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Asterisk: The Future of Telephony by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, Jim Van Meggelen

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Chapter 11. Asterisk: The Future of Telephony

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

—Mahatma Gandhi

We have arrived at the final chapter of this book. We’ve covered a lot, but we hope that you now realize that we have barely begun to scratch the surface of this phenomenon called Asterisk. To wrap things up, we want to spend some time exploring what we might see from Asterisk and open source telephony in the near future.

While prognostication is always a thankless task, we are confident in asserting that open source communications engines such as Asterisk herald a shift in thinking that will transform the telecommunications industry. In this chapter, we will discuss some of our reasons for this belief.

The Problems with Traditional Telephony

Although Alexander Graham Bell is most famously remembered as the father of the telephone, the reality is that during the latter half of the 1800s, dozens of minds were at work on the project of carrying voice over telegraph lines. These people were mostly business-minded folks, looking to create a product through which they might make their fortunes.

We have come to think of traditional telephone companies as monopolies, but this was not true in their early days. The early history of telephone service took place in a very competitive environment, with new companies springing up all over the world, often with little or no respect for the patents they might be violating. Some of the monopolies got their start ...

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