There are some nagging projects that I have neglected to complete, due in part to coursework and other distractions. One such excursion is installing a home PBX. In truth, I have not owned a landline for nearly four years. When I purchased my home, I made a conscious effort to go strictly wireless. That is use my cell as the primary means of contact. In my mind, it makes no sense to pay for services twice. Simply wasteful. Besides, the landline phone would only serve as a spam filter for unsolicited telemarketing.
Another impetus for installing Asterisk, was the idea of conducting more robust netcasts. Currently when show guests opt to use a telephone, we end up using some free conference calling software. The end result is that the audio file is left on the foreign server. Though, I can easily download the file to my LAN, I would prefer to have more control over this process. Another benefit is that I would like to setup IVR and voicemail for my home office and I have no desire to use Vonage(soon to be defunct).
I understand that Mark Spencer, founder the Asterisk project has made great angst to simplify the installation. There have been a couple of live-cd installations floating around (ie AsteriskNOW and Trixbox -previously Asterisk@Home).
For whatever reason, I was not able to install AsteriskNOW. It simply would not write to my hard disk. It seemed to bomb when it could not find a raid array.
Anyway, I grabbed Trixbox and quickly discovered that it was based upon CentOS 4.4.
While I typically avoid RPM based distros (actually I have been using SmoothWall firewall/gateway for years without issue and it's essentially a minimalist Red Hat distro), I decided to proceed.
The installation was fairly painless, despite the repeated reboots after grabbing the required files from the yum repositories. Not sure why the automatic reboots were necessary. It seems that the installation requires a larger portion of the base CentOS
package. Stuff like bluetooth, kerberos, libselinux, cups, etc. I was a bit surprised about the need for all these packages for a PBX install. Nonetheless, the install took place without any problems after the base Asterisk install was completed.
The GUI, contains a collection of options. An explanation of all of these is beyond the scope here, so I'll just mention that I chose FreePBX.
There are a number of tutorials which will step you through a Trixbox install.
I used these trixbox without tears and Linux Journal article. In truth, there is still a fair amount of configuration that I still must complete. I do want a high level of customization. As with most projects, this will be a work in progress.