AsteriskNOW 1.5 Beta Available, More Coming Soon

Last month at AstriCon we announced the upcoming launch of AsteriskNOW 1.5, a new version of Digium’s  award winning software appliance that incorporates the FreePBX graphical user interface.  Today I’m very pleased to announce that the first beta release of AN1.5 is available on asterisknow.org.

For those of you not familiar with the product, AsteriskNOW is a free Linux install image (.iso file) that reduces the process of building an Asterisk-based system to “burn, boot and run”.  Simply download the .iso image, burn it to a CD, drop the CD into your soon-to-be Asterisk computer and boot.  The integrated installation process will ask a few basic questions, install Linux, Asterisk, the FreePBX GUI and all the other bits and pieces necessary to transform an ordinary PC into an extraordinary communications platform.

AsteriskNOW 1.5 accomplishes the same goal (easy-to-install Asterisk) as AsteriskNOW 1.0 did, but that’s where the similarity ends.  We’ve been collecting feedback from users since the launch of 1.0 and the changes in 1.5 reflect the general consensus.

CentOS Linux 5.2

We’ve replaced the original rPath Linux distribution with CentOS 5.2.  While rPath has some amazing capabilities its focus is on building fixed-function appliances, which makes it complex and sometimes awkward for end users to add packages or customize the system.  CentOS is an Enterprise-class Linux distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor.

Yum Package Management / Updates

With CentOS 5.2, the native ‘yum’ package management tool handles software updates and customizations, making AsteriskNOW 1.5 simple to manage.  Digium has launched its own yum software repository so updates to Asterisk, LibPRI, DAHDi and other core packages are as simple as “yum update asterisk”.  We’ve also drastically simplified the process of upgrading Asterisk.  Want to go from 1.4 (and associated packages) to 1.6 (and associated packages)?  No problem.  Install an upgrade package and the system will be reconfigured to run the latest stable version of 1.6.

FreePBX GUI

Another key change in AsteriskNOW 1.5 is the addition of the FreePBX graphical user interface (GUI).  AsteriskNOW 1.0 used AsteriskGUI, the light-weight UI that was originally built to run on the AA50.  While the AsteriskGUI is a compelling example of Web 2.0 capabilities, many developers have already created add-on packages that are compatible with FreePBX, and many users are already familiar with FreePBX administration.  Like the rest of the packages in AsteriskNOW 1.5, you can keep your installation of FreePBX up to date with yum.

DAHDi

Over the past six months Digium has been working to retire the name “Zaptel” (long story) and roll out DAHDi (pronounced like a wealthy and precocious British child would say “Daddy”).  DAHDi stands for “Digium|Asterisk Hardware Device interface” and describes the kernel-level framework that allows Asterisk to communicate with a wide range of telephony cards and devices.  The name change gave us the opportunity to make some under the covers improvements, so DAHDi sports a shiny new modular architecture and driver performance improvements.  Look for more DAHDi-related news in the coming months.

So, Why All The Changes?

As Mark Spencer mentioned during his portion of the AstriCon keynote address, Asterisk started life as an application but has become the platform on which other applications are built.  Our first cut of AsteriskNOW was a solid application (SoHo PBX) but a poor application server.  AsteriskNOW 1.5 is our first big step towards a building a platform that’s both end-user friendly and developer-ready.  Over the next several quarters you’ll see more of this as we launch:

  • Support Subscriptions for open source Asterisk
  • AsteriskNOW 2.0
  • Asterisk Marketplace 2.0
  • Asterisk Application Manager (a2m)

Each of these deserves its own blog entry (perhaps its own blog) so I’ll not go into details here.  Suffice it to say that AsteriskNOW 1.5 is a tasty sample of the shape of things to come.

Download Here

About the author

Steven Sokol, a self-proclaimed Asterisk geek, serves as the director of strategic projects at Digium. He has previously served as the Asterisk marketing director and as a product manager. He joined Digium in the summer of 2007 when his startup was acquired. Steve co-founded both AstriCon, the annual Asterisk user conference, and the Asterisk Bootcamp training program. He lives in Kansas City.

39 Responses to “AsteriskNOW 1.5 Beta Available, More Coming Soon”

  1. Tom Rymes

    Sounds great! Just make sure that it is easy and painless to upgrade from v1.5 to v1.6 to v2.0, etc. As someone stuck on a version of Trixbox that requires some pretty heavy lifting to get to a current version, I can say that is an important feature.

  2. Jürgen Brings

    I see very few benefits/advantages of this move by Digium. Just compare the asterisknow beta(admitted…it is a Beta) with Elastix. Elastix wins hands down.

  3. Andy Sabapathee

    Really cool tried it on VMware got it up and running in less than an hour.

  4. Wolf Paul

    Jürgen Brings: actually I see major benefits in this move. It gives Digium’s stamp of approval (and the promise of at least some of Digium’s resources) to FreePBX and its further development; it more or less makes official what is already effectively true: that FreePBX is THE Asterisk GUI.

    I look forward to trying this and will certainly cut Digium some slack in getting it as polished as some other Asterisk distros that have been based on FreePBX for a while.

  5. Jürgen Brings

    Wolf Paul: Hi Paul. You have a point there. Let us see how things develop. Time will tell.

  6. Justin Hamade

    What’s happening with the old GUI? Are they just giving up on it? I kinda liked the ajax/ajam idea even though the interface still needed some features (phone provisioning). I don’t see why a PBX needs the overhead of PHP.

    I use trixbox and FreePBX quite a bit, and there is a good upside to it. But I am not a big fan of the design (the code not the interface). I find it over complicates a lot of things that asterisk is really good at.

  7. Chris Mylonas

    Interesting reading. It’s good to see Digium supporting FreePBX. I look forward to adding some functionality to FreePBX with a colleague. The marketplace is a great idea. Help other developers make money / gain exposure / integrate further.

    The forums are much quieter than what they were a few years ago. It will be good to get some more people helping the community. With the birth of these coming products/services/franchises, the community can return.

    I hope AJAM isn’t dying a slow death – is it possible to have it run on port 443?

    Good Luck!

  8. beelinebill

    Justin Hamade: The AsteriskGUI will continue to be developed as many people have used it to develop solutions. We also include this AsteriskGUI on the AA50 and Asterisk Business Edition today. You will continue to see it developed further, plus it has been released to open source with many new upgrades and features. We will continue to offer both FreePBX and AsteriskGUI as the choices are different for different people. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Rich Gerlach

    Andy Sabapatheeon:
    Having trouble with putting 1.5 beta on VMware. Wondering how you did it Have tried Read Hat, Red Hat Enterprise and Other Linux on VMware Server 1.06 running on XP pro Host. Freezes on text mode install @ Partioning Type. Thank you

  10. Bill Becks

    Hello:

    I was completely delighted with AsteriskNOW 1.0.2 as I am not at all well skilled in Linux no in Asterisk. Initially, I did experience timing problems that caused the announcements to stutter. I soon learned that not all hardware platforms have the necessary USB chip set(s) to fulfill the timing requirements of Asterisk and that a Digium interface card may be required.

    To further my investigation and learning of Asterisk, I decided to purchase a Digium TDM-410P Interface equipped with a single FXO and FXS module. Once again, I was completely elated with the ability of AsteriskNOW 1.0.2 to detect the hardware and to provide me with the tools via the GUI management interface to get each of these modules functional.

    A number of months have passed and naturally I wanted to try my hand and loading other Linux Operating Systems as well as to learn to compile Asterisk from source. My interest was drawn once again to AsteriskNOW with the announcement following AstriCon about release 1.5 Beta. I could hardly wait to download the ISO and burn a CD to test the new package based on CentOS with the FreePBX GUI front end.

    I must say that I was totally disappointed. I expected AsteriskNOW 1.5 to detect my TDM-410P hardware as did the older 1.0.2 release. I do appreciate that this new release was based upon the new DAHDI specification and not the older Zaptel standard. I have searched the net for some good examples but have not been able to get either of my modules on the TDM-410P to function even though I did discover early on that the DHADI services had to be manually started initially.

    I understand this is Beta software and that a Quick Start guide is in the works. However, I would be very appreciative if someone could point to a document that will walk me through the steps necessary to get DAHDI up and running with my existing Digium TDM-410P Interface card. I have the FXO module installed in the first analog port position while the FXS in installed on the second port position.

    Thank you,

    Bill Becks wbecks@centurytel.net

  11. Jason Sjobeck

    Thanks guys. Great news. Definitely the “right”(tm) direction.

    :)

    I agree with an earlier post, please ensure that there is an upgrade path. It is simply bonkers how many ISO’s out there (and wonderful ones! simply wonderful packages, do not let me take away one tiny thing from them, they are great) do not offer an upgrade path. This is nothing less than one iota from unacceptable. No one in the right mind would nuke-n-pave a box to get to the next version.

    Thanks everyone.

    Cheers

    Jason Sjobeck

  12. Ralk Nader

    There more than likely wont be a complete upgrade path. Yet another fully reinstall asterisk panel solution :\

  13. Vladimir Mikhelson

    Hi,

    I completely concur will Bill Becks.

    I was taken aback by the AsteriskNOW 1.5 Beta inability to initialize any of the hardware which used to flawlessly work under the previous version.

    I am still trying to locate any information on the post installation steps necessary to bring the system to the minimally working, ready for configuration status.

    Thank you,
    Vladimir Mikhelson

  14. Emmanuel

    Hi,

    I’ve just tried this 1.5 beta, it’s a nice upgrade :-)

    Few points :
    – I can configure (manually) Digium card (B410P), but I don’t see it in the FreePbx GUI
    – I didn’t find the package “french sound main & extra”

    Did I miss something ?

    Thank you,

    Emmanuel

  15. Jose Maria Olea

    Wow! Great news! Im willing to test it right now..
    thanks!

  16. qwell

    Jason Parker

    Emmanuel,
    The French and Spanish asterisk-sounds-core packages not existing was an oversight on my part. This has been corrected, and you can now install them via yum. As for asterisk-sounds-extra, only English versions of these prompts exist, so alternate language packages cannot be made.

  17. Abhisek

    I am a newbie to linux and asterisk,though I downloaded the asterisknow 1.5 beta yesterday. created a cd and installed it. the installation went all well and rebooted after completing the process. but i couldn’t access the asterisk box through GUI, it doesn’t accept the admin and password(the password which i created during intallation). I am also using smoothwall3.0 as a firewall which has static ip allocated by the local isp.
    Suggestion and help required.

    Thank You

  18. mmosier

    Hi all

    My company installs all trixbox CE, I would love to move over to this project but after reading the posts it seems to still have some problems. The biggest being not seeing the Digium FXO cards.

    I would love to hear from the Digium folks on what they are doing about this. I am going to test this today myself but would still love to hear from them.

    If they are expecting companies to move to this solution it has to be flawless. I have over 50 CE installs with little problems or complaints from the end user but I am not happy with the way that they treated the FreePBX group and would love to drop them for a solution that I can feel will run for months without me needing to touch it.

    thanks

    Mmosier
    Houston

  19. mmosier

    I would also like to see some certification courses set up for this. That way we can send our installers to be certified. That way we can put information on our web site about us being certified and also work with other companies that need help after installing.

    I feel that within the next 2 to 3 years there has to be a company that comes out with hands down the best solution because Asterisk is showing that it is going to be a solution to be reconed with in the future. You need to build this with the companies in mind that install 3 to 4 locations a week.

    Anyone have any idea on the largest install for AsteriskNow? 50 phones? How many concurrent calls before it chokes?

    Mmosier

  20. sander

    I was just so happy to have an alternative from freepbx what will asterisknow contribute to this project i think asterisknow killed itself with this move. i will stop using the asterisknow gui cause development will come to a stop eventualy as freepbx is now the default gui of asterisknow.

  21. Cody Stewart

    @Bill Becks and others about hardware config:

    Currently AsteriskNOW 1.5 Beta does not have any DAHDI\Zaptel management in a graphical interface. You can however get it working with a little effort from the CLI. First make sure that DAHDI is started automatically when the server boots up, you can do so with “chkconfig –add dahdi”. Then all you will need to do in most cases is run “dahdi_genconf”, edit “/etc/asterisk/chan_dahdi.conf” to include “#include dahdi-channels.conf” and restart the server. This will cause DAHDI, Asterisk and FreePBX to restart and then you should have your DAHDI trunks and stations available as options in your configuration.

    This will work fine for basic configurations, but if you require different signalling than what is configured by default then you will need to hand edit the files some. Check out the usual places for configuration assistance, such as “Asterisk the Future of Telephony” from asteriskdocs.org, or just call us at Tech Support if you need some help.

    Be sure to post your opinions on the AsteriskNOW forums and let the community know what features you would most like to see.

    - Cody

  22. Charles Moye

    sander: the Asterisk GUI that was in AsteriskNOw prior to 1.5 is still in use on the AA50 and in Asterisk Business Edition, Development on it isn’t going to stop and you should still be able to install it in AsteriskNOW the same way that users of open source Asterisk do, download it and set it up.

  23. Scott

    Thats nice but where is the yum repository located? We can’t use it if we don’t have repository location (since AsteriskNow 1.5 doesn’t install correctly and run any of the post-install configuration scripts)

  24. dev

    Dear All,

    i need reseller module , can any body tell me
    that is there reseller module in asterisk by default
    if not then how to get it

    thanks in advance

    dev
    voipsoftphone@gmail.com

  25. Brenton

    The QuickStart guide for AsteriskNow mentions there is a VMPlayer image available. I’ve looked and can’t find it. Any pointers?

    thx,
    brenton

  26. KaBoom

    Hello, guys. I’m just installed AsteriskNOW 1.5 beta and got some problem. I have PRI card installed on this machine (TE110P, jumpers switched to E1 mode). I just add dahdi drivers (chkconfig –add dahdi), after reboot asterisk is not going up. How can i fix this problem?

  27. KaBoom

    I found error by myself. In file /etc/astersk/chan_dahdi.conf.template (witch i renamed to chan_dahdi.conf) last row was:

    channel=1-2

    I changed it to

    channel=1-15,17-31

    but it must be

    channel=>1-15,17-31

    BTW dahdi_genconf not detected my board so i added manually to /etc/dahdy/system.conf this:

    span = 1,1,0,ccs,hdb3,crc4
    bchan=1-15,17-31
    dchan=16

    After reboot all is up and working :)

  28. KaBoom

    One more. By default asterisk not loaded chan_dahdi.so module, so i added

    load=>chan_dahdi.so

    to /etc/asterisk/modules.conf too.

  29. sander

    “Development on it isn’t going to stop”

    well then they take there time to fix the gui it’s been dead since dahdi so, don’t think they will get much new users if they don’t fix problems quickly

  30. pantelis komatas

    Asterisknow 1.0.2 was very good.This new gui on asterisknow 1.5 beta is not friendly use and has many bugs.

  31. Likwid Communications

    I love the idea that 1.5 represents upgrade path is very imporrtant to me. I install these on a regular basis and am ready for a switch from trixbox I have never been a fan of Fonality. Your doing great work guys keep it up. I look forward to future releases and updates.

  32. Gh0sty

    Is it possible to run asterisknow on a virtualmachine using vmware server 2.0 where the host has a digium b410p pci card ?

  33. Medhat Raafat

    The Goals u mentioned are great, but the new user interface is more complex than the Version 1.2 , pls consider that we have been using for sometime and user will face hard times now ! even when we support such system for customer , they will make our life harder !

  34. Athula

    When you release the final 1.5. it’s better if both FreePBX and AsteriskGUI are included. Maybe as different ISOs. I like asteriskGUI much as it is very simple and contains all necessary features(like hardware configuration). FreePBX has everything but sometimes, it’s difficult for average users.

  35. matt

    wow i just installed 1.5 on a test machine and this has to be the most horrible upgrade i’ve ever seen since testing out windows vista. Come on guys you took what was a nice easy user interface with the asterisknow gui and substituted it for a buggy freepbx interface that doesn’t allow any configuration unless you go cl. honestly what is the use of having a web interface if you can not configure items. if i want cpu usage, disk usage, etc…. i’ll put a network appliance up and have it check from server to server and run daily reports. This is totally the most worthless update i’ve seen of any product in a long time.

    FYI because of this future clients will probably not be gettinga asterisk of any variant, that in the end means less $$$ for you guys as i have several that are running licensed versions. This is just stupid IMHO.

  36. Afam

    What is the size of the AsteriskNow ISO image? I have been trying to get this information without any luck.

    I believe this size information should be easy to see so as to pan for the download.

    I don’t think it is a good idea for one to begin to download a file that may be several GB in size without knowing about it.

  37. wolf

    hi,

    I am pretty new with this stuff.

    Installed it in a ‘VirtualBox’. After install and reboot, it ends up with
    the login to root. After I login with the password given during install,
    what’s next? I hace just the command prompt [root@localhost ~]#

    What do I have to do next?

    Any help is wellcome!

  38. wolf

    I found what’s to do ;-)

    solved

  39. basit

    hi

    i have installed AsteriskNow

    When i access gui interface
    a freepbx screen come and when i logged in i have not found file editor menu for the custom modifications in configuration files
    or can any one tell me how can i edit the extensions.conf file menully

    using asteriskNow

    appreciate your help

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