First, I should point out that while previous version of trixbox have always been the easiest way to get Asterisk up and running in just minutes, trixbox 2.0 is much more than that. First and foremost, trixbox 2.0 includes a new 'overall' web GUI to make the whole process "point and click". From this new web GUI you can simply select the modules you want (HUDLite, FreePBX, PHP, lame, etc.) and the web interface will automatically install them. Some of the packages are directly related to Asterisk such as HUDlite or FreePBX, while other options are ancillary, such as SugarCRM. The idea is you shouldn't have to know anything about the command line interface (CLI). In addition, many users wishing to install trixbox want to keep the server as unbloated as possible and not add any unnecessary modules/packages. Essentially, with this new web interface you simply select just what you need with a click of the mouse.
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trixbox Web Interface where you can select packages.
The screenshot above demonstrates the "cornerstone" web application within trixbox 2.0 called the Package Manager. This allows you add, delete, or update packages and dependencies from your deployment simply using your mouse. It sits on top of the Linux yum command to get the proper RPM. In addition, it features a built-in update mechanism that notifies you within the web interface that a new version is available. Users can now upgrade individual components of their deployment versus having to reinstall from scratch with each upgrade.
The other big part of trixbox 2.0 is their third-party hardware support. For instance, trixbox 2.0 has Sangoma drivers baked in via RPM, so you can use Sangoma hardware "plug and play" out of the box. Chris told me, "We saw a lot of requests from the community for Sangoma drivers because they make really good cards and so we asked Sangoma if they wanted to bake their drivers in and they said 'yes'. I think to the extent that the community asks for other hardware support from Rhino or PIKA we'll probably do that as well and just be hardware-agnostic in the trixbox community." Chris also mentioned if Dialogic enters the Asterisk space that baking in their drivers could be in the future as well.
Chris told me that he coined the term LAAMPS (Linux, Apache, Asterisk, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Phyton, SugarCRM) as a good way of explaining how trixbox provides an extension of the popular & well-known LAMP term. LAMP is a software bundle of the most popular open source solutions on the Linux operating system and is often used for web servers with dynamic content. LAAMPS extends this software bundle by adding telephony (TDM, VoIP) and CRM to LAMP - the bolded letters & words being the key additions to the original LAMP term. Will LAAMPS take hold within the general Linux community? Who knows. Probably not, but at least the trixbox/Asterisk community will know what the heck it means.
In addition, the trixbox 2.0 release provides the trixbox community with deeper application integration with SugarCRM and integration with LumenVox Speech Engine (speech recognition). The SugarCRM integration features CallerID screenpop of SugarCRM records. Chris mentioned they did fair amount of work on this since often times the CallerID format varies, which can affect whether or not a SugarCRM record matches or not. It's still SugarmCRM 4.5, however the code is "patched" to work better with trixbox. Chris mentioned they will continue to support this patch as SugarCRM continues to be updated. Unlike some Asterisk distributions, trixbox 2.0 will have fax support built-in. When you consider built-in fax support along with all the other aforementioned features, trixbox is one of the most feature-rich "out-of-the-box" Asterisk solutions.
I asked Chris since this trixbox version is "beta" when the final release would be available and he said within 30 days the final (non-beta) trixbox 2.0 will be available for download. Chris pointed out that while he considers the previous trixbox version (1.3) "stable" and trixbox 2.0 as "beta", he is confident that trixbox 2.0 is "stable" but wants the trixbox community to have the final word as to whether it's truly "stable".
Chris also emailed me some interesting comments he made as part of his news release going out tomorrow, where he states "trixbox 2.0 is the easiest to use version yet. If you can use a mouse and have a spare hour, you can roll 2.0 and get, not just Asterisk, but integrated business applications like MySQL and SugarCRM. Moving forward, our plan is to add even more application support so that the community will be able to build their complete business infrastructure on the trixbox platform."
This announcement was big enough to get the CEO of MYSQL AB to comment on the trixbox news release going out on the newswire on Wednesday. "As part of the trixbox stack, MySQL provides a high-speed database foundation that improves uptime and enables easy integration with other business applications," said Marten Mickos, CEO of MYSQL AB. "MySQL database software is already being used by hundreds of thousands of trixbox users. We look forward to working closely with Fonality to grow and expand the thriving trixbox community."
To summarize What's New in trixbox 2.0
- Overall Web GUI for managing every aspect of the trixbox distribution
- Web-based Package Manager - a list of every package you can install. Literally hundreds of RPMs are available to install. Go as lean or as rich as you want on the applications.
- Third-party hardware support (Sangoma)
- Better SugarCRM integration (screenpop)
- Lumenvox speech-rec support