Can somebody give me a better understanding of asterisk?

I discovered asterisk a few months ago, bought the book asterisk for dummies and started to play around with it.

Well I just got out of jail, and am coming back at my programming hobby!

I’d say im an intermediate programmer. I specialize in PHP & MySQL. Just so you guys know what level im on…

I am very interested in asterisk, and my goal is to well of course first, get an understanding of how asterisk works and what it does, and to create a voip online application. I got a basic understanding of asterisk, what I want to to is create an application that will allow me to create a phone call through an online GUI, I will input the number to call, and I will be able to spoof the caller ID by entering a fake number. There will be a text area, the text will be read aloud to the person I call.

I looked around and I see there are already text-to-speech apps I can integrate into asterisk.

I just need a better understanding on where to start with this and in asterisk in general.

Im reading asterisk for dummies and do have a basic knowledge of it, however, it doesn’t cover much of the voip side of asterisk.

My first step was to install asterisk, which I have done. Now I dont know where to start.

I of course don’t want to jump right into this application, I need to do some basics first, you know like a ‘hello world’ script., meaning just doing a simple, basic task that asterisk is set up to do. Can anybody give me an suggestions on where to start from here, give me a simple thing to do?

Basically, I see three different layers to this:

  1. VoIP service provider
  2. PBX Gateway (Asterisk)
  3. Front-end user interface

I have found a provider with low rates, But I need to know if I got this right.

To use voip, I need a provider with the correctly configured server with all of the hardware. Their server will handle the calls, and communicate back with my asterisk server?

I have no idea how I would integrate all of this.

I know I am asking alot, I just dont know where to go from here.

basically, I just would like to know where to go from here. How could I make just the simplest phone menu I guess is what I am asking, and if I have my understanding of asterisk near-accurate.

How did you guys learn how to use asterisk? Like I said, I am reading asterisk for dummies, but its not great for using it for voip and for online application use.

I would appreciate any feedback I could get!!

Thank you!


That is a huge subject area.

Basicly you have to know what you want to achieve first, Do you want a IVR system , PBX , AutoDial system or what ?

It like saying , I know PHP, can you tell me what I can do with it !

Asterisk is can do pretty much what ever you want , but you need to know what you want to do .


Thanks for your reply…

What is IVR and autodial? autodial being an automated phone system menu?

I would liek to start with something simple, probably with a small phone menu, then get into a pbx gateway

Install trixbox and start play with it.

After that u will have a global idea what u can do.

The best is install to see, but start programming by yourself.

Given that apparent lack of forward direction for Trixbox, I’d avoid it if I were you.

I am frankly appalled at digium’s inability to take a more decisive stance and report issues with various asterisk distributions. The statement “I’d avoid it if I were you” is rather weak. There is also a sticky in the doc section - - referring to the previous incarnation of trixbox - Asterisk@home, which looks like digium’s endorsement of the distro. I suggested removing the sticky a month ago, but no action has been taken.

I would like to see a page with various distro status and the digium seal of approval or lack thereof.

Most new users find using asterisk without GUI too difficult, so they start with distros. Trixbox has been dead for over a year and there are still users downloading it and starting their asterisk experience with it. It uses asterisk which has been deprecated for a while and is ridden with security holes as it does not have any security patches issued after 2010 ( there were at least 13 advisories issued since the last update )

Two major asterisk distros were reported this year to have backdoors allowing remote control of the system.

  1. Trixbox:

  2. Elastix:

Digium’s own distro - AsteriskNOW is also far from perfect. Check:

That sounds great. Why don’t you start a Wiki page on the Asterisk wiki with your thoughts on each of the distributions of Asterisk+something that are out there?

Again, I’d like to encourage you to take ownership in something. There’s a big community of Asterisk users out there. Digium can’t do it all (e.g. be responsible for maintaining notes on the security vulnerabilities reported against downstream users of Asterisk), but it looks like you’ve got the time. So why not start a wiki page, own it, and help?

I’m looking at this thread:


and it’s not marked as a Sticky.

Does it show up as a Sticky for you?