Get Updated on FreePBX Plans

I’ve been on a bit of a trend not quite delivering on the dates that I keep claiming here. I told you I was going to make 2.9 final and well, I guess it still says Release Candidate when you look at the version. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped nearly 5000 people from running 2.9 so I guess no harm done:-) I also told you that you would be able to listen in on the webinar for the Atlanta Asterisk Users Group (AAUG) VoIP conference when I presented but technical difficulties seem to have gotten the best of that also! (I did speak, but you had to be there…)

So … let’s try to get all of this rectified and update you on what’s going on. First, 2.9. I’ve had every intention of bumping that to the final release but a couple things keep delaying it. First, I’ve been traveling too much and don’t like to make big changes and then disappear on long plane flights unreachable. Also, the introduction of the FreePBX Distro, which has been fantastically received by all of you, has broadened the exposure and coverage of 2.9 on Asterisk 1.8 which has uncovered a handful of minor issues that we’ve wanted to take care of before going final. None the less, we’ll be squeezing that in very soon now!

Want to get updated on what’s going on? Well the best way to do it is of course coming to our [url=/open-telephony-training-seminar]FreePBX training class[/url] in a couple weeks in Cleveland, OH and spending a few days with us to get all your questions answered! Keep in mind, there are only 3 places left in the class (at the time of this writing) so if you want to join us, [url=/open-telephony-training-seminar-register]sign up now![/url]

Next, that webinar I promised you and technology got in the way… Well Steve with the AAUG has been kind enough to see if we can’t try the webinar again so we are trying to pick a time and date and give it another shot hoping the technology is kinder to us this time. We are shooting for either later this coming week or some time the following week and as soon as we pick a date/time I’ll post back here and [url=http://twitter.com/#!/freepbx]tweet[/url] to let you know when it is! (I’ll post it here too) The update and upcoming plans were extremely well received at the conference so hope the rest of you will benefit from them.

Another opportunity is also fast approaching if you live anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and feel like stopping by the LinuxFestNW next weekend in Bellingham, WA. We’ve managed to create some what of a VoIP track on Sunday, the second day of the event, and I’ll be giving a couple presentations at that time. Robert Keller (cosmicwombat) will also be there talking so it would be a great opportunity to see what’s going on as well as take advantage of lots of great Open Source oriented presentations!

For now, a quick thanks to all of you who have been helping flush out the little details with the new FreePBX Distro and 2.9 in general!

[b]Philippe[/b] – On behalf of the FreePBX Team!

FreePBX Keynote Talk at AAUG VoIP Conference Tomorrow (4/16)

This is kind of last minute but better late right? I’ve indicated I wanted to do a project phone conference but procrastination seems to be something that runs in the blood some times! This time it may have worked out well though, as we’ll turn it into a full fledged webinar and surround it by lots of other information if you are interested! The only caveat, there’s not a lot of warning and you are going to have to give up part of your Saturday.

So … if you’d like to get an update / presentation on what’s been going on and what will be going on with FreePBX, mark your calendars (and be prepared for some minor elasticity). The Atlanta Asterisk Users Group is giving their yearly VoIP conference tomorrow, Saturday, April 16th and they asked me to give something of a [i]Key Note Speech![/i] (To be honest, it was more like cosmicwombat, who is also speaking tomorrow, mentioned to me in a casual conversation earlier this week [i]”I see you are giving the keynote talk this year…”[/i] and sure enough, that’s what it said on the site!)

If you are interested in hearing about an overview of the major changes in FreePBX 2.9 that is just being released, about the plans/projects on the 2.10 roadmap, and about what’s going on with the Distro and a bit of background and information about it, then please register for the AAUG Conference and keep your eyes on the conference agenda to see where the final schedule lands me. (They say it should be about 2:30PM EDT, give or take 30 minutes as I think schedules are going through last minute juggling). Following the talk will be plenty of time for Q&A to both me and other participants and I’m happy to try and answer any and all questions that come up! I really hope to [i]virtually[/i] see some of you there (and a few of you in real life too!)

So what [i]is[/i] going on with 2.9 since I keep saying I’m going to make it final and it’s still sitting in a release candidate state? In all reality, I should have bumped it earlier this week as the tickets coming in are all indicating that it’s basically good to go! (A lot of them are some translations for localization still flowing in which we don’t hold up the release for.) Anyhow … I’ve had a habit in one or two of some past releases of pushing out a final release (in a bit of a rush) and then getting on a coast to coast flight just to land and find my mailbox flooded with some dumb bug I introduced breaking a bunch of people! (Never anything that took down a phone system, but obviously annoying if you were someone who couldn’t update an extension or something of the sort for a day!) So … I’m just trying to be a bit more consciences about my timing, since nothing is stopping all of you well over 3000 2.9 users from benefiting from all the great stuff we’ve been having so much fun with! (And, as I speak, I’m about to board my coast to coast flight from Seattle to Atlanta for the conference, I don’t want to be fixing bugs and speaking at the same time!).

As far as [url=/news/2011-04-11/introduction-to-the-new-freepbx-distro]the Distro[/url] is concerned, the response has been awesome so please keep the feedback coming and if you haven’t had a chance, go try it out! It’s technically still in beta though so far, so good, everything seems to be checking out so if you are comfortable running 2.9, I would go for it if you are looking for something to deploy! (And 2.9 is full of all sorts of bug fixes that never made it into 2.8 or prior…)

On a closing note, if you’ve been interested in [url=/open-telephony-training-seminar]FreePBX Training[/url] our class is almost full so don’t procastinate too much longer if you’ve been planning on joining the party! There were 5 slots left last time I looked so now’s the time. Also, we got some great rates at the Marriott Residence Inn right by the training facility which are only good for another few days if I recall so take advantage of the opportunity while it’s still there and also get some first hand deep information on 2.9 and the new Distro from all of us involved in bringing it to you!

For now, I hope to see you tomorrow!

[b]Philippe[/b] – On behalf of the FreePBX Team!

Introduction to the new FreePBX Distro

With the launch of the first ever official FreePBX ISO installer disk I thought I would take a few moments to explain what you may find different from other installers you may have used before and make sure everyone understands how to install and get into their new PBX.

For those who do not know who I am. My name is Tony Lewis and I am one of the Developers involved in the FreePBX Project. Even though I do not write much code I am the main go to guy for bug testing and support management. I am also one of the owners of Schmooze Com, Inc. who’s company is a major sponsor of the FreePBX project. We also manage all the FreePBX paid support. You probably already know Moshe, aka mbrevda, and Bryan, aka GameGamer43 on the IRC channel who are both also with Schmooze. We basically sells turn key FreePBX hosted and premise based systems with a ton of features built on top of normal FreePBX through a reseller channel. Some of these cool features will start becoming available in a new soon to be launched FreePBX Store and download-able through the new Commercial Repo in FreePBX but more on that another day.

The first thing you will notice when downloading and installing the FreePBX Distro is the ISO is a small disk about 18MB known as a netinstaller. Once your boot off the drive it will ask you to setup the network interface to get to the Internet and once done, the fun begins. A handful of setup questions and your system install is on the way. We’ve tried to keep things simple with functionality such as automatically setting up a software RAID pair of disks if two are detected (with no hardware raid card present).

When the setup is done and you point your browser at the PBX you should see a screen that looks something like this:

[img=675×360]/files/images/obe.png[/img]

This is a lot different then you may have encountered before. We have tried to design this “out of box experience” (OBE) to avoid any default passwords floating around on the internet adding yet another aid to all those hackers out there trying to break into systems! For those passwords that you don’t see like the database or AMI credentials, those were already handled during the installation process and populated with randomly generated values! All of this, along with several changes in FreePBX 2.9 reflect the constant effort that we have been trying to put into further securing your systems based on the constant feedback that we hear and listen to.

Don’t worry about that email address listed there, that’s just what FreePBX uses to tell you about new updates, and that address resides on your system alone, it never gets transmitted anywhere!

Once inside you will see the normal FreePBX interface and everything in one unified spot. If you click on the tool tab and look for a module called System Admin you will find a few cool things. The System Admin module is not a standard FreePBX module and allows you to manage numerous Linux sysadmin items but in an abstracted way to make sure we are not giving the FreePBX apache user access to any root commands such as changing network settings and other normal root user only options. This is another example of the security minded approach that we are trying to take, as there have been major breaches in the past when hackers have found ways to exploit the elevated privilege that sudo root access to the web application can provide.

In this module you can control the following items;
[list] [*] DNS
[*] Intrusion detection (aka Fail2ban)
[*] Network Settings (including virtual interfaces)
[*] Power Options- To power off and reboot the system
[*] Storage- Will show you basic hard drive usage and let you setup a email to get notified of hard drives becoming full and if using software raid notifications of a raid failure.
[*] Time Zone- To change the system timezone and force rsync with some ntp servers.
[*] License- This will be used at a later point to pull down a license file from the FreePBX store for paid commercial add on modules that Schmooze will be offering or anyone else who wishes to add commercial FreePBX style modules for sale through the upcoming FreePBX Distro Commercial store.
[/list]

Want to be part of the party? Get the beta now:

[list] [*]FreePBX Distro Beta Download
[/list]

We are looking forward to the further exposure and feedback that we will receive once all of you start to take a look at the new Distro and are extremely excited to start working with the community to provide a great full featured product!

[i][p_lindheimer][/i] All the comments are great, keep them coming! As an FYI though, the following forum topic has been setup to discuss Distro issues, ideas, suggestions, etc:
[list] [*][url=/forums/freepbx-distro/distro-discussion-help]FreePBX Distro Forum Topic[/url] [/list]

Is it time to make 2.9 Final?

So what’s up with 2.9? Ok, I confess, last minute spring vacation plans diverted my attention last week, but hey, how can I deny my daughter the chance to go to Disneyland with her best friend! (And a bit of sunshine after the non-stop clouds and rain we’ve been having here in the Northwest was much needed!) So … a lot is going on, [url=/news/2011-03-28/time-for-a-distro]New Distro[/url], FreePBX 2.9 probably ready for final release, [url=/open-telephony-training-seminar]FreePBX training[/url] coming up next month, let’s get caught up.

[b]FreePBX Distro[/b]

We pre-annoucned the up and coming [url=/news/2011-03-28/time-for-a-distro]FreePBX distro[/url] last week and the response has been great. Some of you have had a look at it and so far so good. The team is tying up a few loose ends so that we can get a proper beta out for general download. We’ll also create a forum topic for the distro to try and segregate the discussion a bit though all and all, most ‘distro’ discussions are usually just FreePBX discussions (as you may have noticed in the posts from most of the other FreePBX Distros out there.)

[b]FreePBX 2.9[/b]

So what’s the plan with 2.9? Well the release candidate has been out for a few weeks now and the overall 2.9 base is over 3000 active systems. With that sort of coverage and the current minimal bug rate, as well as the nature of the bugs, I think it’s almost time to make it final. I’ll have a review of the few outstanding bugs and the trend over the last week to assess if we should pull the trigger.

I brought up the changes in the Module Admin online repository a few posts back and in particular, mentioned the [i]commercial[/i] category which has not been used up to now. Well we are almost ready to start making some modules available through this repository category as I’ve mostly finished the server side tools that will let us pull just the module.xml and tarballs from third party providers and make such modules available to you. I know that Schmooze has some great modules that they have had available for quite some time and will be posting some of them there. For any of you out there who have such modules that you would like to make available, please PM me and we can work out what is needed to get you setup as well. We are very excited to be kicking off this ability as there are some good add-ons to FreePBX out there and helping users get connected with the available solutions is a great step forward!

[b]FreePBX OTTS Training[/b]

We’ve had some great response to the [url=/open-telephony-training-seminar]training class[/url] coming up and it has been filling up a lot quicker that has typically been the case in the past! If you are thinking about attending, you may want to make sure to get yourself registered and have a spot. I can’t say if it is going to fill up or not, so don’t want to create any false urgency, but, as mentioned it’s filling up a lot sooner than previous classes so …

Ok, phew! Lot’s going on and it’s Saturday morning so time for me to get back to having a weekend while keeping all the balls in the air. I’ll be back shortly to keep you up to date on all the progress!

[b]Philippe[/b] – On behalf of the FreePBX Team!