Free / Open Source Software (FOSS)¶
The founders of the Osmocom project believe in the concept of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Rather than trying to keep the source code of our implementations private and consider them a trade secret, we publish them in source code format, available for anyone.
FOSS is popular primarily in the TCP/IP/Ethernet/Internet world. Just think of the various operating systems like GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSC. Or the various web servers like Apache, lighttpd, nginx. Or the many Soft switches for VoIP, like Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, yate, lcr.
Osmocom is pushing FOSS into the cellular infrastructure world.
Doing so, permits a number of advantages to the user, compared to the classic, proprietary software model that was running the telecom infrastructure world for decades:
- to the network operator
- light-weight, legacy-free, efficient implementations of the relevant ETSI/3GPP protocols, network interfaces and network elements
- free of any per-unit license fees towards Osmocom
- ability to customize/modify the code withou any limit. Break outside of the black boxes delivered by classic vendors
- to the researcher
- run your own private cellular network in the lab for testing + research
- observe behavior of phones in your own network, see what they really send to the network
- implement and test your ideas on how to optimize or improve cellular technology
- to the student or teacher in academia:
- ability to study and understand how cellular networks work in practise, rather than just theory in text books
- ability to trace any interface, enable logging everyhere, trace through the code