What happened to wiseoldowl

Does anyone know what happened to wiseoldowl? I see a lot of old stuff on here from him, but have never seen anything recent.

Anyone? Seriously? He was a fixture here. A FIXTURE!!

I just checked his user account and it does not have a valid email so I can’t reach out to him for you.

Thanks. He has a blog, but it hasn’t been updated in two years either. I posted a comment to see if he’ll respond. I fear that may be… dead… which is unfortunate, because he was a regular contributor on a number of subjects (and, of course, being dead is bad).

Do not be offended by what I am posting. He has his own opinions and I am posting them here for the knowledge of all.

They are not the opinions of me. But it should be heard and opinions should not be stifled.

Thanks Andrew!

I’m certainly not offended. In fact, I agree with some of what he said. With respect to the rest, I wasn’t around back then and so I have no way of knowing.

It is unfortunate that some of the great contributors to FreePBX are being turned off by the current developers. Both WiseOldOwl AND Michigan Telephone contributed a lot to the FreePBX Universe, and I agree that those who are around here do seem to have a bit of an attitude.

Further, Michigan’s crusade against FreePBX’s decision to force everyone to use the new dial patterns method (instead of allowing users the option to use one or the other) is certainly correct. I suspect you agree with me, since you wrote the SAK program that allowed us (for a time anyway) to revert back…

Although in retrospect the FreePBX team believes we may have rushed out the dial plan patterns method what’s done is done. We asked the community and showed them pictures and how it worked and people didn’t comment until after it was released. However, it’s in the past and I want to move on from that. We can’t go back (without pissing off more users) to the old method. We must march forward and in that we have tried to make it as easy as possible for our older users to be able to use the dial patterns. First with CSV import and now with CSV export in 2.11. In the future we will try to be even more transparent as you have perhaps seen on the PBX in a Flash forums where we have asked for more user input.

About SAK, I realized after a while that I wrote SAK to appease one person and that person never personally thanked me but instead decided to continue to attack the project that I was devoting my time towards. It really made my work look like trash/garbage. People can have their opinions about others but when you attack a group collectively it doesn’t make that group feel good about what they are doing. Especially when there are good hard working individuals in that team. I brought that topic up to that individual a few times only to be berated more for “joining the dark side”. I’m sorry that I so strongly believe in helping this project that I ‘joined’ them instead of sitting on my blog and attack them. But I digress. I don’t want to get into the same fighting and banter that wiseooldowl states we’ve gotten into on his blog. Interestingly enough after I wrote that module Tony Lewis called me to talk about the features and functionality we could add from it, Such as the regular expressions blacklist and CSV export. Two different sides of the coin. At no time did he say my contributions are/were trash garbage. Let’s take a step forward and try to be more positive.

Furthermore (from what I know) if anyone really wanted to make SAK work in 2.10+ they have to modify one or two lines of code. But no one has stepped up to the plate as I am expected to work on SAK in my free time when I have about 20 tickets waiting on me for Endpoint Manager. I just can’t do it for the lack of respect it was creating towards the development team. SAK is like putting gas on a fire. I just couldn’t maintain it for the respect of one person who most recently told me how ‘sad’ it was that I am part of the development team here. Those negative words make developers into negative people. I haven’t looked back since.

I agree that it is sad we have lost people over the years and it is something we desperately need to work on. Good news is we are in talks about community improvement. Take that for what it’s worth but you have to remember that there are more people involved in FreePBX than just those on the forums.

I look on the positive side and hope it will get better.


I, for one, appreciate all of your work and the work of the development team. As I told you when we spoke a year or so ago, I can’t code. I know nothing about it.

The new dial patterns rules was not rushed out. It is a very sensible method and makes the entry of dial pattern rules very easy for novices. The mistake, in my view, was making its use mandatory, and not offering the option to use the older method.

There’s absolutely no reason why the FreePBX team could not add back in the option to use the old method of entering dial pattern rules if a user chooses to enable it. You did it, and you’ve stated that changing 2 lines of code could make it work again. It would be as simple as offering users a switch in the advanced settings module. So, to state that it is done and cannot be undone simply is not accurate. I think it would be more fair to say that it is done and nobody wants to undo it. :slight_smile:

Although my original comments lamented the loss of WiseOldOwl and Michigan, there is also a certain element of the archetypcal “Grumpy Old Man” in each of them. Michigan routinely posts blog posts about how much he hates “F—PBX,” but he continues to use it because there’s nothing better. He even posted a number of blog articles about how he tried all the other open source projects and why they didn’t work. Michigan has announced that he was going to stop blogging at least three times that I can remember. WiseOldOwl says that he avoids technology now, because he finds it too frustrating. Both of these guys were once fixtures in documenting how to use FreePBX, and I could not have gotten my system to work without their efforts.

On the other hand, however, I agree with them that people who are new to FreePBX and ask novice-type questions are given very poor treatment by those who have stayed. This surprises me, as the project needs new adopters to stay relevant, and there’s really no comprehensive documentation available that answers the most common questions.

I started to write such documentation, but my real job got in the way and I haven’t had a chance to finish it. In the meantime, the UI got completely revamped, and so now before I finish, I have to re-write most of it. I’ve since read that 2.11 revamped the location of some options from one module to another as well.

As with most things in life, there’s probably fault on both sides. That is truly unfortunate, as a project like FreePBX will live or die on the work of its volunteers.

On a related note, R.I.P. Trixbox.

Seriously, Andrew? You killed Swiss Army Knife because one person didn’t thank you? Do you really think that was the only person using your module?

I used it and very much appreciated it. Thank you for writing it. And if you ever decide to make it work with new versions of FreePBX, I will be very thankful for that.

It just seems like you are listening to, and reacting to one person, and not realizing that there are others out there who appreciate your work. Should we all have to suffer because of what someone may say or write?

I have no idea who you are talking about that you think is so negative toward you personally. If it is the Michigan Telephone guy, I thought I remembered reading something on his blog about Swiss Army Knife that was very complementary, so I used Google and found this:


If you read the last paragraph, he said he was “VERY VERY happy to see” your module. And I seem to remember him saying something similar in the PBX in a Flash forum, although I can’t find that thread now. If he’s unhappy with you now, maybe it’s because you decided not to update Swiss Army Knife. But have you considered the possibility that maybe he did thank you in one of the forums, and maybe you just missed it, the same way many of us missed the post where we were asked about the changes before they were made?

You are saying that the community was asked, but I don’t remember anyone asking us about those changes before they appeared. There was no mention in the PBX in a Flash forums that I remember, and I was following their forums pretty faithfully around that time. I also didn’t see any mention in the FreePBX forums, although I probably wasn’t following them quite as closely back then. Maybe no one really expected that big a change, nor that there would be such reluctance to give users the option to choose the old method.

If, as you say, there would only need to be one or two lines of code modified to make Swiss Army Knife work with newer FreePBX versions, then it sort of boggles my mind that you would not go ahead and make that fix just to make one person suffer because he might have written something uncomplimentary about you. By taking that approach, you might unintentionally be giving credibility to what he says when he talks negatively about the FreePBX developers. Please think of all your other users, not just one or two people who might get under your skin from time to time.

And just to emphasize the point, I used your Swiss Army Knife module and I thank you for it from the bottom of my heart!

My point is SAK turned into a detriment to me. Here we go again with someone (you) sending me a rather strange response where you go out of your way to prove me wrong? I don’t see how that/this makes me want to keep working on that module as now I feel pressured into doing so as if I am going to upset people if I spend time with my family instead of working on this module.

I can have my own opinions and you can to! But starting off a topic with "seriously andrew? makes me not want to even read this. Then you search and quote articles of someone whom I care not to read or converse about. Please stop. Furthermore him thanking me is not saying “F–PBX” and telling everyone how the F–PBX developers all suck. Sorry but I am one of the F–PBX developers. And perhaps you should read some of the more recent posts comments where he continues to attack me for not updating SAK. I am sorry but that doesn’t make me want to go out and update it. I realized long ago that no matter what I do or say won’t affect what some people think. If I update SAK people will still talk crap all over the place. I won’t go out of my way to update this module because of something someone said. Please also notice I said personally thank. I was thanked publicly by all sorts of people. Thats nice. No one emailed me about it. No one has emailed me saying they wanted me to continue. I have seen maybe all of three forum posts (four counting this thread) about continued support of it…

And for a very long while I only thought maybe three people used it. I work on what people want. No one except one or two people have asked about SAK. Instead I get about 7 emails a week in regards to Endpoint Manager and Google Voice (both of which I actively maintain through FreePBX). My priorities lay where my user base lays.

I found this pretty quickly: http://www.freepbx.org/news/2010-05-24/freepbx-2-8-beta2

There are pictures in this one: http://www.freepbx.org/news/2010-03-20/sneak-preview-of-2-8

They are both blog entries on this site. There are two other blog references to the beta of 2.8 I don’t know what else to say. The project’s site is freepbx.org not pbxinaflash.com

As I said we learned our lesson after the whole dialplangate and now we go over and post updates to PBX in a Flash. In the past we did not. We are also more open and talkative on PBX in a Flash and I’ve talked with ward personally about many things.

That being said I am not harboring any ill will towards anyone and if you are refusing to update past FreePBX 2.8 because of how dialplans work then that is your loss and I am sorry.

If you want to converse more about this then feel free to email me. I would love to talk to you. Or anyone. Let’s just not discuss here. This is about wiseoldowl and how the community and freepbx need to work together more. It is not about how tm1000 decided to not work on SAK anymore and I’m sorry I turned it into that. But I don’t want this to go down the drain and it’s heading that way. I code because it’s fun and I like helping people. I don’t like to help negative people.

It’s apparently my bad for even stating my opinions on SAK (which are more long and complicated than I stated above) and I knew I shouldn’t have posted them. But that’s my mistake so oh well.

Email is: andrew . nagy (at) the159 . com

Sidenote: I can’t wait for the new site so that every time I edit this message it doesn’t send you all crazy emails! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure that Maple intended his commments to sound as negative as they did in the first sentence. You know how email is… sometimes it comes off sounding wrong. I’m going to choose to read his first paragraph as rhetorical, rather than insulting…

I used SAK, and liked it a lot. I never contacted you about it because it was easy to use and didn’t really need any explanation. EPM, on the other hand, is much more complicated, and so it makes total sense that you’d get more contacts about it. In fact, I don’t use EPM because I like configuring my Aastra phones using configuration files.

If we don’t communicate again, have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever you prefer to call it. :slight_smile:

I emailed you about your query on documentation and am willing to work with you on getting it documented for FreePBX

I got it and put it into my “todo” bin. Right now, I have a major project for work due by the 19th, and then I’m hopefully going to take time off until the new year. When I get back to documenting, it’ll be in 2013. I’m actually thinking of setting up a whole web-site devoted to documenting what I’ve learned about FreePBX. There’s a ton of cool, mostly undocumented nuggets in FreePBX 2.10 and 2.11.

My favorite is the caller ID update that is done using RPID so that FreePBX can show you your outbound Caller ID when you place a call, and show you any changes to the dialed number. The same feature will update the Caller ID name for internal calls, so you can dial an internal extension # and the name assigned to the extension will show up. By default, the feature is disabled, so most people probably don’t even know about it…

We can give you access to update documentation here if you’d like. It’s up to you. Either way we will support you.

Andrew, I am sorry if my post offended you. I was not trying to “prove you wrong”, just pointing out that maybe you were only seeing the negative and not the positive. After I made my post, I found the thread on the PBX in a Flash forum where you were thanked, at http://www.pbxinaflash.com/community/index.php?threads/freepbx-swiss-army-knife-module.10802/

But instead of seeing that maybe the Michigan Telephone guy wasn’t as negative toward you as you thought, you choose to see it as me trying to prove you wrong, rather than noticing that I was trying to be complementary and to show you that maybe the person you thought was against you had at one time actually thanked you. If something has changed recently and he’s been talking trash about you, I don’t know about that, and this isn’t the place to discuss it. I now think maybe I should not have written anything at all, since you obviously read something into my post that I didn’t intend. I feel like I just made things worse, when that was not my intent.

WRT that post you mentioned, was there ever a link to that posted in the FreePBX forum? That looks like it’s on a part of the site that only developers would read. All I know for sure is I never saw it, but that doesn’t mean anything.

I will bow out now, since it appears that what I am writing is being taken the wrong way. But again I want to thank you for all you have done for FreePBX. And say that it is much more important for you to spend time with your family than to work on any of this.

You didn’t make things worse you just dont know the full story. No one does and I don’t want to create drama but I already did. I appreciate that you liked SAK and I have taken that into account.

Those links I posted are part of the ‘news’ section of freepbx. http://www.freepbx.org/news/

They also show up on the main page. It’s interesting that you don’t know about it and thats something we are changing with the new website.

I have the power and in fact have written the instructions on installing the Distro and the First Steps After Installation.

But, the organization of the rest is a confusing mash of old and new, and I don’t seem to have the power to delete (which is appropriate in the case of a few pages).

Let’s talk next year!

First off I want to re-iterate what Andrew already pointed out, everyone has their own opinions. With that though let’s take our opinions and discussions and work to better this community and project as a whole. I know Andrew already stated that we are in talks about community improvements, and we are doing our best to provide a better experience with the redesigned FreePBX.org website we are working on and much more.

I also invite the community to jump in IRC and help us make it a better place by helping newbies and community members alike. I also invite anyone to connect with us in the #freepbx-dev channel to voice their opinions, help with documentation, or get involved in development. The community isn’t what it is today just because of the people that have wrote code for the project but instead it’s because of everyone that uses it, deploys it, and works together to make it successful.

I look forward to everyone’s feedback whether it comes in the form of a forum post, comment on the freepbx blog, a personal blog, IRC, Astricon, etc.

This thread has turned into an interesting and reassuring read. It is good to see that the devs rank contributor retention as a priority, and recognize that communication is a way (perhaps the only way) to do it. I know of another lower profile contributor that dropped out of the project about the same time, citing the same reasons as above. These are anecdotal cases and don’t appear to reflect the attitudes of the wider community, but they do serve to remind us that we should all strive to be as inclusive as possible.

The other lesson in this thread, which is obvious but I will point it out anyway, is that there are constructive and destructive ways of criticizing the development process. We now know that the SAK module that allows the feature-which-must-not-be-named to be restored, only needs minor editing to maintain compatibility with current versions of FreePBX. One wonders how things might have unfolded if the vocal opponents of the change had devoted effort to coding or advocating for a bounty, anything other than posting decidedly negative comments. I am on record as being against the change, but I don’t think I can be accused of being undiplomatic.** If my own coding efforts (for which I receive zero compensation) were to get such harsh criticism, I would probably find some other diversion on which to spend my time.

It just occurred to me that I was accused of being undiplomatic on one occasion when writing about this issue. I apologized privately.

I use Opensource Software for just about everything I want to accomplish, if you are reading this far down on this thread you probably do as well. As I was installing Handbrake this weekend I read a great article from the developers about Open Source. The part of the essay that stuck out was this section:

Open source is:

*A means to encourage software innovation among diverse groups of programmers

*A policy of open inspection and analysis of source code, both to educate and provide a means for constructive criticism

*A means by which programmers can “scratch their itch” for mental stimulation while at the same time solving computing problems that are frequently applicable even to non-technical users

*Free, both intellectually and in terms of cost

Open source is not:

*A way to get commercial-quality support at no charge

*A free-for-all forum to ask for pie-in-the-sky software features and expect them to be implemented as requested and with no delay

*An invitation to harass and otherwise frustrate a small and dedicated development staff because they didn’t do what you wanted

Open source software is exactly what it sounds like: It’s software written by a (usually small) group of highly-dedicated people that solved particular problems they themselves had and thought others might find useful as well. Like most things that are free, it comes with no warranty: If it does what you want, that’s great - that’s exactly why it was offered to you. If not, you have the freedom of choice to either modify it to suit your desires or find another software package that more closely meets your needs.

As I stated in another thread (and alluded to again here), the features you find in any open source software package are there because at least one programmer needed them and implemented them to meet their needs (more forward-thinking programmers often at least attempt to make them flexible enough to work for others with similar needs as well).

I am aware of no open source software either currently or previously available that catered to the needs, whims, or desires of end-users. That isn’t what it’s about.

If you want the freedom to tell someone what you want and expect them to do it, that’s called commercial software, where you make your intentions known with your purchasing decisions and vote with your wallet. That is not open source.

Read the entire essay here, it brings up some pretty good points: https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/IsIsnt