It was the first time CZ.NIC has participated at such a big fair and the decision was last moment one. We wanted to find partners and introduce the router to public. Turris Omnia is on the market for several months but seems to interest only linux geeks. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise that the public at CeBit really liked it.
Their first question was inspired by the slogan of our stand: “Why is this router open-source? What is it for?” Good question. Why should a router be “open source? First of all, because of you can be sure that it does what it is supposed to do. Transfer data where it is supposed to transfer to. That there are no backdoors or spies. You can be less and less sure of this when it comes to closed-source programs. Turris source codes are freely available and if you cannot study those, a lot of people had already studied those. Open source means security, not only for the open source fans but also for normal users.
Openness of the router is not only a security issue, but also usefulness and scalability. The visitors to our stand appreciated that they can install their own software to our router and utilize relatively powerful and still size- and energy-economical hardware instead of the usual server. We have encountered lots of demands to connect the company branch offices with ultra-fast VPN which Turris can do very well. We also heard some very eccentric demands, such as possibility to install a multimedia portal for an onboard aircraft system or being able to take over the irrigation system which used to run on the dedicated server. It is not about the specific demands, but about the possibility to use Turris for different uses, in general. That was what the visitors of our stand needed, system integrators, companies managing the networks or company systems.
Security of the router was really big hit and subject of big interest, especially the system of adaptive community firewall when all the Turisses in realtime collect the data about attacks, analyze them, in real time implement security measures against them. We do realize this is the most powerful weapon against so far unknown threats and we want to enhance it with detection of threats and problems in inside network (LAN). Not only companies but also knowledgeable users realize the importance of security and regular updates of routers. Companies find the bigger price of Turris routers a negligible additional security charge when compared to the benefits.
We also were intrigued how companies from different regions have seen the benefits. We had a lot of visitors from India because open software is very much in demand in India, because of the fear of espionage and backdoors. North African companies needed smaller and compact “server” for a good price which takes care of most of the functions including the routing and which will be owned at the customer’s place including the services. Scandinavian companies needed to service a gigabyte optical connection and Germans needed the maximal possible security and looked for DSL (which makes us sure we need to implement it). Chinese asked about everything and took very detailed photos of the motherboard of our router.
We enjoyed meeting lots of Linux fans and journalist which came to talk on purpose or just found us when wandering in CeBIT. They were interested mostly in integration of data sharing NextCloud which we are already preparing and currently introduced plugin for easier configuration of OpenVPN.
And how did we like it? Very much. We loved to participate and this fair has brought us a lots of contact we will try to enhance. It also deepened our confidence in the approach that security, privacy, and openness are not lonely and empty concepts. On the contrary – there is growing number of customers that look for secure solutions. We also are more and more sure that people are willing to help in fight for bigger security by participating in data gathering and sharing processor time of their routers. Users even called us upon some gamification of this data gathering and their contribution to the security threats detection. It gave us food for thought… We have an inspiration for next CeBIT.
And we are going to be at the MUM 2017 conference in Milano (30rd and 31st of March) and other interesting conference. If you have some interesting IT fair and you want to see Turris there, write me!