Community support for open-source and why it's important
Hello, Community and happy winter holidays to all!
VyOS 1.2.9, the last routine GA release in the 1.2.x line. It may not be the last release in that line in general — if anyone finds an exploitable vulnerability, the team will make a security release to fix it, at least until the end of 2023. We are making the 1.2.9 images available free of charge to everyone starting from the new year. We are also grateful to all our customers and contributors who make the VyOS project possible.
For example, a crucial part of continuing support for the 1.2.x branch that is based on Debian Jessie is the Freexian ELTS project that keeps making security updates for Debian versions that reached their EOL and aren't maintained by the Debian project itself anymore.
We are committed to supporting VyOS 1.2.x until the end of 2023, so we have already paid the required fees. However, we aren't paying them just because it's cheaper than maintaining those packages ourselves — the Freexian project helps many organizations and people who need to keep old Debian installations secure, and we want to support their endeavor. Many of its members are also Debian developers, so helping them means supporting Debian itself.
We understand that the success of VyOS would be impossible without the upstream projects we build our functionality upon. That's why we donate over $5000 in total every month to projects such as FRR, WireGuard, and others via GitHub sponsorships and other ways. We also provide free subscriptions to organizations committed to making the world better and safer, such as nonprofits, educational institutions, first responders and more.
That said, we are immensely grateful to our customers who choose to support open-source networking and fund VyOS development by purchasing our subscriptions and services. Some choose to pay and fund us despite being eligible for free subscriptions. Access subscriptions, cloud usage, and support services allow us to move forward and contribute to upstream projects — thanks to everyone who makes this possible!
We are also glad to have amazing contributors from the community who work with us to implement new features and fix bugs, so we reward them too. When we started the VyOS project, our goal was to make a network OS that we wanted to use ourselves. Those contributors indeed share that goal — they choose to put in their effort because they need that functionality and want to see it in VyOS, and we are happy to share LTS images with them via contributor subscriptions.
For people who don't have programming skills or time for contributing code and testing, there's another way to contribute to VyOS, which has been there for years — donate on OpenCollective and receive access to the latest LTS images for personal use.
Even though it's been possible to donate for a long while, we still donate a lot more to other projects than we receive from our community. Back on Patreon, we'd also seen people make a pledge, download LTS images, and withdraw their pledge immediately. That is why we use limited membership slots on OpenCollective now (if you are considering a membership, hurry up — $40/month slots will run out eventually!).
One of the popular demands is to make old releases available at no cost. We believe for most people, a better way to get VyOS images free of charge is to download nightly builds or contribute to the project and get access to the latest LTS through a contributor subscription.
However, there are still a lot of VyOS 1.1.x installations around, and we know that some companies are using VyOS in their training and testing labs — a use case that requires a stable CLI and feature set. Suppose it helps keep those installations secure and functional and get more people into VyOS. In that case, we think the request for free old images is justified, so starting from the beginning of the new year, we will make VyOS 1.2.9 images available for download to everyone.
Stay tuned for updates!
Merry Christmas and happy new year!