I have been googling around and assume (based on my lack of findings) that this is a no-go for various reasons but, I would like to pose the question anyway.
Is there any alternative firmware for Cisco business class hardware? I am thinking about ISR's, Catalyst switches, etc... This gear can be picked up fairly easily after it is EOL and would make a nice platform for other firmware.
If there is not, can someone set my mind at ease by telling me why? My assumption is that there is some sort of hardware protection built in that will only run with keyed software but maybe I am wrong.