Sometimes a piece of hardware is the inspiration for a project, or even a whole new approach to household computing. MSI is about to release their WindBOX, which has me considering the possibilities. It’s essentially the hardware equivalent of one of the popular new net-top pc’s but in a form factor that mounts to the VESA fittings on the back of any common LCD.
The folks up at Jazinga in Toronto were nice enough to provide me with a sample of their new embedded Asterisk appliance. It’s actually been here for quite a while but other matters have distracted me from giving it the attention it deserves. Over the coming couple of weeks I hope to explore its capabilities, which seem to be plentiful. Rest assured that I’ll post my notes as soon as they evolve into complete sentences.
I’ve made it very clear over the months writing this blog that I like the appliance approach to Asterisk, or any PBX, especially for SOHO/SMB applications. It’s just a good sensible approach. Over the past year there have emerged some really good product offerings in this area.
By combining the flexibility of Asterisk or Freeswitch with a well conceived user interface solution a vendor can offer a product that addresses a wide range of possible user cases. By leveraging some Web 2.0 technologies that GUI can be very intuitive.
Wow! Today’s Voip Users Conference call on Astlinux was great! It’s just what I was hoping this group would evolve into. The last five or six of the weekly calls have been very good, and they seem to be getting better as time goes on.
Good host…kudos to Randy! Good guests…many thanks to Kristian, Darrick & the Astlinux crowd. Good participation by a well rounded group of people. It went long, but it didn’t seem like it. I learned some useful stuff. It was time well spent.
If you weren’t on the call you owe it to yourself to listen to the recording, here.
After a relatively long quiet period the Astlinux mailing list has been fairly active lately. This is thanks in part to some new users who have been extending the distro to meet their needs. Like any open source project, the more the merrier, even if we sometimes bring differing visions to the party.
A new user I know only as FRED on the Astlinux mailing list has compiled a nice reference to building an embedded Astlinux server, including adding some nice things like Python and SQLite. Very handy. Worth a read.
Astlinux remains my favorite embedded distro, even though I’m still eagerly awaiting a release that includes Asterisk v1.4.
January 13, 2006
The Asterisk open source Voice over IP (VoIP) PBX is usually set up on a standalone PC. But Michael Graves shows how the combination of a special Asterisk distribution and a single board computer can provide a compact, quiet and low-power alternative.
Astlinux is a bundled distribution of the Asterisk open source iPBX private branch exchange (PBX) software and a Linux operating system. Originally developed by Mark Spencer at Digium, Asterisk is the leading open source software in the telephony/VoIP space. Asterisk excels at combining traditional TDM telephony capability – provided through hardware from Digium and others – with VOIPservices. These include call routing, media gateway, media server and SIP signaling capabilities.
The Asterisk user community has been growing tremendously over the past two years, especially since the v1.0 release in the fall of 2004. With that growth has come the development of new distributions that bundle suites of software tools, to ease the setup and administration of a new Asterisk system. Asterisk@Home and Xorcom Rapid are both fine examples of this sort of activity.
Astlinux was developed by Kristian Kielhofner, and intended to go in a fundamentally different direction. Astlinux provides an Asterisk installation on a Linux distribution that has been built from scratch and optimized for small format hardware platforms – it takes what is essentially an embedded systems approach to Linux and Asterisk. In this article, I’ll show you how to build an VoIP PBX using Astlinux and a Soekris Net4801 single board computer (SBC).