Topic: History of OpenWrt

I'm going to be giving a presentation on Open Source Routers and OpenWrt at Penguicon.

I have a few questions about the history of OpenWrt:

- When was the project started?

- What code base as it started from? The linksys base? Sveasoft?

- Does OpenWrt predate dd-wrt?

- Any other information on the history of openwrt, a timeline of open source routers, really anything on the subject I can get my hands on, would be greatly appreciated.

Once I have given the presentation, I'll link it up here.

If you're attending penguicon, I'll be speaking on Friday night.

Re: History of OpenWrt

Bartman007 on irc pointed out this page, that has most of the information I'm looking for.

http://wiki.openwrt.org/OpenWrtDocs/About

Thanks a lot Bartman!

Re: History of OpenWrt

Here is my timeline of the evolution of the router scene and openwrt, any additional information would be very very welcome. The > points are additions after a discussion with mbm on irc.

Router Timeline

2003

    * Linksys releases the WRT54G

> seattlewireless.net / #wrt54g people start hacking on the firmware

NOTE: Are there any other actual releases around this time frame, based on what would become openwrt?

    * Andrew Miklas figures out that the WRT54G is running linux
    * Community pressure leads linksys to release the source code, as per the terms of the GPL
    * A number of different open firmware projects appear

2005

    * Linksys releases the WRT54G v5, and migrates the platform to vxworks
    * It's impossible to run linux on this hardware, or so it appears...
    * Linksys releases the WRT54GL, which is basically the old WRT54G v4
    * Openwrt micro is released, at a sub 2Mb size

2006

    * dd-wrt micro is released, at a 1.7Mb size, but requires installation via a JTAG interface
    * Software only method found by Jeremy "db90h" Collake to replace vxworks firmware with linux


OpenWRT timeline:

> Has its origins in the community surrounding #wrt54g on freenode
> started with mbm, groz
> First public release was b1, some time around Dec 2k3

    * Move to openwrt.org in January 2004

    * Rebuilt from the ground up, only bringing in the bare minimum components from the linksys tarball

    * Firmly Dedicated to the principals of open source development
    * Allows the most customisation, doesn't presume to know what you'll be trying to do
    * The "One Ring" of Open Source Router Firmwares
    * I'm not exactly what you'd call an impartial source, and this is a presentation on OpenWRT

4 (edited by johnf 2007-04-07 15:33:11)

Re: History of OpenWrt

There's an extensive conversation on the history of openwrt that can be found in this irc log:

Search for the string "do you know which distro was the first to release a micro" to find the start of the conversation

http://openwrt.org/logs/openwrt.log.20070407

EDIT: Wrong log linked, added search reference

Re: History of OpenWrt

Here's a somewhat cleaned up version of the irc log:

[01:43] <johnf1911> 'nother history question
[01:43] <johnf1911> anyone know when openwrt micro was first released?
[01:44] <johnf1911> did it predate dd-wrt micro, did it predate Jeremy Collake vxworks_killer hack?
[01:50] <Bartman007> johnf1911: I'm fairly sure it predated db90h's vxkiller
[02:21] <APNIC> Are you building anything fun?
[02:21] <johnf1911> I'm working on this presentation on OpenWRT actually
[02:22] <APNIC> Oh nice, what for?
[02:24] <sbingner> APNIC, stop trolling for conversation tongue
[02:24] <APNIC> heh I can't help it..
[02:24] <sbingner> what's up with your nick btw... Asia Pacific NIC?
[02:25] <APNIC> Oh nothing much
[02:25] <johnf1911> I'll be doing a presentation on open source routers and openwrt at penguicon
[02:28] <sbingner> penguicon, lol

[14:16] <johnf1911> [mbm]: do you know which distro was the first to release a micro image; I belive that openwrt had one first in RC4, that was prior to the release of db90h vxworks killer, correct?
[14:17] <[mbm]> johnf1911: probably, we had patches for the 2M wap54g's even before the micro images
[14:17] <[mbm]> johnf1911: although even now none of the openwrt devs will even piss on a 2M router
[14:17] <[mbm]> just isn't worth the time
[14:17] <johnf1911> I hear you
[14:18] <johnf1911> I bought one to try it out
[14:18] <johnf1911> I have, er, a lot of routers smile
[14:18] <[mbm]> johnf1911: well, send in patches, although I'm not sure how well recieved they'll be
[14:18] <johnf1911> [mbm]: forgive me, patches for what?

[14:19] <johnf1911> I'm the guy who made that history of openwrt post
[14:20] <johnf1911> I'm just trying to figure out the history of routers
[14:21] <[mbm]> hmm must have missed that post
[14:21] <[mbm]> http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=10221
[14:21] <[mbm]> found it
[14:21] <[mbm]> openwrt predates even sveasoft
[14:22] <johnf1911> hmm, really?
[14:22] <johnf1911> I thought it was jan 2004
[14:22] <[mbm]> there used to be a site called seattlewireless.net
[14:22] <johnf1911> I should post my "timeline"
[14:22] <johnf1911> yes, I remember it
[14:22] <[mbm]> and on that page was a wrt54g page
[14:22] <[mbm]> that's what started the whole mess
[14:22] <[mbm]> the hacking efforts posted on that wiki caused a stir and eventually there was a #wrt54g channel here
[14:23] <Kaloz> morning
[14:23] <[mbm]> we have logs going back to 2004 but the project started even earlier than that
[14:24] <johnf1911> I saw that
[14:24] <[mbm]> it started with a hacked up linksys tarball to fix several gaping holes
[14:24] <johnf1911> I had done some research (mainly site:slashdot.org) in google
[14:24] <johnf1911> and I had thought that dd-wrt was started from sveasoft in dec of 2k3
[14:24] <[mbm]> well, that's when we moved to openwrt.org
[14:24] <johnf1911> and openwrt started in january 2k4
[14:25] <[mbm]> it was openwrt.ksilebo.net before that
[14:25] <[mbm]> and before that the images were up on my home directory on alt.org
[14:26] <johnf1911> hmm
[14:26] <johnf1911> so when was the first openwrt image released?
[14:26] <[mbm]> damned if I can remember
[14:26] <johnf1911> alt.org/~mbm or ?
[14:26] <[mbm]> would have been somewhere under alt.org/mbm, although it was never really announced outside of the irc channel
[14:27] <johnf1911> curses, alt.org/mbm isn't on the wayback machine
[14:27] <johnf1911> oh, that fits, waybakc only archives whta it can find
[14:27] <[mbm]> next time I'm on that machine I'll poke around and see if I can find some of the early images
[14:27] <johnf1911> if you could tell me when it really started
[14:28] <johnf1911> I'd really appreciate it
[14:28] <[mbm]> it was also registered on sourceforge at one point
[14:28] <johnf1911> especially if it's actuall before sveasoft
[14:28] <johnf1911> yes, I found that trace
[14:28] <[mbm]> although hosting policies prevented us from actually using that since we aren't strict gpl
[14:28] <johnf1911> however, I was unable to ascertain when it was registered there
[14:29] <johnf1911> the openwrt entry on freshmeat is from 2k5
[14:30] <[mbm]> well, the sf.net site was registered january 2004 according to the logs
[14:30] <johnf1911> yeah, the about page that Bartman007 linked me too yesterday suggests that it started in jan 2k4
[14:31] <johnf1911> http://wiki.openwrt.org/OpenWrtDocs/About
[14:31] <johnf1911> that's the page, and it talks about the project starting in jan 2k4, so yeah, I'd love to know more about the time before that
[14:31] <johnf1911> I believe you were the first developer / project founder / whatever ?
[14:31] <[mbm]> well, that's when it became official
[14:31] <[mbm]> started with myself and groz in #wrt54g
[14:32] <[mbm]> back then we didn't know about the boot_wait variable
[14:32] <[mbm]> so reflashing it was always a risky process
[14:32] <[mbm]> groz was usually the ginea pig for that
[14:32] <johnf1911> lol
[14:32] <[mbm]> but he also helped lead the project in the early days
[14:32] <johnf1911> was that pre-JTAG?
[14:33] <[mbm]> that was pre-everything for all practical purposes
[14:33] <[mbm]> even before linksys released the gpl sources
[14:33] <[mbm]> we were hacking the binary image
[14:33] <johnf1911> !!!
[14:33] <johnf1911> what was the project called then, assuming it had a name
[14:34] <[mbm]> I remember one particular instance some time later where I had been working on the mtd code; it booted fine and I ran the mtd util to reflash via the commandline .. it didn't come back
[14:34] <[mbm]> I didn't have a serial port to debug it
[14:34] <[mbm]> so I mentioned it to groz
[14:34] <[mbm]> he tried the same thing, his router bricked
[14:35] <johnf1911> ouch
[14:35] <johnf1911> I guess invalidating the flash wasn't a technique back then either
[14:35] <[mbm]> about 15 minutes later I noticed that we'd both overwritten pmon (the original bootlaoder) with a firmware
[14:35] <[mbm]> meaning that you couldn't even bring it back by shorting the flash pins
[14:36] <johnf1911> oh, true
[14:36] <LLcoolM> [mbm]: thats what jtag is for smile
[14:36] <[mbm]> serial and jtag made my life so much easier
[14:36] <tek|> jtag has saved a couple of my routers
[14:36] <johnf1911> I've never not been able to bring one back
[14:37] <johnf1911> but I've also never done anything that ambitious
[14:37] <[mbm]> believe it or not up until whiterussian I never bothered with serial; I didn't want to screw with max233 chips and assembling a uart circuit
[14:37] <johnf1911> I gather the impression that you're more of a software guy than a hardware guy
[14:37] <[mbm]> mjn3 and I wrote a second stange bootloader without ever seeing console output
[14:37] <tek|> lol
[14:37] <LLcoolM> [mbm]: neither did i and i found a solution quite easier: pl2303 usb->serial (found in many cellular->pc cables) smile
[14:38] <[mbm]> we'd flash the diag led at key points in the code
[14:38] <johnf1911> so how did you fix the routers that you completely hosed?
[14:38] <[mbm]> yeah, it was eagle_fire who first alerted me to the cellphone cable hack
[14:38] <johnf1911> or did you just buy a lot of routers
[14:38] <[mbm]> well, when I was messing with the bootloader I atleast knew about boot_wait
[14:38] <[mbm]> but before that, having a working failsafe mode was critical
[14:39] <[mbm]> above all else failsafe had to work to the point that you could reflash
[14:39] <[mbm]> so we tried to avoid that area of firmware
[14:40] <[mbm]> openwrt for the longest time was based on either the binary or the gpl sources provided by linksys (depending on what was available)
[14:40] <[mbm]> all we did was strip down the filesystem and install some new apps
[14:40] <johnf1911> ok, and it was called openwrt the whole time?
[14:40] <[mbm]> hmm, I'm not sure it even had a name in the early days
[14:40] <johnf1911> yeah, figured as much
[14:41] <[mbm]> at some point we stopped using the linksys sources and changed over to using uclibc's buildroot
[14:41] <[mbm]> that was after much frustration with the source layout
[14:42] <johnf1911> it grew out of #wrt54g, which was an irc outpost of seattlewireless.net (which is still there, and seems about the same as when I looked at it back in the days around cringely's wrt54g article)
[14:42] <[mbm]> open embeded had a really cool menuconfig screen to configure it
[14:42] <[mbm]> and I wanted somethign like that for openwrt
[14:42] <[mbm]> I never could get my head around open embeded and all the crap you had to do to make it work; the sources just seemed like so much of a kludge
[14:43] <pivi> Question: is anybody paying for openwrt development ?
[14:43] <[mbm]> so we based it on uclibc's buildroot instead
[14:43] <pivi> or it is just for fun ?
[14:43] <johnf1911> that wiki page seems to suggest that you started out, with some new devs, on working on that during the course of 2k4
[14:43] <[mbm]> pivi: I'll get to that question in a bit
[14:43] <[mbm]> well, it was me and groz for the longest time
[14:43] <[mbm]> there were some irc regulars that served as beta testers
[14:44] <[mbm]> ksilebo was one of the regulars that hosted the site for us
[14:44] <[mbm]> but it was a strange affair since he was more interested in running sveasoft
[14:44] <[mbm]> I can't remember what order we got more developers
[14:45] <[mbm]> but we got nbd, wbx and kaloz rather quickly
[14:45] <[mbm]> I think we got kaloz because we had outgown ksilebo's ability to host and kaloz put in an offer to host
[14:46] <Kaloz> [mbm]: you remember wrong
[14:46] <Kaloz> smile
[14:46] <[mbm]> well, you had always been an irc regular
[14:46] <Kaloz> [mbm]: i'm abusing you since like november 2003 or so
[14:47] <johnf1911> ah, november 2k3, that's good
[14:47] <johnf1911> was it called openwrt then?
[14:47] <[mbm]> nbd and wbx had done work to diff the gpl sources from the standard kernel
[14:47] <[mbm]> and had managed to get a newer kernel booting
[14:47] <[mbm]> at the time I was pretty clueless to kenrel hackign so it was all pretty mysterious
[14:48] <Kaloz> nbd did a build system overhaul, wbx tracked doen th needed differences to get .28 booting based on our patches/diffs
[14:48] <Kaloz> smile
[14:48] <[mbm]> if you looked at the diff off the linksys sources vs a standard kernel it was an utter mess
[14:48] <johnf1911> this was before the overhaul/restart from scratch I take it?
[14:48] <[mbm]> they had touched pretty much every file
[14:48] <johnf1911> yeah, well before
[14:48] <[mbm]> so I had no clue how they had managed to get the kernel booting on the board
[14:48] <Kaloz> for real i've cleaned it down from ~30M to 3M, then you let cvs merge what it could and then wbx used that as a base
[14:49] <[mbm]> yeah, I learned kernel hacking by watching them wittle down the patch into something managable
[14:50] Action: Kaloz remembers the days when there were 4 people on the channel including you, groz and myself
[14:50] <[mbm]> and then it was 'aha, you only need to write these dozen or so functions to get openwrt running on a new kernel'
[14:50] <tek|> personally.. i'm happy a co-worker laughed in my face when i told him I was using sveasoft.. cuz it was he who clued me into openwrt
[14:50] <Kaloz> and no serial, and we were doing that "morse blinking" the kernel panic over the diag led
[14:50] <Kaloz> :DDD
[14:50] <johnf1911> rol
[14:51] <[mbm]> the original openwrt builds were labeled things like b1, b2, b3, b4 ..
[14:51] <Kaloz> this was around december 2003 / january 2004
[14:51] <[mbm]> think we got to b4 before starting on whiterussian
[14:51] <johnf1911> http://web.archive.org/web/20040411212614/http://openwrt.ksilebo.net/
[14:51] <johnf1911> here's a reference to b4-pre at 20040331
[14:51] <Kaloz> [mbm]: yeah.. i have some of the binaries, still
[14:51] <[mbm]> everyone assumed b meant beta when it was actually build#
[14:51] <[mbm]> we did more builds
[14:52] <[mbm]> those were just the 'release' builsd
[14:54] <[mbm]> at some point in the whiterussian release we started an internal build called experimental
[14:54] <Kaloz> [mbm]: experimental was before whiterussian
[14:54] <Kaloz> smile
[14:55] <[mbm]> ah right
[14:55] <Kaloz> hehe
[14:55] <[mbm]> b# -> experimental -> whiterussian/kamikaze -> buildroot-ng -> kamikaze
[14:56] <Kaloz> b# -> experimental -> whiterussian -> buildroot-ng -> kamikaze
[14:56] <Kaloz> well
[14:56] <Kaloz> okay, this one isn't right
[14:56] <[mbm]> kamikaze started shortly after whiterussian, just as a testbed
[14:56] <Kaloz> b# -> buildroot2 -> experimental/new buildroot -> whiterussian/kamikaze -> buildroot-ng -> kamikaze
[14:57] <[mbm]> no, we used buildroot at first
[14:57] <[mbm]> experimental was buildroot
[14:57] <Kaloz> oh, right
[14:57] <[mbm]> kamikaze was based on buildroot2
[14:58] <[mbm]> and buildroot-ng was when we decided to toss out the whole uclibc system and rewrite it
[14:58] <Kaloz> b# -> experimental/buildroot (with mjn3's help) -> whiterussian -> whiterussian rc3/new buildroot -> whiterussian/kamikaze -> buildroot-ng -> kamikaze
[14:58] <Kaloz> smile
[14:58] <Kaloz> or something like this smile
[14:58] <[mbm]> yeah, mjn3 was from the uclibc project and did a number of contributions to openwrt in the early days
[14:59] <[mbm]> you don't see many of the early peopel around ehre much anymore
[15:00] <[mbm]> too many newbie questions, not enough other conversations
[15:00] <[mbm]> plus lifestyle changes
[15:00] <Kaloz> [mbm]: openwrt is about 3,5years old, if you don't count the nonpublic cvs back on groz' box in the beginning
[15:01] <[mbm]> sounds about right
[15:01] <Kaloz> [mbm]: so no surprise we lost quite some people in the meantime
[15:01] <johnf1911> yeah, it's hard to maintain the lifestyle
[15:01] <johnf1911> but still you do mbm
[15:01] <johnf1911> you have a day job as well?
[15:01] <[mbm]> Kaloz: do you remember the b# where we announced jffs2 support and managed to get james storming in here demanding to know how we'd done it?
[15:01] <johnf1911> do you like, hack, or do other shit, and hack at night
[15:02] <johnf1911> [mbm]: I think there might be a openwrt meets sveasoft log of that
[15:02] <[mbm]> (admittedly back in the early days we'd post the binary for testing and then follow up with the sources a few days later when we had things stable)
[15:02] <[mbm]> johnf1911: no, that was another sveasoft dev
[15:02] <Kaloz> [mbm]: yeah it was b2 or b3 iirc
[15:02] <[mbm]> james came in here asking about it and we refused to tell him
[15:02] <johnf1911> nice!
[15:03] <[mbm]> sveasoft had a rather large follwoing and we only had a handful of people
[15:03] <Kaloz> he demanded the jffs2 stuff to get it working in his crap
[15:03] <[mbm]> our only claim to fame was having a writable filesystem
[15:03] <Kaloz> first time friendly, then as a moron
[15:03] <[mbm]> he wanted it for his firmware so he could eliminate us as competition
[15:03] <johnf1911> well, I can remember my own experiences
[15:03] <Kaloz> like he did it again later for the new kernel and uclibc
[15:03] <johnf1911> I bought sveasoft
[15:03] <johnf1911> installed it
[15:03] <johnf1911> and fuck, did it suck
[15:03] <johnf1911> customisation limited to two nvram variables
[15:04] <johnf1911> and the fucking rc_firewall didn't /always/ get run
[15:04] <Kaloz> johnf1911: but it was shiney and clickable - same reason for ddwrt smile
[15:04] <johnf1911> well, doing the research for this presentation
[15:04] <[mbm]> anyways, going back to the earlier questions, it wasn't until the last few years that openwrt was anythign more than a couple of guys screwing around on irc
[15:05] <johnf1911> lead me to the x-wrt page on blogspot
[15:05] <johnf1911> where I learnt that dd-wrt wasn't just shit
[15:05] <tek|> thank goodness for a couple of guys screwing around on irc....
[15:05] <johnf1911> it was also evil
[15:05] <Maligor> yeah, who knows where the screws would've fell if it wasn't for them guys
[15:06] <pivi> evil ? what are they doing ?
[15:06] <tek|> i'd rather not think about it.. cuz we'd prolly all still be using sveasoft
[15:06] <[mbm]> I really used the oipenwrt stuff to keep me busy after the whole dotcom fallout and losing my job at linux.com
[15:06] <johnf1911> http://xwrt.blogspot.com/index.html
[15:06] <johnf1911> pivi: ^
[15:06] <johnf1911> [mbm]: ah, so your in the US then?
[15:07] <[mbm]> at some point I decided "I need a job, serious offers only, must be in the usa" .. something like that was posted to the openwrt homepage, highlighted in yellow
[15:07] <[mbm]> I had gone through all the usual channels and didn't want to end up working for the same place as my father
[15:07] <Kaloz> hehe, it was "shameless self promotion"
[15:07] <Kaloz> smile
[15:08] <[mbm]> deadend job in michigan
[15:08] <johnf1911> michigan, shit, you aren't in michigan?
[15:08] <johnf1911> come to penguicon smile
[15:08] <[mbm]> within a few days of the post I had several responses
[15:08] <[mbm]> and a few weeks later I was interviewing for jobs in california
[15:09] <[mbm]> several wireless companies had had be out for interviews, paid for the whole affair
[15:09] <[mbm]> rahter impressed me
[15:09] <[mbm]> spend a few days in califoria with travel, hotel and food expenses paid for
[15:10] <johnf1911> it's hard to find talent
[15:10] <johnf1911> very hard
[15:10] <tek|> we californian's know how to treat
[15:10] <johnf1911> and you don't see it on a CV, or for that matter, until about six months after hire
[15:10] <[mbm]> companies did things like embeded and wireless
[15:10] <[mbm]> eneded up taking a job with one of the wireless companies
[15:11] <[mbm]> everyone always asks "which company?" but it doesn't really matter
[15:11] <johnf1911> you still working for them?
[15:11] <[mbm]> yep
[15:11] <[mbm]> been something like 2.5 years now
[15:11] <tek|> if its one of the big ones.. that'd mean you work in irvine
[15:11] <tek|> heh
[15:12] <[mbm]> I hauled my ass to california with nothing more than a job letter, a plane ticket and the names of some of my irc friends from california
[15:12] <johnf1911> and you still haven't burnt out, impressive
[15:12] <johnf1911> wireless all day, wireless all night smile
[15:12] <puchu> and when i change something in menuconfig ..... how do i change it do i have to copy the new config over defconfig?
[15:13] <[mbm]> lived out of a hotel room for about 2 months
[15:13] <tek|> getting over the shock of rent'ng/buy'ng in california no doubt
[15:13] <[mbm]> ah, now there's an interesting story
[15:14] <[mbm]> I got a few job offers
[15:14] <[mbm]> in michigan I would have made somewhere around 40k
[15:14] <[mbm]> and my first solid offer was in san fancisco for 75k
[15:14] <tek|> sounds about right
[15:14] <tek|> heh
[15:14] <[mbm]> there was the "you're going to pay me how much?" shock
[15:15] <[mbm]> since it was double the wadges in michigan
[15:15] <johnf1911> hopefully not followed by the realisation that it wouldn't buy you a cardboard box in the valley
[15:15] <puchu> [mbm] :75k they would have payed you? would would be your working area? which project?
[15:15] <[mbm]> then the other offers came in, and before long it was "huh? were those guys in sf fucking with me? that's LOW.."
[15:16] <[mbm]> I don't think I could have lived in sf at that price
[15:16] <tek|> rofl
[15:16] <[mbm]> prices are just insane
[15:16] <tek|> you'd just be able to squeak by
[15:16] <tek|> in like a studio apt
[15:16] <tek|> no car
[15:16] <tek|> lol
[15:16] <[mbm]> they pay so much because you end up sinking it all into rent
[15:16] <johnf1911> yeah, cost of living isn't pretty down there
[15:17] <tek|> studio apt in a okay area here in orange county is usually about a grand a month
[15:18] <[mbm]> anyways, I took the job with one of the wifi companies, all they wanted me to do was hang around on staff developing openwrt stuff
[15:18] <[mbm]> so to show my appreciation to the other openwrt devs I sent them all some very expensive harware
[15:18] <johnf1911> awesome
[15:18] <[mbm]> from said company
[15:18] <tek|> prolly making $100k+ no doubt too
[15:18] <puchu> [mbm]: what job do u have now?
[15:18] <puchu> goes openwrt have full time programmers?
[15:18] <puchu> goes=does
[15:18] <LLcoolM> puchu: didnt you listen
[15:19] <puchu> i read about some job offers
[15:19] <LLcoolM> 15:18 <@[mbm]> anyways, I took the job with one of the wifi companies, all they wanted me to do was hang around on staff developing openwrt stuff
[15:19] <[mbm]> puchu: research and development job; it tends to leverage openwrt for prototype work
[15:19] <puchu> cool work
[15:19] <puchu> do u like the job?
[15:19] <pivi> [mbm]: so you are paid to work on openwrt (partially) and there is no refenrece of this company on the web site?
[15:19] <[mbm]> honestly I was surprised at how many places use openwrt for internal development
[15:20] <tek|> now you know why james is so jealous
[15:20] <[mbm]> pivi: yep, that's the deal, openwrt stays exactly as it is, no shameless company plugs
[15:20] <pivi> nice
[15:20] <puchu> is development from companies used into svn or not?
[15:20] <[mbm]> and actually not long after I got my job kaloz and nbd found jobs with other companies
[15:21] <[mbm]> puchu: a lot of it goes into svn
[15:21] <puchu> cool
[15:21] <tek|> lemme ask you this [mbm], are you in socal or norcal? cuz if yer in socal.. i owe ya at least a beer or two for all your hard work wink
[15:21] <johnf1911> man
[15:21] <johnf1911> it's a beautiful story of open source success
[15:22] <puchu> thats nice ... develop a router os .... in free time .... and then get job offers form companies
[15:22] <[mbm]> tek|: just outside san jose, and no offense but it really creeps me out to meet people from irc outside of the irc window
[15:22] <tek|> no worries dood..
[15:22] <puchu> [mbm] : what do u develop for companies on openwrt?
[15:23] <[mbm]> I used to work for linux.com and somehow I became a minor internet celeb
[15:23] <tris> I just bought two wl500gp's at work in a situation where I normally would've bought a couple cisco aironet ap1231s
[15:23] <[mbm]> so I usually have a few people stalking me when I go to cons
[15:23] <LLcoolM> [mbm]: nice job, I'm studying cs and am writing my diploma thesis at the chair of embedded systems (doing research on special compilers for embedded systems). as all the other students doing the same thing i'll probably end up in some supplier for the car-industry smile
[15:23] <puchu> cons?
[15:23] <johnf1911> conventions
[15:23] <[mbm]> conventions, tradeshows
[15:24] <puchu> cisco aironet ap1231s - whats the price for this
[15:24] <tris> probably around $900
[15:24] <tris> depends on what options you get (802.11a, etc)
[15:24] <[mbm]> eg, I was at shmoocon a few weeks back
[15:24] <[mbm]> 23c3 and CES before that
[15:24] <puchu> openwrt is realy axtrem powerfull woud have never thought that this os works this good and is this powerfull
[15:24] <johnf1911> [mbm]: well, thanks a lot for all of that information, I'm going to try to stitch it together into a timeline and put it on that forum post
[15:24] <johnf1911> and then, hmm, I'll poke you here to see what you think of it
[15:25] <johnf1911> as I'm not reged on freenode I can't pm
[15:25] <[mbm]> puchu: the thing that never gets the attention it deserves is the framework
[15:25] <[mbm]> nbd did an amazing job with buildroot-ng
[15:25] <puchu> framework = building process? the toolchain?
[15:26] <puchu> [mbm]: how old are u?
[15:26] <[mbm]> puchu: yeah, the fact you can just download the source, hit make and it compiles everything you need
[15:26] <[mbm]> and that it's really easy to work on
[15:26] <pivi> and brick you damn new wireless router tongue
[15:26] <pivi> wink
[15:26] <puchu> thats really cool but u could increase the numer of parralel build processes to 2 for one cpu systems ... brings really a big compile boost
[15:27] <[mbm]> openwrt really isn't about us making firmware
[15:27] <johnf1911> [mbm]: you do any security cons?
[15:27] <[mbm]> we never really wanted to do the whole end user experience
[15:27] <[mbm]> I don't give a damn about web interfaces
[15:27] <[mbm]> and it was proabbly the first thing I removed from the linksys firmware
[15:28] <puchu> web interfaces siuck .. ssh rocks
[15:28] <johnf1911> now you've got x-wrt for that
[15:28] <johnf1911> oh, another question
[15:28] <johnf1911> anyone know who made the vlan diagrams that are on the wiki?
[15:28] <johnf1911> can I use those in my slides?
[15:28] <[mbm]> openwrt was based around the concept of "ok, there are too many people hacking the wrt and everyone has their own project"
[15:29] <[mbm]> it was annoying to have so much talent but all going in different directions
[15:29] <[mbm]> so openwrt was designed as the basic system that you could just plug whatever you wanted into it
[15:29] <[mbm]> I figured that within days of the first whiterussian release we'd have people developing all the additional tools like web interfaces
[15:30] <pivi> do you know if someone is using openwrt as the framework for a commercial embedded linux project?
[15:30] <pivi> using custom hw and so on?
[15:30] <johnf1911> pivi: fonera
[15:30] <johnf1911> (apparently)
[15:30] <[mbm]> pivi: there probably are a number of them, but fon is the only company I can think of
[15:31] <[mbm]> there is no attribution clause to using openwrt, it's just gpl code
[15:31] <[mbm]> and we all know how well vendors adhere to gpl
[15:31] <pivi> yes, right
[15:31] <[mbm]> so I wouldn't be surprised if a number of products are out there using openwrt that we just don't know about
[15:32] <shining_> what do they risk?
[15:32] <LLcoolM> [mbm] yes, it's strange, they send people to jail for copyright violations, but no microsoft or linksys ceo ever was even in custody for gpl violations...
[15:32] <LLcoolM> and both are copyright violations.
[15:32] <johnf1911> LLcoolM: but only one of them hurts big bidness
[15:33] <johnf1911> they have more bigger nastier lawyers
[15:33] <[mbm]> I'm just happy that I can go places and say get introduced as "the guy that started openwrt"
[15:33] <LLcoolM> one should always offer gpl code for free and a binary license for 1000000000000000000$. so you could sue them for not giving you money smile
[15:33] <[mbm]> it actually bothered me when sveasoft switched to the $20 license
[15:34] <LLcoolM> bbl
[15:34] <[mbm]> yeah it was a gpl violation, but beyond that, they were sellouts
[15:34] <johnf1911> well, dd-wrt seems quite tragic
[15:34] <[mbm]> they were making money hawking some pitiful code
[15:34] <johnf1911> going from a spinoff due to sveasofts licensing actions
[15:34] <[mbm]> yeah, irony of ironies
[15:34] <johnf1911> to doing the same thing themselves
[15:35] <[mbm]> dd-wrt started as a sveasoft release
[15:35] <shining_> [mbm]: I thought selling and gpl weren't incompatible
[15:35] <[mbm]> they were sick of sveasoft charging money
[15:35] <johnf1911> shining_: they aren't, however, locking up the code is; preventing redistribution is
[15:35] <Le_Vert> thanks all for you help (during the previous days)
[15:35] <shining_> johnf1911: oh they did that too, ok
[15:35] <pivi> but where is the sveasoft violation? they are not giving the source to theri customers?
[15:35] <Le_Vert> finally I got my kamikaze up and running on the wgt634u
[15:35] <Le_Vert> with wpa wireless access smile
[15:36] <[mbm]> shining_: it isn't and a number of people have pointed that out, hoever sveasoft is walking a very fine line in the gpl that isn't expressly blocked
[15:36] <[mbm]> aka a loophole
[15:36] <johnf1911> I'd disagree
[15:36] <johnf1911> they should need to give the source, to their paying customers, for their development version
[15:36] <[mbm]> or they were until they started bitching about people reposting the subscriber content
[15:36] <[mbm]> right
[15:36] <johnf1911> the calling it a non-product is bullshit
[15:36] <johnf1911> as it the banning people for redistributing the firmware
[15:36] <johnf1911> which they should be entitled to do
[15:37] <johnf1911> they need to offer the source for all the GPL components
[15:37] <[mbm]> the fsf was called in to investigate at one point and got the story "no, we only charge a small license/distribution fee: and they cleared sveasoft
[15:37] <johnf1911> even if their "extensions" are privately licensed
[15:37] <[mbm]> and now whenever anyone asks about possible gpl violations they wave that as the get out of jail free card
[15:38] <johnf1911> and then ban them
[15:38] <[mbm]> there's a rather amusing page history on seattlewireless.net with the sveasoft pages
[15:38] <[mbm]> someone edits the page to say something anti sveasoft
[15:38] <[mbm]> and sveasoft changes it back to glowing reviews
[15:39] <[mbm]> for the longest time it was always changed back from the same ip address
[15:39] <[mbm]> until that was pointed out rather publically to be jame's
[15:39] <[mbm]> and then he started routign through tor instead
[15:40] <Le_Vert> no hope to get a kamikaze build of openvpn (before I started setting up a root to cross compile...)
[15:40] <Le_Vert> ?
[15:40] <johnf1911> man, openvpn is so awesome
[15:40] <[mbm]> still seems like openwrt never really accomplished it's goal
[15:40] <johnf1911> hmm
[15:40] <johnf1911> ah, other projects don't base off it as much as you'd like?
[15:40] <[mbm]> we have more developers now but we aren't getting th level of external activity anticipated
[15:41] <johnf1911> I don't know
[15:41] <[mbm]> so it's never "how do I start developing for openwrt"
[15:41] <johnf1911> you have the best of breed, most flexible router distribution
[15:41] <[mbm]> it's always end user requests
[15:41] <johnf1911> that's nothing to sneeze at
[15:41] <johnf1911> this is the pain of most open source projects, sadly
[15:42] <[mbm]> and the concept of uniting the various router firmwares also failed
[15:42] <[mbm]> a number of them think I'm beign egotistical when I ask them to join openwrt
[15:43] Action: [mbm] considers it equally egotistical not to join openwrt
[15:43] <matteo> [mbm]: there are other router distro?
[15:43] <johnf1911> lol
[15:43] <johnf1911> matteo: many, but you're using the best smile
[15:44] <[mbm]> matteo: no. sveasoft and dd-wrt are jsut figlets of your irc client; they don't really exist
[15:44] <[mbm]> used to be that people would come in here asking for sveasoft help
[15:44] <shining_> [mbm]: that's always how oss work, splitted efforts. seems like many people think it's for the best
[15:44] <[mbm]> seems sveasoft is all but dead now
[15:44] <johnf1911> hmm
[15:45] <[mbm]> now we get dd-wrt folks

[15:45] <johnf1911> at one point, openwrt.org had a complaint about sveasoft and/or dd-wrt
[15:45] <[mbm]> sveasoft
[15:45] <johnf1911> and a takedown request
[15:45] <johnf1911> where did that go
[15:45] <johnf1911> I can find traces of it
[15:45] <[mbm]> it's still in the forum somewhere
[15:45] <johnf1911> but the post didn't survive a migration of the forum I think
[15:45] <johnf1911> ah, it's just changed number, you brought the history along?
[15:45] <[mbm]> basically at the height of the $20 gpl scandal we caught sveasoft using some code from openwrt
[15:46] <[mbm]> didn't particularly care for him cashing in on our work and told him "it's gpl, follow it or piss off"
[15:46] <johnf1911> they denied the charges
[15:46] <johnf1911> and then?
[15:47] <ejka> matteo: no
[15:47] <[mbm]> it went back and forth with members of each camp tagging posts on the other forums
[15:47] <[mbm]> but it was really more of a statement than anything
[15:48] <[mbm]> I didn't want to bother with the lawysers so it was just ammo for any other party to use against sveasoft

[15:48] <johnf1911> sveasoft has recur charged me on paypal twice too
[15:48] <johnf1911> those fuckers
[15:48] <johnf1911> I sent them a letter asking them to refund, and they didn't
[15:48] <johnf1911> and then the charged it again
[15:49] <[mbm]> heh, I don't trust paypal; never had an account because of that distrust
[15:49] <johnf1911> oh, they'ver recently pulled new bullshit with me
[15:50] <[mbm]> paypal used to be this anonymous entity that nobody could ever get talk to to resolve account issues
[15:50] <johnf1911> I've hit my "spending limit" and they want me to link in my bank account
[15:50] <johnf1911> which I realllly don't want to do
[15:50] <johnf1911> [mbm]: s/used to be//
[15:50] <[mbm]> and because they weren't actually a bank they didn't have to play by the rules
[15:50] <[mbm]> johnf1911: oh, I had heard thigns got better after ebay bought them
[15:51] <johnf1911> well, maybe they did get a bit better
[15:51] <johnf1911> but they're not exactly good
[15:51] <johnf1911> they favour the consumer more now
[15:51] <johnf1911> which leads to like reverse scams on merchants
[15:51] <johnf1911> you buy something, claim you didn't receive it, merchant must refund
[15:51] <johnf1911> otherwise you complain to paypal
[15:51] <johnf1911> and, after a fw complaints
[15:52] <johnf1911> paypal locks the merchants assets forever
[15:52] <[mbm]> yep, I know the scams
[15:52] <johnf1911> and if you're just some dude selling a laptop to someone else or whatever
[15:52] <johnf1911> it can get even worse
[15:52] <[mbm]> also one of the reasons I never use ebay
[15:52] <[mbm]> I'm glad I live near a frys; I hate online ordering
[15:52] <johnf1911> I hear craigslist local trading is the way to go

[15:52] <johnf1911> fuck, there's no frys in canada
[15:52] <johnf1911> sadly
[15:52] <johnf1911> I went to the one in vegas once, when I was down there
[15:53] <johnf1911> Fry's is like the promised land of electronics
[15:53] <johnf1911> our own digital Mecca
[15:53] <johnf1911> with many branches
[15:53] <[mbm]> if you've never experienced a frys it's like a sears store decided to expand their electronics section into a massive store
[15:54] <[mbm]> they're completely clueless as to what products they have or what the products do
[15:54] <[mbm]> but if you go hunting you can usually fint it
[15:54] <matteo> what is a frys?
[15:54] <johnf1911> well, at the time I was planning to implement the distro fou at linpvr.org
[15:54] <johnf1911> I was shocked to see every epia mobo /stock/
[15:54] <[mbm]> everythign from rolls of surfacemount parts, soldering irons and motherboards to home electronics like microwaves
[15:55] <johnf1911> matteo: it's like a walmart for consumer and professional electronics
[15:55] <johnf1911> imagine newegg, but in a store
[15:55] <[mbm]> now imagine it being staffed by illegal immigrants
[15:55] <[mbm]> who don't know much about electronics
[15:55] <johnf1911> I did say walmart
[15:55] <johnf1911> smile
[15:55] <[mbm]> smile
[15:56] <[mbm]> they also have the annoying habbit of resealing opened packages and putting them back on the shelves with the new stuff
[15:56] <matteo> seems cool
[15:56] <johnf1911> you've just described every single store that permits returns
[15:56] <Headie> dasfdsf/quit
[15:56] <johnf1911> matteo: it's amazing, I wish we had them up in the frozen north
[15:56] <[mbm]> johnf1911: usually returns are marked
[15:57] <matteo> it's canada so frozen?
[15:57] <johnf1911> indeed
[15:57] <matteo> i live in italy, dunno much about american weather
[15:57] <johnf1911> not like sunny italy I'm afraid
[15:57] <matteo> italy sunny?
[15:57] <[mbm]> frys has weekly sales on things like motherboard+cpu or harddrives
[15:58] <[mbm]> which is usually about the only time you ever want to consider buying that stuff from them
[15:58] <johnf1911> matteo: hey, I know just as much about eu weather as you do about .ca ?
[15:58] <[mbm]> although the motherboards that they give are usually elitegroup crap
[15:58] <matteo> 20° C here
[15:58] <johnf1911> tuscany does enjoy a certain reputation
[15:59] <[mbm]> and I've seen a number of friends get screwed with those boards .. returning them because they don't POST or can't be rebooted with ctrl-alt-del
[15:59] <matteo> eh
[15:59] <johnf1911> 09:59 <+Willow> Last update: 07:38 (GMT-5) Apr 07, Montreal / Dorval International, Que (CYUL) reports: Temp: -3.0°C/26.6°F Wind:7 knots at 230° (SW) Conditions: Light Showers Snow (-SHSN)
[15:59] <matteo> tuscany isn't so sunny
[16:00] <matteo> i live in calabria, the southest land, near morocco
[16:00] <johnf1911> [mbm]: well, thanks again
[16:00] <johnf1911> really appreciate hearing it from the horses mouth, as it were
[16:03] <[mbm]> any more questions on openwrt history?
[16:04] <johnf1911> hmm
[16:04] <johnf1911> yes, of course
[16:04] <[mbm]> (this applies to anyone here)
[16:04] <johnf1911> but I'm going to stitch together a little forum post
[16:04] <johnf1911> and then we'll see how you (and others) can correct my timeline

[16:05] <[mbm]> johnf1911: so just taking a personal interest in openwrt history or is there something bigger?
[16:05] <johnf1911> I'm amazed that I've learnt that there was hacking going on pre tarball release
[16:05] <johnf1911> well, I'm going to do a presentation on "open source routers and openwrt" at penguicon
[16:05] <johnf1911> which is in detroit
[16:05] <johnf1911> in two weeks, and I wanted to open with a bunch of info on the history of openwrt
[16:05] <johnf1911> and the router scene, as it were
[16:05] <[mbm]> well, yeah, I did lots of tivo hacking and knew my way around binary blobs
[16:05] <[mbm]> so the linksys firmware was just kernel+cramfs
[16:06] <[mbm]> not too hard to pull out the cramfs and make changes
[16:06] <[mbm]> you just had to recalc the crc in the trx header when you were done
[16:06] <[mbm]> I still have this amazing ability to dismantle any linux based firmware image into shreds in under 5 minutes
[16:07] <dimgr> how do you create a cable to recover from a bad flash
[16:07] <[mbm]> there's a fun game my boss likes to play, go to frys, buy some random crap and see how long it takes me to pull it apart, catalog all the chips and dismantle the firmware
[16:08] <dimgr> found the link
[16:08] <johnf1911> [mbm]: man, it sounds like you've really found your calling
[16:08] <johnf1911> how old were you when you started hacking on the routers?
[16:08] <[mbm]> yeah, I'm happy with what I do
[16:09] <[mbm]> well, I'm only in my mid 20s now
[16:09] <[mbm]> and I was hacking tivos back in 2000
[16:10] <[mbm]> actually I was hacking ti calculators when I was still in junior high
[16:10] <[mbm]> anyone remember the ti85 and zshell?
[16:11] <[mbm]> got me in trouble with several math teachers
[16:11] <johnf1911> hmm, what for
[16:11] <crazy_imp> why?
[16:11] <johnf1911> added enough functionality to do your tests?
[16:11] <[mbm]> zshewll was a hack to let you run assembly on your calculator
[16:12] <[mbm]> so you could code directly for the z80 instead of using the crappy basic
[16:12] <[mbm]> and the reason for that speed was games
[16:12] <[mbm]> lots of games available for those calcs
[16:12] <[mbm]> but you had to build a few cables and load zshell
[16:12] <[mbm]> basically reflash the device
[16:13] <johnf1911> when was the first bxxx release?
[16:13] <[mbm]> I used to play games and since nobody else had the cables, I would helpfully transfer the games to anyone else
[16:13] <[mbm]> so the whole school system got infected by calculator games
[16:14] Action: [mbm] used to play lode runner all the time on the calculator
[16:14] <johnf1911> nice
[16:14] <johnf1911> I can see how this got you in trouble
[16:15] <[mbm]> I think the first official b1 release was sometime in december 2003
[16:16] <[mbm]> johnf1911: well, it also taught me all about opensource ethics (share the gmaes with everyone!) and how to program z80 assembly
[16:16] <[mbm]> I wrote the lode runner game myself, testing it in class
[16:17] <[mbm]> at one point I even wrote an alternative loader and got rid of zshell

[16:18] <[mbm]> johnf1911: I was never in any official trouble for the games, since nobody could ever prove the point of origin, but I was disliked by most of the math teachers either for playing games or spreading them

Re: History of OpenWrt

Information from this thread has been pulled into the Manual
David Farning 9-30-07