A Passionate Uprising

July 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

“I had no idea that any mere physical experience could be so exhilarating.”
– Katharine Hepburn, “The African Queen”


If you’ve never before experienced what it’s like to be absolutely and uncontrollably propelled by market forces, live through me: It’s a total rush. For Hepburn, it was riding a boat down a whitewater river. For me, it’s Vyatta.

We launched Vyatta only three years ago, smack into the face of a Cisco-controlled market.  Now, 70,000 registered members and 400,000 downloads later, the industry has permanently changed. Vyatta downloads currently outpace shipments of second-banana Juniper by 3X.   That puts us within striking zone of #1 Cisco. Out of reach? Not any more than Sun Solaris was out of reach of Linux – and for the exact same reasons.

There is only one way something like this happens so fast: A passionate uprising. From the beginning Vyatta’s stated mission has been, “Make users around the world passionate about Vyatta.”  The industry we want to change is so vast and the power is so centralized that nothing short of a passionate uprising could challenge it.

As it turns out, it happened even faster than we thought it would.   Every day Vyatta is installed in hundreds of networks, displacing Cisco in almost every case.  Every week huge numbers of users recommend Vyatta throughout social networks.  Downloads are flowing from dozens of sites in dozens of languages.   Customers are building out their networks with their new open solution of choice.

“Passion” is not a word one typically trips over on the way to the data center or network closet, but it is a concept that Communities embrace.   Igniting passion requires a perfect storm.  At Vyatta we start by leveraging (and contributing to) open-source projects already well underway and managed by highly motivated individuals.  We feed the ecosystem with free software, documentation, information, source code, forums, a Community site, and tools.   The Community in turn feeds us with debugging, feature requests, code contributions, documentation corrections, external projects, encouragement and energy.  It’s a virtuous, spinning circle that gains diameter with each rotation.

I wish you could all see it from our vantage point sitting inside the tornado.  It’s an awesome sight.  The viral adoption of Vyatta is occurring precisely because our Community is driving it.  Snowballing demand, frictionless supply, continuous innovation.

Last month the Gartner Group stated in the press, “Vyatta is certainly the headline name in open-source networking.” Congratulations, Vyatta Community – you’re changing the world, one download at a time.


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