The Merit GateDaemon Project produces GateD, a modular software program which supports multiple routing protocols and protocol families. The project was originally supported by the National Science Foundation starting in 1987. The software was first used to interconnect the original NSFNet and the emerging "regional"networks, and later for connecting sites within the regional networks. GateD is now used by hundreds of organizations worldwide.
Merit's goal is to provide a "state-of-the-art" software platform to support the latest routing protocols for the Internet. The software provides a convenient and effective platform for routing protocol research and development. With the current focus in the Internet community on finding solutions to the scaling problems attending the rapid growth of the Internet, the need for GateD as a research and prototyping platform will continue to increase. It is used as a de facto reference implementation for many routing protocols.
The GateDaemon software can be used to bootstrap and support the production of interoperable networking products. It gives organizations access to leading edge network research and implementations without tremendous startup investments. The software is tested extensively by users throughout the Internet community before the code is released and offered in production. Because of its widespread use both as public domain software and as the heart of many commercial products, it is a powerful deployment mechanism for necessary routing enhancements needed to sustain the current growth of the Internet.
GateD software is available via the web, anonymous ftp, and gopher for individual use. It is licensed for redistribution, free of charge, to anyone, as long as they agree to return any enhancements of general interest to the project for redistribution. This approach has been overwhelmingly successful, especially in encouraging users to contribute changes and new protocol implementations. Contributions of protocol enhancements and implementations are integrated into the public distribution package. Organizations are much more willing to let their employees make their work freely available to the Internet as a whole, when they know that many other organizations will be doing so as well. In fact, the transfer of technology from academia to private industry and vice versa is well demonstrated by this project.
The demands from the user community continue to outpace the resources currently available to the project. Cornell created the GateDaemon Consortium to foster and expand the development of the GateDaemon software. Merit began a new era of fostering this work in September of 1995. Instead of adopting a licensing or royalty fee structure, the Merit Gated Consortium will continue to use membership fees to augment grant and proposal funds and provide the resources to the Internet community for the year 2000. Merit intends to extend the benefits of membership to provide additional benefits such as additional test tools to aid router software development and testing.
The consortium sponsors in-depth technical seminars on new GateD features and capabilities. Members participate in active discussions on new features and delivery goals with the GateD developers. Internships and residencies are available to member organizations who wish to send staff members to Merit to work with the development team. Improved communications about the project and Consortium activities are available both in hardcopy and electronically. In all, the Consortium invigorates and enhances the already successful collaborations of researchers and developers by making it easier for new organizations to participate.
Merit shall continue to seek support from agencies or organizations, such as NSF, whose role it is to support research, the national information infrastructure, and the welfare of the Internet as a whole. Membership in the Consortium is open to any organization in any country with an interest in the Internet or in internetwork routing protocols. Membership, while strongly encouraged, is not a prerequisite for a redistribution license. Corporations who wish to support specific enhancements to the GateD code may submit separate development projects to be considered. These projects will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Your contribution as a member in the Consortium makes it possible to deploy excellent routing protocol implementations available throughout the Internet, an important benefit to operators, developers, and users alike. GateD has proven its worth to the community over the last several years. The issues that must be addressed in the next four years are more complex than ever before. The Internet will continue to experience tremendous growth. Collaboration between industry and research is vital to successfully address the challenges that growth will bring. GateD is at the very heart of the solutions that must be created.