Asterisk 12 Part III: Unleashing the Alpha

Previously, we discussed the development efforts that went into Asterisk 12, including the new SIP stack based on Teluu’s PJSIP, the standardization of the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI), and the new Asterisk REST Interface (ARI). As these are significant changes for both Asterisk and the community, today we’ll look at how the release policies for Asterisk 12 will affect users and developers who are looking to deploy Asterisk 12 as their next generation engine for communications applications.

Traditionally, Asterisk follows a one year release cycle. Prior to the general release of a major version, a release candidate will go through a Beta testing period. Users from the community are encouraged to test the Beta release and help the developer community find and fix bugs before the first official general release is made. However, this year, due to the size and scope of the changes made in Asterisk, the project will undergo two preliminary test periods: an Alpha and a Beta test cycle. While users are encouraged to participate in both, users who choose to participate in the Alpha release testing should understand that an Alpha release has not undergone all of the community testing that a Beta release goes through. The Alpha release will, however, allow you to get your hands on Asterisk 12 as soon as possible, while helping the developer community craft a better and more solid Beta release – with the general release coming after the Beta test period.

In addition, we understand that a lot of functionality has changed in Asterisk 12. Users will need time to upgrade their communications applications to the new interfaces provided by Asterisk 12. While we in the developer community would like to claim that we’re omniscient, we know that there may be minor improvements and features that will need to be made to Asterisk 12 to fully meet the use cases of the Asterisk user community. Normally, once a major version branch is created, no new features or improvements are made in that major version branch, even if the improvement is minor. However, in the case of Asterisk 12, some additional flexibility in the feature policy is warranted. As such, limited new improvements and features will be made periodically throughout the life-cycle of Asterisk 12. This will help to improve the product in preparation for the next Long Term Support release, as well as prevent users from waiting until the next major release for a needed improvement while they’re trying to deploy Asterisk 12.

With those release policy changes in mind, we’re proud to announce that the first Alpha release of Asterisk 12 is now available at http://downloads.asterisk.org/pub/telephony/asterisk/asterisk-12-current.tar.gz. Users who would like to participate in the Alpha testing are encouraged to read the CHANGES and UPGRADE.txt files included with the release, as well as the upgrade notes on the Asterisk wiki. Documentation for the Alpha version is also available on the Asterisk wiki at https://wiki.asterisk.org/wiki/display/AST/Asterisk+12+Documentation. Finally, we encourage any user participating in the Alpha testing to report bugs at https://issues.asterisk.org, and to talk with bug marshals about any problems you encounter in the #asterisk-bugs IRC channel.

In future blog posts, we’ll cover the new features in greater detail. The next blog post will start off with the new SIP stack, and look at how the new architecture of the SIP stack can yield better results for both Asterisk developers and users.

And don’t miss out on AstriCon 2013 for more on Asterisk 12 (and lots more!). By the way, we now have a special price that allows 4 people from the same organization to attend for one low price. (Look for the Diamond Team offer.)

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About the author

Matt Jordan is an Engineering Manager for the Open Source Software team at Digium, working on Asterisk. Matt joined the team in 2011, and since then has been involved in the development of both Asterisk and the Asterisk Test Suite. His background in software development can best be described as "eclectic", having worked in a variety of industries. Uniting the various experiences, however, is a firm belief in good software development practices and methodologies and the effect they have on producing quality software (and keeping software developers from going insane).

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