Untangle, Asterisk PBX and File Server; All-in-One. Part 5

If you’ve been following the story so far you’ll now where I am. If you haven’t, please go back to Part 1 and read from there.

I’ve been a bit busy recently so haven’t had as much time as I’d like to crack on with this. However, I’ve actually come to a bit of a halt regarding Untangle due to the kernel…

I managed to get the initial Rake (Ruby’s Make) build scripts to run to completion on my LFS-6.3 system :-). For those who are interested, after editing some of the Rake files for hard-coded environment variables, I had to drop down to the last version 5 release of the JDK. Version 6 is not supported due to the issues mentioned in part 4 of this series.

After the build completed, trying to run Untangle caused it to barf badly. But I wasn’t surprised by this. I hadn’t installed Postgresql, and I discovered I was missing a setting in my kernel config (IP Userspace queueing via NETLINK (OBSOLETE)) which caused this file ip_queue_maxlen to be created in /proc. There was another file in /proc missing too: icmp_frag_accept. It was searching for this, that led me to get to the bottom of the kernel issues.

After some dialogue on their mailing lists, it became clear that the build process was not going to be as simple as I’d first thought. The current version of Untangle (5.0.2) uses a very heavily patched Debian kernel (2.6.16-ck11). The method they use for patching relies on some debian tools which, seeing as I am building on LFS, I don’t have – nor do I really want.

A little side note: In the Untangle kernel, they are using the now infamous CK scheduler from Con Kolivas, that is no longer being developed for, or ported to, the main kernel tree (Google for Con Kolivas to read about the saga). I’m not sure how this will affect the UT project in the long run but it is quite an interesting area of kernel development and fuelled some big arguments.

When I have some more time to concentrate, I’ll try and work out what is really needed and see if I can patch my recent kernel. They are developing a new release of Untangle (5.1) which may well give me what I need anyway; the ability to run other apps on the same platform and a more modern kernel version. Watch this space…

In the meantime, I have managed to get Asterisk installed. It’s a fairly straightforward CMMI (configure, make, make install) install for the needed packages (in build order): zaptel- drivers for the x100p card, asterisk-1.4.11 and asterisk-addons-1.4.2.

Configuring asterisk however is another ball game entirely. It is fairly complicated and involves a steep learning curve. Although thankfully, there are plenty of resources available on-line. I strongly recommend to get the Creative Commons Licensed O’Reilly book from 2005: Asterisk – The Future of Telephony which is widely available on-line and is an excellent resource. Also, there are lots of good blogs 😉 and other online resources to help you get started.

In addition, you will almost certainly need a SIP phone of some description. I’m currently using the Ekiga softphone as it is open source and happily runs on Ubuntu (it’s gnome based). It was originally called GnomeMeeting.

I can now make and receive calls locally between the Asterisk server and my PSTN line. Next is to try and get it work over a NAT’ed firewall to Alan Bell’s (my business partner) Asterisk server. Using IAX2 (Inter-Asterisk Exchange protocol) seems the way to ge here as it was specifically designed to use a single IP port, as opposed to SIP that uses independent ports (and potentially many of them) for connection management (UDP) and actual call data (RDP). Using SIP requires you to open up hundreds, if not thousands, of ports on your firewall. More reading and learning to follow.


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  • Fintan says:

    Reading your other post about saving Watts, cant see why you could add Myth tv back end, music server, file server and to host your website.

  • Alan Lord says:

    Yes, that is entirely possible and a good suggestion, thanks. I am trying to build up and install one thing at a time though. If the performance is fine once I’ve got all this running, then I will certainly add a UPnP server at least.

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