I just got home from ClueCon 2008 last night. It’s the second time for me to be at that conference, and I was just as pleased as I was the first time.

This is the conference where all the best brains in open source telecom go, so if you want to meet as many of them as you can in the same place, ClueCon is one of the best conferences to do that.

It’s not a big conference, and there’s no trade show floor; it’s just development-minded people who want to meet and focus on the development of open source telecom.

I expect ClueCon to grow, and yet there is a selfish part of me that hopes it stays small; big conferences seem to lose their personality.

It seems that recently a lot of open source projects have emerged with excellent pedigree. In a nutshell, Mighty Asterisk has got some competition.

FreeSwitch has recently released their first non-beta version (which is already 1.0.1), and their community is exploding. FreeSwitch has performance capabilities that are very impressive, and if you are a developer of complex or carrier-grade voice applications, you owe it to yourself to give FreeSwitch a careful look.

YATE has been around for almost 5 years, and is well-regarded for it’s rock-solid stability. It has fantastic performance capabilities as well, and is solidly carrier-grade. The YATE community is a bit lean, and the documentation is a bit too light, but this powerful engine should not be ignored.

sipXecs evolved out of Pingtel, who recognized the importance of open source telecom and started SIPFoundry. These folks are serious about SIP, and cannot be ignored. Many of the SIPFoundry folks contribute to the IETF SIP standard, so they are well-respected by the community. Recently, Nortel has created a product that uses this technology, which demonstrates the professionalism and technical accomplishment of this product. Also, Amazon uses this for their PBX, so you know it scales and is reliable.

Open source telecom has grown up, and it’s going to be exciting to see how these projects mature and evolve. One thing is certain, all this innovation in the open source telecom space is certain to benefit both solution providers, and–more importantly–customers.

As someone who only knows one programming language (REXX), I was always paralyzed by trying to figure out what one to learn next. Perl, PHP, Ruby, Python; I’ve tried them all, and while I basically get what’s going on, I find that the time required to actually do anything useful is simply more than I’m willing to invest.

Freeswitch has been a project that has interested me since the day it was started, but I always figured it’d be a tough thing to get into, simply because it is geared towards people with a developer bent, (and I don’t see them writing a REXX module any time soon ?

But then along comes Lua. Hey! This looks kinda like REXX. I have started playing around with it, and it looks like I can actually get it to do useful things very quickly. FreeSwitch has a Lua interpreter built right in.

This means that I can grab a copy of FreeSwitch, and start playing with simple application development right out of the gate!

I’ll be playing . . .

In the Toronto Asterisk Users Group, we have always felt that our area of interest is really anything that has to do with Open Source Telecom.

In this spirit, we invited Mike Jerris of the FreeSwitch project to speak to us about this new technology.

I am looking forward to it.

My daughter was horrified to hear that when I was a kid, we didn’t even know what a gigabyte was.

“What did you used to do all day?”

“Well, we didn’t know any better, so we didn’t know what we were missing”

The look of pity she gave me was heartbreaking.

I am looking forward to ClueCon in a few weeks. They always have a good mix of smart people there, and they’re not afraid to take of the gloves and say what they’re really thinking.

If you are into open source telecom development, you need to be at ClueCon.

I’ve been keeping a half an eye on the FreeSwitch project since it started, and a big change I have noticed in the last few weeks is that activity on the mailing list has really begun to heat up.

It should be interesting to see what sorts of things people are doing with this new bit of open source telephony software.

FreeSwitch is something to keep an eye on.