FreePBX 17 Beta and the Future with Debian

Nenad Corbic

Nenad Corbic

A little over a month ago now, the FreePBX Engineering team had published a wiki page with instructions for manually setting up FreePBX 17 on Debian Linux using the beta release tarball. The wiki migration project (which you can read about here) delayed the Beta announcement for FreePBX 17 a bit, but here we are back on track with the installation page hosted in the new home of the FreePBX wiki at

We’re happy to officially announce the BETA RELEASE of FreePBX 17 and encourage everyone to set up a test environment and put it through its paces. Here are the key highlights:

  • PHP 8.2 Support: Embracing the latest technology, FreePBX 17 utilizes PHP 8.2, the most recent and actively supported PHP release with security updates guaranteed until December 2025.
  • Transition from Asterisk Macro to GoSub: With Asterisk’s deprecation and recent removal of support for app_macro, FreePBX 17 dialplan has been rewritten to rely exclusively on the GoSub application. There is no longer support in FreePBX 17 for dialplan Macros. While this change does result in a cleaner dialplan and removes limitations imposed by the Macro application, it also means that those who rely on dialplan customizations will need to review their modifications. More detail below.
  • Updated NodeJS and Front End Libraries: Staying current with technology and security trends, FreePBX 17 incorporates the NodeJS v18.16 release and updates numerous front-end libraries, security improvements, including Jquery, Bootstrap, and their dependencies.
  • Debian OS:  A move to Debian will allow FeePBX customers and users to perform inline upgrades in the future as well be able to install FreePBX on any public cloud debian native image. FreePBX will rely on vanilla Debian ISO images going forward which will remove the need for Sangoma to build custom ISO and custom packages, which will result in faster OS and Security updates.   

These enhancements ensure that FreePBX 17 not only aligns with the latest industry standards but also delivers a robust and secure communication platform. We invite everyone to test, explore, and provide feedback during this important beta phase.


What’s Coming …


We’re working toward a release in the coming weeks of a full solution to replace the FreeBPX SNG7 Distro. Unlike previous FreePBX Distro releases, the new certified FreePBX 17 system will be based on Debian 12 and will continue to be based on Debian releases going forward. Certified FreePBX support on Debian is a longstanding request of the community as it’s one of the most popular Linux systems for basing Open Source projects such as FreePBX. This announcement has already generated excitement for the next chapter in the FreePBX story, and we hope that everyone will give it a trial and report results during the beta period.

Unfortunately, the move to a completely different Linux system between FreePBX 16 and 17 means there will be no script or utility to do an upgrade in place. Upgrades to 17 will be done by taking a backup of the old FreePBX system and restoring it on a fresh FreePBX 17 install. The FreePBX backup and restore module has supported restores from legacy versions going back several years now, so this is largely a solution that’s in place now. By permanently moving to Debian, we anticipate that major updates will run more smoothly in the future.


Testing FreePBX 17 Beta

To beta test FreePBX 17, carefully follow the manual installation guide provided on this wiki page.

The FreePBX 17 Open Source tarball includes about 30 of the most commonly used  open source modules. We’ve conducted preliminary testing to ensure its compatibility with Debian 12. However, given the extensive code changes and significant PHP update, if you come across any issues, please don’t hesitate to report them. Your feedback is crucial in refining FreePBX 17.

It will be particularly important during the testing phase for FreePBX 17 for those who have dialplan customizations to FreePBX to review their dialplan. Note above in the “Key Highlights” section that Asterisk dialplan macros are no longer supported in FreePBX 17+. Anyone deploying systems that rely on dialplan customization, or on third party modules that generate dialplan, will need to investigate, test and make the necessary dialplan updates to ensure all dialplan going forward is compatible with Asterisk 21.



Feedback during the beta phase is critical for our development efforts. As our Open Source ticketing migration is still in progress (you can read about it here), to  report issues please browse over to the FreePBX Community forum and post in the Beta Program category.  Your insights will contribute to the ongoing improvement of FreePBX, ensuring a smooth and reliable experience for all users.

Thank you for being a part of the FreePBX community!



  1. Blog about wiki migration.
  2. Manual FreePBX 17 install wiki page.
  3. Blog about moving development to Github.
  4. FreePBX Forum Beta Program category.

Best regards,
The FreePBX Team

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