Since its debut more than 20 years ago, IOS has largely been a closed, proprietary, tightly guarded jewel in Cisco's lockbox. But the company's ambitions to make the network the platform for all IT operations and become a software force are in turn forcing Cisco to give up a little in return – like making IOS more than just a platform for Cisco-developed services.Wow, who could have imagined that technology architecture could be related to business architecture?
"It's a significant step forward for us," said Don Proctor, senior vice president of Cisco's newly formed Software Group, at last week's C-Scape 2007 analyst conference. "Software turns out to be a key way that we can do what [we've] been talking about for some time, which is link business architecture to technology architecture in a meaningful way."
— Cisco opening up IOS, Looks to make software third-party friendly, Network World, 12/12/07
- Paul Graham, when he and Robert Morris founded Viaweb back in 1995 (sold to Yahoo! in 1998),
- Apple, when it switched from its old OS to a version of Unix,
- Linus Torvalds,
- Richard Stallman,
- oh, and Juniper, which already announced it was opening its routing software.
Cisco plans to "componentize" IOS – developing only one implementation of a specific function instead of several, depending on the image – dynamically link IOS services and move the software onto a Unix-based kernel. Cisco then plans to open up interfaces on IOS to allow third-party and customer-developed applications to access IOS services.I do remember asking some Cisco people why they didn't just use Unix about 19 years ago, and I doubt I was the only one. Better late than never, I suppose.