I am a retired telephone tech/manager who recently had a bad experience with
a local company offering digital phone service (VoIP). I have spent the last
thirty years in the PSTN network, switching, PBX and key system field and am
interested in learning more about VoIP. My background also includes
programming, mostly specialized applications to interact with the PSTN
network. Most of my experience in this field have been with Borland
products, specifically Delphi. I also have been involved with database
programming, same platform as the communications.

My computer experience started with the operating system CPM (I'm not really
that old, only 56). The best platform now seems to be Linux so now since I
am retired now, it seems a good time to learn something new. I also have
been looking at Asterisk which most companies seem to be using for a PBX
platform. I found out by accident that the local company I had the problem
with uses this PBX software.

Could someone steer me in the right direction as to where to start? I spent
most of my career in the telephone industry in a 'bush' area of Alaska so
pretty much had to teach myself what I needed to know about computers but I
can learn almost anything from a book and by asking questions when I get
stuck. Most of my experience was before the Internet so I plan on using this
avenue to advance my knowledge.

I understand what a broad scope I am asking about so would appreciate any
tips to help me get started. Since there are many 'brands' of Linux what is
the best one to start with? Which Linux will be better when I get to the
point of working with Asterisk? Any tips or ideas on books, online tutors,
discussions or anything of this nature would be much appreciated.

I hope to add to this group if I can be any assistance from the 'other side',
the PSTN network.

Thank You,

Gary H. Thompson