I started working with Asterisk 2 years ago with PiAF and since than I used only this distro.
Lately I have few small needs that looks like PiAF is too restricted and have a little of “my way or the high way” atitude.
For example, the limit for 1 freepbx user, lack of support on freepbx updates and a pain to use the mysql server without breaking their default configurations.
I need a good disto as a starting point, but must make my own changes and be able to install 3rd party modules, so flexibility and compatibility are very important subject.
Before making any decisions for our production server, I would really love to hear what are the differences between PiAF and the FreePBX distro, and what are your opinions about those 2 distos.
I know from the projects perspective we wont bash another distro that also uses FreePBX for the GUI.
We each do things a little different but I can say the FreePBX Distro is built on the same core that we use in our Commercial PBXact product and has been built to be stable and work as tight with FreePBX and Asterisk as possible to give you the best experience that we feel can be offered but PBXiaF does lots of neat things that build outside of FreePBX to offer features.
I can totally understand why you feel like a broken record. There are million threads about that and nobody provide a decent answer. Not to be rude but this link gives me the same information I heard before: “piaf developed by piaf team, freepbx disto by another team”, that’s not any real information that should help us decide between distros so why wouldn’t we ask that again and again?
The best thing to do so you really have a feeling for it (FreePBX distro) is to put it on some old box you have stored away and give it a try in a small or “lab” environment. Spend some time with it. Opinions are like butt holes. Everyone has one!
No I think the real reason nobody wants to start a flame war is we would never bash PBXiaF that uses FreePBX and Ward would never bash the FreePBX side of things. Its called ethics and respect and both Distros have their strength and weaknesses.
You need to play with both and pick which one meets yours needs.
Flame war? why? both distros are great and are THE BEST CHOICE for different people, it’s just different people have different needs.
I think its every user’s responsibility to consider his particular needs, gather the accurate information about his options, and make a smart decision by that.
Although, if he don’t have the right, accurate information about his options, he’s probably won’t really make the best choice.
I’m pretty sure 80% of the users doesn’t have deep enough knowledge and skills to understand the core\system differences, and most probably not just by playing with the system and try random stuff for few days\weeks.
PIAF is the way to go if you want hardened security. If you want to use incredipbx scripts or if you follow nerd vittles. They have the most active community on the internet in terms of PBX, in-fact you dont even have to use their Distro
The FreePBX distro is hosted and used by Schmoozecom a company that makes money selling phone systems. 95% of the FreePBX developers work for Schmoozecom. Their release cycle is sometimes more ‘bleeding’ edge then Piaf is. (notice that I said sometimes)
I’d probably deviate a little bit on some of your description.
As far as security is concerned, the FreePBX Distro sets up FreePBX in ‘database’ mode by default where as PIAF uses only http security. The distro can be switched to either mode in advanced settings and appropriate changes to the apache configuration.
As far as general security though, the FreePBX Distro has been a leader in that area and in fact security issues around the web was one of several driving factors that had us put out a distro. (The most common issue being default passwords that were never changed and used all over the place … the FreePBX Distro generates random passwords when first installed so this issue does not exist). There are lots of other fronts that FreePBX has and continues to drive security safeguards. Outside of these two Distro’s … most others were fairly irresponsible about security.
As far as bleeding edge, I believe PIAF has a wider range to choose from but the FreePBX Distro maintains three tracks of which the base track is focused on stability and in fact another strong reason that FreePBX chose to do a Distro was because there had been a lacking of a very ‘clean’ option amongst the choices at the time. The FreePBX Distro does try to keep a very “bleeding edge” track available to encourage pioneers to help test and vet very new FreePBX and Asterisk code.
One thing that you only get in the FreePBX Distro (I believe) is some extra diligence of rolling in very select patches in Asterisk that have not made it into a released Asterisk version yet but are either very important to fix bigger issues, or extremely low risk but significantly enhance functionality and integrate very cleanly with FreePBX. (An example, currently being worked on FreePBX 2.11 which is in beta, is the addition to Asterisk hints for queue pause states so that very useful BLF functionality will be able to be introduced when the queue pause features get added to 2.11)
Ultimately they are both very strong Distro’s … PIAF is going to be a better path if you are looking to easily integrate various Nerd Vittle projects that can be quite useful to some people. The FreePBX Distro is probably going to be better if you are looking for the ‘tightest’ integration and adherence to the core FreePBX functions and potentially more responsive to “issues” by the simple nature that it’s the same development team who works on both the distro and the core FreePBX eliminating potential communication issues despite the fact that the PIAF team has an excellent relationship with the FreePBX team. You will also never see the FreePBX Distro packaging a version of FreePBX that is no longer supported which is a wider problem amongst some Distros.