Counting any Open Source package is difficult for many reasons. There is probably not a reliable answer to this question since there are at least 4 major flavors of Asterisk out there (1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 1.10) and open and commercial source. It is reliably > 10,000 and quite possibly over 100,000 or even over 1 million. The Asterisk folks might be willing to tell you how many downloads have been done from http://www.asterisk.org , but that wouldnt tell you the real number.
Maybe a good start point for an estimate would start at 200,000+ if you are including all of the versions and types. But then we might still think about the Asterisk boxes that are plugged to the Internet.
Getting a reasonably accurate count maybe would not be that difficult, but everybody is so paranoid about anybody knowing anything about them and what they do.
Some community members, like Danny Nicholas, points out the idea of a ‘curl’ request in the script that starts Asterisk that sends your MAC address and Asterisk version number to Asterisk.org. Personally I think that’s a great idea, as there’s no IP address tracking involved or any other identifying information, just the MAC and cheese. Another important remark is that, being Open Source, you can see exactly what is being sent and could always ‘opt-out.’
Some really useful information could be gathered and displayed like:
- ‘Popularity’ of different versions.
- Average time between restarts by version number.
- Ratio of starts to stops by version number. (The difference between starts and stops could be an indicator crashes.)
Other information that might be helpful to share would be the TDM capacity or maximum simultaneous call count. And all that without really getting ‘compromised’ regarding the shared information. After all, what ‘competitive advantage’ would someone have over you just knowing that Asterisk was started on a box owned by someone, somewhere?