Fun with Cisco

This is a bit obscure, but I have managed to set up an Asterisk PBX server with some old Cisco 7910 phones. They have their idiosyncrasies though, so here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. To edit the settings on the phone (e.g. change the TFTP server), you need to unlock the settings by pressing “**#” and then the Settings key. Doing so should make the padlock icon turn to unlocked.
  2. You can then edit the editable settings by pressing the “*” key, with the “#” key saving your changes.

Tricksy trixbox

I have learned a lot about running Asterisk PBX at home…and still have much to learn. However, notes for my own records follow:

  • When installing trixbox (a FreePBX + Asterisk distro based on CentOS), note that the default install option will format all hard drives attached to the system!!!!  It does mention that the drive will be formatted, but doesn’t underscore that everything attached to the system – including USB hard drives – will be lost.  That’s a whole weekend of having to recover from an aborted partial total format of my server!  Use the advanced option from the boot: screen when installing
  • The default password for the FreePBX web client admin user (which you should change) is “password” for a username of “maint”. You can change this through the /etc/trixbox/httpdconf/trixbox.conf file.

Some more CentOS tips:

  • CentOS is different from Ubuntu/Debian-based systems in many ways. I’m still learning all of them (like yum -y install instead of apt-get install) but some gotchas – like the fact that package names are different (c.f. samba-client
  • vs. smbclient) – are more important than others.

  • To get the prompt in the bash terminal to be more like Ubuntu, either copy the ~/.bashrc from an Ubuntu machine (if you have one) or try this tip:
    echo 'PS1="[\u@\h \W]\\$ "' > /root/.bashrc
  • To install Webmin, follow these great instructions:
    rpm -ivh webmin-1.500-1.noarch.rpm
  • To play with networking settings (e.g. setting up a static IP rather than DHCP), use system-config-network
  • If you install Samba server and want to restart it, it’s under /etc/init.d/smb (not samba).
  • If you get an error re: some packages not working (like dahdi), then use yum update to update the lot. Probably a good idea to run that anyway.
  • The default MySQL root password is “passw0rd”.

More tips to come later.