Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Is there really a market for an open source router?

Open source goodness. Coming soon to a router near you (if it isn't there already).

I have a confession to make. Today's headline isn't mine. I snatched it from Dana Blankenhorn's June 30th piece over at ZDNet. It almost made me utter a Simpsonian grunt and start ranting about my more than 40,000 visitors again. Maybe my readers don't constitute a market, and in a consumerland context, a mere forty thousand (they've been coming in at a rate of about five hundre new uniques a week for a little while now) is possibly small potatoes indeed.

On the other hand, there are good indications that significant parts of the Internet actually runs on open source in some form, regardless of sundry punditry or for that matter how many people have found my online or printed work. And then again, if even a small subset of those who have downloaded my work actually do some of the things I write about, there is reason to believe that they have achieved a degree of insulation between any local stupidity and the Internet at large.

But back to the ZDNet piece. The interesting news there is that Netgear are apparently coming around to support open source via the MyOpenRouter web site and at least one wireless router appliance with firmware source code available. It will be kind of interesting to see if they've actually made their code and specifications open enough that we have a reasonable chance of seeing non-Linux open source systems such as OpenBSD run on the platform.

If you read the OpenBSD source-changes list you probably know this already, but even if you don't, OpenBSD just turned -current into 4.4-beta (see Theo's commit message). I take that to mean that the various significant changes such as the overhaul of the PF code will be thoroughly tested in time for the 4.4 release. That change hasn't made it into snapshots just yet (but likely will witin the next few hours), but you can take a peek at the OpenBSD change log for a preview of the goodies that will be officially released on November 1st. I for one am looking forward to that date.

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