(Wherein Malcolm does his best to explain the nifty new branch of Asterisk)
Why art thou?
Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.
Some users want the latest and greatest Asterisk. They’ve got a particular bug fix they’re keen about and they don’t want to mess around applying patches. If you’re this type of user, you’ll get the fix for your issues, and generally other people’s fixes, in the monthly point release.
Some users really want it tested. They don’t care about anyone else’s bug fixes, except their own. In fact, they really don’t want anyone’s bug fixes but their own. That could break something. And when something breaks, Hulk gets angry. And when Hulk gets angry, well, you don’t want to make Hulk angry.
Some users want additional functionality that can’t be part of the canonical release. Digium phones required all kinds of changes to Asterisk 1.8, and 10, and changes to support even more phone functionality will continue. That, of course, runs counter to the Asterisk release policy of not adding new features once a release branch is made.
To address all of these different needs, we’ve cooked up a plan that, we hope, will satisfy most of the people, most of the time. For the first group of users (lots of bug fixes, frequent releases)? Stop reading. You’re all set; the world remains exactly the same.
For the second (minimal changes) and third group of users (extra features)? We now offer something to (hopefully) address your needs. We’re rolling out something we’re calling, “Certified Asterisk.”
What art thou?
Certified Asterisk is a branch of Asterisk for which Digium provides guaranteed SLA support, for customers who wish to purchase that level of support. We don’t do that for any other version or release of Asterisk. It’s a branch that has infrequent releases – between two and four per year, not the 10-12 per year you find with mainline Asterisk releases – and only provides bug fixes for issues reported by SLA-supported customers. This answers the requests of many of our customers, who want to minimize the uncertainty of accepting large or frequent code updates. Further, it has support for Digium’s phone products, which means we’ll be adding additional features on an ongoing basis to support the phones.
If this is starting to sound like Digium’s former Asterisk Business Edition product, it’s not. Certified Asterisk isn’t a closed-source product. It’s open source, GPLv2 code, just like any other branch, release or version of Asterisk. It may be used freely by anyone. Digium’s not selling a product with Certified Asterisk. We’re offering Service. If you are interested in that Service, or if you are interested in other commercial subjects, Digium’s Sales department is happy to speak with you.
A few times per year, we’ll select a mainline Asterisk release (1.8.11), put it through rigorous QA testing for our SLA customers and our phone products, and release it (asterisk-1.8.11-cert1). When an SLA customer has a bug report that requires a new release, we will produce a fix for that bug and include it in 1.8.11-cert2, after testing. Meanwhile, three to four months after the release of 1.8.11-cert1, mainline Asterisk will be off to Asterisk 1.8.15 or so (hypothetical), and we’ll start the process all over again with an asterisk-1.8.15-cert release cycle.
Certified Asterisk releases will only be based on LTS releases of Asterisk, not Standard releases. We do this because with the Standard bug fix lifespan of one year, the risk-averse gravitate towards the LTS releases and their substantially longer lifespans.
Art thee finished?
We believe this to be the most reasonable way to address the needs of all three types of users. It minimizes the number of maintained branches and it’s not another Asterisk Business Edition – it’s totally free and open. If you’ve got additional questions, head over to the Digium website.
Also, look out for an additional blog post later day with more information related to this topic.