Interesting news broke today about a new open source router from Netgear.
The Netgear WGR614L wireless router is a Linux based device touted as “open source” by many in the media.
I think Netgear and the media has missed the point.
Besides being based on Linux and having a community website built for it, what is really open about this router? From the looks of the product and the community, this thing is about as open as the post office on Christmas. One only has to take a look at the product spec’s to know that Netgear is faking it…”works with Vista certified” please. I am not even a purist when it comes to open source and I sort of want to snarl. The point of open source is to be completely “open” and this router is not.
The problem with open source and the large company that wants to
invade enter the space is that they don’t go far enough to the edge. The bulk of the open source purveyors are enthusiasts and hobbyists who want full control over everything. Large companies and full user control over everything go together like oil and milk. They have to “play it safe” and produce products and service for the middle, but in doing so it becomes watered down and Netgear’s WGR614L is another watered down attempt from a large company to leverage the buzz of open source (you can’t even easily load Asterisk onto this router because it doesn’t have a USB port).
The folks who really make open source project successful; the enthusiasts, hobbyist and purist, will avoid this because it doesn’t allow full control and there is no modularity to the router, severely limiting it’s true potential. If you looking for true open source networking, try out Vyatta.