Free Software May Replace Telephone Companies?

By | April 7, 2008


Excerpt: Want to build a phone company for $100? Give Mark Spencer a ring. In a research park outside the low-key bustle of downtown Huntsville, Ala. Mark Spencer finishes his barbecue and resumes wreaking havoc on the multibillion-dollar phone equipment business.

Spencer is the inventor of Asterisk, a free software program that establishes phone calls over the Internet and handles voicemail, caller ID, teleconferencing and a host of novel features for the phone. With Asterisk loaded onto a computer, a decent-size company can rip out its traditional phone switch, even some of its newfangled Internet telephone gear, and say good-bye to 80% of its telecom equipment costs. Not good news for Cisco, Nortel or Avaya. Article: forbes,

Related: Asterisk

Asterisk is the #1 open source communications toolkit.

Asterisk powers IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers, and is used by SMBs, enterprises, call centers, carriers and governments worldwide. …

Asterisk, the world’s most popular open source communications project, is free, open source software that converts an ordinary computer into a feature-rich voice communications server. Asterisk makes it simple to create and deploy a wide range of telephony applications and services, including IP PBXs, VoIP gateways, call center ACDs and IVR systems.

Asterisk is released as open source under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and it is available for download free of charge. Asterisk® is the leading open source telephony project and the Asterisk community has been ranked as a key factor in the growth of VoIP. You can download it here.


You aren’t going to be able to run a smart phone on it, as your own carrier, as far as I know. Hopefully people using this will not be flooding us with those automated crap calls we all get. Found this: some of them are using this to make robocalls it seems. To them I say, add me to your do not call list.  Go robo call yourself.

A somewhat similar “power to the people” thing is YaCy, free software that lets you become your own search engine, actually part of a peer-to-peer distributed search engine with built in privacy, bypassing Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even the more privacy respecting DuckDuckGo search engine.

Then there is BitCoin, something that the Bank of Canada said could threaten global financial stability if it ever became “a significant means of payment and the Bitcoin system remained unstable,” according to The Huffington Post. Time will tell. I’m still not using BitCoin because right now it seems disasterously over-inflated. One bitcoin is current worth $8,338.41 US doallars. Absurd.




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