Will Fonality fork Asterisk too?

We’ve recently learned that Fonality had forked FreePBX into its own version, to better serve the TrixBox community. Judging from what we’ve learned about Fonality/TrixBox/KG over the past few months, it is my personal belief that this is just another from of spin on the “TrixBox calls home” feature, simply doing something to hide it better – most probably will be somewhere in the management code now.

However, it led me to an interesting discussion with a friend – “will Fonality fork Asterisk?”

It is fairly clear that Fonality is doing all in its power to go about and distinguish itself from the rest of the community and the Asterisk eco system, by simply creating a product that is completely seperated from Asterisk. The amount of patches and modifications going into the TrixBox distribution, makes the running Asterisk on TrixBox a completely different one than the one running on AsteriskNOW, Elastix or pbx-in-a-flash. Is it stable? that is a good question, I’d like to believe that it is. After all, if it wouldn’t have been stable, Fonality would have been out of business. Fonality also goes to great deal to make sure that their TrixBox resellers can’t replicate their appliance easily. For example, over the course of the past 12 months, Fonality had changed the insides of their TrixBox appliance a few times, each time with a different motherboard, a different set of distribution packages and so on.

In the same fashion, it is only common sense for Fonality to fork Asterisk to their own product. My assumption is that Fonality at some point will either fork Asterisk, migrate their code to FreeSwitch or more probably CallWeaver, take over one of these projects like they took over TrixBox/AAH and completely distinguish themselves from the Asterisk community and product line. Will it do good for them? time will tell – if it happens. Will it be good for Asterisk/Digium? – in general terms that answer will be yes, as it will make Fonality/TrixBox automatically distinguishable from Asterisk. Which when asked what is the different between TrixBox and Asterisk, the immediate answer would be: “These are two completely different products!”.

It is my belief that by Q4 2010 we are to see some major shifts in the Open Source Telecom arena. My projection is that by Q4 2010 Digium will be in a position for either an IPO or an M&A. While my personal belief is that Digium prefers an IPO, an M&A proposition from a major vendor (Cisco/Nortel/Avaya) will come before the IPO option. I also believe that by the Q4 2010 Fonality will either fork Asterisk, adopt FreeSwitch or CallWeaver and distinguish themselves.

It is also my belief that by Q4 2010 Sangoma will try to acquire an Open Source PBX/Switch project. Although they recently acquired a SIP PBX company, I believe that this acquiry is nothing more than a small publicity stunt to keep Sangoma in the investor’s mind, making sure that Sangoma progresses in some form. The recent news about Sangoma integrating their signalling stacks to FreeSwitch makes me believe that the most likely candidate will be FreeSwitch – the Asterisk nemesis.

In any case, stay tuned for 2009… here we come…

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