Asterisk http://asterisk.org is a telephony integration platform. It provides a complete PBX, interfaces for analog and digital hardware (T1, ISDN), VoIP (voice over IP) protocols, computer-telephony integration, IVR (interactive voice response) and ACD (automated call distribution) programming.
As of June 2004, Asterisk is very stable, but still somewhat evolving.
A very extensive Asterisk wiki is avaliable at http://www.voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk .
Free developers facilities for setting up and testing Asterisk and PSTN termination are available at http://www.voipuser.org/
Mailing lists for users and developers, including an archive of past messages can be found at [L1 ]. Newcomers with questions are encouraged to search the mailing list archives or wiki before posting, as list traffic is fairly high.
More traditionally, asterisk is also the name for the character "*", which is sometimes pronounced as splat.
German language wiki : http://www.Asterisk-Doku.de.tt