O'Reilly European Open Source Convention - October 17-20, 2005 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
 Convention Coverage

Session

Opening the Networking Platform: Hacking Hardware and Adding Services
Nikolaj Nyholm, co-founder and CEO, Imity

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Time: 11:35 - 12:20
Location: St. John's Room I

With the advent of WiFi, networking gear moved from the CCIP-certified administrators into the hands of ordinary users. The traditional networking manufacturers weren't prepared: While Nortel spun off Netgear, Cisco bought Linksys for its channel. A steeplechase moved price points from $2000 (1998) to $200 (2000) towards $20, and manufacturers were forced to replace royalty-based systems like VxWorks and pSos with uClinux and other royalty-free embedded Linux or BSD variants. While initially disregarding the GPL licenses, community efforts forced manufacturers--notably Linksys-- to release source code for several of their main products.

The unintentional opening of the notoriously closed networking hardware has allowed for third parties to create platforms for mixing in their own software and services. Hardware contingent companies have suddenly become independent of hardware sourcing, costly certification, and distribution logistics nightmares.

This presentation covers how Organic Network has mixed central services with software components on commodity wireless routers, and shows how a five-person company autonomously can leverage the distribution channel of a giant like Linksys.



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