Open source network management activity comparison

The recent controversy over the ICINGA Nagios fork brought into focus the relative activity of the various network management projects.

One of the main complaints aimed at Nagios was the slow speed of development. The following graphs, taken from the open source directory ohloh, show the number of commiters and the number of commits over the last three years for Nagios, OpenNMS and Wireshark. I can’t vouch for how accurate the stats are but I think they do provide some insight into the development processes of the respective projects.

I’ve used OpenNMS, Wireshark and Nagios as the basis for the comparison because all three are mature, successful open source network management projects of similar age. Wireshark and OpenNMS dwarf Nagios both in the number of contributors and the number of commits. Commits themselves can be misleading, a commit into the source repository doesn’t indicate what the commit contained, whether it was a simple bug fix to a single file  or a very large new feature requiring hundreds of changes. There is no reason to think that Nagios commits are inherently larger than Wireshark or OpenNMS commits.

Looking at the graphs, perhaps there was a problem with the structure of the Nagios project.

Ethereal.com website back up

I’ve noticed that the old Ethereal website is back up again after being offline for well over a year. The original Ethereal crew, including Gerald Combs the founder, disappeared over to Wireshark, where they created a fork due to problems with trademarks.

Not sure what’s going on. The website hasn’t been updated since 2007. The last version of Ethereal advertised on the site was 0.99.0 from 24th April 2006.

Is somebody planning on keeping the Ethereal brand going?

Wireshark training opportunities

Wireshark in action

Protocol analysers are difficult tools to master. Though, once mastered you’ll see the pay-off in increased productivity for the rest of your career. Many technologies come and go, but the fundamentals of how networks work changes slowly.

You can slug it out with books but structured learning will help speed things along.

If self paced learning suits you best, a series of four self study courses are available:

  • Wireshark Functionality and Fundamentals
  • TCP/IP Network Analysis
  • Troubleshooting Network Performance
  • Wireshark Network Forensics and Security

If you prefer face to face, instructor led learning, that’s available too from the Wireshark Bootcamp. Courses are scheduled worldwide including the London, Munich, Netherlands & Sweden. Courses are scheduled for October so get your skates on! 🙂