Past year the VyOS project has turned four. Perhaps it's time to update the mission statement I've made back in 2013. This one doesn't exactly contradict it, but needs to include the most important lesson we've learnt: if there is essentially no influx of commited maintainers rather than occasional contributors, the emphasis should be on finding ways to build and retain the maintainers team and enable them to put more time and effort into the project, and thus the commercial services should be a part of the mission statement.
If anyone has fears of VyOS losing anything in the freedom part, please do not fear. There will be a post about release model change that has to do with reconciling the conflicting goals of people who want latest features even at cost of stability and people who want stability, and creating an incentive for commercial users to give back to the project, but none of those come at cost of compromising the software freedom.
So, here's the updated mission statement:
VyOS is a successor of the original Vyatta
VyOS started as a Vyatta Core fork when it became clear that Vyatta Core was abandoned and no one else was going to continue it as a free open source software product. The development team and a substantial part of the user community still consist of long time Vyatta Core users and the primary reason why VyOS came into existence is to not let Vyatta Core effort to die.
Now that Brocade vRouter is no longer sold and supported, VyOS can as well be an update path for its former users, though we cannot provide a zero-effort update path for them of course.
VyOS is a free and open source platform
We believe that software freedom is very important and every user should be free to inspect the code, modify it, contribute to it, build customized images.
We will always keep the entire codebase of VyOS under free licenses. We will always keep the entire toolchain for building VyOS images open source and publicly accessible. We will try to make it as easy to use as possible. We will collaborate with vendors to support latest hardware, virtualization and cloud platforms.
VyOS is an affordable and accessible platform for a diverse user base
We know that price is a serious contributing factor that makes people turn to software-based routers. We also know that many VyOS users are networking enthusiasts and small businesses from around the world who cannot afford or not willing to use expensive hardware, whether commodity or specialized.
We will never make VyOS require any specific hardware to be fully functional. We will try to make VyOS usable on wide range of hardware, from small devices to carrier grade servers.
We are open for collaboration with hardware/software manufacturers who want to adopt VyOS
Maintainers’ work needs to be compensated
While we hope that VyOS is a community-driven project, an important thing is that community contributors typically only do the work they need themselves, but the maintainers get to maintain even features they do not use themselves and do work that is necessary but offers no reward for anyone in the short run such as code refactoring and test writing etc. This work needs to be compensated.
Besides, a large number of VyOS users are for-profit companies and use VyOS to reduce their costs. The maintainers are committed to keep VyOS free as in freedom, but will commercialize the project as well to get compensated for their work and build a team of people required to keep the development sustainable.