Vendors are gaming the open source system, and organizations interested in open networking need to stay wary if open source is to remain truly open — so says Guru Parulkar, executive director of the Open Networking Summit.
Parulkar gave a brief talk this morning during the ONS keynotes, acting as a warmup to John Donovan of AT&T. In a few minutes, he touched on some of the complications that have arisen with the networking industry’s embrace of open source.
Namely, vendors have succeeded at gaming standards bodies, and they’re trying to do the same thing with open source projects.
It stems from a mindset where companies “think of open source as a strategic weapon,” Parulkar said. That leads to behavior that’s more about competition and less about building a community.
“For example, companies are thinking about open-sourcing a piece of a solution so they can have an advantage as a complete solution provider.”
The problem is exacerbated in the networking industry because so much of the collective R&D budget lies with large vendors, he added. Compare that to Linux, which is software anybody can use and that was built up with the efforts of lots of individuals.
In response to this trend, ONS has invited talks from standards bodies such as the Broadband Forum and the MEF. Part of the goal is to promote more candid dialogue about “how to prevent undue component influence in open source,” Parulkar said.
Donovan ended up echoing some of those sentiments during his talk. “Most suppliers want to integrate their thing with their thing… That’s not an option” for AT&T, he said.