Recommended pkgs for OpenWrt on X86

Can anyone suggest what OpenWrt pkgs to install when running it on a PC?

My aim is to use it as it as a fully functioning lightweight command line Linux box.

Have you considered just using Linux?

1 Like

it is, out of the box.

but it also depends on the definition of "fully functioning lightweight".

1 Like

Context is seriously missing. What do you want to do with your OpenWRT router beyond routing?

1 Like

If I run uname -a under OpenWrt, it says Linux, so I don't know how to identify 'just Linux'.

Out of the box you don't get blkid, lsblk, bash, cfdisk etc.

Download Linux |

1 Like

I'd like to have a version of Linux which occupies as little space as possible, but also gives me a good opportunity to understand networks and routing.

Well that certainly simplifies things!!!! A thousand distributions, each with it's own pkg management system. No thanks.

Linux is linux. Different distros package stuff slightly differently and have different philosophies. There is no "right" distro. You have to sample them and see what works for you.

Since you want networking and router, I would say use OpenWRT as it is built around these core tasks.

off topic
Arch Linux is my favorite as it packages software per upstream's guidance and empowers the end user to configure and to enable things. Beyond that, making your own packages or modifying distro packages is trivial as Arch has a very simple build and packing system. Package management is another dimension to consider. Arch has one of the best (pacman) IMO. Anyway, for me, Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora were not good fits. I liked Gentoo but wanted one with a binary repo.
/off topic

You can easily install these on a base OpenWRT.

1 Like

Well, you're pretty much exactly describing OpenWrt there. The utilities you mention (blkid, lsblk, bash et al) have nothing to do with networking, routing and so on, but only use space on a dedicated gateway device, router, switch or AP.

I have three x86 implementations running right now. My gateway device is an APU2e4 with release 22.03 code. It has extra packages installed like adblock, dsnmasq-full, ethtool, flashrom, ndptool, nmap, tcpdump and so on. OpenWrt's default BusyBox/ash is fine; my only creature comfort add-on is vim-full, as I can't tolerate minimal vim. The other x86s are experimental running snapshot code. One of them I'm using to tune up my snort installation to do IPS (intrusion prevention); the other has 2.5GbE NICs and is sort of a hardware test platform, so has not much "extra" software.

1 Like

Same as OpenWrt. Just install the packages you desire using the Firmware Selector.

Is there an actual use case, other than making your own custom firmware?

OpenWrt fully functions by default. As a long-time member of the community, you know this. Perhaps you can offer more details regarding your use case - in order to get more specific suggestions?

I know I can easily install these on base OpenWrt. That was the focus of my post. I was simply wanting suggestions as to what else I should install.

BTW I have tried using Arch Linux in the past, but invariably have a problem with some sort of keyring preventing access to some package. Not had that sort of problem installing OpenWrt pkgs so far.

Like everything else in life, it very much depends on what you want/need.

Basic routing and networking features (and even some advanced ones) are installed by default. There are more things you can do (like VPN, SIP/VOIP routing, OSPF, BGP and many many others)... it depends on what you wnat to learn/do (and also if you have the other required infrastcture/services to use).

I would suggest that you provide more specifics about what you want to learn and/or do, or if you have specific goals that you are trying to achieve. Otherwise, it's impossible to suggest packages that are relevant to you (for example, you could install Astrisk, but since it's a VOIP PBX phone system, you'd have no use for it unless you have a SIP service and multiple IP phones to serve).

...and at least if you're using the system for its intended purpose, as a border gateway,/ router, less is more. Install what you need/ want, not more -just im case, because someone suggested it- you want to retain a slim system to lessen your security exposure, the risk of unintentional misconfiguration and security bugs (what isn't installed, can't bite you when security vulnerabilities are discovered). Avoid the temptation of installing optional cruft, just because your x86_64 is fast and has CPU cycles to spare.