According to some, like here, this is a really big deal. Frankly, I don’t see it.
As far as I can tell Pingtel is not a significant player in the open source VoIP community. Oh, they’re out there, but I have literally never had anyone talk to me about Pingtel with the kind of enthusiasm that I hear about other projects. In fact, I’ve never had anyone talk to me about Pingtel. Period. I suspect that they exist at some other level, perhaps in enterprise space.
Admittedly, my focus is very SOHO/SMB-centric. From my viewpoint the broader open source VoIP community revolves around OpenSER/OpenSIPS/Kamailio, Asterisk, and more recently Freeswitch. I hear a lot of enthusiam about Freeswitch lately.
I think that Garrett Smith has a sound perspective on this purchase. In making such a purchase it’s certainly not safe to view Nortel as an all-of-a-sudden-champion-of-open-source. It’s a big company with a well established closed source internal culture. It won’t make that kind of a shift abruptly, although there may be groups internally who are able to effect change slowly.
There’s surely room for good to come from the deal as SIPFoundry will presumably have some added resource to bring into the space. I’m sure that the individuals involved will do well. Perhaps Nortel can learn a few new tricks along the way.
Disclosure: I’m a Canadian citizen and Nortel is a fine Canadian company. I once owned a Pingtel Xpressa SIP desk phone. It was perhaps the prettiest yet most frustrating piece of VoIP hardware that I’ve ever experienced.