New in Asterisk world, help for installation

Hello everyone!
I’m new in the Asterisk world, but I’m not new in VoIP world.
I’ve worked with SIP Protocol and other PABX systems like Alcatel, Siemens, Selta, Aastra-Matrà and also software pabx like VoiceSpeed and Brekeke PBX.

Now I’m very interested to use Asterisk because I see and hear a lot of peaople using it and saying that it works very very well.

So, what I would like to know, if it is possible, is as follow:

1- Hardware requirements
2- Which Linux distribution do you suggest ?

these are the most important question I have at the moment, in the meantime I try to read some dicuments in order to achieve more info regarding the configuration and the features of Asterisk.

Thank you very much in advance,
Best Regards

If you do pure VOIP any 3-5 year old desktop will do fine for testing\small business and any current single processor server will do fine for 100-200+ users (at some point splitting across multiple servers is better than faster processors\more ram). Sizing really depends on what your doing (i.e. Transcoding, POTS connections, Recording etc) so if you need more specifics look in the wiki or post some more info here.

If you need to connect to POTS it depends on how many lines you want\need and of what type are availble to you (analog, T1, E1, J1 etc). If you post your needs we can suggest a card or two.

I have been told Digium uses RHEL as there dev platform, and RHEL is one of the few supported distros for Asterisk Business Edition so that would be a wise choice. I use CentOS which is a RHEL clone. RHEL and CentOS are widely used by most large installations of Asterisk based on conversations I have had.

A great start to Asterisk is the following book: