A few days ago on Digium’s blog Malcolm Davenport posted some initial details about the companies new line of SIP phones. Malcolm’s post presents our first formal glimpse into the relationship between the phones and a new module for Asterisk called the Digium Phone Module For Asterisk (aka DPMA.)
“It is actually a bit surprising that Digium is getting into branded phones directly that are proprietary even.”
“It will be interesting to see if the open source community truly embraces proprietary phones – somewhat contrary to the creed.”
So it was that I found myself a little confused about Digium’s phones when I tried to answer a question over at the DSL Reports VoIP Forum. Happily, both Malcolm and Steve Sokol jumped in to set the record straight. According to Steve:
“These phones are Digium originals. They are not OEM’d from anyone. We designed them ourselves. Our in-house design team did the plastics. Our engineering team selected the hardware components. Our software development team wrote the code. The underlying operating system is (unsurprisingly) Linux. The phones are being manufactured by a reputable contract manufacturer in China.”
“The DPMA or “Digium Phone Module for Asterisk” is an add-on module for Asterisk that adds some cool extra features including simple provisioning (they also support the old DHCP + FTP/HTTP process), and integration between apps running on the phone and core Asterisk apps. The DPMA enables visual voicemail, parking management, contacts directory, one-touch parking, etc.”
“Digium requires that users of the DPMA get a license key and accept a license agreement because the DPMA is commercial software. We do not and will not charge a fee for the DPMA.”
So DPMA is a closed source module, not unlike their G.729 codec or FAX module. The DPMA module is responsible for the provisioning of phones and handles all communication between Asterisk and the phones.
There have long been arguments comparing the merits of open APIs vs open source software. It seems that Digium has elected to keep DPMA closed source. It’s certainly a curious decision, but it is theirs to make. I do wonder if that approach will impact the level of interest/uptake from the developer community?
There will probably arise a few more points bearing clarification regarding Digium’s D Series phones and DPMA. I’m sure that Digium will provide further details once the phones are shipping in quantity.