Currently most, if not all switch designs are proprietary and protected under strict licenses and NDAs. There is currently no known homebrew community, so end-users are at the whims of the vendors for updates for their products. Especially with the cheaper product lines, vendors may be very quick with ceasing support for legacy platforms, sometimes as fast as the announcement of the new product line.
There is very little software interoperability between the software designs, causing standards like STP, OSPF, etc. to often have interoperability issues between vendors.
Additionally, the hardware is often far more capable than the features the switch operating systems actually offer and more often than not only software features are used to differentiate between product lines.
So what do we actually want to achieve? We only hinted at it in the past, but we won’t stop until we’ve got a Linux-based replacement operating system with the same capabilities and manageability current managed switches offer. This is a very ambitious goal and something which you can reach only in small steps.
Our rough vision for the project looks like this:
- Be the central point to concentrate research and work in this area
- Provide more and better tested features for existing hardware
- Offer a common, maintained, firmware image for switches based on the same architecture