Vyatta hopes to change that perception with last week's introduction of its Open Flexible Router, which transforms any x86 computer into a router. The software is free; Vyatta offers support for a fee.
There were about 10,000 downloads of the software while it was in beta in recent months, and Vyatta is seeing interest from some large financial services companies and ISPs, says VP of strategy Dave Roberts. Intel and Microsoft are among the investors in the open source project on which its software is based, called Extensible Open Router Platform, or XORP.
Other open source platforms focused on networking are gaining some traction. The U.S. Department of Defense is a customer of Sourcefire's Snort for intrusion prevention; GroundWork's network management software was used to manage the Interop conference's network in May; and the Asterisk IP PBX has a loyal fan base.