When I read the news from Paul Roberts, Senior Editor with Infoworld, I thought it was a great idea. I still do. Neil is not surprised by that position, either. Open sourcing CTA would have given the opensource community a solid foundation to extend a NAC client. Granted, CTA is freely available for Windows and RedHat Linux???you Mac users are out of luck???but it can???t be extended or adapted to other OS???s. I won???t find fault with Cisco not wanting to open source CTA. It is their software, after all. But open sourcing CTA would have been a great move on their part.
Cisco is in an awkward spot with the NAC space, while Microsoft is covering all their bases by partnering with Cisco, aggressively working on it???s own NAP partner program, and participating in the TNC. It is hard to gauge vendor participation in IETF working groups, I have seen Microsoft employees commenting on the mailing list--someone in Redmond is at least paying attention. Cisco has the NAC Appliance, a product they admit is selling better than their NAC Framework (essentially NAC enforcement on the Cisco switches). Cisco also has their NAC partner program with a long list of members. Cisco and MIcroosft are working closely with Microsoft on the NAC/NAP Interoperability Architecture, and Cisco employees are participating in the IETF Network Endpoint Assessment working group (NEA), a group very much in its infancy. Cisco won???t have anything to do with the Trusted Computing Group Trusted Network Connect, aka everybody BUT Cisco. The TCG TNC is gaining steam and might, just might, become a dominant force in the NAC standardization process.
But even with all this partnering, users are left out in the cold. The number of Linux distributions has really fragmented the landscape and there is no guarantee that a "Linux" application will work properly on any old distribution. Open sourcing would have brought Cisco and the open source community a bit closer together, opened up a broader market to both Cisco and the open source world.