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Linux Multimedia Hacks by Kyle Rankin

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Hack #99. Turn Your Linux Box into a PBX

Install and test the Asterisk open source telephony server on your Linux PC.

Asterisk is open source software to turn a Linux computer into a Voice over IP Private Branch Exchange (PBX). As a PBX it can be the backbone server to provide telephone service to hundreds of office telephones or a call router and voicemail server for an especially geeky individual—like you. As VoIP is the future of telephony, playing around with an Asterisk server is a good way to get your toes wet in this exciting new field, and this hack shows you how to get it installed.

Some RPM packages are available to simplify Asterisk's installation, but manual compilation is relatively easy. So I'm going to show you how to download, compile, and install Asterisk the "old-fashioned" way. The development branch you'll download from is stable, though once you get comfortable with Asterisk you'll want to jump out on the bleeding edge and try the developer releases, too. Each release tends to introduce something new and worthwhile, even if it's not in the stable branch yet.

The easiest place to download the Asterisk software is the CVS repository at Digium, the company responsible for Asterisk and some of the hardware components that work with it. To access the CVS repository, you'll need to be logged into your Linux computer at a shell prompt as root. Type these commands to run the CVS check-out routine and download the source code:

	# cd /usr/src
	# export CVSROOT=:pserver:anoncvs@cvs.digium.com:/usr/cvsroot ...

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