Asterisk PBX parent company Digium, Inc. quietly announced, last month, the beta release of a long-projected implementation of its flagship open-source offspring the company has dubbed AsteriskNOW. Yesterday, it announced its official release.
AsteriskNOW, based on the recently released Asterisk 1.4, sports a lot of nifty, cutting-edge featuresmost notably a setup wizard that eases Linux non-cognoscenti through the installation and configuration process and a Digium-designed graphical user interface for system administration and maintenance. In theory, this drastically lowers the technical-expertise bar for admins looking to adopt Asterisk technology.
Also a mark of its cutting-edge development is the fact that the distribution "includes all the Linux components necessary to run, debug and build Asterisk" according to a Digium press release. According to Mark Spencer, president of Digium and original author of Asterisk, "unlike other Linux distributions used to deploy Asterisk, AsteriskNOW does not have unnecessary components that could compromise security or performance."
This treatment is in keeping with with a trend toward "appliancizing" Linux-based applications in general and Asterisk in specific. (The latest version of Asterisk Business Edition has been packaged this way, using rPath's rBuilder tools. Note also AstLinux, which we've been examining in our VoIPpowering Your Office series.)
Download options for the application "image" include standard install packages for Intel 32 and 64-bit processors, plus VM Player image, Xen universal guest image, and LiveCD.
And lots of downloads there have been, according to Spencer. "We placed the initial beta version on AsteriskNOW.org last month and have experienced over 2,000 downloads per day without any promotion!"