Ok, I have been reading the posts here about AsteriskNOW and have observed the unfortunate disconnect between the newbies (like me) and the pros who are trying to be helpful. The two major issues with AsteriskNOW are the adding of a VOIP provider and determining the root password. I started writing this as an attempt to shed some light on these two issues but the more I thought about the situation the more it quickly descended into a rant. I will still offer it up to the masses for their review and comment.
#1. Adding a Service Provider:
Yes, it appears that with AsteriskNOW beta (as of this writing) you cannot add a VOIP service provider via the GUI. Let’s face it, this is a problem, not a bug. As I personally do not have a FXO/S card, I have no knowledge of whether or not you can configure Digium “products” via the GUI. If you can, then one cannot overlook the fact that Digium’s $$ come from selling hardware which – oh, look – can be configured with the GUI. This is the kind of nonsense that (correctly) drives FOSS people nuts, and developers away from projects. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve long thought that Digium was nuts for giving Asterisk away. So maybe this is just the first step away from the GPL and toward Digium’s bottom line. That said however, if AsteriskNOW is supposed to continue down the open source road then I feel slighted by this. If this is supposed to be a tiered offering then Digium should come out and say so.
#2. Root Password:
Yes, during the installation the password created is for a user called admin, not root. Yes, you can login as admin and attempt to su or sudo but it asks for the root password and it is unknown. Yes, newbies like myself have looked through the limited AsteriskNOW documentation and have not been able to find the root password. (A similar problem exists with the rPath configuration manager but that’s a lessor problem and a different post.) Again, this root password thing is a problem and not a bug. Why? Because I know enough to manually edit the .conf files and setup my VOIP service provider (like I did on my v1.2 installation) but I cannot do so b/c when I go to save the files it turns out I don’t have permission. i.e. In order to manual edit the .conf files I must have root access, which appears to be hidden from me by the installation.
I love Asterisk and when I found out that AsteriskNOW was released I was stoked. But first I had a series of problems downloading and burning the ISOs – checksums would be helpful (that’s a bug) – that prevented installation. Then I realize I can’t add a VOIP trunk. I’m not rich (who is?) so I can’t afford to have a $300 FXO/FXS card laying around for playing. Then I realize that I can’t edit the .conf files myself. And my conclusion is that while I understand this is beta, I can’t create a decent test box without creating trunks. The system as presented is worthless to me & I want my 4 hours and 3 CDR’s back.
About a year ago I chose a raw Asterisk installation over Asterisk@Home b/c I hated the way AMP worked. Much has changed. It’s AsteriskNOW vs. FreePBX 2.0. I think the first one out of beta wins and right now FreePBX has a healthy lead. I see Trixbox with FreePBX 2.0 becoming the student who will have bested the master.