Cumulus Networks recently unveiled their flagship product, Cumulus Linux, as Sam reported yesterday, but don’t let the name fool you. Although Cumulus Linux is based on Debian, it is not open source. It is an operating system optimized for a short list of networking devices. Cumulus Linux has an impressive list of capabilities designed for a modern data center, but using the Linux name when they are not giving back to the community is a missed opportunity.
Cumulus Networks repeatedly states that they want to “bring the Linux revolution to your network”, but it appears that they are missing the point. Capabilities are one thing, and the software defined network and data center are certainly the future, but the Linux revolution was not about what a Linux distribution could do when it was shipped by the vendor. It was about the community as a whole having access to the source code so that everyone could keep making it better. Cumulus Networks is benefiting from the work done by the community, and holding back their contributions so they can charge licensing fees. You know, like Microsoft.