Zaptel project being renamed to DAHDI

By Kevin P. Fleming

Approximately two years ago, the owner of the trademark ‘ZapTel’ (for telephony purposes) contacted Digium and notified us that the name was in fact trademarked. His company owns the ZapTel trademark and sells telephone calling cards, and would prefer that Internet searches for ‘Zaptel cards’ not return products unrelated to their trademark.

In an effort to rectify this situation, since that time we have had many discussions internally at Digium about what we should do, including ensuring that any new name we chose would be something that was available to be trademarked (as Asterisk is), so that we wouldn’t have a recurrence of this situation. The owner of the trademark has been very accommodating as we worked through this process, but it is now time for us to take action.

Beginning immediately, we are going to work on renaming Zaptel to DAHDI, which stands for Digium Asterisk Hardware Device Interface. When DAHDI 2.0.0 (the first version) is released, it will contain nearly all the functionality of Zaptel 1.4, except for Linux kernel 2.4 support, devfs support, and drivers for some very outdated (and no longer available) Digium hardware (torisa and wcusb). Zaptel 1.2 will continue to be released in new versions as bugs are found and fixed, but when DAHDI 2.0.0 is released there will be no more releases of Zaptel 1.4.

Asterisk 1.6.0 will use DAHDI exclusively (it will not have support for Zaptel), although this will be done in a highly backwards-compatible way so that disruption to existing dialplans and configurations will be minimized.

Asterisk 1.4 will continue to have support for Zaptel, although it will be enhanced to also transparently support DAHDI instead, and the documentation (and default configuration files) will encourage new users to use DAHDI instead of Zaptel.

Asterisk 1.2 will be unaffected by these changes.

It is unfortunate that all of us have to bear the inconvenience of this change, but we will try to ensure that it is as easy for users to switch from Zaptel to DAHDI as we can make it.

For continuing updates on this process, including additional upgrade notes and other information, please monitor the page at:

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There Are 48 Comments

  • Allan Button says:

    What a change, to think Im going to hear people talking about ‘compiling daddy’ around the office soon is kinda strange.

    I wonder what the new dialplan names are going to be,
    Dial(DAH/G1/9056674994) ?

    This is surely some strange news.

  • Joe says:

    Could you have possibly have come up with a stupider sounding name than daadee? Might as well as used the (although trademarked) “dee dee dee” but thats sure what this reminds me of. Digium Asterisk Telephony Interface (which sounds like daddy) or Mark’s Asterisk Middleware Manager (mom). You guys really need some help in the naming department there. Then again, some of your competitors have names that sounds like kid’s toy’s.

  • Geneflides says:

    I think that the main is the Digium to explain clearly and fastly the process to adopt the new versions of the driver and how to compile them.
    If will be DAHDI, DAD or DAH, don’t matter. But this should be done easily and fastly.


  • John Hyde says:

    This is just a ploy to reinvent the wheel a third time so that hard working users like myself have to rewrite all their dialplan and learn a new api (it will obviously be slight similar, but different to an extent that it is completely different). The name is to help us market it to the young new age thinking CEOs (will remind them of their daddy).

  • K says:

    Awful, AWFUL name.

  • DAHDI, Digium Asterisk Hardware Device Interface, Replceces ZAPTEL…

    Due to trademark issues with ZAPTEL, Digium has changed the ZAPTEL name tp DAHDI, Digium Asterisk Hardware Device Interface. Even though it is just a name change, there are much more work to do in order to achieve it. In any case it is going to be a gr…

  • Bob says:

    How are we supposed to say it? “Daddy” or “Doddy” or something else?

  • Erik says:

    Poor marketing research…dada daddy ?

  • Mike Oligny says:

    It seems like they are trying to do something in line with ‘DUNDi’ – but I have to agree – ‘DAHDI’ is a terrible name. Thankfully they have a couple good names in Asterisk and Digium, and they are the ones that matter.

  • filippos says:


    Zaptel should be renamed to asTEL or AstHar or AstDI or AsterDI or DigiumTel or any combination with Digium_* like Digium_asTEL to ensure that there is none else that uses it.
    Please, don’t change it to daddy it’s an awful name.

  • Juraj says:

    Generating names can be fun, it’s quite difficult to find a non-coliding name (with no collision with other trademark and/or domain name). We wrote a simple tool, which is open source and helps a lot. It uses genetic algorithms for generating words and neural network to evaluate the quality of generated words.

    We’ll be happy hearing from you, if you succesfully use this.

  • Tim McKee says:

    Having had to go through this in the past you have my complete sympathy. At least the owning company is being nice, ours wasn’t. Really, really painful stuff.

  • Anthony francis says:

    Why not name it simply zapata, It is the feminine form of the spanish zapatos (shoes) and I believe is an elegent and apt name for the telephony hardware driver.

  • sergio riveros says:

    zapatatel would be a good name after all I belive the name zaptel comes from zapata telephony, which is were the open source zapata hardware it is located.

  • Old news I know – Zaptel project being renamed to DAHDI…

    What’s in a name?…

  • Stephane Thevenot says:

    I am voting for zapatatel.

  • Jesus Mogollon says:

    “Zapata” is a Mexican Revolutionary, not the female form of “zapatos”. This is unfortunate. Would this break the Sangoma installation routine?

  • It’s not really going to be that much of a mission. It’s just something you have to put in your checklist for upgrading an Asterisk machine.

    There have always been pretty major changes between versions already with the deprecation of applications.

    With this being possibly removed (the deprecation of existing applications) the actual list of things you need to check/change/update between versions of Asterisk will potentially decrease.

    The name is basically descriptive of what it is, but I guess it could have been cool to get some input from the community on the new name.

    From the other side though, I’ve seen community based name choosing examples in other projects which have been a bit crazy and often ending in flamefests.

    It had to be changed, my scripts for upgrade won’t really care what it’s called it will just be a change.

    How many customers actually hear the word zaptel these days anyway? They’re not really likely to hear DAHDI either. Most customers don’t want or need to understand the technologies inside their PBX/exchange – they want to be able to make calls, they want them to be good quality and reliable and they quite often want a certain feature set.

    It had to be changed, going to the community for a name could have quite likely been a disaster, although the name isn’t the greatest.

    So, it’s happened, all good.

  • mikec says:

    First off I have to agree that there has to be a better name than DAHDI, but I can live with it.

    The part that has me annoyed is that it will not be compatible with 1.2 Asterisk. Asterisk 1.4 has only just reached the point that I would call stable. In our production environments 1.4 used to crash after a week worth of dialing. Which I do not consider acceptable. That has changed with the adding of the RC releases, but it also uses more system resources than 1.2 which is not okay either as it means we have to get better hardware just to run 1.4 over 1.2. We are hoping this gets better with the 1.6 release and its improvements but only time will tell.

    That being said, in order to get some of the features that the 1.4 zaptel has to work with 1.2 it was just a matter of adding the symlinks to point at the new header file locations. Which is a bit annoying but more or less easy to deal with. From the sounds of this DAHDI will completely break this compatibility and basically screw anyone who has to use 1.2 out of any new features that are added in the future.

    With any luck it will not be too difficult to back port DAHDI to 1.2, but I am not sure if I will have the time for that.

  • Here’s my concern: I believe (and could be wrong here) that quite many small appliances out there still use a 2.4 kernel. Now, the above means that as soon as DAHDI 2.0.0 is released Asterisk 1.4 will not run anymore on those appliances, i.e. no more bug fixe and, no more security patches.

    The cleaner way is certainly to keep kernel 2.4 support until EOL of Asterisk 1.4.

  • Might have been better to call it zap-something, like Zesty Asterisk PSTN or whatever, so that the channel name ‘zap’ could be retained.

    Ah well, this should be fun 🙂


  • Russell Bryant says:

    Just to clarify, Asterisk 1.4 will support both DAHDI and Zaptel for the sake of backwards compatibility. Asterisk 1.6 will be the first version that only supports DAHDI.

  • Michael Chen says:

    I think DAHDI means the morse code “N”

  • rcfa says:

    If digium wants to revamp zaptel, fine.
    If digium has to change the name of zaptel, fine.

    However, to claim that the name change necessitated a revamping of the software, that’s bogus. A global search-replace for a string would have taken care of the name change. Obviously, what’s happening goes much deeper than that.

    What is NOT said anywhere, is why and how, and what the licensing consequences are of this new software base. That sort of information would belong right here, and it shouldn’t be left to users to have to search all over the place to answer such questions.

  • Mustafa says:

    what about AMEGA (Asterisk Media Gateway) so Dial something like this Dial(AMG/R0/0800xxxxxx)

  • labtroll says:

    DADHI is fine… besides… IF IAX can be pronounce “eeks” (according to what I read in the O’Reilly’s asterisk book) , prob pronounce DADHI “Day-Dee”. 🙂

  • Mfawa Alfred Onen says:

    Well The Change in Name surely craves a way for Digium to eliminate the issue of Trademark and concentrate more on Simplifying the Setup process even More with the Issue of Backward Compatibility as they have mentioned.

  • Matt says:

    Why drop 2.4 support for DAHDI?
    We are stuck on 2.4 kernel for a while.
    Guess we won’t be going to Asterisk 1.6 for a long time!
    Please rethink this!

  • kinjal says:

    I think dahdi should be pronounced deadeye.

  • Jon says:

    Why does re-branding have anything to do with source code?? Can’t you just advertise them as DHDI boards. Or Asterisk boards? Just remove Zaptel from the website not the source code repository. Who cares what the internal classes are called.

  • cm says:

    As in who’s your DAHDI?

  • kamran says:

    then what would be the command to check card is configured or not

  • kamran says:

    it would be dahditool

  • dmg says:

    Anyway, marketing and VCapital invesors do what they want with the api name and other things. Its a big move to block other competitors. I knew it would be happen!

  • Norman says:

    Thats why I strongly reccomend to everybody: To hell with digium and asterisk, go support the callweaver project at, and lets forget this crappy buggy thing called asterisk. Digium can keep making their cards, which is their (real and only) area of expertise.

  • N3T0 says:

    I think that the name (names made of initials almost never look good and always somebody make jokes) is the last of our problems…

    Im probably going to change to Asterisk 1.6.x just to skip all that confusing issues.

  • Jose says:

    I read in many blogs that dahdi will be isdn BRI built-in, how advanced is it?


  • _ says:


  • Rajiv says:

    Hi guys whats up with you… you get state of art technology for free… and you guys are crying over a name… some one saying you could not get a stupid name than this..

    Come on.. Dahdi is amazing.. i had all the problems while using zaptel-1.4 with my zap card.. all the time i get alarm.. dahdi has done magic for me..

    does not matter what it is called its perfect in functionality…

    ofcourse its the daddy of all… so makes all the more sense…

    I really appreciate the great work digium guys are doing and wish all the very best for anything new they come up with….

    Only one thing that i can suggest that they can simply make a single package that compiles asterisk, libpri, dahdi…

  • Justin says:

    I can understand the major confusion. This guy sells calling cards under the ZapTel trademark. So, his SEO get’s all screwed up because everyone out there looking for Asterisk hardware is searching on google for “zaptel cards”. They must have spent a zillion dollars and found one hell of an SEO expert to get themselves at the top of a google search. Money and time that would have been saved if they were the only “zaptel cards” on the internet. Digium is damned lucky ZapTel didn’t sue their pants off. Who cares if it’s called DAHDI? The only concern I have is the brand specific reference to Digium. It should have been technically accurate rather than a shameless plug for the Digium Corporate Image. Hardware Device Interface or Telephony Hardware Device Interface, or even Asterisk Telephony Hardware Interface would have been more “open” to the competing telephony board products out there in the market right now. But, Digium runs the show, so quit your whining and just deal with DADHI!

  • Norman says:

    Was trying to install zaptel until I found this post. I have to now figure out on how to install DAHDI all over again.

  • Bipin says:

    Is there any performance wise improvement in the new version or the name only changed ?

  • Howdy,

    The name change was only a name change. You can follow changes to DAHDI using this mailing list that tracks the commits:


  • Daniel M says:

    After spending about 9 hours trying to get asterisk to genrate I found some forgotten thread that said something about the name change…
    Soon I realized that zaptel was no longer supported by Asterisk 1.6, wish that download page would say something about Zaptel now being DAHDI…
    DAHDI did not ring any bell for me, I needed zaptel and I went to find it.


  • We announced this with lots of comments in May of this year. On our blog here, search for DAHDI and you’ll find this link:

  • […] is the new name for ‘Zaptel‘ as of May 19th 2008.The post at details the reason for the change. Asterisk 1.4 releases later than 1.4.21, and all releases of […]

  • […] the summer 2008 and after the release of 1.4.17 (?) zaptel has been renamed to dahdi. Since zaptel/dahdi provide timing to MeetMe this also matters for users that do not have any zapte […]

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