:15 CDT 2011

Recently, we were notified that the mechanism included in our Asterisk
source code releases to download and build support for the iLBC codec
had stopped working correctly; a little investigation revealed that this
occurred because of some changes on the ilbcfreeware.org website. These
changes occurred as result of Google's acquisition of GIPS, who produced
(and provided licenses for) the iLBC codec.

We've determined that the change necessary to fix Asterisk's iLBC build
process is rather trivial, and so we're planning to make that change in
Asterisk, and subsequently in We are not planning
on making new releases of Asterisk 1.4 and Asterisk 1.6.2, since they
are in security-maintenance mode and this is not a security issue. Users
who wish to make the same change on their own to their copies of those
versions are of course welcome to do so.

As part of the process of determining what had broken here, we also
became aware that the ilbcfreeware.org website no longer offers the iLBC
license agreement it used to offer; this agreement was required by the
iLBC licensors (GIPS) in order for users to safely distribute and use
iLBC (and this is why the Asterisk project does not include the iLBC
source code directly with Asterisk). The removal of this license
agreement also occurred as a result of the Google acquisition, but as of
this moment no alternative has been made available for those who wish to
use the iLBC source code published in RFC 3951 (which Asterisk uses).

Google does have an alternative implementation of iLBC available as part
of the WebRTC project, with a license that is compatible with Asterisk
(and does not require written agreements from end users), but the
codec_ilbc module in Asterisk cannot be built against the WebRTC
implementation of iLBC. Until such time as we have an improved version
of codec_ilbc, Asterisk users will have to continue using the RFC 3951
iLBC source code.

Unfortunately, that leaves Asterisk users in a bit of a bind; if they
had already signed and sent in the GIPS iLBC license agreement, we
believe they can continue to safely use the existing iLBC
implementation. New users, though, do not have the option of agreeing to
a license agreement that would allow them to use the RFC 3951 iLBC
source code, as there is no mechanism to do that currently available.
We've contacted Google and they are aware of the dilemma, and have said
that they will address it, but we don't have a timeframe for when an
alternative license mechanism will be available.

In summary, if you are a user of Asterisk and iLBC together, and you've
already executed a license agreement with GIPS, we believe you can
continue using iLBC with Asterisk. If you are a user of Asterisk and
iLBC together, but you had not executed a license agreement with GIPS,
we encourage you to research the situation and consult with your own
legal representatives to determine what actions you may want to take (or
avoid taking).

-- Asterisk Development Team

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