Sangoma Reinforces its Commitment to Open Source and Addresses Recent Elastix News

This week, significant changes at Elastix were announced, including the involvement of 3CX and the removal of key Elastix versions for download. Since those announcements, many things have been written by many people, and this has left some folks wondering what happened. Sangoma would like to reinforce its commitment to open source, this open letter from Sangoma, will provide our own clarity about how these events affect or involve Sangoma. We are a professional, global, growing, profitable, engineering-focused, publicly traded company, and this is the only reliable source of information to understand how those recent events affect or involve our organization. Other commentary released by other third parties about Sangoma, is not to be relied upon.

There are three (3) parts to this message today, that we invite you read:

  1. Sangoma’s unwavering commitment to Open Source
  2. Sangoma’s history and involvement with recent Elastix news and events
  3. The opportunity that these recent events present to Elastix users to join the Sangoma family
1. Sangoma’s Unwavering Commitment to Open Source

Everyone comes to open source software for their own reasons: software developers to do what they love; some to earn a livelihood; manufacturers to augment the project and sell their wares; and most importantly community members to find flexible/cost effective/well-supported solutions to their ‘business problem’ (in our case, for UC/Telecom/PBX needs). In the end, the good projects build something bigger than themselves… a community, a solution, and an opportunity for end users to utilize the project to build their own businesses. Over the course of a project many people will enter and exit those communities as their needs change.

As the primary investor in and developers of FreePBX, Sangoma actively works with many different members of the Open Source Telephony (OST) community, including Asterisk Developers, other FreePBX-based distros (including Elastix!), and many third-party hardware/software developers and manufacturers. As just one example, we have a great relationship with Digium and talk with them on an almost weekly basis, even though many consider us competitors. This may seem surprising to some, as many folks would think we might be bitter enemies. In fact, the opposite is true…we encourage and help those products to compete in the marketplace on their own merits. And this is entirely consistent with the commitment Sangoma has demonstrated to open source for many, many years over the time when we worked hard to also make Asterisk better. When Sangoma took over stewardship of FreePBX, we reiterated this statement clearly and unequivocally.

So Sangoma continues to work very hard every day, and invests many millions of dollars each year, in order to build strong relationships and to benefit to the entire open source telephony community. There is a saying that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Thus, it is usually counter-productive for open source contributors to battle with each other. In other words, there is no reason for us to fight over the same slice of pie, when there is an entire cake that no one is touching.

2. Sangoma’s History with Elastix and Involvement in Recent Events There

Our approach was no different with Elastix. For over a decade, Sangoma has been a direct supporter of Elastix, in many, many different ways, visiting them in Ecuador many times. We supported the project financially, we attended/exhibited/supported/spoke at multiple ElastixWorld events over many years, we cooperated with our distribution partners who also supported Elastix, we invested in R&D to ensure our products (software and hardware) were compatible with Elastix, etc. The list goes on and on. We had (and we hope, still have), excellent relationships between our companies, in all parts of our organizations right up to the CEO level of both companies.

With recent changes at Elastix, some people/blogs/websites have made comments which claim that the removal of Elastix downloads of version 4 or MT, was in some way caused by Sangoma/FreePBX, due to concerns about compliance with GPL conditions. That is not true and we wish to set the story straight. We at Sangoma hold ourselves to high ethical standards, and as a publicly traded company as well, setting the record straight with facts and not rumors, is both important and required.

While it is indeed true that Sangoma pointed out to Elastix some time ago, that there was a copyright issue, we did so in a very friendly manner, with words carefully chosen to be respectful of the long term relationship between the companies, and critically, to ensure that this important relationship continued. It was a 2015 letter from CEO to CEO, and certainly did not suggest any legal action, since it was not that kind of letter at all…it was a positive, complementary letter seeking to deepen the relationship, not harm it. That letter was sent shortly after Sangoma acquired FreePBX, when we made it a priority to reach out to PaloSanto to reinforce that the Elastix Project was a valuable strategic partner to Sangoma. It was in no way threatening, did not ask for, was not intended to, and given it was 2015, did not cause any versions of Elastix to be withdrawn. Elastix decision this week to shutdown these versions is a business decision not a response to Sangoma. While it seems that these days, the number of open source projects that remain truly open source is definitely on the decline, Sangoma’s commitment to open source remains as true today, as always.

And while it is admittedly a little unusual for companies to do so, in this case, for full transparency to the open source communities that we respect so very much (and to dispel any untrue rumors or claims), the entire letter is available here. We share it for those who need confirmation of the above statements, and to reassure the Elastix community that Sangoma continues to be committed to you as well as to the entire Latin America region (and would be honored to have you consider joining our family)

Link to Full Letter

For the majority of you who may be less inclined to read the entire letter, we have pasted the text of the opening paragraph between our CEOs, so you can see for yourselves that it was truly a positive, relationship building letter:

“Hello Edgar, I haven’t seen you since my last visit to Ecuador. I hope you’re keeping well! When Sangoma closed our acquisition of FreePBX earlier this year I made it a priority for our staff to reach out immediately to inform you and reinforce that the Elastix Project is a valuable strategic partner of Sangoma. I reach out again today to renew that sentiment…”

The final word on this topic is to point out that Elastix could have resolved this modest copyright issue with a couple of hours of work, and could of course, still do so today. In fact, Sangoma offered our assistance to PaloSanto to perform that work, and we remain most prepared to honor that commitment today, if Elastix wished to make version 4 or MT available, with no problem whatsoever.

3. The Opportunity that These Recent Events Present to Elastix Users, to Join the Sangoma Family

The net result of recent changes at Elastix, is that the key versions of those open source projects, and the years of community involvement, have apparently been rebranded to the proprietary/closed 3CX platform. This sounds similar to the events surrounding another open source project last month (PBX in a Flash).

We at Sangoma have, unsurprisingly, heard from many in the Elastix community, saying that they feel confused, or abandoned, or are scrambling to figure out a next step.

And so we have an opportunity to extend to the valued members of that Elastix community, a chance to explore whether Sangoma and FreePBX may suit your needs. We are very proud of our proven commitment to open source, of our demonstrated investments in Latin America for many years, and of our FreePBX family of products. We invite you to discover what we have to offer by visiting our website or by giving us a call at +1 905 474 1990.

While you might be considering this option, we would like to share a few reasons that we believe you might find FreePBX to be a compelling alternative, including an elegant/one-step “import utility” that we have custom created in the last few days specifically to help Elastix users move their systems to FreePBX in a single step!!

  • Since many Elastix users are already familiar with the FreePBX components of Elastix, many of you will feel right at home when configuring a ‘pure’ FreePBX system.
  • You may not realize that FreePBX is a truly global phenomenon, with full translation of the GUI and ALL sound files in over 8 languages, INCLUDING SPANISH of course!
  • We have made it almost entirely painless for you to import your existing Elastix deployments to FreePBX, in one simple step with our new tool: “Come Home to FreePBX”. This will be available in the next couple of days. Please join us on Wednesday, December 14th for a webinar outlining how to utilize the #Home2FreePBX Conversion Tool.
  • We will also be offering special training, ‘get started as a reseller’ kits, and discounts for existing Elastix Resellers to help them make the transition to FreePBX. See form at bottom of blog.
  • With all of the hard work we’ve been doing the last couple of years, you will see some major functionality that was not available in the Elastix version. Over the past twelve months, 53 developers contributed new code to FreePBX, and FreePBX contributor activity is in the top 2% of all projects monitored by Open Source Monitor OpenHub.com. Since Jan of 2015 when Sangoma became the project steward, FreePBX has added over 480,000 lines of code into the platform based on OpenHub.com stats. FreePBX has been more actively developed the past 2 years than at any time in its 12-year history.
  • This year Sangoma introduced its own line of advanced IP-phones, designed specifically for FreePBX. They are available in a range of models from entry-level to executive, and we think you might be surprised how cost effective they are in Latin America. We have sold tens of thousands in just the first few months, so they are receiving a warm reception around the globe. These phones complete a ‘full solution’ available from Sangoma, so you can get your PBX, your phones, and your ‘connectivity products’ (gateways, cards, SBCs, etc) all from a single vendor and be guaranteed it will all work together. And take advantage of Zero-Touch Provisioning!
  • Many other companies such as Digium, Grandstream, Yealink, and Snom have also joined us in building a better Phone system full solution, by having their products certified for the FreePBX platform. By continuing to add FreePBX EcoSystem partners that contribute engineering resources, hardware, and expertise we continue to expand the capabilities and Freedom provided by FreePBX.
  • FreePBX offers a truly unlimited, free distro that provides the business and calling features you demand in a modern Unified Communications platform, including functionality such as:
    • Support for video calling
    • Announcements, Text to Speech
    • Flexible time based call routing
    • Fax to Email
    • IVR- Interactive Voice Response Menu
    • Basic Call Center Functionality – ACD and Call Queues, Hunt / Ring Groups
    • Three Way Calling, Caller ID, Call Transfer Call Recording, Do Not Disturb, Call Waiting, System wide Speed Dials, Call Screening
    • Secure communications
    • Built in Conference Bridge
    • Customizable Music on Hold
    • Voicemail – Voicemail to email
    • Follow Me / Find Me Calling
    • Call History – Call Detail Records and Call Event Logging
    • Paging / Intercom
    • Call Parking
    • Integrated Call Recording
  • Expanding ease-of-deployment, system administration and ongoing maintenance.
    • Choose your default language at time of installation, and your system GUI and sound prompts will be set with no additional configuration needed, including of course full translation into Spanish.
    • Upgrade system (OS, FreePBX, Asterisk and dependencies) with granular control, including the ability to roll back upgrades, and switch to supported versions of Asterisk on the fly.
    • New system dashboards and bulk import utilities (trunks, extensions, users, DIDs)
    • New User Management controls, and a responsive web based User Control Panel for End Users.
  • The current stable release of FreePBX 13, has support for Asterisk LTS releases of 11 & 13 and Asterisk 14, including support for the PJSIP channel driver. Our beta release of FreePBX 14 is compatible with Asterisk 11, 13 & 14, and completely supports the Opus Codec, for high quality, low bandwidth audio.

  • We will also be doing some special offers soon for existing Elastix Resellers to help them make the transition to a supported platform. Fill in the form below to be contacted about the offers.

    Sangoma and Run Distribution Expand Sangoma IP Phone Distribution in Canada with Platinum Partnership Agreement.

    MARKHAM, ONTARIO – December 5, 2016 – Sangoma Technologies (TSX VENTURE: STC) today announced that Run Distribution, a leading Canadian distributor of business telephone and technology products headquartered in Montreal, Canada, has expanded their partnership and distribution agreement to encompass the full Sangoma Product line. Run Distribution will distribute Sangoma solutions to VARs and resellers servicing the Canadian Market.

    Run Distribution has immediate stock of Sangoma IP Phones, the only phones exclusively designed for use with FreePBX, the world’s most popular open source PBX and PBXact, Sangoma’s Unified Communications System. Sangoma’s phones feature Sangoma’s Zero Touch Configuration technology and the tightest feature integration with FreePBX of any phone on the market.

    “In our recent Partner Roadshow events, in Canada, we had a huge demand to bring on a solid Canadian Distributor that would stock product,” said Preston McNair, Vice President of Sales, North America at Sangoma. “Run’s expansion to include not only our phones, but the full Sangoma Product Line, allows us to continue to expand and grow this key market making it easier for our partners to obtain Sangoma’s award-winning solutions.”

    “Run Distribution understands the market in Canada and believe that the affordable and feature-rich Sangoma IP Phone and PBX product lines will deliver tremendous value to VARs and resellers in Canada” Said Thomasz Owczarek, VP of Business Development at Run Distribution. “Sangoma’s wide range of solutions enables businesses to implement affordable Total Telecom Solutions from a single Manufacturer.”

    Sangoma will host a webinar for Run Distribution partners and customers to learn more about Sangoma’s Total Telecom Solutions offerings, including why Sangoma IP Phones provide a feature set second to none when deployed with FreePBX. Registration is currently open for the December 13, 2016 Event.

    For more information about Sangoma’s Partner Program please visit www.sangoma.com/company/partner-program/ For information regarding purchasing products from Run Distribution please visit https://www.rundistribution.com/en/our-products/sangoma, or contact them directly at (514) 416-5447.

    About Sangoma Technologies Corporation
    Sangoma (TSX VENTURES: STC) offers a range of hardware, software and services for voice and data IP communication systems to enterprises, SMBs, Service Providers and OEMs in more than 150 countries. Sangoma’s cost effective, quick to deploy, and easy to manage offerings include Hosted and On Premise Unified Communications Solutions with PBXact, FreePBX, SIPStation and FaxStation; Session Border Controllers (SBC); the market-leading Express for Skype for Business; VoIP Gateways; Call Tapping; Call Center Software; and Signaling Gateways. Sangoma also continues to lead the market in VoIP-to-PSTN interface cards. For more information, visit www.sangoma.com.

    – 30 –

    Contact
    Frederic Dickey
    VP Marketing
    Sangoma Technologies
    +1 905 474-1990 x 4161
    fdickey@sangoma.com

    Security Vulnerability Notice

    Summary:

    An unauthenticated remote attacker can run shell commands as the Asterisk user of any FreePBX machine with ‘Recordings’ versions between 13.0.12 and 13.0.26.

    Details:

    The recordings module lets you playback recorded system files. Due to a coding error and a PHP quirk, certain Ajax requests were unauthenticated when requesting files.

    This has been fixed in Recordings 13.0.27.

    For PBXact UC users on version 10.13.66 make sure you upgrade to version 10.13.66-15 or higher to receive the patch.  For information on how to update your PBXact system review our wiki here.

    For FreePBX Distro users on version 10.13.66 you can either upgrade the Recordings module in module admin to version 13.0.27 or upgrade to FreePBX Distro 10.13.66-15.  For information on how to update your FreePBX Distro system review our wiki here.

    This vulnerability was discovered by: Adrian Maertins <adrian(dot)maertins(at)gmail(at)com>

    Additional Details:

    As FreePBX is an appliance, any remote shell access can be leveraged to become root.

    Keep in mind for security, performance, and the best user experience be sure you keep ALL modules up to date. Some security and functional updates may be delayed or unreleased by maintainers of 3rd party repositories.

    It is also always good practice when requiring internet access to your PBX to run the FreePBX firewall and/or other quality firewalls in front of your system. Limit access via VPNs and where possible, such as Sangoma Phones, take advantage of native phone VPNs to minimize the exposure you must provide to potential hackers by limiting the ports you need to open.

    Links to More Information:

    http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FOP/2016-08-09+CVE+Remote+Command+Execution+with+Privileged+Escalation

    http://issues.freepbx.org/browse/FREEPBX-12908

    History of Security Vulnerability:

    Sangoma takes security issues very seriously and we try to work with security experts who find such vulnerabilities in a cooperative manner in order to maximize the ability to protect the user base with timely patches and appropriately timed communications.

    This particular vulnerability was reported and the reporter only provided a short time window of three days before disclosing the vulnerability. As such, we have not been provided adequate time to get a proper CVE which we will be working on and we are providing patches to address the issue and requesting users update their systems immediately to be protected against possible hackers once they see the report and create malware attack scripts to go after FreePBX systems open to the internet.

    FreePBX holiday cyber weekend is officially here!

    ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and great deals on FreePBX! Thanksgiving kicks off four big days of big deals just for you! Starting today through midnight Monday November 30 you’ll get:

    Start Saving

    • Free System Builder Plus with purchase of a FreePBX System 50
    • Free System Builder Plus with purchase of a FreePBX System 500
    • 50% off Commercial Modules and Bundles
    • 50% Off Sangoma’s NEW FaxStation
    • Save up to 25% off Sangoma FreePBX Asterisk Cards

    Shop NOW!

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Kate

    Commercial Modules, Support Provided, Upcoming Changes

    Commercial Modules, Support Provided, Upcoming Changes

    FreePBX has grown from dozens of modules a few years ago to hundreds of modules today (it’s over 100) the bulk of them part of the open source foundation that makes up this great project. We’re constantly adding new functionality, whether new features to existing modules, brand new open source modules, or the occasional introduction of a new commercial module within the mix.

    What determines Commercial vs. Open Source for New Module Development?

    Although most of our development resource are spent maintaining and building upon the core open source project, we always evaluate and think hard if a new module should be part of the open source foundation or introduced as commercial. The open source usually wins :). However, there are a number of specific or vertical market needs that usually come with much higher maintenance costs or the need for a higher then normal commercially acceptable response time in addressing issues. Examples of these are the High Availability Module and End Point Manager. In order to keep the bulk of our development efforts focused on the open source foundation, we evaluate these ‘special needs’ areas when deciding if a module should be commercial to ensure there is a proper revenue stream to create, maintain, and support these specialty components. The alternative would otherwise result in all of our time servicing these, used by a much smaller population of users, at the expense of the mainstream code base used by everyone.

    Commercial Module Licensing and Continued Support

    Most commercial modules are sold with a 25-year license and one year of updates for bug fixes and new features. This model is very standard in the software industry. It means your module will continue to run beyond the first year, but if you want to reap the benefits of the ongoing development and resulting enhancements you will have to pay a small fee after that to keep getting those updates. Otherwise, you can continue using what you have, it WILL continue to function fine.

    Up until now, we have never provided a mechanism to buy that continued support after the first year, despite many customers asking us how they can purchase it. Instead, we’ve simply continued to give you those updates for free. With commercial modules entering into their fifth year, the population has exploded with well over 100,000 such modules out there. The support requests related to this growth has increased to the point where we must start providing you the ability to purchase a renewal contract if you want to continue receiving updates and support for them. The alternative of continuing to give this away free would result in our resources being taken away from the core project, which simply hurts everyone and the project as a whole!

    What does this change mean and how will it impact you?

    For those of you with modules that are more then one year old meaning the year of updates has already expired, we will give you another two weeks free, through November 16th, where you can update any of those modules as has been the case since you purchased them. We’ll attempt to email you with this information proactively based on your portal contact information. (What … doesn’t everyone just follow our blog that we have to email? :)) Furthermore, we’ll provide you with a 15% discount incentive to purchase renewals in the next two week if you renew from this portal link and use discount code RENEWALS through November 15th. For any such renewals, your new anniversary date will be based on a November 16th expiration. This means, if you purchase a one-year renewal whether before or after November 16th, that renewal will be good through November 16th, 2016.

    If you’ve purchased a module in the last 12 months you’ll continue to get updates until the anniversary date of your purchase. You’ll be notified in advance inside of Module Admin when you have modules that soon need renewals where you can make the purchases directly. You can also navigate to the portal to see a comprehensive view of all your module licenses on all your deployments, when they will need renewals, and have the ability to renew any of them there whether they have already expired or you just recent purchased them. Furthermore, the RENEWALS incentive is not only good for already expired renewals, you can be proactive and take advantage of it now even if you just bought a module yesterday! (You must use the portal to take advantage of the 15% promotion, from within FreePBX it will not be available.)

    After November 16th, if you choose not to renew and there are updates available for those modules installed on your system, you will still be notified of the updates. You will have the option of purchasing a renewal in order to obtain them, which you can do right from the GUI.

    Keeping FreePBX thriving for everyone

    The FreePBX team is intensely dedicated to the ongoing success of this project and works tirelessly to make sure you continue to have a world class, feature rich and future proof system to bank your business and your customers’ businesses on. We are grateful to the community members who participate in the project – feeding ideas, code and project help to keep us moving forward. This change being announced will go a long way in assuring we can continue to do that. Whether you’re a consumer of these specialized modules or not, all of you depend on the continued investment in the core project’s long term viability. Enabling our ability to fund the ongoing support of these modules through renewals that have always been part of the licensing terms in our EULA will assure that we can continue providing the resources needed for all sides of the project and benefit everyone!

    Renewing from FreePBX

    When in FreePBX, if Renewals are coming up within 3 months, you can purchase them directly from the GUI. You will see Renewals that are available as seen in the following image.

    gui

     

    Upon clicking the Renewal button it will be added to your cart which you can view and go through the checkout process as shown:

    module

     

    When purchasing from portal, you have the option of renewing modules from multiple deployments in once checkout process if needed, AND you can take advantage of the RENEWALS discount code:

    check-out

    You are now set to continue receiving all the new enhancements (and bug fixes) that we continue to provide to you in these important modules that you depend on!