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Juniper and Cisco go open! (Well, not really)

Juniper and Cisco are honing their skills at open press releases. But that's about it.

The big news from the networking world is that Cisco and Juniper are opening up!!!!! Well, sort of. In a roundabout way. A little bit.

As Dave Roberts of open-source Vyatta points out, all that glitters is not gold when "openness" is on the table:

Juniper started the love-fest with "openness" on Monday with the announcement of its Partner Solution Development Platform (PSDP). Essentially, if you're a big company, and Juniper decides that you're worthy, Juniper will give you the privilege of signing an NDA and paying it yearly fee in order to develop applications that will run on the control plane processor or line cards of its router.

Not wanting to seem like a shrew, Cisco today announced that it too will open up IOS, somehow, someday....

So there you have it. Companies are now grabbing headlines by expressing aspirations to be different from what they are, without actually being any different. I applaud the intent, but wish there were a bit more substance to the announcements. Openness is not a press release. It's a cultural mindset and code.

These two actions from the titans of networking prompt Dave to write:

Sitting here at Vyatta, this all feels a lot like when your parents tried to be cool in high school by adopting the then-current teenage slang vocabulary in order to "get more connected with their kids." Now matter how hard they tried, they always looked foolish and it always ended badly. Simply adopting language doesn't make you cool. Teenagers know this instinctively; multi-billion dollar public companies seem to forget it.

Indeed. It's nice to have new people sending out invitations to their "coming out" parties. It would be better to just release code. Code doesn't lie.