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:
- Sangoma’s unwavering commitment to Open Source
- Sangoma’s history and involvement with recent Elastix news and events
- 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)
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:
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!!
- 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
- 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.