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Traffic Protocol Analyzer Wireshark Gets its Own Foundation

The popular open-source protocol analyzer Wireshark has a new permanent home in the form of the Wireshark Foundation, which should provide the means for its further, long-term evolution, says Sysdig, which took over as the project's main sponsor in 2022.

The importance of a tool like Wireshark cannot be underestimated, implies its creator and currently lead developer Gerald Combs, since "modern society runs on computer networks and those networks need to be reliable, fast, and secure".

The creation of the non-profit Wireshark Foundation responds to the goal of facilitating its further development, providing a "permanent home" to the Wireshark community, and hosting a developer and user conference, dubbed SharkFest. Additionally, as the Wireshark Foundation executive director Shari Najafi pointed out, the foundation also aims at educating its community of users about network analysis and troubleshooting.

Wireshark could have been donated to an existing foundation, such as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, but it was decided to create a new one to ensure the processes the Wireshark community established along the years could be preserved. On this topic, Sysdig CTO explained that:

"Moving Wireshark to a foundation guarantees that Gerald and the rest of the core developers own and operate Wireshark. The open source users can count on the fact that Wireshark will remain an important industry standard for a long time, and that its development will continue to be driven by the community."

Combs also stressed the role played by Sysdig in its effort to give support to security-oriented open-source tools, including Falco and a large set of eBPF libraries, both of which were donated to the CNCF.

"The Wireshark community and I look forward to investigating ways to extend Wireshark to address new challenges, including securing the Cloud."

With over 2,000 contributors and 60 million downloads in the last five years, Wireshark is one of the most popular protocol analyzers. Originally created in 1998 under the name of Ethereal by Gerald Combs and rebranded as Wireshark in 2006, it has had a number of different sponsors over the years, including CACE Technologies, Riverbed Technology, and lately Sysdig.

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