Published at LXer:
Six years ago, Mark Spencer started his own Linux technical support business. Unlike other tech startups at the time, he spent his money frugally. Spencer had to; he didn't even have enough to pay for an office PBX system, which can cost up to several thousands of dollars. "I had about $4,000 to start it out with, and I wasn't about to buy a phone system, so I figured I'd just make one," Spencer says. He created Asterisk, a software platform PBX system, and open-sourced the code in 1999. Asterisk was not particularly useful to others outside of Spencer's own needs for his company, until a few years later when community contributions added support for more industry-standard telephony hardware, and modern Internet voice communications technologies, like Voice-over-IP (VoIP), to succeeding versions.