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Digium CEO Talks About What's New with Asterisk 14

By Paula Bernier
September 28, 2016

Today Digium announced version 14 of Asterisk, a popular open source communications engine in use by many organizations today. CEO Danny Windham this morning at AstriCon said this release is noteworthy in its support for the Opus codec, ease of installation, and ability play well with others.

Opus, Windham noted, is an attractive codec because it can deliver great audio quality even in situations in which the connection is not great. However, he added, Digium has not supported Opus to date because it had been concerned about the legal aspects of employing it.

Although the Opus codec is now freely available, he explained, the codec space has a history of intellectual property assertions, so Digium wanted to be sure to protect itself for the future. It did that by opting to distribute Opus as a binary rather than a source. That binary, he added, will report its usage, so it will be clear how many codecs are in use.

Discussing the advances in ease of installation offered by Asterisk 14, Windham said in the past it has been a little clunky to build an instance of Asterisk. But Digium addressed that with Asterisk 14, he added, by doing some scripting to make things a little easier.

                  Image via Bigstock

Digium has also expanded DNS services and made other enhancements to Asterisk with release 14 so it works more efficiently in the larger communications ecosystem, Windham said.

This new Asterisk release also features improvements to the media API, including remote media playback capabilities and a media cache. While previous versions of Asterisk required media files to be stored locally on the Asterisk server, with Asterisk 14 media can be retrieved on-demand from remote web services, played back, and cached for future playback. And it means users can employ one or more Asterisk systems without having to manage media individually.

Also older variations of Asterisk could leverage the Asterisk RESTful Interface to record live calls, but not to retrieve them using ARI. With Release 14, they can do both. And, in the past, developers building simple media applications had to write complex code to schedule media file playback; with Release 14 sets of media can be played using a single command.

"For administrators using Asterisk in large, horizontally scalable service-based ecosystems, the additions and improvements made in version 14 are significant," said Matt Fredrickson, project lead for Asterisk with Digium. "Asterisk's enhanced media capabilities make it easier to build flexible media services and to decrease maintenance and deployment burdens. Asterisk 14 also resolves one of the greatest initial barriers to being productive - learning how to install it. Further, the DNS improvements in Asterisk 14 allow it to more fully utilize modern networks. We are extremely fortunate to have such an involved developer community that continues to make Asterisk a huge success."

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

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