Telecom and Open Source

June 19th, 2008 by · 7 Comments

We hear so much about the open source movement, and it has so much to do with how the internet is evolving right now that it is hard to miss.  But what does it mean to the people that actually push the bits?  I’m a bit in both worlds, and that question stumped me at first.   Sun’s Scott McNealy spent a good part of his keynote at NXTcomm08 telling telecom service providers that open source is absolutely key to their futureAfter reading more precisely what he said, it seemed as if he meant that the backoffice platforms that telecom runs on ought to be based on open source software – Sun’s Solaris and MySQL for example were probably on McNealy’s mind.  But is it just at that level, the OS and Database?  Could the open source movement attack elsewhere?  Let’s see, there’s Asterisk – the open source VoIP PBX software – and of course Linux is all over the place on servers, but that’s all I can come up with right now.  Anything else out there?

Meanwhile, open source guru Sean Michael Kerner asked Verizon COO Danny Strigl point blank where open source fits at Verizon.  The response?  Strigl didn’t have one, neither did his assistants.  I have a sneaking suspicion that telecom executives are going to be needing to answer this question over the next couple years.  Some probably are already prepared to answer it, but it is clear that many aren’t.  Heck, neither am I, yet…

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Categories: Information · Internet Backbones · VoIP

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7 Comments So Far

  • craigp says:

    “Anything else out there?”

    Depends on where your looking. 🙂 Behind the scenes you have open source software that could compete with OTS for many server applications. Many are listed on wikipedia:

    The packages many people have implemented in place of commercial packages are for services such as mail, DNS, web etc. Packages like Apache, BIND, qpopper (POP mail), squid (web proxy cache), OpenLDAP. There are many firms using open source for security and remote applications too such as OpenVPN and ipfw.

    Some estimates by open source icons, such as Stormy Peters, of the GNOME Foundation and OpenLogic, are that enterprises are often off by 3 to 10x when asked how much open source is running on their infrastructure. There was an excellent interview in Network World in May 2008 regarding this very subject!

  • jhunt says: is one that i know of several clecs using in some form or fashion. Paetec has even admitted to using it.

  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    Vyatta manufactures open source Layer 3 routers, and is quite confident in its claims concerning how it stacks up against the big names:

    Is this the sort of thing you had in mind?

  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    ps – you may wish to read this InfoWorld article on the subject written only a few weeks ago It was referenced on the Vyatta site, along with a host of other references that I thought were quite interesting (e.g., from ZDNET: Is Cisco vulnerable to open source? )

    From InfoWorld:

    Open source on the wire – It’s already on your servers, why not running your network?
    By Paul Venezia | May 27, 2008 | InfoWorld

    “Once upon a time, using open-source servers and applications for business was frowned upon in many circles. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find any sizeable infrastructure that doesn’t leverage open-source code in some form or another, be it a few MySQL databases, Apache on the Web servers, or a pile of Perl, PHP, Ruby, or Python applications holding things together. But there’s one place in the modern enterprise infrastructure where open-source solutions have yet to make a sizeable dent, and that’s in the very network that connects all of these pieces.”



  • Ike Elliott says:

    Another up-and-comer in the open-source-software-for-telecom is the Open SER software. Their organization provides an open source server for session initiation protocol (SIP) and related software. Here is their web site:

  • Rob Powell says:

    Thanks, great comments guys! Of course, now I have a huge pile of reading material, but that’s a good thing.


  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    Scott McNeely briefly chimes in on subject of open source in networking shortly after the 3 minute mark of this TelecomTV Webcast:

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