IronPort: Demonstrating the Cisco Commitment to Open Source


The acquisition of IronPort strengthens Cisco's leadership in the information security market and contributes to Cisco's extensive contributions to the open source software development.

Open source software has evolved to include broad terminology and software development systems including:

  • Dedicated web sites
  • Mailing lists
  • Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds
  • Source code management systems

New technologies, and donated time, money, and expertise by individuals and companies including Cisco have contributed to open source's development.

Building on the Open Source Ecosystem

When IronPort (acquired by Cisco in mid-2007) first developed products, the company evaluated whether to buy, develop "from the ground up", or create from open source.

Ironport (acquired by Cisco in mid-2007) has contributed to the open source community since its founding, providing:

  • Bug fixes
  • Feature patches
  • Funding for developers
  • Funding for core projects

IronPort's contributions to the open source community are consistent with Cisco's commitment to giving back to the communities in which we operate. Cisco's open source contributions demonstrate appreciation to the open source community for making this software available, and our commitment to supporting open source projects, even when not required by open source software licenses.

As part of Cisco, IronPort has continued to advocate for partners to open their software code, resulting in several of IronPort's hardware suppliers accepting code enhancements directly from IronPort to support their code in FreeBSD. This allowed:

  • Code to be maintained in the FreeBSD repository
  • New FreeBSD distributions to work on different vendors' hardware
  • Use of FreeBSD to be promoted on the hardware
  • Use of the hardware to be promoted to the FreeBSD community

Open source initiatives at Cisco create a synergy between public open source projects and the commercial aspects of the business. Cisco donates code, developer time, equipment, and money to the community, while the open source community allows Cisco to use open source in products.