Free Range Routing Protocol Finds a New Home at the Linux Foundation

The Free Range Routing Protocol (FRRouting) open-source effort is set to move forward today as a project under the vendor-neutral auspices of the Linux Foundation. FRRouting is an IP routing protocol suite that has its roots in the Quagga project

JR Rivers, co-founder and CTO of Cumulus Networks, explained to EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet that FRR is an offshoot (fork) of the Quagga project, which has largely been a single-person open source project. 

Rivers noted that due to a variety of reasons, the Quagga project had a period of dormancy during which a number of people and different companies developed significant code based on it; however, getting that code merged upstream was awkward.  Rivers’ own company, Cumulus, had been relying on Quagga as well. Specifically, he noted that Cumulus had been trying to get patches merged for 6 years, and Cumulus was approximately 1000 patches diverged when FRR started.  

“The FRR contributors got together with goal of integrating their various developments and creating a community led project for ongoing efforts,” Rivers said. “There was an initial focus on integrating the existing work together, then the team started developing new technology against that base.”

Today, Cumulus uses what Rivers referred to as the ‘bones’ of FRR in all of its products. Cumulus is now in the process of making the switch to transition all of its existing customers to the FRR based products.

“We have people who are among the maintainers on the project and developers that contribute to the project,” Rivers said. “Note that we are not the only of either, which is an important part of any community led project.”

The FRRouting project was already active in GitHub but having the effort be part of the Linux Foundation is an important step forward, according to Rivers. He commented that an important part of any community driven open source project is a formal charter and trust to insure that the project heads in a direction desired by the bulk of project contributors.  As such, when an individual or a single company controls a project; it reduces the incentive for others to participate, thus weakening the project. 

“Two options exist to meet these characteristics, one is to create a foundation, like the Open Stack Foundation, and the second is to work within a foundation that is set up for just this purpose, like the Linux Foundation,” Rivers said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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