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If not, we encourage you to explore the vast and wonderful library of books that publishes on these subjects.

We also assume you’re fairly new to telecommunications (both traditional switched telephony and the new world of Voice over IP).

The depth and breadth of Asterisk is staggering—installations with hundreds of thousands of users are now commonplace. Asterisk scales up and down from individual lines to vast multiserver installations across multiple continents, but the way to start is to install the package, open up some of the configuration files, and start looking at examples.

I see Asterisk making deep inroads into the financial, military, hospital, Fortune 100 enterprise, service provider, calling card, and mobile environments. From the basic beginnings of a PBX that Mark Spencer coded in 1999, the Asterisk project, with the help of thousands of developers, has moved from simply connecting phone calls and has matured into a platform that can handle voice, video, and text across dozens of virtual and physical interface types.

Without your interest, input, and code, Asterisk wouldn’t exist.

Open source projects are hungry for new ideas and excellent contributions: I encourage you to be a participant in the Asterisk community, and I look forward to seeing your questions and examples in the next edition of this book. Asterisk is an open source, converged telephony platform, which is designed primarily to run on Linux.

The affirmative answers just keep flowing, and at that point, the best thing to do is to sit the person down and start showing him quick demonstrations of how Asterisk can be quickly deployed and developed.

Asterisk is accessible because of the ease with which a novice can understand basic concepts.

We ourselves use the book as a reference for features that we haven’t used for a while.

In fact, there really aren’t any areas that I can think of where Asterisk isn’t now entrenched as the default choice when there is a need for a generalized voice tool to do “stuff.”Asterisk has been emblematic of the way that open source software has changed business—and changed the world. Emailing recorded conference calls to the participants? Integration of voice services into existing Java apps? The creation and growth of were the inescapable results of the convergence of the four horsemen of the proprietary hardware apocalypse: open source development ideas, the Internet, Moore’s Law, and the plummeting costs of telecommunications.

My favorite part of any Asterisk project overview or conference talk is answering questions from someone new to Asterisk. Even hardware vendors who may be frightened of Asterisk from a competitive standpoint are using it in their labs and core networks: almost all devices in the Voice-over-IP world are tested with , making it the most compatible system across vendors. Asterisk is a mature, robust software platform that permeates nearly every area of the telecommunications industry and has firmly cemented itself as one of the basic elements in any open source service delivery system.

Asterisk combines more than 100 years of telephony knowledge into a robust suite of tightly integrated telecommunications applications.

The power of lies in its customizable nature, complemented by unmatched standards compliance.

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