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Jack Decker (jack-yahoogroups@withheld_on_request)
Tue, 10 May 2005 08:08:09 -0400,17863,1059204,00.html

By Owen Thomas, May 09, 2005

When Mark Spencer was starting a Linux company six years ago, he had
$4,000 and some cheap, leftover hardware from a company where he had
interned during college. His first conundrum: How were customers going
to call him? A private branch exchange -- the specialized hardware
that routes calls around an office -- was going to set him back

So Spencer decided to program his own Linux-based PBX. "Telecom was
not really our core business," he says. But he released the software
as open-source, and as contributions of code started coming in,
Asterisk was born. Today, his company, now called Digium, focuses
entirely on developing Asterisk and selling related hardware and
software. He won't disclose the revenue of his closely held company,
but he says it is profitable.

The success of Asterisk shows the growing power of open-source. Digium
could have tried to roll out its own proprietary PBX -- and likely
would have been crushed by the likes of Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel. But
by sharing his code, Spencer has created an ecosystem full of niches
waiting to be filled. That should keep his phones ringing for quite a

Full story at:,17863,1059204,00.html

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