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The Yang of Open Standards, the Yin of Open Source

Every time I think about the relationship between Open Standards and Open Source I am reminded of a fascinating talk by Paul Saltman, a biochemist from Caltech, invited to speak to a Chinese forum years ago, about national food policy for China, later published in Caltech’s Engineering & Science, titled The Yang of Nutrition…The Yin of Food.

I am not a nutritionist, or biochemist, or expert on food -- though in more than one occasion I’ve been known to venture in the art - but I do know a little about open standards and open source - let’s just say enough to be sentient of the wholeness and synergy in which these opposites attract and coexist, perhaps not unlike The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

By the very nature of our industry, open standards are not just important, they are indispensable, the foundation upon which every internetworking protocol is based, the pre-requisite of interoperability, so naturally we take open standards seriously, the yang side, as it were.  But what is often overlooked, just as the case with the yin of food in Saltman’s parallel, is the yin of open source, some of which is in fact the implementation, the other side, or yin as it were, of these open standards and more, with things like jabber or tigerstripe just to name a few.  We’d like to tell you more about what we’re doing with these and other open projects, soon to be covered in this blog.

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Welcome to Cisco’s New Open at Cisco Blog!

Welcome to Open at Cisco, a place where we would like to keep you aware of things related to open source, open standards, open technologies and open developments in general.  I’ve been at Cisco for several years now, involved in open source; when I started I did not realize how much Cisco has contributed since its inception.  I think the BGP story and how it all started a while back exemplifies the collaborative spirit and nature of our contributions, granted some of them in open standards and some in other open endeavors, nevertheless, open standards and open source, particularly in our industry, go hand in hand, or as the IETF tenet goes, we do believe in rough consensus and running code.

Some of those examples have been listed on our website and as our pace of collaboration and contribution increases and diversifies, we’d like to share it with you.  As we do, we would like to take the time to point out not just the typical contributions we’ve made to important and established things such as the Linux Kernel, Apache projects, Eclipse, or open standards such  as SCTP, but to newer communities as well, such as the Open Stack collaboration mentioned last week, so be sure to check our website and of course, this blog.  We really encourage you to join the conversation by commenting on this blog.

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