Saturday, June 28, 2008

Balancing Act: Open Source Asterisk

Not a day goes by when a choice or discussion occurs that encompasses open source Asterisk vs. proprietary elements of a complete solution. Not all portions of "free and open" source are available in pure open source. Components like codecs (i.e. G.729) may be patent encumbered and we have to learn new ways to effectively provide these to the world at large in the best possible manner.

Mark Spencer's brainchild Asterisk has become a key core element of telephony solutions these days meaning a large number of people and companies have built their immediate future on Asterisk. As Asterisk matures, and attention moves to scalability and reliability, Digium has moved with it and enables others to build valuable solutions and components.

Some folks understand and appreciate the community vs. commercial elements and accept and work with them, others just don't however some certainly like to chastise the balancing act choices we deploy.

Being an executive on this team I get to see and hear about virtually all elements of the positive and negative surrounding our choices. Well, we are in business to grow a business, make money and to support Mark Spencer's vision and philosophy: provide an always open version of Asterisk compliant with GPLv2. We have both commercial and community priorities at play daily for precious resources. Choices abound.

All in all, "Digium Days" are among the most exciting in my 25+ year product management oriented career. The core elements (product strategy planning, market segmentation, roadmaps, product requirements, features, pricing models, packaging, etc) are the same, but the "Digium Difference" and "The Digium Way" are the most fun,interesting, hair raising and exhilarating. After over two years following my 3Com stint, this by far has been most interesting in the current pinnacle of my long career.

I've been thinking of which of those moments to write about in upcoming blogs. For those that think it's always an easy decision you are missing the more interesting part of working with Mark.

See you again soon! Off to the Huntsville Air Show with the Blue Angels!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Heard Around The Office Today

It was a typical day at Digium, so I thought I'd share a few things "I heard" today.

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My favorite:


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Also heard:

"They need to sign the waiver before going up with Mark and Danny"

"Can we really sell that many?"

"The Community wants this!"

"Will he really be the keynoter at Astricon?"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Do CIOs Welcome Open Source?

I follow as many open source bloggers as I can find regardless of market, perspective, or message. Today I read Matt Assay's blog and thought I'd share it with my readers who follow Digium and Asterisk.

Check Matt's blog out at

and check out the original Simon Phipps (Sun) referenced blog inside Matt's blog.

As our commercial business grows around Switchvox and Asterisk Business Edition, and as it grows around larger companies getting the message, Matt's message is true in many cases as people in the purchasing process have chosen to continue to embrace the larger company "wine and dine" sales process, corporate boxes at professional sports events (ah, been there, done that!), and choose to hire and/or train IT staff to administer and manage their proprietary systems.

Although I understand why this decision is made, CIOs and IT Executives should consider options and consider running a pilot or two with open source based solutions. Are you one of these IT executives who just laugh off Asterisk and other open source choices because of "support" issues? What are you thinking?

There will be a day we have corporate boxes and wine and dine you, but for today, we can help you get access to Astricon (, the only open source telephony conference for business and developers, and more importantly could reduce your TCO for your business telephony solution.