Digium founder Mark Spencer got up in Toronto a couple of days ago and gave a speech in which he said that Asterisk was “boring”. Applications are where the action is these days, said Mark. I’m sure someone on the Digium PR team must have burst an aneurysm over this one. It’s definitely not “on message” for the founder of a company to call its flagship technology boring.
But you know, Mark’s right. Not only that, Asterisk as a boring technology is the best possible outcome for the industry. Windows is boring too! (Note to Mac Fanboi’s — the Mac is definitely not boring. I just want to make that clear.) The point is this — when the platform ceases to be the story, the real end user innovation can start. Let me repeat that: when the platform ceases to be the story, the real end user innovation can start.
The best part? There are even a few folks in some of those older telecom companies — from the telecom industry’s cretaceous period, if you will — that understand this too. A couple of years ago I had dinner in San Jose with the CTO of an unnamed sauro-PBX manufacturer, who confided in me that the best thing that had happened to the industry in years was Asterisk. Why? Because the faster that Asterisk commoditized the call control layer in his company, the faster they could get on to doing the exciting stuff — the applications.
So yeah, Asterisk is boring. And we should all love it for that reason.