A friend pinged me this morning and asked why I was so negative on Asterisk. It's a good question, and let me make one thing clear - I'm not all negative about it. I think that Asterisk is a wonderful thing in many ways. It's been the first and most succesful open source effort in IP telephony. I am a firm believer in the open source movement. It's radically lowered the entry cost for all IP telephony. It's an abassador for VoIP.
More than that, I want to make it PERFECTLY clear that I have nothing against Mark Spencer. In the few times which we've spoken, he's been nothing but gracious and modest. I'm happy for his success. He's a very smart guy. I wish him all the money and Chateau Neuf Du Pape in the world.
So, why the constant diatribe? Simple. I think that open source software is for eternity. I can imagine a time in a thousand years where people use the software we write today. And, if you don't believe me, just look at the COBOL market. It still exists, and there is every reason why it shouldn't. Now, if we are about the business of writing long term software, I think we need to look carefully at what we have, and think deeply about the path it should take. Software engineering teaches us that the choices we make early in the process have very large effects downstream. Take this to the logical consequence... if we are writing software for a 100 years, shouldn't we really deeply think about the architecture today?