1.1. Introduction

It is a common prejudice -- not entirely unjustifiable -- among the Asterisk-uninitiated that it takes at least two or three days of studying web pages and documentation before it's possible to get an Asterisk server to do anything at all. For many people interested in Asterisk, this is daunting. If you don't like delving into the theoretical underpinnings of a complicated piece of software like Asterisk and would rather see something practical and working as soon as possible, this chapter is the place to start. By following the instructions here you'll have your first working Asterisk system up in 30 minutes -- we promise!
Most programming textbooks begin with a sample program that prints "Hello World" on the screen. The purpose is to teach the basic form and syntax of the programming language and to give the learning programmer the early confidence needed to tackle the more challenging tasks to follow. This chapter introducing you to Asterisk is written in that spirit.