SourceForge is very pleased to announce that April’s Project Of the Month is Elastix. In finding out more about Elastix, I spoke with Elvita Crespo, who is one of the members of this project about what Elastix is, and where it’s going, and where it’s been. Below is a transcript of that conversation.
Elvita: Thank you, and thanks to the entire community. We are so pleased Elastix has won Project Of The Month. In the past we had been nominated for the Community Choice Awards – twice, actually, so we’re so proud to actually have won the award this time.
Rich: The Elastix project is just over six years old. It turned six early last month. Can you tell me what the origins were of this project, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what your involvement is with it.
Elvita: For those who are not aware of what Elastix is – Elastix is an Open Source unified communications solution. Which is to say that Elastix not only provides telephony, but it also integrates other communication tools to make the organization environment more productive and efficient. Such as faxing, email, instant message, etc.
What is the origin of Elastix? It started by providing a graphical tool to get reporting from Asterisk. As time went by, its developers started to come with issues with different versions used in multiple installations. What they did was put together a number of versions – a CentOS version, Asterisk version, etc, into a single installer. Suddenly, we realized that a great number of people started to download it, and as time passed by, it grew more popular.
For those of you who do not know, there’s a company behind Elastix, called PaloSanto Solutions, and we’re based in Ecuador, in South America. To make the story short, our developers started to see that it was a great opportunity, and that people were liking it. So they decided to continue with the project, and step by step, it became what it is now, a software in constant evolution, and a prestigious and popular distro around the world.
Rich: For people that are not familiar with PBX technology, what would be necessary in an organization in order to benefit from the Elastix product?
Elvita: What’s good about the Elastix product is that for any organization to meet its needs of communication in telephony, and what I was telling you before – the whole meaning of unified communications – is that they don’t have to invest a great deal in licenses or in expensive hardware. We do offer our own appliances, which is one of our main product lines. We’ll be releasing some interesting stuff later this year.
In any case, what’s helped Elastix to expand around the world is that people can use their own servers. They can reuse what they have already invested into, without having to purchase a specific brand.
Rich: Tell me something about where Elastix is headed in the future. What’s planned for upcoming releases?
Elvita: Elastix is not only the software, it’s the whole environment around it, with not only the hardware line but also a training program. We have very interesting ideas for that in the future. For Elastix itself, we have in the roadmap to launch some features that have been asked for by the community and our customers. So what we plan is to improve it with even more stability and provide cloud services around it, as well as launching a multi-tenancy feature, which is in high demand right now.
Also, we have released in the current version, Elastix 2.2, the option for third-party developers to integrate their software into Elastix. For example, let’s say a company has a software for camera surveillance. They can develop a plugin which can be installed in Elastix easily. We call these Elastix Addons, and they can be found in the Marketplace. There are free and cost licensed addons in there. We have tried to benefit the customer not only with what Elastix does by itself, but also allowing them to use use other tools.
Rich: The development community around this product – is it primarily employees of your company, or are they also community members from outside your company as well?
Elvita: We as a company have our own development team, which program and test the Elastix core and come up with new features. However, we wouldn’t be able to reach this point without the great support of the community, including developers and beta testers, and so on. We have had great support from people in places such as Argentina, Australia, the UK. I believe the development community has been supported by developers around the world. It’s not only people employed by PaloSanto Solutions. It’s pretty much an effort from the entire world, which I’d say is the spirit of Open Source software.
We are counting not only on the developers, but also on the people who use Elastix for their own implementations in their countries. We are building up a network to offer customized development, and also to provide support and other services in the cloud. We are planning to include all of those people around the world who have always been there for Elastix, and promoting it, and bringing it to their customers.
Once more, we greatly appreciate this opportunity and this reward. We are very enthusiastic with what the Elastix project can provide to the people.
Rich: Thanks for being part of our community.
More projects of the month
Occupation:PaloSanto Solutions, CEO
Occupation:Senior Software Engineer
Education:Computer Science Engineering