Asterisk PBX server questions

I need to install Asterisk open source software onto a PC for testing purposes.  I downloaded a recent version of asterisk and it comes in a tar.gz file.  I also read the following paragraph from a website that is supposedly giving instructions on how to set Asterisk up.  It says:

"Asterisk requires a system running with kernel 2.6 and the header files must be present to compile asterisk on our system. Asterisk is written in c; we require gcc with the supporting libs such as termcap, and openssl. Asterisk add-ons require the mysql header files so please install mysql lib, mysql client and the headers to compile asterisk-addons."

A "system running with kernel 2.6" is required, so I assume I can't install Asterisk on a Windows based machine.  Is Kernel 2.6 some sort of operating system?  Or some sort of Linux distribution?  Also, is a tar.gz file just another sort of compressed (zipped) file structure?

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Correct, you would need to use linux (centos, Ubuntu, check the site and they should include instruction for the types of distribution they support.

Tar is an Archive using tar
gz is compressed using gzip

to expand
you can do gunzip filename
or you can do in a single line:
gzip -cd < filename.tar.gz | tar -vxf -

The -d for gzip means decompress
-c means output the results as a data stream

-x extract
-v verbose
-f file from which that data should be read, in this case you want it from the data stream which is what the last minus (-) means.

Consider installing TrixBox instead of dealing directly with Asterisk installation.
You can download TrixBox CD image from, then burn it on a cd and boot your computer from this cd-rom. (Caution: It will erase your hard disk so use a spare computer or install on a virtual machine if you are just testing)
TrixBox is basically a distribution of Linux specialized for being used as an VoIP server. It uses Asterisk inside. You can try configuring pre-installed asterisk using its configuration files, or simply use Web-interface provided by TrixBox
jbobstAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the information!
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