I spent the best part of yesterday playing with Asterisk – a free PBX for the home (or business).

By downloading an iso image I was able to boot a virtual pc from the cd and watch it install linux onto the virtual hard disk and then start to install Asterisk. After the machine booted I went through a couple of configuration walk throughs at VOIPSpeak and Geek Gazette.
I was having some weird problems with virtualpc (that I have not bottomed out) in that I was unable to access the virtual pc over the virtual network from the hosting pc after about 10 seconds of connectivity but I was able to access across the network from another machine. In the end I actually downloaded the vmware player and followed the instructions at VOIPSpeak to get it running (seamlessly) under a virtual machine in vmware instead.
So far I’ve been able to play around with the software only phone, X-Lite from and I’m currently working on a voip connection out to Free World Dialup to try connecting external (and to free uk 0800 calls). I don’t think I’ve got this setup quite right yet but I’m still playing!
Asterisk wiki has loads of help and information so well worth looking at.