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XORP: eXtensible Open Router Platform
1. Overview
XORP is an open networking platform that supports OSPF, RIP, BGP,
OLSR, VRRP, PIM, IGMP (Multicast) and other routing protocols. Most protocols
support IPv4 and IPv6 where applicable. It is known to work on various
Linux distributions and flavors of BSD.
XORP started life as a project at the ICSI Center for Open Networking (ICON)
at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California,
USA, and spent some time with the team at XORP, Inc. It is now maintained
and improved on a volunteer basis by a core of long-term XORP developers
and some newer contributors.
XORP's primary goal is to be an open platform for networking protocol
implementations and an alternative to proprietary and closed networking
products in the marketplace today.
XORP design philosophy is:
* modularity
* extensibility
* performance
* robustness
This is achieved by carefully separating functionalities into
independent modules, and by providing an API for each module.
XORP divides into two subsystems. The higher-level ("user-level")
subsystem consists of the routing protocols. The lower-level ("kernel")
manages the forwarding path, and provides APIs for the higher-level to
User-level XORP uses multi-process architecture with one process per
routing protocol, and a novel inter-process communication mechanism
called XRL (XORP Resource Locator).
The lower-level subsystem can use traditional UNIX kernel forwarding, or
Click modular router. The modularity and independency of the lower-level
from the user-level subsystem allows for its easily replacement with
other solutions including high-end hardware-based forwarding engines.
For more information about XORP high-level design see the following
paper available from :
"XORP: An Open Platform for Network Research", HotNets-I 2002 Workshop.
2. Status
This is XORP Release 1.8.6-WIP
Supported platforms:
* DragonFlyBSD
* FreeBSD
* NetBSD
* OpenBSD
* Mac OS X ???
* Linux (x86-32, x86-64, Sparc)
* Windows (via mingw cross-compile)
See xorp/BUILD_NOTES for OS-specific details, compilation
information, etc.
Development platform:
* Linux and FreeBSD
Other platforms can also be used for development, perhaps with a bit
of effort. Ask on the xorp-hackers mailing list if your preferred
platform is not currently supported.
See xorp/ERRATA for the list of known problems.
Currently, XORP implements the following protocols:
* RIP and RIPng:
- RFC 2453 (RIP version 2)
- RFC 2082 (RIP-2 MD5 Authentication)
- RFC 2080 (RIPng for IPv6)
* BGP4:
- RFC 4271 (A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4))
- RFC 3392 (Capabilities Advertisement with BGP-4)
- RFC 4760 (Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4)
- RFC 2545 (Use of BGP-4 Multiprotocol Extensions for IPv6 Inter-Domain
- RFC 1997 (BGP Communities Attribute)
- RFC 2796 (BGP Route Reflection - An Alternative to Full Mesh IBGP)
- RFC 3065 (Autonomous System Confederations for BGP)
- RFC 2439 (BGP Route Flap Damping)
- RFC 4893 (BGP Support for Four-octet AS Number Space)
- RFC 1657 (Definitions of Managed Objects for the Fourth Version
of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP-4) using SMIv2)
* OSPFv2:
- RFC 2328 (OSPF Version 2)
- RFC 3101 (The OSPF Not-So-Stubby Area (NSSA) Option)
* OSPFv3:
- draft-ietf-ospf-ospfv3-update-14.txt (OSPF for IPv6)
- draft-ietf-pim-sm-v2-new-11.{ps,txt}
- draft-ietf-pim-sm-bsr-03.{ps,txt}
* IGMP v1, v2, and v3:
- RFC 2236 (Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 2)
- RFC 3376 (Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 3)
* MLD v1 and v2:
- RFC 2710 (Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) for IPv6)
- RFC 3810 (Multicast Listener Discovery Version 2 (MLDv2) for IPv6)
* VRRP v2:
- RFC 3768 (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP))
For description of the changes in each release, see ${XORP}/RELEASE_NOTES.
3. Compilation, configuration and startup
To compile XORP, you must have a recent version of scons and g++
compiler toolset installed.
cd xorp
scons install
For help on scons and available compile options:
scons --help
You may also wish to try this script to create a tar.gz install package:
In general, configuration and startup of the various XORP processes are
normally meant to happen via the router manager (rtrmgr), so please
refer first to the XORP online documentation linked from:
4. Code structure and documentation
The content of some important directories is listed below:
* xorp/bgp : BGP implementation.
* xorp/cli : CLI (Command-Line Interface) library.
It is used by the Router Manager (rtrmgr), and by some of the
multicast code (the multicast-specific part of fea, mld6igmp, pim).
* docs : XORP user documentation. Note that much of this is
now on the wiki linked from The latex based documentation
is deprecated.
* xorp/etc : Various XORP-related files (e.g., configuration, templates).
* xorp/fea : Forwarding Engine Abstraction.
The FEA implements the interface between XORP and the underlying
forwarding engine (e.g., the UNIX kernel). It is used both for
unicast and multicast. Note that the multicast-specific
documentation is in ${XORP}/docs/mfea.
* xorp/fib2mrib : Forwarding Information Base to the Multicast Routing
Information Base route propagator.
It uses the FEA to obtain the FIB information from the underlying
system, and propagates it to the MRIB, so it can be used by
multicast routing protocols such as PIM-SM. Typically, it is needed
only if the unicast routing protocols run within XORP do not inject
routes in the MRIB.
* xorp/libcomm : Communication socket library.
* xorp/libfeaclient : Library that is useful to clients of the FEA.
* xorp/libproto : Abstract protocol library.
Used by the following modules/directories: cli, fea, mld6igmp, ospf,
* xorp/libxipc : XRL (XORP Resource Locator) library and XRL-related
* xorp/libxorp : XORP library that contains various basic
functionalities such as IP addresses, IP subnets, etc.
* xorp/mld6igmp : Multicast Listen Discovery/Internet Group Management
Protocol (MLD/IGMP) implementation.
* xorp/mrt : Various multicast-related code.
Used by the following modules/directories: fea, mld6igmp, pim.
* xorp/ospf : Open Shortest Path First implementation.
* xorp/policy : Policy-related library.
* xorp/pim : Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM-SM)
* xorp/rib : Routing Information Base.
It is used to store the routing information from various protocols.
* xorp/rip: Routing Information Protocol implementation.
* xorp/rtrmgr : Router Manager.
It is used to manage and configure all XORP components.
* xorp/static_routes : Static routes management.
It is used to configure static routes.
* xorp/vrrp : Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol implementation.
* xorp/xrl : XRL (XORP Resource Locator) interface.
The directories listed below contain third-party contributed code which
is distributed with each XORP source release:
* xorp/contrib : various contributed code.
* olsr : RFC 3626 Optimized Link State Routing implementation.
Generously funded by CenGen, Inc. (Does not compile in 1.7,
but will work in 1.8)
* mld6igmp_lite : Implementation of the Lightweight IGMPv3/MLDv2
- draft-ietf-mboned-lightweight-igmpv3-mldv2-02.txt
The directories listed below contain various information that are of
limited interest, or are not relevant to the current release:
* devnotes : various notes for the XORP core members.
* utils : Various XORP-related utilities.
5. Authors & Contributors
* Ben Greear (Current Project Manager)
* Pierre Lepropre (Documentation)
The old core team consisted of:
* Fred Bauer
* Andrea Bittau
* Javier Cardona
* Atanu Ghosh
* Adam Greenhalgh
* Mark Handley
* Orion Hodson
* Eddie Kohler
* Pavlin Radoslavov
* Luigi Rizzo
* Bruce M. Simpson
* Marko Zec
6. Acknowledgments
* Sponsors (in chronological order, oldest first):
- AT&T funding (through ICIR)
- Intel Corporation
- NSF grant (ANI-0129541).
The following acknowledgment and disclaimer applies for the NSF
This material is based upon work supported by the National
Science Foundation under Grant No. 0129541.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
- Microsoft
- Vyatta
- CenGen
- Candela Technologies (Sponsors Ben Greear)
- RUN at University of Liege (hosts & supports the documentation wiki)
* Martin C. Shepherd for the libtecla library (used by the CLI).
8. Additional information
* WWW:
* Source code and binary distribution access:
* XORP Bugzilla database and bug reports:
* XORP users mailing list:
This list is for general XORP discussion.
To subscribe, send email to with
the word "subscribe" (no quotes!) in the subject or the body
of the email. For more subscription options, send the command
"help" instead, or use the following URL:
* XORP hackers mailing list:
This list is for XORP development discussion.
To subscribe, send email to with
the word "subscribe" (no quotes!) in the subject or the body
of the email. For more subscription options, send the command
"help" instead, or use the following URL: