Open source has already shown some limited promise in the networking and IP telephony arenas. In the hallways at almost any IP telephony conference, attendees will inevitably hear someone mention Asterisk, an open-source IP PBX that's gotten backing from IBM. The Department of Defense uses Sourcefire network security products based on Snort open-source intrusion dectection and prevention.
Open source routing projects like GNU Zebra and the related Quagga project are barely a blip on the radar. Vyatta seems to have been more lucky out of the gate, as 10,000 people downloaded the beta software in the last several months. Vyatta VP of strategy Dave Roberts says interest has mostly come from small- and medium-sized businesses looking for value, but major financial houses have called asking for details and large ISPs have downloaded Vyatta software.
Instead of purchasing an expensive piece of hardware, all Vyatta requires is an Intel-based PC with at least a 500 MHz processor, 256 Mbytes of RAM, 500 Mbytes of free disk space, a PCI-based T1 interface card and the company's Open Flexible Router software.
Roberts says customers should look to Vyatta for value, security and flexibility, and also took the opportunity to rip on proprietary systems. "Closed-source is like Stalin and central planning," he says. "At the end of the day, the company knows best. With open source, that's not a barrier."