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Vyatta may be the first to try to commercialize a specialized networking Linux implementation in a big way. It's going head-to-head with Cisco, and even publishing a handy comparison guide. Vyatta is based on XORP, the Extensible Open Source Router Project. XORP is an open Linux-based networking platform for network administrators and developers who want to create customized networking products.
Vyatta comes in a number of forms. You can run it from a live CD and store your data and configurations on removable media, or install it to a hard disk or flash drive. It installs on the hardware of your choice, and you can purchase a complete appliance that includes the hardware. The community edition is free. A professional or enterprise subscription, support, training and hardware appliances cost money. A subscription includes immediate access to patches, fixes, new releases, and varying levels of support, from immediately to next-business-day.
Vyatta claims superior performance for a fraction of the cost. The newest release supports 10 gigabyte Ethernet, has an improved command-line interface, better access controls, and better WAN load balancing. It still has its excellent graphical control panel, and all the usual goodies you get with Linux networking. Visit Vyatta for free downloads, pricing, and documentation.