But where did FRR come from and why do we need it?
Martin Winter, co-founder of the non-profit Network Device Education Foundation (NetDef), who is involved with FRR, said “I believe it [FRR] fills a hole. There wasn’t a routing stack under the Linux Foundation at all.”
FRR was a fork of the Quagga project, which is also an open-source routing protocol project, as Winter described in 2014 when SDxCentral spoke with him. Quagga offered an open source routing alternative to the proprietary offerings of the big routing vendors. It has been around for quite some time — about 12 years. But in mid-2016, some members of Quagga forked the project to create FRR.
“FRR started because we wanted a different development model,” said Winter. “Quagga was challenged to get things in in a timely manner. It couldn’t catch up with the contributions. We wanted to change the process to have better testing, a better-responding community. That’s why we put it on the Linux Foundation.”
Nearly all the main contributors of Quagga have moved to FRR, according to Winter, although Quagga does still exist.
As far as other open source routing protocols, Winter named SnapRoute, a startup that offers open source routing and switching. Several of SnapRoute’s founders previously worked at Apple. SnapRoute’s networking stacks are available under open source licensing terms, and some of its software has been submitted to the Open Compute Project (OCP). To make a business of it, SnapRoute offers commercial versions of its code and also provides support.
Winter also mentioned the group Bird, another open source routing project.
“The key advantage we have is we have a full suite of all the routing protocols, essentially all protocols are supported,” said Winter. In addition, he said FRR will make its testing “much more public” compared to Quagga and its competitors.