[asterisk-dev] Digium announcement: new community manager - John Todd

John Todd jtodd at digium.com
Tue May 20 12:41:38 CDT 2008

I'd like to take a few moments to introduce myself and the new role 
in which I'll be working for Digium to further the Asterisk project 
and environment.  As you may know, Digium plays a key part in 
assisting with the development of the Asterisk project, and so I am 
pleased to be working for them in a full-time capacity as "Asterisk 
Open Source Community Director", replacing the talented Jared Smith 
who has moved over to do customer training and bootcamps in order to 
bring more people into the quickly-growing Asterisk environment.  My 
job as Community Director is to know the members of the development 
community outside of the Digium staff, to understand the issues and 
work towards harmonizing (or at least listen to) the various opinions 
on code issues and roadmap concepts, and to function as an interface 
between Digium and the large group of coders who appreciate and 
contribute to Asterisk.  The work that Digium does on Asterisk is of 
great value to the community (and almost inversely, Asterisk is of 
great value to Digium) but Digium is only a portion of the equation - 
we (Digium) need to work to continue to integrate the code 
contributed by the community, the concepts brought to us by users, 
and to resolve the problems that may arise with the rapidly changing 
areas of complexity in which Asterisk is now proving to be essential 
to the telephony applications market.  There is much still to be 
done!  Digium can only provide a portion of the effort - it's up to 
the rest of the community to create the rest of Asterisk.

I'll also be taking on a number of other tasks which are less obvious 
to the community, such as assisting with the content of Astricon, the 
premier Asterisk event (September 23-25 - plug, plug - 
www.astricon.net) - if you have ideas on content or talks, please let 
me know.  We've collected a set of potential speakers - if you've 
already talked to Julie Webb, you're on the list.  If you've got an 
interesting talk for the business or technical aspects of Asterisk, 
let us know!  We'd love to hear you speak in Phoenix.

I will also be trying to monitor the mailing lists, IRC channels, and 
various blogs about Asterisk - but I also suspect I will not be able 
to keep up with the huge volume of information that is generated 
every day.  If you have specific concerns or discussions, please feel 
free to reach out to me directly - my email is jtodd at digium.com, and 
I will read all messages and I hope that I will be able to reply to 
each as well, even if I don't have an immediate solution or knowledge 
of your request.  While I am happy to function as a sounding board 
for complaints, I will also tend to focus a higher level of effort on 
those issues which represent some way of increasing the ability of 
the community to help itself, versus requests that simply ask for 
something to be created/fixed/modified.  Asterisk is open source, and 
is developed by a community - if you're reading this, you're a member 
of the community, and my job is to try to make your efforts more 

A bit of background on me: I've been working with Asterisk since 2003 
(arguably 2002) and I've worked with dozens of companies either as a 
consultant or in a few cases as a full-time Asterisk wrangler.  My 
work has mostly been in the service provider areas, and I'm quickly 
coming to learn more about the "solutions" space, and your insights 
on this will be interesting learning as I move forward.  I've spoken 
dozens of times on Asterisk or Asterisk-related topics, I've been to 
all the Astricons, and I've written quite a few articles on Asterisk 
- but all of that experience is actually quite small in the face of 
the huge number of possible permutations of what people in the 
community have done, and I am constantly surprised by how Asterisk is 
being used.

Part of what makes Asterisk such a great platform is not only the 
depth and capabilities of the code, but the enthusiasm, knowledge, 
and constant work by the community of people around the world who use 
Asterisk for themselves and for their business.  When Mark Spencer 
started Asterisk, he didn't start another PBX company - he started a 
telephony revolution.  Development on Asterisk became a vision of a 
toolkit that was to be extended by thousands of individuals, all 
working on the same project to complete their own goals.  It would be 
used by application developers, service providers, systems 
integrators, hardware hackers, entrepreneurs, and enterprises - all 
of which would have the ability to develop and contribute their code 
back to each other with Digium as the hub of activity.  I hope that I 
can continue the work that has already started to keep Digium as a 
sponsor and advocate of the Asterisk platform, and I'm looking 
forward to my tenure in this position.


John Todd              jtodd at digium.com
Asterisk Open Source Community Director

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