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Why the ONF shut down

While the ONF as the industry knows it is gone, three of its projects – Broadband, Aether and P4 – will continue under the purview of the Linux Foundation.

At a Glance

  • History and background on the ONF including its three main iterations (2:36)
  • How the LF might manage the ONF projects differently than when the ONF was independent (13:49)
  • Is there sufficient diversity in the open source ecosystem? (19:00)

After more than a decade, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is no more. At least not in its current form.

Roy Chua, founder and principal of AvidThink, has kept a close eye on the ONF since it launched in 2011. Chua explains the three main iterations the ONF underwent before its most recent transition – divvied up as independent projects under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation.

The ONF has had a number of missions, including a focus on software-defined networking (SDN), open protocols, "curated open source" (listen in at 04:44) and more. 

While the ONF as the industry knows it is gone, three of its projects – Broadband, Aether and P4 – will continue under the purview of the LF. Aether is the best funded of the three projects with a $2 million US government research grant to "advance energy savings and sustainability of 5G networks," according to the LF.

Tune in to the podcast to hear from Chua about the evolution of the ONF and what the future holds for the open source group.

Click on the caption button for a lightly edited transcript.

Here are a few topics we covered:

  • History and background on the ONF including its three main iterations (02:36)

  • How the Broadband, Aether and P4 projects will be structured within LF and how they will be funded (09:45)

  • How the LF might manage the ONF projects differently than when the ONF was independent (13:49)

  • Is there sufficient diversity in the open source ecosystem? (19:00)

  • What's next for the remaining ONF projects (25:32)

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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