If you are accustomed to working with the P2.6 release, the transition to P2.8 will mean some big changes. Why? The short answer is that this is the why that the commercial release is evolving and the architecture of the official public release tracks of the commercial release.
In P2.8, configuration is no longer from a text file but from an sqlite3 database at /etc/OpenBTS/OpenBTS.db. Any change of a non-static parameter in this database will result in a change in OpenBTS operation within about 2 seconds. In the OpenBTS "tools" directory there is a Python script called translateConfig.py the will convert an old-style configuration file into an SQL file sthat can be fed into sqlite3 to generate a configuration database.
Database-driven configuration allows external applications to control critical operating parameters of the OpenBTS system. This opens the way for web-based and automated configuration management tools and allows many operating parameters to be changed without disrupting the service.
In P2.8, OpenBTS no longer uses Asterisk's internal SIP registry as an HLR replacement. Instead, it uses a new component called the subscriber registry, based on an sqlite3 database at /var/lob/asterisk/sqlite3dir/sqlite3.db. This database includes tables for both SIP user registration and call routing in a configuration called realtime asterisk. There are three important implications:
The real-time Asterisk approach allows multiple programs to access the provisioning databases directly, which opens the way for a wide range of provisioning and account-management tools. It also allows smqueue to run independently of Asterisk and simplifies integration of OpenBTS with other (non-Asterisk) switches and PBXs.
OpenBTS P2.8 uses syslog (or rsyslog) for event and message logging. This is a big improvement over the old system of logging to a regular file.
The advantages should be obvious.
Because we just haven't gotten around to it yet.
There are lots of bug fixes in P2.8, especially in the SIP side. P2.8 has been tested successfully with Asterisk 1.8 and FreeSWITCH and should work with any softswitch. If it does not, that is a bug that should be reported here.
There are some other minor features included in P2.8: