Advertising and selling routers with OpenWrt/LEDE installed

I would like to see a royalty, or licensing fee paid to the project for every router advertised and sold commercially with OpenWrt/LEDE installed as the default firmware.

Win-win for both the seller and the project.

Currently, the project gets nothing, while being used as a selling point to make money for someone else.

I sell routers with LEDE commercially.

  1. I am not a lawyer, but I don't think an open source project developed by non-compensated volunteers can charge "licensing fee" or expect "royalties". Should linux kernel developers expect "royalties"?
  2. Donations seem a great way forward. Since the day I started I was looking for convenient ways to support the LEDE community. Before the merge, LEDE was not accepting donations. I can see the donation link on the SPI web site now, but tbh it seems a bit dated and until I am sure that the donation account is transferred to "new OpenWRT" community, including LEDE developers, I would hesitate to use it.
  3. I am a small-scale eBay seller, and flashing/selling routers is not my main job. I would more likely donate if LEDE or SPI registers in the list of eBay charities. This would enable me (and hopefully other sellers) to automatically donate 10-100% of income to the cause. This will also send a message to all users that LEDE/OpenWRT needs their donations to make the firmware even better.
  4. The idea of @drbrains to offer sellers to advertise their product on openWRT website is a great one. I would definitely consider doing this for a reasonable fee.
  5. Answering @jwoods, in my opinion, even if the project is not monetary compensated, it still gets something very important with each router sold: new users. There are a plenty of potential users for whom the complexity of flashing their first router is a real barrier. By providing an opportunity to purchase their first (non-expensive) router pre-flashed with LEDE, flashers/sellers invite them to join the LEDE community. Some of those users eventually will become donators, contributors and developers.

Thank you.

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Donations, Royalties and Licences are not for the developers and never have been.
That is why they are managed by SPI.
They are to fund resources of the project(s)

How would your customers rate you as a seller if OpenWrt downloads of updates always failed because of lack of resources.

The important thing is in the trademark policy, you are obliged to declare what donations/ or lack of you are making to the project when you sell product using the OpenWrt trademark. At least that way buyers can choose to buy from a seller that is supporting the project, Or make their own donations.

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This is not correct as of now. The trademark policy says:

You can also make merchandise with OpenWrt trademarks for commercial usage. In case of commercial usage, we recommend that you truthfully advertise to customers which part of the selling price, if any, will be donated to the OpenWrt project. See our donations page for more information on how to donate to the OpenWrt project.

That is exactly what I said.

Truthfully means:

  1. If you are making donations, great tell your customer how much so they know.
  2. If you are not, be truthful and tell your customer that you are not.

You are not obliged to be make donations, but you are obliged / recommended

to tell how much you are donating.

My first language is not English, but I feel a strong difference between what "obliged" and "recommended" mean.


you are correct.

But that just means the lawyers wont chase you.

However as a business been truthful will be better for you in the long run by gaining customers trust.

I agree completely. A I said, the ideal solution for me would be if SPI registered as a recognised organisation on eBay charities list. This would enable me to donate automatically from each sale. This will also reduce my selling fees and assure my customers that I really donate the declared amount, not just say it.

Have you already approached SPI with this proposal?

To be honest, I did not. I understand that SPI supported the "old OpenWRT" before the merge. I was not certain if the "new OpenWRT" which includes LEDE, benefits from the donation. I tried to find some reference to the donation page on the new OpenWRT website and so far I found nothing, so the association of new OpenWRT with ISP is not quite clear for me now. I would appreciate some clarification of this, perhaps in a form of a "Donate" link on the front page. So far I could not find it, maybe for a lack of trying.

@savostyanov, very honourable you're trying to make donations to the project. I agree SPI could be a charity on eBay, but not every customer will consider the OpenWrt Project is worth charitable status; real world, they may not want to pay extra for something that's already "a free download on the internet?" I assume you're a small volume seller, but how many large volume Chinese sellers on AliExpress are going to co-operate? One, none, many?

On this theme, when drilling the menus on my Samsung and Panasonic TVs, or my Humax and Vestel sourced PVRs, there are GPL licenses covering the open sourced components of the Busybox Kernel. Hence this $64K question, did these large corporations ever pay a dime to these projects? And would they be as generous if their products had Lede Inside?

:boom: Just how heavily is the open source community subsidising the global software industry?

One perspective...

Just as one example, it would be hard to find any device anywhere that offers a wifi AP function which has something other than hostapd running it.

Somewhat on subject,

CompexWRT is an Operating Systems designed for Compex brand of reliable and powerful embedded boards. It combines OpenWRT with the most advanced and updated Qualcomm Atheros wireless drivers. CompexWRT also includes a user-friendly LuCI web interface for configuring the router. OpenWRT is an extensible GNU/Linux distribution for embedded devices. It is built from the ground up to be a full-featured, easily modifiable operating system. It is powered by a Linux kernel that's more recent than most other distributions. The latest stable version of OpenWRT, 12.09 Attitude Adjustment, is used in CompexWRT. LuCI is a free, clean, extensible and easily maintainable web user interface for embedded devices. It has high performance, small installation size, fast runtimes, and good maintainability.

I don't know that I'd consider 12.09 "The latest stable version" but at least it gives hope that their cards are supported.

If someone can find the source-code links, I'd appreciate it!


They are using Qualcomms QSDK.
Thats pretty much it,that is why it is stuck at 12.09

They (Compex) use old version... new QSDK releases are based on more up to date kernel/LEDE/OpenWrt.

I was thinking about a different approach. When browsing Aliexpress, ZBT advertises that it will manufacture custom routers with orders of 500+. Firmware, logos, chipsets (qualcomm, mediatek) can be specified. It may be possible to start a project that would generate income for OpenWrt by providing a well-supported, no-hassel router.

It is better if entrepreneurs do their thing and make donations from their profit etc than volunteers trying to pretend to be entrepreneurs.


I'm currently looking at the GPL'd source for a Trendnet TEW-827DRU V2.0 It is OpenWrt (circa Kernel 3.10) based. Another recent post on a Comfast CF-WR617AC

I tried looking for a GPL'd source and only search hits described Comfast's failure to provide code. I looked at the OpenWrt donation page and did not find a list of corporate donors. Me thinks corporate donations are wishful thinking.

It is also telling to look at the posts regarding porting devices that come with OpenWrt/LEDE.

Personally, I trust the technical expertise of the project over any "entrepreneur".

You know the "etc" part might be they are contributing code back to the project.