VyOS Project 2019 December Update
Posted 24 Dec, 2019 by Daniil Baturin
It's almost winter holidays time already! It's been a great year for VyOS, with many big improvements in the code, and more community contributions to the code and the documentation than ever.
There are some big changes coming too, including:
- Rolling release builds based on Debian Buster
- New, clearer subscription structure and pricing for corporate users.
- New ways for community members to support the project on Patreon and buymeacoffee.com and get access to LTS images and a community support forum in exchange.
- An official list of compatible devices to make it easier to choose hardware to run VyOS on.
For details, read on.
VyOS rolling release, now based on Debian(10) Buster
For a long while, the rolling release builds were based on Debian Jessie, even though the development of a Buster-based version has been going on in the Equuleus branch, and those builds were pretty stable as of late.
Now it’s time for a switchover. VyOS rolling release builds are being switched to the Equuleus branch and Debian Buster for the base system. Jessie has reached the end of life, and we cannot keep updating it forever, so the 1.3.x LTS releases will be based on Buster. It’s important that the new platform receives community testing before the code is frozen.
If you experience any build issues or bugs in the nightly builds, let us know in slack or phabricator!
When the builds are verified to work fine, we will merge the Equuleus branch into current, and the only Jessie-based branch will be 1.2.x/Crux. Then, when Crux reaches its EOL, we’ll phase out Jessie build infrastructure completely (though we’ll keep snapshots of the repositories for the history).
If you need a Jessie-based rolling release image, we’ve made a snapshot of the last version before the switchover and you can find it at https://downloads.vyos.io/snapshot/vyos-1.2-snapshot-2019Q4-amd64.iso
Introduction of VyOS Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)
For a long time, we’ve been practicing a very informal approach to the hardware support issue. The usual hardware recommendation is “any reasonably recent server” when performance is a concern and “any x86 box” when it’s not.
There are few systems where VyOS outright fails to work, so this approach can be seen as justified. However, if you are planning a large deployment and need a knowingly working box, ideally with known performance data, it’s not very helpful.
It’s time to compile a proper HCL. Let’s make it clear: the sole purpose of the HCL is to make it easier to choose hardware to run VyOS on.
We are not going to stop fixing hardware compatibility issues and tell anyone to buy a device from the HCL instead. If VyOS doesn’t work on your hardware, we’ll do our best to fix it. We will support VyOS on the hardware of customer choice.
Of course, we will need your assistance to compile a hardware compatibility list. At first, we’ll make a form that you can fill in. Later we’re planning to make that process more automated so that you can run a script on your system and send us the output. The final goal is to have a good list of reference devices validated officially and by community
We will make additional hardware support statements with details about each platform that we plan to support.
New subscriptions structure and pricing starting from January
Our existing subscription model turned out pretty confusing for many people, especially the relationship between image access and support subscriptions. Its biggest issue is that it conflates LTS image access with support and makes it impossible to get images without support.
Now we are working to restructure it to make it clearer. We are still finalizing the details, so stay tuned for an update.
For enterprise users, there will be support subscriptions priced depending on the number of routers and required SLAs, an unlimited option will also be available as a successor of Corp access subscription. We are still finalizing the details, so stay tuned for an update closer to the end of the year and hurry up if you plan to acquire one of the current subscriptions. Generic LTS image access will be bundled with all subscriptions, though platform-specific images will be reserved for higher support levels.
Note that, as usual, all pricing changes we make only affect new customers. If you already have a subscription, you can renew it for the original price, and your service level stays the same as before.
Great ways to support the project and community
VyOS users fall into two distinct categories. On the one hand, there are enterprise and service provider users who need support first of all. On the other hand, there are network geeks and small companies that are happy with community support channels and don’t want to pay for support or can’t afford it.
At the same time, support is the biggest part of the current subscription price. Support doesn’t scale infinitely, if you want to fulfill your SLAs in a meaningful way, you can only get that many support customers per one support engineer. We set out to provide “droid-free support” where the stated time to response means time to a helpful response. That means customers get better support, but we can’t make it cheaper.
Until recently, the only alternative to buying a subscription that includes both LTS image access and support was to build the image yourself or contribute to the project and get a free subscription (or use rolling release images instead). While the codebase and the docs got much easier to contribute to, we know many people just don’t have time for it. Access to LTS images by itself does scale infinitely though, so by offering it without any support SLA, we can make it affordable.
All money collected will be used towards projects that help the community, like Web UI development, documentation, videos, and text training courses and so on.