Cisco, Juniper, AT&T and Verizon are all about to face what Oracle and Microsoft have faced for years, open source competition.
Om Malik (left) reports that chip technology has finally reached the point where open source replacements for basic telecomm functions exist.
Projects like Asterisk (which we've written about before), Nagios, OpenVPN, Snort and Xorp are now producing software that lets general purpose computers mimic the behavior of expensive firewalls, PBXs, routers, intrusion detection gear -- the entire telecomm landscape.
With Internet as the transport, PCs as the major devices, and such Moore's Law developments as DWDM and the 802.11 standards, corporations can now produce their own telecomm networks for far less than any telephone company -- which must still pay for older gear -- can afford to charge.
What this means is the ultimate solution to the Bell-cable duopoly may be at hand. Neither enterprises nor municipalities nor landlords nor office parks require what these companies are selling. They can re-create it for less, not only pocketing the savings, but gaining the control they need to take advantage of Moore's Law down the road.
Gordon Cook of The Cook Report wrote me today that he finally understood what this means after attending a conference in Oaxaca built around John Seely Brown and John Hagels' Davos white paper on how innovation is now coming from all over the world:
The grand unifying unspoken theme was the innovation unleashed when in an end-to-end network people just do what needs to be done without having to get the permission of the centralized controllers of society.
The faster our networks, the more connections we have, the faster we can learn -- that's what means innovation in the era of open source. Anyone who stands in the way of that stands in the way of progress, of economic growth, and of the national interest.