Wireshark Has a New Home

By now you may have seen the press release and announcement about the purchase of CACE Technologies (my as-of-three-and-a-half-seconds-ago former employer) by Riverbed Technology (my new employer). In the announcement to the wireshark-users and wireshark-dev mailing lists I mentioned Riverbed’s commitment to the Wireshark community. I’d like to expand on that a bit.

Wireshark is more than a protocol analyzer. It is the foundation for relationships between several groups of people: the user community, the developer community, Wireshark University (driven by Laura Chappell), and CACE Technologies. Each one is an important part of Wireshark as a whole. We often referred to it as “the ecosystem” at CACE. It is an honor to be a part of it.

The important, wonderful, and rare thing about the ecosystem is that it benefits everyone involved. You can see this in action on Wireshark’s mailing lists, Laura’s seminars, and at SHARKFEST. It’s something that we worked hard to foster at CACE. What’s even better is that with Riverbed this commitment doesn’t change. Everyone I’ve talked to at Riverbed, from the CEO and CTO on down is committed to Wireshark and to its community. They realize we have a good thing going and they want to keep it that way.

On a personal level this has been an incredible journey so far. Every day I get to work with the amazing people on the Wireshark development team and at CACE. I also get to interact with the amazing people who make up the Wireshark community. For that I am grateful and I look forward to helping the ecosystem grow and evolve in the coming years.

18 thoughts on “Wireshark Has a New Home

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Sniff free or die » Wireshark Has a New Home -- Topsy.com

  2. Chrisliom

    At the moment we will not see any change but slowli we will see a dramatic change. Riverbed is a company on the stock exchange and the only purpose of this guys is to make as much money as possible. In the bigining they are always nice but ….. I take a bet this will happen and we will see a commercial wireshark soon

  3. Brian

    I agree with Chrisliom. Riverbed’s purpose is to make money. Why is a WAN optimization company interested in Wireshark? Watch out for the commercial wireshark.

  4. Frankie J.

    why would they want to make a commercial shark? what good does it do to add yet another analyzer appliance in the market? if we are talking about integration, doesn’t riverbed already have these application & protocol awareness in their products? How much more can either scenario really add to the top line?

  5. Gerald Combs Post author

    @Frankie is correct. Wireshark is the product of brilliant people in many different domains of expertise. Taking it commercial would a) require copyright reassignments from ~700 people and b) destroy the magic that makes it work.

    CACE Technologies’ business model focused on building great products that complemented Wireshark and WinPcap. The model works, and works well. Those products happen to complement Riverbed’s. That’s why they bought us.

  6. Karol

    Riverbed’s CEO created tcpdump. He’s had his eyes on wireshark for a while now. Let’s see what happens.

  7. Guy Harris

    Note that Wireshark is GPLed, which makes it difficult to make a “commercial version” in the sense of a closed-source version.

    (Slight correction to Karol – Steve McCanne, the co-creator of tcpdump with Van Jacobson, is the CTO, not the CEO.)

  8. jeff

    Last year Riverbed acquired Mazu Networks – re-branded as Cascade and has a done a great job in integrating it and providing resources to it. Cascade is doing really well and killing it in the market …. with the addition of Wireshark capabilities that product will rock. From flow to packet all in one …. sweetness.

  9. clyde in ohio

    i love wireshark. add this to Cascade asap and we are all set. i am a riverbed steelhead customer and had no idea what cascade was until they introduced me to it. i use it all the time for troubleshooting and security.

  10. Chrisliom

    @Gerald i think CACE was a good idea it was small good working company, now you are a small group in a very big organisation. In the past you know who is the owner you can talk to a person now you had to talk to inverstors and they dont take care about the cummunity the are interested only on return on investment, and they want 20 % profit at least. I saw many of this storys in the past years. I know riverbed is different :-) everone told me this in the beginning. This is a pond with sharks i hope wireshark will be survive.

  11. Huston

    Last time I checked Riverbed does not do charity work, so for Gerald to say things are not going to change is simply trying to ignore the fact that he sold out. In the long term you’ll see the cost increase go up on Wireshark as well.

  12. Gerald Combs Post author

    @Huston Riverbed does in fact do charity work: http://www.riverbed.com/us/company/reach_out/ However, that’s outside the scope of this discussion. Wireshark isn’t a charity and shouldn’t be characterized as such.

    What are you paying for Wireshark now? Why do you expect that cost to increase? What if we have a sound business model that involves keeping Wireshark strong, open, and free-as-in-both-speech-and-beer?

  13. Jesper

    I’ve never visited wireshark’s website until now and frankly I’m quite surprised to see it. It struck me as very commercial and seeing terms like “business model” only increases that feeling.

    As it’s only really a transition from one company to another I guess I shouldn’t say much. Already the old company seemed to offer a lot of solutions around Wireshark. I can’t help but think that this only weakens Wireshark itself as if these tools complement and in some ways address shortcomings of Wireshark itself, there will be little motive to ever improve the application in those areas for fear of eating away one’s own market.

    Gerald:
    A question, these companies seem intent on running Wireshark on windows and have gone to great lengths making it so (winpcap comes to mind) – is the emphasis on Windows or is the application still every bit as strong on Linux ?

  14. Guy Harris

    For all those who worry about a commercialized Wireshark, I have only one word:

    fork

    As I said over a month ago:

    Note that Wireshark is GPLed, which makes it difficult to make a “commercial version” in the sense of a closed-source version.

    And as for the “cost increase [going] up on Wireshark”, one could, with 100% certainty, predict all of the following:

    the cost of Wireshark will go up 50%;

    the cost of Wireshark will go up 100%;

    the cost of Wireshark will go up 1000%;

    the cost of Wireshark will remain the same;

    the cost of Wireshark will go down 50%;

    the cost of Wireshark will go down 100%;

    the cost of Wireshark will go down 1000%;

    as, given the *current* cost of Wireshark, all those statements say the same thing. :-)

    And, again, if somebody charges money for it – fork. Read the GPL.

  15. Guy Harris

    “I can’t help but think that this only weakens Wireshark itself as if these tools complement and in some ways address shortcomings of Wireshark itself, there will be little motive to ever improve the application in those areas for fear of eating away one’s own market.”

    The majority of the members of the Wireshark core team do *not* work for Riverbed, and do *not* have any inherent incentive to avoid adding extensions to Wireshark that might take away the market for enhancements from Riverbed.

    “A question, these companies seem intent on running Wireshark on windows and have gone to great lengths making it so (winpcap comes to mind) – is the emphasis on Windows or is the application still every bit as strong on Linux ?”

    Wireshark is more “native” to Linux (or other UN*X+X11 platforms) than it is to Windows. Many of the developers work primarily on non-Windows platforms (including a platform where Wireshark looks more “non-native” than it does on Windows, the fact that the platform is a UNIX(R) nonwithstanding). Windows has a plethora of packet-capture applications; UN*X+X11, and that other UNIX platform, don’t have so many, so the Wireshark developers not working on Windows have more of an incentive to keep Wireshark working.

    WinPcap exists because Windows, unlike most modern UN*Xes, lacks a packet capture mechanism atop which libpcap can run; many of those UN*Xes, including most Linux distributions (and, again, the aforementioned other UNIX platform), ship with libpcap. I’m not even sure WinPcap was developed for Wireshark – it was an academic project at the Politecnico di Torino, which happened to be a convenient tool for porting Wireshark *from* UN*X to Windows.

  16. Greg Davis

    So, what’s so wrong with making money. I hope that this culture you describe, which sounds amazing, can be maintained and still have a profit motive that is equal to your motives for a great work environment (ecosys) and that is conducive to a pleasant and rewarding experience that you folks seem to have had so far.

    I am a new user and find the application quite neat on the front-end and I came to your site seeking further documentation on its use.

    Here’s hoping that you have a great experience with your new owners and that there will be a sort of symbiosis (to remain consistent with your theme) whereby the ecosystem(s) turn the whole place into an even bigger, better (and even more profitable) paradise of prosperity, inner-peace and quality production !

    (Like I said, the software really looks great in my initial trials, and I’m looking forward to digging in deeper).

    Oh, and as to the motive for improving software – what better motive can one have than prosperity? The better the software gets, the bigger the profits and the more “well-off” is everyone, most especially your customers.

    Remember now W. Edwards Deming and his rule (the only one I remember) “adopt the new paradigm”…in a constant state of chaos and change, it is the very best rule one can apply; (until, that is, someone can get some sense and join the rest of we mugwamps who believe in not changing a good thing when it is working).

    Best Regards,

    -Greg

    PS – I’ve been a technical writer for some twenty years now and have spent a large portion of the time documenting software and data-collection systems.

  17. Scott

    There’s in interesting precedent in the open source market to monetize user communities. I suspect that Riverbed will be moving in this same direction in leveraging the Shark users.

Comments are closed.