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Linux-based open “software appliance” advances IP PBX

Mar 21, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Digium's Linux-based, GPL-licensed “software appliance” marks a major step in the development of the open-source IP PBX (Internet protocol private branch exchange), according to a detailed, informative review. The “AsteriskNow” appliance simplifies installation, configuration, and maintenance, and helps enterprises transition from testing to deployment, the review suggests.

Asterisk Appliance
(Click for details)

AsteriskNow includes a “thin” version of Asterisk originally created for Digium's Linux- and ADI Blackfin DSP-based solid-state hardware appliance (pictured at right). As a “software appliance,” AsteriskNow also includes a custom Linux distribution created using rPath's rBuilder tools.

As an aside, rPath was founded by two former Red Hat VPs just over a year ago, with the aim of marketing tools and services that help application developers deploy their software on Linux-based appliances and virtual machines. rBuilder relies heavily on the open source Conary package manager.

eWEEK reviewer Andrew Garcia said that AsteriskNow “removes the complexity of dealing with kernel updates and system dependencies, and is simple to manage and configure.” He described rPath's management interface as “highly modular” and “quite slick,” and deemed it easier to use than the tools provided with Trixbox, a popular Asterisk-oriented distribution maintained by PBX vendor Fonality.

Garcia gave AsteriskNow high marks for its conferencing features, which he said are unequalled, even among proprietary PBX software products. He did complain of missing features, such as the ability to restore backed-up configurations, but said that would be redressed in a Beta 5 release expected April 11.

Also expected is a free but not open (i.e. non-GPL) version that will promote and integrate with third-party products and services, such as SugarCRM, according to Garcia.

Digium originally launched AsteriskNow in January of this year; more details about the product can be found in our earlier coverage of the AsteriskNow software appliance and Asterisk hardware appliance developer kit.

Read the complete review of AsteriskNow on our sister site, eWEEK, here.

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