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Telepathy Framework

Telepathy Framework is a part of the Cellular Telephony Architecture

The cellular Telepathy implementation consists of Telepathy-glib, Telepathy-qt, Telepathy-mission-control and Telepathy-ring.

The figure below gives an overview of the Telepathy framework.

Telepathy is a modular communications service provider with a unified application protocol interface. Each supported protocol and each client for each protocol is implemented as their own processes. The framework consists of several modules used by Telepathy clients: Connection managers, account managers, channel dispatchers.

Looking at the roles of the modules:

  • The connection managers implement the Telepathy support for the desired protocol and provide an interface for clients.
  • The account manager stores the Telepathy accounts and their parameters. It establishes the connection to account based on the account parameters or if requested by using the associated connection manager.
  • The channel dispatcher transmits the relevant type channels on the connections created by the account manager.

The channel types supported by Telepathy-qt and Telepathy-glib are configured at build time to include:

  • Call
  • Contact List
  • Contact Search
  • DBus Tube
  • File Transfer
  • Room List
  • Server Authentication
  • Server TLS Connection
  • Stream_Tube
  • Streamed Media
  • Text
  • Tubes

Note that Telepathy is technically defined as a set of D-Bus API specifications so there is no single or reference Telepathy implementation; different implementations exist for various high-level language bindings such as Telepathy-glib or Telepathy-qt and there are variations in implementation that can cause some interoperability issues.


Telepathy-glib is a library for the Telepathy components using GLib (a utility library for software written in C). It provides high-level Telepathy GLib bindings for clients and service providers implemented using the C-language.

One of the design decisions in this impelentations is that the Telepathy-glib design stops the connection manager effectively whenever no connection exists. Therefore, for the connection manager to remain active, it needs to remain in a connected state. In the case of Telepathy-ring, this is cumbersome because a modem connection through oFono may come and go, especially in the case where USB modems are used. Thus, the Telepathy-ring must always remain in a connected state even when no modem connection exists.


Telepathy-qt is a library for Telepathy components using the Qt framework. It provides Telepathy Qt bindings for clients and service providers implemented with Qt C++.


Telepathy-mission-control handles accounts. When it starts, it loads or creates accounts with each account having a protocol manager associated. The account parameters are stored by Telepathy-mission-control. Using the parameters it brings the account online by communicating with the associated protocol manager, for example with Telepathy-ring. Telepathy-mission-control acts as a channel dispatcher, which dispatches incoming and outgoing communication channels to the relevant applications. Telepathy-mission-control uses Telepathy-glib to provide Telepathy bindings.


Telepathy-ring is a Telepathy cellular protocol manager handling an SMS and a cellular voice call. Telepathy-ring provides support for a call (for making cellular voice calls), an SMS (for sending, receiving, and manipulating spooled SMS messages) and SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) services (for accessing some SIM information).

Telepathy-ring consists of three main parts: The Telepathy-mission-control plugin, the modem (ie the oFono interface), and the connection manager itself. Telepathy-ring uses Telepathy-glib to provide Telepathy bindings. Telepathy-ring’s Telepathy-mission-control plugin sets the relevant properties and provides the relevant functionality for Telepathy-mission-control to act as a Telepathy-ring account manager. For example, Telepathy-ring’s Telepathy-mission-control plugin sets the “ConnectAutomatically” property as “true” and because of that Telepathy-mission-control will try to connect, ie: to start Telepathy-ring whenever the “ConnectionStatus” property is disconnected.