Trixbox founder responds

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Trixbox founder responds

Both Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality, and Andrew Gillis, the founder of Asterisk@Home - now Trixbox, responded to my previous post pondering the relationship between Trixbox and Fonality. Long story short, it looks like the open-source Trixbox project is safe from any commercial intentions. Just a case of one Linux-based commercial company helping out a Linux hobbyist. You just gotta love the Linux community!

Also, interesting to read how the name "trixbox" came about:

Tom: So what’s the deal with Trixbox. I thought I read you were the registrar of this domain a few days ago, but now it’s registered to a registrar “anonymous” proxy service.

Chris: We helped him with the domain registration (we are old hosting guys, my CTO and I ran one of the largest hosting companies in the world before selling it to a telephone company in 2000.) Andrew may have changed the domain service when he got worried that it might appear that Fonality was trixbox.  (Actually I) checked about the domain. To be honest, I now do *not* think that my CTO helped him register the domain, but I could be wrong. But I do know that we are paying for the hosting of the site, and helped Andrew with a bunch of things including legal advice, etc.

Tom: Are you running the show with Trixbox – the replacement for Asterisk@Home?

Chris: No it is Andrew’s show. We provide him free hosting and bandwidth. He is very much the owner and leader of that community. Andrew and Fonality have begun to closely work together as of late because a) we wanted them to bake HUDlite into trixbox b) we wanted to get to know the Asterisk open source community a bit better. So far the relationship has been good. Andrew agreed to bake HUDlite into trixbox, which gives us access to all his users. And, he has taught us a lot about the mindset of the Asterisk hobbyist. In exchange we have done him some favors. We help sponsor him wherever we can, including: web-hosting, bandwidth, we sent him a PBXtra to play with, etc.

Tom: Anything behind the name change? Did Mark Spencer send a cease and desist to protect a trademark on the name “Asterisk”? (assuming he trademarked Asterisk)

Chris: Andrew told me that he got an email from Digium a long time ago, stating that Asterisk was their trademark. I didn’t know of any legal letter…so you may know more than I know.  I thought it was all pretty casual.

Tom: How much control (if any) do you have over the Trixbox development?

Chris: Very little. Unless Andrew really likes something I say to him I guess.

Tom: Is the plan to simply convert over Trixbox users to Fonality?

Chris: Trixbox is a free open source community – largely international. Fonality is a commercial paid product, largely domestic. We couldn’t be farther apart in communities, interest, or financial objectives. I guess our only real common ground is a usage and love of Asterisk.

And here's a response from Andrew from Trixbox regarding my blog post

Andrew: I created Asterisk@Home a year ago on a whim. I thought what a great idea to make Asterisk easy to install. It very quickly grew much bigger than I thought it would. One day Digium contacted me and told me that Asterisk is their trademark but I could use it as long as my project remained totally open source.

This sounded good from the start but it put restrictions of the product such as loosing the ability to use free (not open source) software. Then theres my user base. As it turns out most of my users were running Asterisk@Home for business and they didn’t like the name.

The Asterisk@Home name also pigeon holes the product into being an Asterisk distribution. I want to make it more than that and include other type of software. I want it to do more tricks. So the new name trixbox.

I do own the name. I register all my domains using anonymous servers. Hope this helps out. If you are interested in doing a review of trixbox or an interview with me. Just let me know.

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