Asterisk in the third world – Astricon 2010 keynote follow-up

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After listening to Mark Summer’s keynote at Astricon (hopefully soon on the Astricon web site) I think we should come back to the discussion he started. Mark talked about using Open Source in general and Asterisk in particular in third world projects as well as in emergencies in other countries. He and Inveneo help groups of people to get a better understanding of how to build network, IP and voice infrastructures. One part is of course learning and managing Asterisk.

I do believe many of us wants to help his efforts, but lack the understanding and channels to reach out. I had a very brief discussion with Mark after the keynote and promised to get back to him.

My thoughts are that if anyone from these countries try to reach us, we fail to listen and help. Could be language, could be attitude or something else. We can’t expect them to have full understanding of net etiquette, the rules of Open Source project management or how to find information themselves (in a language they might not understand fully). The climate in our mailing lists and chat rooms are not always one of understanding, especially if someone copies their english language and attitude from Miami Vice 😉

Do you have any ideas of what could be done from our community? Can we create special forums where we have a different climate, more languages and better understanding?

I also think we should copy ISOCs efforts and have a pre-astricon training/workshop for people that Inveneo locate and then invite them to Astricon, funded by grants form community or from somewhere else (since we lack an “Asterisk foundation” that could help here). I’m sure we can find resources to get them to Astricon and that we can find teachers in the community that are willing to help with this project. I would not hesitate in donating a few days myself.

We have enormous powers in our community. If we can gather a small part of that and point it towards these people, we can change the situation for many more, just by doing what we do each day – enjoy building voice solutions and sharing our knowledge.

Let’s brainstorm for a while! The floor is open.


One thought on - Asterisk in the third world – Astricon 2010 keynote follow-up

  • I have done an OpenBTS research and try project. OpenBTS is an open
    source and open hardware based private GSM network solution that uses
    Asterisk as one of the lego blocks. (see
    ) This really is a great solution when communication has to be set
    up in case of a disaster or an emergency in an area where nothing is
    working anymore. With a small investment (solar system, battery
    pack, OpenBTS/Asterisk server, USRP hardware, Nokia 3320 phones/Sonim
    phones) you can have an easy to set up ready to go solution available
    in short time that can save lifes. The OpenBTS community is a small
    group of GSM experts for whom Asterisk is just one of the Lego blocks.
    If we reach out to them to help them out with the Asterisk issues the
    OpenBTS/Asterisk based solution will do great as a tool to safe lifes.

    btw: An Asterisk foundation as the legal vehicle for third world
    efforts isn’t such a bad idea.