Back in 2008 while developing a home router at a DSL vendor, I couldn’t get an Ixia or Spirent traffic generator for my team. Having used these tools earlier, I was well aware of the value and productivity improvements they bring to network engineers, developers and testers. But the cost was (and still is) prohibitive.
So I did what any programmer would do - decide to write my own. It shouldn’t be too difficult or time-consuming, I thought (ha!). I came up with a minimum feature list and pitched the idea to my then manager, asking for 6-8 weeks to do the prototype. He liked the idea, but couldn’t give me more than 4 weeks. No dice.
But the idea refused to die in my head. I started hacking on it in my personal time - nights and weekends. By 2010, I felt I had enough to show the world, so I christened it Ostinato and released it as open-source with an announcement email to the Wireshark mailing list.
I’ve been humbled by the response. Since the initial release, Ostinato has logged hundreds of thousands of downloads. It’s been featured in lists of essential networking tools, on the Packet Pushers podcast and cited in several academic papers. An ever increasing community of network engineers, programmers and testers have benefited greatly from Ostinato as evidenced by the 4 stars feedback.
Working in my personal time, a slow but steady stream of bug fixes, improvements and new features have been added in the past 10 years. Ostinato is a passion project for me - something I choose to work on every evening and during weekends.
For the longest time, I kept Ostinato downloads free, since I feel very strongly that this is an essential tool for network engineers. But the success of the project has meant an increase in the personal time and money I need to spend on it - I’m the solo-founder-developer on the project. So since 2016, I’ve been experimenting with charging a token amount for binary downloads. This covers development and hosting costs, while I continue my day job to pay the bills.
So do I code all day and all night? Well mostly, but I also train for and run 10K and half marathons regularly, play the piano and guitar when inspiration strikes. You can follow me on my blog or on Twitter. I usually post about Ostinato, open-source, programming and the occasional cover song. For my professional bio, check out my LinkedIn.