It’s about a month out from AstriDevCon 2018 and I wanted to write a little bit to summarize what we discussed this year.
For those who are not familiar with AstriDevCon, it is an opportunity for Asterisk C-level developers, Asterisk ARI/AMI/AGI developers, and Asterisk integrators to get together to learn about what has happened in the last year with the Asterisk project and to discuss ways to improve it going forward. It is typically held on the “pre-conference” day of Astricon.
There is not a lot of fixed structure prior to the meeting. In my role as the Asterisk Project Lead, I usually talk about the state of the project and summarize what’s happened in the last year and then we plan our agenda for the remainder of the day. Items of interest that come up range from project policy related questions and requests, development related questions, and discussions of how things have gone the previous year from a technical integration perspective.
This year, we had two additional presentations. One was a talk about some of the recent video improvement work that went into Asterisk 16, including some of the quality enhancements such as Asterisk’s RTP packet retransmission support as well as support for REMB for better bandwidth estimation and metering of RTP streams by Ben Ford (and an unfortunately absent Joshua Colp). There was also a good talk from George Joseph and Kevin Harwell about some of the PJSIP performance enhancements that recently were included in most of the mainline branches of Asterisk (including 16).
We typically try to schedule a whole day for everyone to get together to talk, but unfortunately this year, due to a panel that was scheduled at the last minute about the acquisition of Digium by Sangoma, we had to end the afternoon a few hours earlier than normal. There were a few good topics that came up though in that part of the agenda – a few that are reoccurring (which means the interest in the topic is more than passing) and worth soliciting more feedback on. There were discussions about trying to bypass the dialplan directly and have calls go straight into ARI. There was also some discussion about how to better integrate Asterisk with speech recognition engines (such as the ones provided by Google, IBM, and Amazon). One topic in particular that is near and dear to my heart that was discussed was a proposal to mark the chan_sip channel driver as deprecated in master (so for a presumed 17 release). For those of you that aren’t aware, the chan_sip channel driver has been in Asterisk for a VERY long time, and has gotten to the state where it is quite unwieldy to development on, and fixing one bug many times would create two more. There were many reasons for this, but one in particular is that it has a very monolithic, highly interconnected architecture. Instead of trying to pick up the pieces, it was determined a few years ago that it would easier to start anew with an outside SIP stack instead of continuing with our home grown stack in chan_sip – and thus chan_pjsip was born. chan_pjsip has progressed over the years and now is used in very many highly performant and high demand use cases including Digium/Sangoma’s Switchvox and FreePBX products. So if you’re still using chan_sip, it’s a good time to get off of it and move forward to chan_pjsip.
Just to ease any immediate concerns, marking a module as deprecated in Asterisk doesn’t mean that it is immediately removed. There will be at least a few more releases with it included. But it does indicate that nobody is working on it (including fixing bugs). This does not mean you should delay migration. Migrating sooner rather than later will make sure that you are not surprised at some point in the future in which it becomes unavailable.
All in all, I think it was a very good year at AstriDevCon. Hopefully next year we’ll have a bit more time, as it always feels like we have to shutdown just when the good discussions are warming up, but I think more particularly so this year due to the time constraints.
Best wishes to you all, and hope to see you all at next year’s AstriDevCon.