[1] Bifrost-what-is-FAQ

[1.1] What is bifrost?

[1.2] Who is it intended for?

[1.3] What it's not intended for?

[1.4] What are the objectives?

[1.5] Size and media of bifrost?

[1.6] What skill is needed?

[1.7] Basic functions?

[1.8] Ipv6 support?

[1.9] IP multicast routing?

[1.10] Supported routing protocols

[1.11] Extra packages?

[1.12] How do I contribute?

[1.13] Is it proven?

[1.14] Documentation and other resources?

[1.15] Open Source Alternatives to bifrost?

[1.16] Mailing list, community etc

[1.17] Commercial Bifrost support?

[1.18] Web interface?

[1.19] R & D

[1.20] Workshop and meetings face-to-face?  

[1.21] Recommended Hardware

[1.22] Installation

[1.23] Future work. Ideas/Plans

Bifrost 6.0 News

[1.25] Papers, References, Related work etc

[1.26] Major partners, contributors

[1.27] Sponsorship, support

What is bifrost?

It's a small straight forward open source Linux distribution aimed at infrastructure networking, it's highly specialized and tuned, with for a selection of chipsets, interface cards and other hardware. The distribution it also used in various R & D projects.  License is GPL.

Also the bifrost is used to name the human network and collaboration/development and other activities sprung out of the project.

Who is it intended for?

"Networking people"  with basic skills and interest in Linux/Unix needing a small flexible network- oriented distribution.

What it's not intended for?

It's not competing with nor a replacement for Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE etc. They are doing a good job and have other resources.

What are the objectives?

Hardware selection, software selection, performance tuning and extensive testing in both lab and in field installations. This is a very time-consuming process which requires access to HW, lab and competence. this done  in very a tight loop between developer and demanding production use.

Size and media of bifrost?

Right now it's targeted for USB-flash memory about 70 Mbytes (compressed) size and it can be decreased a bit. (Hint. Remove vmlinux if you don't need to profile)

What skill is needed?

Basically networking and Unix/Linux.

Basic functions?

Routing, firewalling, login services, traffic logging, testing and monitoring and should be easy to extend for new applications.

Ipv6 support?

Of course.

IP multicast routing?

No. Not for production use.

Supported routing protocols

BGP,  OSPF and of course static routes for ip4/ip6 via quagga.

Extra packages?

Yes some, quagga, netlogon utilities.

How do I contribute?

Join the bifrost list as a start.  Send "subscribe bifrost" in mailbody to

Is it proven?

It's been used in critical production for more ten years.

Documentation and other resources?

As bifrost consists of many different open source programs, Linux kernel, quagga etc which are well documented in the respective projects. Our intention is to refer and use this documentation. We should also mention recent work done by KTH masterstudents at CSD

See OSiAN reports:

The goal is to document specific features of the bifrost distro.

Some work at

Open Source Alternatives to bifrost?

Probably Vyatta at


Mailing list, community etc

About 100 people on the bifrost list. A varity of peolpe and organizations, universities and ISP's students etc.

Commercial Bifrost support?

We've heard of some startup companies addressing this area.

Web interface?

No. Linux/Unix interface now.

R & D

Throughout the years we've contributed in various areas. Some examples polling, later NAPI to achieve robustness with respect of packet load, routing statistics and monitoring, pktgen for easy and cheap testing. LC-trie routing lookup. 10 Gbit/s and multi-queue studies etc. Bifrost has been the first distribution to incorporate many new network features.

Workshop and meetings face-to-face?  

Yes twice a year in Sweden an informal work-shop. We discuss various topics in a very relaxed manner.

Recommended Hardware

This represents equipment which have "passed" our tests at some point of time. NOTE. This implies no guarantee whatsoever.


Future work. Ideas/Plans

Multi-queue/core router follow up. (Basic work is done and incorporated in Bifrost) Energy evaluation of forwarding/networking. Suitable HW for low and midrange. Router virtualization?

Bifrost 6.0 News

Papers, References, Related work etc

Papers below included in Linux-Kongress Hamburg 2008

IIS ( funding multiqueue project which is soon to presented.

Major partners, contributors

Uppsala Universitet.



To mention a few.

Sponsorship, support

We have got equipment funding or other support from:



SUN Microsystems