The Asterisk open-source iPBX is known for its power and flexibility, but no one would call it fast or easy. Until now, that is. AsteriskNOW is a software appliance that includes a specialized operating system based on rPath Linux, Asterisk 1.4 and an excellent Web-based graphical administration interface. AsteriskNOW is billed as "Asterisk in 30 minutes." Can you really install and setup AsteriskNOW in 30 minutes? Yes, you can if you don't count the time it takes to download the 436-megabyte .iso and burn it to a CD.
The Web interface should meet the needs of most Asterisk administrators. But if there are some features that require you to tweak configuration files, or if you simply feel like editing text files, live it up with AsteriskNOW there is no conflict between the GUI and the underlying text configuration files. You can use both without causing conflicts.
You'll need the command line for Linux system administration. If you click the "System Configuration" link on the upper-right part of the AsteriskNOW control panel, you'll find a limited control panel for rPath Linux. You can schedule system updates, set the time and date, backup and restore, and view logfiles. All other functions, such as user management and package management, have to be done from the command line. rPath Linux has its own custom set of commands, which you can learn about in the Conary help documents. For more information on AsteriskNOW, visit Asterisknow.org.