Trixbox 1.0 replaces Asterisk@Home

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Trixbox 1.0 replaces Asterisk@Home

trix sereal boxtrixboxApparently, development on Asterisk@Home, the "turnkey" Asterisk solution with many third-party add-ons pre-installed has ended. However, the developers have created a new product called Trixbox. Just like Asterisk@Home, Trixbox is a complete Asterisk PBX including, a Linux OS, Asterisk PBX software, a Web GUI, and many other useful add-ons. As with Asterisk@Home, Trixbox can be quickly installed in less than an hour.

Besides being reminded of that wacky Trix rabbit character, I'd be curious why the need for the name change, especially since Trixbox is based on the same exact source code as Asterisk@Home. I liked the Asterisk@Home name - it gave the product a connotation of being "easy" to use and install. (e.g. even a "home" user could install it, or it was designed for a "home installation" by a hobbyist or entrepreneur.)

I can speculate that my pal Mark Spencer over at Digium sent Asterisk@Home a "cease & desist letter" to protect his trademark. Although, I'm not sure if Mark even has a trademark on the brand "Asterisk". I'll have to shoot him off an email and ask. But if he does, then you can't blame him if he is indeed trying to protect his brand. If you don't vigorously protect your brand and it becomes watered down and used by everyone, then you can lose your rights to the trademark. This whole point may be moot since I believe you can't trademark GPL open-source code projects. Where's a trademark lawyer when you need one?

[Update: I received an email from Ward Mundy stating that Digium did give permission to use the Asterisk@Home name. He stated "Asterisk@Home was suitable for home and business use. A lot of customers were apparently put off by the @Home moniker." I suppose I can see the @Home moniker hurting its "business-class" image.]

In any event, the latest release of Trixbox 1.0 (technically Asterisk@Home v3.0) was released on May 31st (less than a week ago). Interestingly enough, I noticed that Fonality is offering their HUDLite softphone client for Trixbox. I just shot off an email to Chris Lyman over at Fonality to see what exactly the relationship is between Fonality and Trixbox, especially since I could have sworn that I saw Fonality as the one that registered the domain.

However, when I checked the whois database today, it's registered to one of those "anonymizing" proxy domain registrars with a date stating it just changed on 6/5/06 (just 2 days ago). I then did some more investigating to see if I could figure out who owned I won't get into too many details on how I figured it out, but suffice to say I did a whois on, which is registered to Fonality, Inc. I then looked at the IP address for this whois record and it displayed "". I then do a whois on and lo' and behold the IP addresses were the same! Apparently and are running on the same web server and using the host header to figure out which web page to display.

Did Fonality by out the rights to Asterisk@Home and then change the name to What does this mean for the popular open-source Asterisk@Home distro (now Trixbox) considering Fonality is a for-profit Asterisk solutions provider? Is the plan to try and convert Trixbox users (generally novice Linux users) into paying Fonality users? Fonality certainly focuses on businesses that have little or no Linux experts, so there is certainly a potential synergy there. Well, the mystery continues... I'll post more when I hear back from Chris @Fonality.

Finally, Nerd Vittles has an excellent three-part series on how to install Trixbox along with FreePBX, a web-based GUI add-on for making Asterisk easy to manage. If you ever wanted to try Asterisk, but find Linux a bit daunting, then head on over to Nerd Vittles and try the tutorial.

p.s. Silly Windows users, Trixbox is for Linux!

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