Asterisk Turns 10

Updated: January 07, 2011

Sam Watson's Industry Commentry on this press release:

Mark Spenser is the guy who single handedly invented Asterisk because he did not have enough money to buy a PBX for his company in 1999. Asterisk has come a long way since then, and is now released under a dual license model. A heartily congratulations to Asterisk on its 10th Birthday!

Press Release

Digium, Inc., the Asterisk Company, today announced the 10th anniversary of the creation of Asterisk, the world's leading open source telephony engine and toolkit. Asterisk was created by Mark Spencer who is the founder and CTO of Digium, the company that created, leads and coordinates Asterisk. Digium will be celebrating Asterisk's 10 year anniversary at the AstriCon conference taking place from October 13-15, 2009, at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa near Phoenix, Arizona. More about this annual event is available at

When created by Mr. Spencer in his dorm room in 1999, Asterisk provided an opportunity for open source enthusiasts and developers to create and customize a private branch exchange (PBX) system, which until then was not possible. Asterisk grew in popularity and is now downloaded more than 1.5 million times per year for use by individuals and organizations interested in an alternative to expensive and cumbersome proprietary phone systems.

Over the years, thousands of individuals and organization have contributed to the development and growth of the Asterisk open source project with new codes (more than 2,000 new code commits in 2009), configurations and applications. Today, Asterisk is downloaded nearly 5,500 times a day and boasts a community of 63,000 active participants on Asterisk forums, covering 28,500 topics with 92,000 forum posts.

'When I put the Asterisk platform out there 10 years ago -- using the Linux operating system and my own PBX code -- I never imagined the profound impact that it would have. I just believed that Asterisk could serve as an affordable and flexible telephony solution,' said Spencer. 'The strength of Asterisk is a reflection of the creativity and ingenuity of the community along with the value that Asterisk provides its users. It's been gratifying to be part of its impressive growth so far and we are excited to help it evolve in the future.'

Found throughout the world and in businesses of all sizes, Asterisk is 40-80 percent less expensive than traditional telephony systems and is more flexible, allowing users to integrate their phone systems with existing business-critical applications or easily write custom programs that extend the value of their phone systems. Asterisk can be found across many industries including retail, financial services, insurance, real estate, government and healthcare. In addition, Asterisk has spawned countless new business models, from service providers (more than 200 worldwide today) and traditional telephony companies, to technology integrators and application developers.

About Asterisk

Asterisk is the world's most popular open source telephony project. Under development since 1999, Asterisk is free, open source software that turns 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.

Code for Asterisk, originally written by Mark Spencer of Digium, Inc., has been contributed from open source software engineers around the world. Currently boasting over two million users, Asterisk supports a wide range of TDM protocols for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces, featuring VoIP packet protocols such as SIP and IAX among others. It supports U.S. and European standard signaling types used in business phone systems, allowing it to bridge between next-generation voice-data integrated networks and existing infrastructure.

About Digium

Digium, Inc., the Asterisk Company, created, owns and is the innovative force behind Asterisk, the most widely used open source telephony software. Since its founding in 1999, Digium has become the open source alternative to proprietary communication providers, with offerings that cost as much as 80 percent less. Digium offers Asterisk software free to the open source community and offers Asterisk Business Edition and Switchvox IP PBX software to power a broad family of products for small, medium and large businesses. The company's product line includes a wide range of hardware and software to enable resellers and customers to implement turnkey VoIP systems or to design their own custom telephony solutions. More information is available at

The Digium logo, Digium, Asterisk, Switchvox, Asterisk Business Edition, AsteriskNOW, Asterisk Appliance and the Asterisk logo are trademarks of Digium, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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