NOTE: The system referenced in this article is no longer supported by Nerd Vittles as this version of Asterisk® has been phased out. For the latest and greatest, please consider our new PBX in a Flash offering.
We don’t usually write about stuff we haven’t personally tested, but we’re making a partial exception today because we don’t (yet) own an Intel Mac. Donations, anyone? Where were we? Thanks to the work of literally hundreds of developers, there is a terrific Asterisk IP PBX with an incredible array of additional bells and whistles. That product which we have tested extensively is TrixBox 1.2.3. It’s so good, in fact, that we chose it as the base system for all of the Nerd Vittles applications that we write about each week. For Halloween last year, we introduced Version 3 of our Plug-and-Play Asterisk IP PBX for Windows. Then a week later, we showed how to take a standard install of TrixBox 1.2.3 on Linux and NerdVittlize it into the equivalent of our version 3 build for Windows. When you were finished, you had a secure, turnkey Asterisk IP PBX with all of the Nerd Vittles software collection and virtually every mission-critical add-on anyone could ever dream of for a phone system: freePBX, an Apache web server, a SendMail server, PHP, MySQL, WebMin, SugarCRM contact management, FTP and SSH support, Perl, integrated fax-to-email support, calling card billing, and more. And it all runs quite peacefully in a CentOS 4.4 Linux wrapper on either a dedicated Linux machine or on your Windows Desktop.
What was missing unfortunately was a way to run this same system on a Mac. Yes, there’s an Asterisk implementation on the Mac platform. But it’s downright primitive compared with the systems we’ve been writing about for the last 18 months. So today we have not one but two special treats for the Mac enthusiasts of the world. First, it’s now possible to run our standard Version 3 system using the new VMware beta for the Intel Mac. You can download it here (561MB). You’ll also need to install the VMware Fusion beta software on your Intel Mac. Just fill out this form and then download the software. At least the beta is free, and the clients have remained free on other platforms.
Thanks to one of our great contributors, Gillam Hall, there’s now another alternative: a Parallels Desktop image of our Version 3 Asterisk system. You’ll first need to purchase and install Parallels Desktop on your Intel Mac. Parallels Desktop requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later. Then you can download the Parallels Desktop image of Version 3 here (535MB).
After installing either VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop on your Mac, all you need to do is download either our standard VMware Version 3 Build or the new Parallels Version 3 .tar.gz Build, decompress the archived file, and run it in a VMware or Parallels window on your Mac Desktop. Once you get it running, hop over to our Version 3 tutorial for Windows and configure your system. To maximize performance, make sure you also apply the tweaks covered in the Comments to that tutorial. The total setup time is about 30 minutes once you have the download in hand. Enjoy!
What To Do Next. Once your new PBX is humming away, here are the next steps. First, you’ll want to upgrade freePBX to version 2.2.x. The tutorial to walk you through the drill can be found here. Last but not least, you’ll want to apply the latest Asterisk security patches to prevent a denial of service attack on your system. The tutorial for that can be found here.
Securing AsteriDex. Because of a security vulnerability in our very own AsteriDex, you’ll need to download and install this simple patch as well. Log into your Asterisk server as root and issue the following commands:
rm -f callboth.php
rm -f callboth.zip
chown asterisk:asterisk callboth.php
chmod 775 callboth.php