Initial thoughts on FreePBXv3 and FreeSWITCH vs AsteriskJanuary 14, 2010
As I’ve been testing out FreePBXv3 with FreeSWITCH, I figured I should blog my experiences, as they’ve been surprisingly pleasant!
After I got notification on the Elastix Beta mailing list about FreePBXv3, I was stoaked to learn it’s been released, even in an unfinished form! I went looking a while back for a FreeSWITCH GUI and was sadly disappointed. I found a few like tcapi and Phonebooth, but couldn’t get tcapi working and Phonebooth had just had all its code donated to FreePBX. So for the time I’d given up.
Anyway, so I grabbed the latest Install CD for FreePBXv3 which is based off CentOS. Ran through smoothly, no issues, got it installed, but I didn’t really do anything much with it.
For one reason or another I jumped into IRC in #freeswitch on freenode, I’ll have to look over my logs and figure out why. Anyway it turns out that some of the FreePBXv3 devs hang out there, and they’re actually friendly! It was a nice change from some of the other projects I’d had involvement in. I think Elastix is probably the only other project that’s been so friendly.
So I got chatting with one of the guys there, and it came up that I was happy to do some testing, so he asks me to do a clean install from a vanilla distro (And not the LiveCD. Again I’m not sure why, I’ll go re-read the chat logs later). No worries, so I install vanilla debian and get to work. Anyway a few bug reports later, 3 SVN updates later, and I’ve got a nicely working system running currently in VirtualBox.
I’m pleased to say that FreeSWITCH as a product from what I can see appears quite mature, but still growing at a steady rate. They even recommend you install from SVN, they’re that confident in the code. Most projects would have you install from a “stable” peg in the code and update as & when they release a new “final” version. The first and most obvious thing I’ve noticed about FreeSWITCH is the sounds. Even just the female voice that guides you through recording a Voicemail sounds *so* much nicer than the Asterisk one, it’s absolutely crazy! There’s also the nice feature that Voicemail automatically stops recording when you’re silent for 2 seconds. Quite cool I thought!
There was no “additional” configuration of any endpoints that I needed to do, tested with ZoIPer and an SPA942 successfully. It simply “just worked” making calls between the devices, as was to be expected. I’m still yet to setup an external trunk to test over.
FreePBXv3 is still a *little* rough around the edges, but overall I must say that the infrastructure that they’ve built, or framework, seems like a great improvement over the current FreePBX 2.X! Not only that, but the developers are very approachable, keen for feedback, they seem to be excellent coders who love doing what they do, and they’re rapidly pumping out an awesome project! It still crashes at times, or at least doesn’t display what it should, however the changes seem to get saved at least even though the correct followup output isn’t shown. Some features aren’t 100% implemented, but overall there’s most of the basic things in there that the majority of people would use. The developers also seemed pretty keen for suggestions and improvements, even just the trivial little things.
I’m just looking forward to trying this out on an Alix system soon to see how it handles the load from FreeSWITCH