It seems to me that to be a truely open platform Asterisk will need to handover the hardware certifcation process to an entity other than Digium. Currently Digium folks are using the resource allocation excuse to exclude from the certification process any hardware not in the best interest of Digium to support. ie whats in it for Digium? It would be my quess that the folks at Digium reject 9 out of 10 applications for new product certification stating “you do not meet our requirements to be a partner” meaning we do not see any revenue oppt in this for Digium. without any regard of the interest from the Asterisk community for such new products. If you are not intending to be protectionist prove it by setting up an independant certification body and fund it by charging for the certification process. Alternative, I suggest others here take the lead and set up such a body to provide an independent certification body/process for hardware vendors.
This is almost certainly the wrong place to address Digium corp. directly. This is a support forum, where users ask questions that are answered by volunteers. I don’t think any Digium employees or Asterisk developers spend much time here.
You would probably have more luck on the mailing list- lists.digium.com . The lists are where issues like hardware support policies are discussed. On this forum, your comments will almost certainly not be read by those who have the power to make such decisions.
That said, Asterisk is open source. So is the Zaptel driver. If you are a company that wants to develop Asterisk hardware, nothing is stopping you from writing your own driver that works with *. Due to the open source nature of Asterisk, Digium can’t do a damn thing to prevent you from making your products and services work with *. They CAN refuse to ship support for your product as part of the */zaptel packages, but they CAN’T prevent it from being supported at all.
Because Asterisk is open source, partner certification is not required to develop and bring to market Asterisk-compatible products and services. Thus, a certification organization is not required.
Case in point: Sangoma Technologies.
Sangoma makes a very popular line of telephony interface boards which work with Asterisk. THESE PRODUCTS DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH DIGIUM’S PRODUCTS. They are not a ‘Certified Partner’ (at least I can’t find any mention of them on digium.com), but that doesn’t stop them from selling their interface cards by the truckload. They write their own drivers, which are designed to work with Asterisk and Zaptel, and it works. Sure it takes a few extra steps to install Sangoma products (as you must configure the Sangoma driver as well as *) but that does not stop anybody. Many users here use Sangoma products and are quite happy with them.
Sangoma is making a successful business without any sort of formal support or recognition from Digium. All they are missing out on by not being a ‘partner’ is the use of Digium’s logos. Last I checked, that hasn’t stopped them yet.
So I think the main point here, is Certification != Support. Sangomas products SUPPORT *, even though they are not Digium-Certified to do so.
If you want to develop Asterisk-compatible hardware or software, grab a copy of the source code and start coding. Your products will succeed or fail on their own merits. If you whip up something that blows everybody away, expect many sales. If your product sucks, not even being a Digium Partner can help you.