More evolution than revolution, 14 is more of what made FreePBX 13 great.
As many of you may know, FreePBX 14 was released back in August of this year. In addition to improvements to some of the under-the-sheets stuff, users are also treated to a slick new calendar module and a re-designed UCP (User Control Panel) interface, along with a unified Updates page, though we still prefer skipping the automatic updates on production systems in favor of notifications and manual updates at regularly scheduled intervals.
The FreePBX 14 Calendar feature can act as a replacement for time groups in time conditions, allowing much more sophisticated time-based routing. Additionally, the calendar can fetch remote calendars to add more flexibility when managing time conditions. We’ve tested this with a Google calendar and it’s super slick. With our test configuration, we were able to add blocks of time to a Google Calendar and they were picked up by FreePBX in a matter of minutes and applied to our time condition. The functionality seems pretty basic at first, but the possibilities are incredible with this new tool!
The UCP interface has never been bad in our opinion, but we dig the more modular layout in FreePBX 14. We’re generally fans of things that we can “make our own” and UCP does this rather nicely allowing for full page Dashboards, a handy Side Bar, and convenient Widgets. Our only slight beef is the fact that there is no default layout, so new UCP users get a blank control panel that has to be configured from scratch. That, plus the WebRTC softphone is still very basic and there’s no way to see other users’ presence or BLF information from UCP.
We’re still waiting on a few issues to be resolved before we make the jump to SNG7 / FreePBX 14 on our platform. FreePBX 13 was a landmark release in our opinion, and it remains extremely mature, stable, and well supported. We’ve tested SNG7 on both VPS and Dedicated Servers and while it installs and works in most cases, we’re still holding out for a handful of bug fixes. You may be able to upgrade from FreePBX 13 using Sangoma’s 6 to 7 Upgrade Tool, but it’s beta and not for the faint of heart. (read on…)
So should you upgrade?
For the majority of users, we recommend waiting a bit. We are actively testing SNG7 / FreePBX 14 as well as the upgrade tool, and are anxious to roll it out, but there are a few lingering issues that prevent us from doing that. Having said that, building a distribution upgrade tool for a Linux distro that wasn’t designed to be upgraded in place was an impressive feat and one that Sangoma appears to have pulled off extremely well.
So while we do not officially support upgrading From FreePBX 13 to FreePBX 14 at this time, we know that won’t stop the brave among you. If you do attempt the upgrade, be sure to do a full backup first, and if you have a VPS you can always reinstall FreePBX 13 using these instructions.