Talk:Asterisk (PBX)

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On Portal:Free software, Asterisk PBX is current featured article[edit]

Just to let you know. The purpose of featuring an article is both to point readers to the article and to highlight it to potential contributors. It will remain the feature for a week or so. Gronky 14:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

asterisk is dual licensed. gpl license, and digium commercial license (similar to mysql's dual license). only mentioning the gpl license is insufficient and incomplete. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 02:51, February 1, 2006

A lot like assembler?[edit]

I am removing the following text discussing the dialplan language:

"The language is very primitive -- somewhat like assembler."

Whether a language is "primitive" or not seems like a pretty ambiguous question. However, having used various assembly languages and having programmed several Asterisk dialplans, I can say for certain that the Asterisk dialplan language is nothing like assembler. DrDeke 21:59, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Having used many types of assembler/assembly (PowerPC, SHARC, i386, x86_64, MIPS, Alpha) and observed many others (680x0, IA-64, SPARC, S/390...), I can say for certain that Asterisk dialplan language is disturbingly similar to assembler. I'd describe the Asterisk dialplan language as a bastard child of Perl and the Windows *.ini file, but "like assembler" is not a terrible description. There is something terribly wrong with the Asterisk dialplan language. The syntax is very irregular. The one language behaves in multiple ways, without any clear distinction. Straying so far from the ALGOL-style syntax (as used by C/C++/Java/C#, Ada/VHDL, Pascal/Modula2, etc.) is just cruel. The world doesn't need another abomination like make or m4. (I'll excuse FORTRAN, as it predates ALGOL) The Backus-Naur form and lexer for Asterisk dialplan language would be interesting at least, and possibly terrifying. AlbertCahalan 04:16, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Would I be correct in assuming that neither of you have made use of Asterisk Extention Language (AEL)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 12:04, April 23, 2006
Probably so, because AEL is a new feature. It doesn't look all that different than the old stuff though. Check out this article where they say that "The opening curly-brace must appear as above. Moving it to the following line may have disastrous consequences!". (they also say "Please note that AEL is still considered EXPERIMENTAL at this time.") What a joke. Why have the C-style curly braces if whitespace is still critical? I like the way C works, and I think I'd like the way Python works (no curly braces, and whitespace is meaningful), but this is neither. Since the braces are already there, switching to a C-style syntax is probably the better route. A lone semicolon could be made to do nothing, allowing for the semicolons to be optional after the closing curly braces. AlbertCahalan 20:03, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
It seems that <1--AEL2--> fixes many of the AEL problems. That's even more experimental, and not even available in any released version of Asterisk. Progress is being made. There is a BNF now! Still, AEL2 is not a current Asterisk feature. It might be in a future release. Why is the language part case-sensitive and part not? Another good one: "Every character enclosed by the switch expression's parenthesis are included verbatim in the labels generated. So watch out for spaces!" More inconsistancy: "AEL2 introduces the special label "1", which is the beginning context number for most extensions." Well, I'm very glad to see things getting better. AEL2 is no worse than Perl. (in all seriousness) We can all celebrate when it finally gets released. Hopefully someday an AEL3 will be done, as clean as Java. AlbertCahalan 20:03, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
As you've got terribly strong feelings about this, then you should probably have a conversation with Steve Murphy, who's doing the AEL2 work. Developers' conference calls take place on Tuesdays. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:32, April 23, 2006

Recommend Removal Of Extraneous External Links[edit]

This article is starting to look like a Link Farm with all the external links at the bottom. Wikipedia standards WP:EL state:

"An article about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to that entity's official site, if there is one."

The other link information can be found on the official website, is redundant and should be removed. I suggest removal of all links other than official website or open an WP:RFC for discussion. Calltech 15:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree, I have cleaned up the links in the past but did not go as far to remove them all. BJTalk 18:44, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
External links removed and RfC opened, 14 November 2006. Calltech 14:30, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Until there are people disputing this on the talk page, I don't think an RfC is necessary. It is hard for us to express a "third opinion" when there are no second opinions being expressed. I think you should close the RfC until you have discussed it here more. If no one wants to dispute your removals, then go right ahead. Grouse 17:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Closed RfC. Calltech 18:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Additional Link Discussion[edit]

Two additional links were added that need discussion. They both point to apparently the same new website that is under construction by Asterisk (AsteriskNow). This site requires registration and login. Also, the official website lists this site right upfront, which means the new links add nothing new and are therefore redundant. Recommend removal of both. Calltech 13:26, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Oops, I was the one to take the 'See also' and move it to 'Official website' to get it in the right place but forgot to remove the one from 'See also' (fixed). I think a tidbit and the link should be placed in 'Distributions' and removed from 'Official website' BJTalk 14:17, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Perhaps listing the site is a bit early since its in beta and under construction, but moving to Distributions makes sense. Thanks for your contributions. Calltech 17:09, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Recommend Removal Of Criticism section[edit]

The criticism section really doesn't permit a balanced view to be presented. It contains a very one-sided criticism of the architecture and licensing of Asterisk, without the counter viewpoint. Given that it is, at best, opinion, not fact, it has no place in an encyclopedia entry. Corydon76 08:51, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Well I was going to revert your edit but the criticisms section cited no sources. I will try to find some sources and rebuild a smaller version of the section. BJTalk 09:06, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, what would be preferable would be to recategorize some of the criticisms into other sections, as long as the criticisms were each matched by the counter viewpoint, in order to maintain a NPOV. For example, a section labelled Licensing might describe the dual license of Asterisk, while pointing out that others disagree with maintaining a dual license and either listing their reasons or linking to a page describing the arguments for and against dual licenses. Corydon76 09:27, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
"NPOV" doesn't mean "state a counter for every argument". In this case, I think we need to write what's written elsewhere (with citations); Asterisk has dual license, Asterisk needs a timing source that the Digium boards can supply, and Asterisk's architecture doesn't allow plug-in modules. If specific people have argued specific things about these facts, that can be mentioned. But people need to have the facts, not conclusions drawn by the Wikipedia editors. --Alvestrand 10:40, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
But "NPOV" requires that the mainstream viewpoint be given appropriate weight. The problem with this section was that a minority viewpoint was presented, without presenting the mainstream viewpoint. Finally, I'm not sure where you get the idea that Asterisk doesn't allow plug-in modules. There are over 130 plugin modules in the base install and there is no limit imposed on how many additional modules may be loaded. Corydon76 15:04, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
That's how I interpreted the removed "criticisms" section, but I'm happy that I was wrong. --Alvestrand 21:46, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
For one thing, Asterisk does not need the timing source from Digium cards. It can use them or other brands of cards, it can use the timing source provided by their dummy driver (free) or if you are using Linux, the 2.4 kernel has the timing built in. As far as the licence, How about stating the reason for the dual licence, instead of just outright denouncing it? Something like "the commercial version includes commercial codecs that cannot be included in the opensource version". Just stating what is written elsewhere doesn't make it NPOV; if I put on my own webpage that the Asterisk is the best thing ever and then cite it as a source, doesn't make it fact. -- 07:06, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


I added a link to MozIAX, a Mozilla Firefox extension for Asterisk. That article is just a little stub and might can merge and redirect here. Anyway there it is. By the way, We have a new VoIP group at Wikiversity and are playing with Skype, MozIAX and other VoIP stuff. • Q^#o • 02:32, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if it might be better to link to the IAX2 entry and link MozIAX from there. Certainly MozIAX would run with anything implementing the IAX2 protocol and is therefore not Asterisk-specific. Corydon76 05:52, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Complete System[edit]

Before making an edit, I'd like to disclose my bias and rationally dispute the assertion that "Asterisk, on its own, is not a complete system." I'm employed by Digium, the publisher, trademark-holder, and primary sponsor of Asterisk. The reasoning used on the page is that Asterisk must be configured to be complete. This applies to any modern software and should not suggest that Asterisk is incomplete. An Asterisk server may (not must) be equipped with telephony hardware to interface directly with a telephony service/device. A configuration frontend or GUI may (not must) be used, but the Asterisk configuration files are complete and sufficient for use of Asterisk. The suggestion that Asterisk alone is unusable or incomplete is put forth by organizations that build products that are based on (and must differentiate themselves from) Asterisk. Examples of such marketing statements are: here here and here. I propose that the first line and the two following bullet points of the Programming section be removed. Roderickm 19:09, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

While I agree with you from a technical POV, I strongly disagree that this article should be changed in it's current context (not to confuse with Asterisk DP context :)), all the article is saying is that devices and a DP has to be created to make Asterisk usefull. In fact Asterisk using make config just puts in sample files in the DP, and without configuring a device (be it SIP, IAX, sound card, or Zap) you can't use that. The article right now makes it clear for ordinary readers that Asterisk will NOT work unless they are ready for some caffeine, or will pay someone to do it for them. Which is why I think it is not misleading in any way and should stay.--Shmaltz 01:16, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree and more. I was just reading this article for the first time a few days ago, and couldn't figure out how such a system would work. Sure, you can download and install Asterisk and configure it, but you need to connect it to physical phones to make it work like a real PBX, right? It took me quite a bit of research to figure out that you can by an interface card to connect up phones. Then I thought, sure, now you've got a PBX system with phones, but you need some way to call it from another phone by dialing a phone number. Then it took more research to figure out that you need to sign up for some sort of service. Perhaps what Asterisk is and what it does could be explained more effectively by explaining its relationship with the hardware and services that it's normally used with. I'm not asking for a how-to, which would be beyond the scope of Wikipedia, but simply a short prose description of the components of an Asterisk PBX system with a block diagram to help explain to those of us who have never worked with PBX equipment before. SOme of this would actually be more appropriate in other articles, but some of the details could surely be explained in this article. -- Schapel 01:46, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I believe the asterisk handbook (draft?) has some diagram. Checking now.--Shmaltz 02:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Page 12 here.--Shmaltz 02:37, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Quotation marks[edit]

Can anyone tell me what the quotation marks in the opening paragraph are for? The sentence is as follows: ""Its name comes from the asterisk symbol, *, which in Unix (and Unix-like operating systems such as Linux) and DOS environments represents a wildcard, matching any sequence of characters in a filename."" Who is this quoting? Cheers, tim.bounceback 21:10, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Minor Language Expression and Facts Errors[edit]

"[...]the other being a proprietary software license as to allow proprietary/closed and patented code, such as the G.729 codec to work with the system (although the G729 codec may work with the free or proprietary versions)."

contrary second expression in one sentence and wrong as fact: a license is no technical systems requirement.

Who said it's a technical systems requirement? Can you explain exactly what is wrong with what you quote? As I have a hard time understanding what exactly you are trying to say.--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

""Its name comes from the asterisk symbol, *, which in Unix (and Unix-like operating systems such as Linux) and DOS environments represents a wildcard, matching any sequence of characters in a filename.""

citation without source mentioning. possible GFDL violation or even lawyer advised statement to hide from brand conflicts.

Add citation needed, what GFDL violation? can show some pointers?--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

"Asterisk is a open source/free software [...]"

this is untrue. it is not free software, in fact digium maintainers decide what gets in like Mr. Torvalds decides in his royalty what gets in the Linux(TM) official kernels until you fork like openpbx/callweaver did. see FSF definitions. take the expression of "/" as an "and" here. the authors of this article seem to be very unsure and seem to suffer from inner personal or organizational fact conflicts with their "marketing". this questions the overall neutrality of the article.

It's not free software? So you telling me that I have to pay for the over 50 copies I have downloaded and are in actual production? Digium doesn't think so. It seems more that you suffer from something that makes you angery at Digium. The fact that maintainers decide what gets into it makes me have to pay?--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

"To attach ordinary telephones to a Linux server running Asterisk, or to connect to PSTN trunk lines, the server must be fitted with special hardware. (An ordinary modem will not suffice.) Digium and a number of other firms sell PCI cards [...]"

this is untrue and clearly misleading readers from marketing intent for PCI cards. there're many other systems available to interface a PBX server to telephony lines and the digium X100P and clone cards use well known "softmodem"-chipsets and are cheap softmodem rip-offs, Asterisk has no sufficent softDSP solution for unlike other software PBX projects.

Can you explain exactly what is untrue and misleading? You write: there're many otehre systems available Who is is talking about systems, this is about Asterisk, and asterisk needs some cards to connect to the PSTN.--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

"Perhaps of more interest to many deployers today, [...]"

leaving out the word "hardware" does not weaken this purely marketing commercial statement, that can't be content of a science practice proven technical wikipedia article.

Again you dose of to some mystical words writing non constructive critic and not explaining exactly what is wrong. If you think this paragraph should be removed then remove it, otherwise fix it.--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

rest of paragraph is pure mix of marketing and minor technical description: best of: "Asterisk was rated top in the PBX category out of 74 open source VoIP resources.[1]" [1] links to pure technical unqualified webmarketer content: : corporate description: "Dotmarketer publishes niche content and specializes in search engine optimization and affiliate marketing."

more questions? this article cannot be acceptable in this form. wikipedia is not a place for commercial advertisment and unqualified explanations.

It's not a commercial article in any way, if you think it's written is such a way then please point out where and those can be fixed.--Shmaltz 15:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Woprr 02:14, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

This is busted[edit]

As near as I can tell, the article "IAXy" was hypothetically merged into "Digium", and then "Digium" was supposedly merged here... but it's some sort of interesting merge given that this article has absolutely no content about the IAXy and about half a sentence about Digium -- and still even contains a (now circular) link to [[Digium]]. Can't we call a delete a delete, guys? Andrew Rodland 22:29, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Agree with you about IAXy - it was recommended that it be merged with IAX instead, and given the merge of Digium with Asterisk (PBX), that makes more sense. The circular link has been fixed by Kgfleischmann. Calltech 14:25, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
If you relink IAXy to IAX, you should say a few word about it. IMHO a link to Comparison of VoIP software, Asterisk's build in softphone and IAXy could be noteworthy. --Kgfleischmann 17:05, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
This is all completely disgusting. IAXy, Asterisk (PBX), Digium, and IAX should all have distinct articles. There is zero reason to merge them, and plenty of reason to have the articles. I also don't see any discussion here about merging, probably because the merger knew his proposal would be soundly rejected with ridicule. AlbertCahalan 03:25, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
The merger discussion was posted here for over a week. Discussion took place on the IAXy and Digium talk pages. Perhaps a little homework on your part would have been better before posting your uninformed comments above. Calltech 07:05, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
I have revived the Digium article (with merged IAXy) and put a note on its talk page. I don't know if Digium should have articles but it shouldn't be merged anywhere. Products can get merged into companies pages easily with a section, this doesn't work the other way. If you disagree with my action taken please put Digium up for deletion but please don't merge it here. BJTalk 12:50, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Asterisk related hardware[edit]

Hi, I'm a long time user of Wiki but this is my first contribution. Sorry in advance if I am ignorant of the etiquette here.

I'm researching Asterisk and found this article the most useful of all information that I've gathered so far. However, I feel it would be useful to expand on the hardware that is required and/or compatible with Asterisk. The following sentence takes the reader right to the edge of what (for me) the missing piece of information is - the type of hardware required to actually use the Asterisk software:

"To attach ordinary telephones to a Linux server running Asterisk, or to connect to PSTN trunk lines, the server must be fitted with special hardware. (An ordinary modem will not suffice.)"

Could someone expand this a little perhaps? I will have to research elsewhere - if I do figure out what the piece(s) of hardware are required to connect the software to a PSTN trunk line I will of course add to this article.

Thanks Easyc (talk) 23:07, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

It is there in the same paragraph: Digium and a number of other firms sell PCI cards to attach telephones, telephone lines, T1 and E1 lines, and other analog and digital phone services to a server..--Shmaltz (talk) 03:27, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Not implementing AMIS?[edit]

Asterisk is a PBX. AMIS is a protocol "between voice mail systems of different vendors". While asterisk has a builtin voicemail function, it is a PBX. Saying that AMIS is an "unimplemented feature" it's like saying that is doesn't do coffee. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Puthre (talkcontribs) 20:14, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Just took a look at AMIS-A. It appears that it can be entirely implemented in dialplan. There is no need for Asterisk to implement any direct method to support AMIS-A. Corydon76 (talk) 16:35, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Why Does FreePBX Link Here?[edit]

FreePBX redirects here. Yet the article does not even mention the name.

Also note that FreePBX 3.0 also (or mostly, at this stage) support FreeSwitch. Tzafrir (talk) 16:33, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Actually, FreePBX was originally designed as a GUI front end to Asterisk, and has since been extended to support various Asterisk-based distributions, including PBX In A Flash.
One minor factual correction: PBX In A Flash (like Trixbox and Elastix) are complete Linux distributions that include Asterisk and FreePBX. Saying that FreePBX supports both Asterisk and PBX in a Flash is kind of redundant.Tzafrir (talk) 08:21, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
That said, I see on the Discussion page for FreePBX that the original FreePBX article was nominated for deletion, and rather than being deleted outright, the AfD discussion result was to redirect it to Asterisk.
If I have the time in the next few days, I'll write a section on FreePBX to include in the main Asterisk article...unless someone beats me to it. (hint hint) --Alan (talk) 16:48, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

FreePBX is mentioned in the second-to-last paragraph in the section "Configuration": "There are other GUIs, such as FreePBX." Plrk (talk) 16:49, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Too specialized for an encyclopedia[edit]

This article is typical of so many articles about software and technology on Wikipedia. It's written for the wrong audience.

Jammed with jargon and in-group assumptions, it's targeted at readers of a hypothetical "Encyclopedia of Software Development" or some such thing. It is not written with the general encyclopedia user in mind. As an educated person, I shouldn't have to click on 50% of the terms used, read other similarly esoteric articles, and then come back. This is evidence to me that the article is targeted at a professional, not lay, audience. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Sources for the article[edit]

At the AfD Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Asterisk (PBX), this article was rightly criticized for currently relying on primary sources. I know little of this field, but managed to find some books about Asterisk that could be used to make a more solid article. I don't want to contribute to the linkfarm mentioned above, so will list them here for convenience:

The Asterisk: The Future of Telephony book is available as an online PDF here. --Mark viking (talk) 21:07, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

stable version[edit]

The article lists the stable version as 3.0.1, which is incorrect. I can't find where the number is set. Tzafrir (talk) 21:47, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi Tzafrir, I found where the pages with the stable and preview releases are:
The problem is with the " (PBX)" suffix. I think we need to add a "|article = Asterisk (PBX)" to the LSR and LPR. If I find a similar article (I mean with a " (something)" in the article name), I'll try to fix this one's LSR and LPR so that clicking on the + will link to the right place. Just tried, but the problem is not fixed yet. Maybe we need to move the LSR and LPR pages (adding a " (PBX)" suffix to their names). I'm not trying this, however, because there might be a better fix. Ekkt0r (talk) 20:43, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

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