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Ventrilo is a proprietary VOIP program with clients for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh OS X. Most users of Ventrilo use a headset and/or microphone and use the program to talk freely to each other, similar to a telephone conference call. Ventrilo is often used by multiplayer computer game players.
Users install the Ventrilo client and connect to a Ventrilo server. The Ventrilo client is released as freeware and is available for Microsoft Windows. A full version is available for Macintosh OS X, and future support is planned for operating systems based on the Linux kernel, however, the client has been under development since 2005 with no new updates, causing users to suspect that a Linux client will not be released. The server is available under a restrictive license and is available for all of these systems as well as Kopi, Solaris, NetBSD and FreeBSD.
The default sound quality is comparable to a telephone but it can be changed to a higher quality by changing to a different codec. Ventrilo currently supports GSM Full Rate and Speex as their main codecs. As of this date though, the Mac OS X client is still unable to properly utilize most servers due to a lack of support for the widely used GSM codec.
The Ventrilo developers have attempted to keep its bandwidth to a minimum but users with a low-bandwidth dial-up connection may still find themselves restricted to using low quality settings.
Gamers can use the software to communicate with other players on the same team of a multiplayer game. Communicating by voice gives a competitive advantage by allowing players to keep their hands on the mouse and action keys while playing a fast paced game such as a FPS, particularly in team-based, tactical games. This kind of quick and easy communication can be crucial for those who participate in electronic sports. Most gamers refer to Ventrilo simply as "vent." Ventrilo is also popular among players of other genres of online games, especially MMORPG games and RTS games.
Ventrilo is also used as a call-in method on radio shows, and for general voice-chat.
The quality can vary but depending on your sound card, codec selected by the administrator, and microphone, it can sound good or just like a telephone call.
Versions & FeaturesEdit
Version 3.0.0 was released on 14 November,2007 for both Windows and Mac OS X. It includes many new features, including per-channel codec selection, and hotkey combinations (as opposed to the previous single-key limitation). As usual, upgrade is mandatory for both the server and the client.
However, there is still no GSM support for the Mac platform. Other features include: private voice chats (though, the "captain" of the chat will be able to be heard by other people in the private chat if he/she is in the private chat which can be intrusive) a new bindings folder menu and the ability to give people certain "powers" without giving them the master password (the ability to kick, ban, make rooms, etc).
History and LicensingEdit
For the past two years, 2.3.0 or 2.3.1 (depending upon platform) has been current. After version 2.1.2, Flagship Industries changed the software license governing the Ventrilo server to limit connection capacity of the freeware server to 8 users. A new license was also debuted for the "Pro" server which supports more than 8 simultaneous users. Among other restrictions, only companies wishing to host multiple servers with a minimum of 1000 slots may purchase licenses for the "Pro" server at the sole discretion of Flagship Industries. Additional restrictions include having a "legitimate business license" and the expectation that slot counts will "grow on a regular basis." Flagship Industries reserves (and exercises) the right to refuse licensing.
Version 2.3.2 of the server can host a maximum of 200 connections, according to the included documentation. Unlike later versions, version 2.1.4 of the client can still connect to servers running 2.1.2. Older versions are no longer supported according to Flagship's EULA agreement.
The licensed hosts can vary and offer pricing that can also be cheaper and not all offer the high quality modes.