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Open Source = Irrational Exuberance?

Originally published on the Convergence Blog

Why do otherwise intelligent journalists lose their heads over open source? They interpret Firefox's 10 percent market share as market dominance. They praise Asterisk despite the fact that its VoIP penetration is a pimple on the you-know-what of Nortel, Cisco and Avaya.

Take Business 2.0's Om Malik. He broke the story about Vyatta, the start-up developing enterprise routers based on the XORP open-source routing project. Malik speculated that the start-up would undermine Cisco's routing sales. Networking Pipeline's Preston Gralla went even further to predict that XORP could lead to the demise of any vendor selling "high-margin networking hardware."

Believing XORP will conquer the enterprise in our lifetime is pure poppycock. Vyetta/XORP won't be able to work in the routing language of today's enterprises: Cisco's IGRP. Without supporting this routing protocol, replacing Cisco will not happen.

Enterprises won't just replace a Cisco core router with a XORP equivalent. Besides the investment in the existing hardware, XORP's performance is slower because the forwarding plane is implemented in software.

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