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New OpenWRT Drops Support For Linux 2.4, Low-Mem Devices 194

Posted by timothy
from the don't-throw-tomatoes dept.
hypnosec writes with word that the OpenWRT team a few days ago released the final version of the project's newest iteration, version 12.09 (codenamed "Attitude Adjustment"). "The final version doesn't support Linux 2.4, because of which the distribution wouldn't run on old router models, for example the Linksys WRT54G models, which have 16MB of RAM and CPUs clocked at 200MHz. The distribution is now based on Linux 3.3 and there is good news for the Raspberry Pi fans as the distribution now supports the credit card-sized computer, along with Ramips routers."
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New OpenWRT Drops Support For Linux 2.4, Low-Mem Devices

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  • Brilliant (Score:5, Funny)

    by Holi (250190) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:12AM (#43590283)

    So they drop support for the routers everyone has and want you to build your own router from a raspberry. Sounds like a plan for success.

    • Re:Brilliant (Score:5, Informative)

      by morcego (260031) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:22AM (#43590387)

      Pretty much par of course for them.
      For years now OpenWRT is becoming more and more bloated, to a point it is hard to make it run smoothly in the standard base device (WRT54GL). I haven't been able to use the standard image for at least 3 years now, having to build my own removing as much bloat as I can...

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:24AM (#43590421)

      I sense a great disturbance in the fork.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Using the Pi as a router does have it's interesting advantages and the price point is pretty close in that application as the smaller cheaper Pi would serve well in that capacity. Shame to drop support for the smaller devices, but you can beat yourself to death trying to support too many platforms.

      By the way, the Pi offerings are not the only options out there. I'm seeing a lot of similar cards popping up out there.

      • A R Pi has a single 10/100 Ethernet that's connected to USB 2.0. That does not seem like much of a router to me it might be useful for encryption bit it's can not handle current upper tier broadband speeds.

        • by Narishma (822073)

          That's the model B. The model A the parent is talking about doesn't have ethernet support at all.

        • by bobbied (2522392)

          I said that it would serve fairly well in some applications as compared to the WRT hardware that got dropped. The Pi sure has limitations, but it's a pretty cheap platform that comes at a similar price point to what you can get WRT hardware for.

          My real interest would be in the *other* cards out there at similar price points to the Pi. I think the Pi has at least spurred on the development of similar cards which are more capable (memory, CPU etc) and hopefully will lower the prices of such cards.

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)
        I'm thinking an Alix [mini-box.com] board might be a better solution if you are looking at a R Pi as a possible solution. It costs more sure but it comes with all of the features you need (LAN/WAN port, WiFi) built in.
      • by robot5x (1035276)

        I have a pi and this would be a useful project for me (in need of a new router)

        But I'm keen to know how feasible it really is. As poster says below, the spec isn't great and even now I'm getting frequent ethernet dropouts on my openelec install (I haven't looked into this yet, so I dunno if it's software or power supply-related).

        Any real world experience out there using pi as a SOHO router?

    • by BenBoy (615230)

      Raspberry Pi? Sounds like a plan for a rather cheap, capable repeater bridge to me, even if I don't feel like replacing my dinosaur 54GL. And if temperature is any indication (hint: it is), it's a heck of a lot more power efficient too.

    • by Above (100351) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:39AM (#43590599)

      The WRT54G came out in 2002. The newer WRT54GL version was released in 2005. While these were phenomenal products with a long lifespan, they are obsolete by any standard. Things like no N support, no Gigabit Ethernet, and the lack of CPU and Memory to do cool things have been huge issues for a while.

      Serious users have already moved on. Platforms like the Netgear WNDR3700v2 are cheap, easy to find, and offer modern features. No one is suggesting rolling your own from a Raspberry will be the most popular option, but that enabling it will be a cool option for many hackers.

      • by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:50AM (#43590709) Homepage Journal

        I'm still using my 54GL with Tomato Firmware on it. Tomato seems to have died (last update for the mainline was in June 2010) but it seems fine, aside from not supporting newer things like IPv6 (software limitation), 802.11n, or GigE (hardware limitations), all of which are merely "nice to have" right now.

        I do plan to replace the old beast, but will wait until my ISP finally brings out IPv6 support so that I can have the best possible router within my budget when that finally happens.

        • by synapse7 (1075571)
          I'm using this [groov.pl] flavor of tomato and it has been great for me and sees quite regular updates.
          • by Nimey (114278)

            Hmm. OK, I'm seeing several builds for routers in that family but no guidelines as to which will work on a real 54GL with 4MB of flash storage.

            I'm interested in these features from build.png: IPv6, OpenVPN, kernel 2.6 if possible. That points me to using either the Max, miniVPN, or VPN-nousb builds. Of those, the MIPSR1 Max build is 5.8MB so too big. MiniVPN is 3.7MB so I suppose it'd fit, and for kernel 2.4 there's the VPN-nousb build at 3.4 MB.

            Am I on the right track here?

            • by synapse7 (1075571)
              Yeah, tomato-ND-1.28.5x-108-VPN.trx looks to me what you'd be looking for. I use the ipv6 tunnel and it works great, lots of other neat features, however I'm using it on an e3000.
        • Tomato isn't dead... The main site isn't being updated--the devs either don't have access or don't update the site.

          The two main branches of Tomato are:
          Toastman: (What I use) http://www.4shared.com/dir/v1BuINP3/Toastman_Builds.html#dir=zBnbpdpY [4shared.com]
          Shibby: http://tomato.groov.pl/ [groov.pl]

          I've been using Toastman tomato on a WNR3500Lv1 and a ASUS RT-N66U for months now. If you're going to get a new router, I'd strongly recommend the RT-N66U, because the WNR3500L has a v2 which is totally different hardware. In addition, the RT-N66U is very fast, stable (never crashed), nearly impossible to brick and is dual-band. The RT-N66U is $170, and it's been worth every penny. Signal output is very strong--I can pick up my internet in my neighbor's house, without adjusting transmitter output power. In addition, the devs appear to use the RT-N66U's personally, so it has the most testing.

          Tomato has been rock solid, stable, and an excellent daily driver for me for the last 5 years or so. I strongly recommend it, and my friends and neighbors use it and have been very happy with it. Do update to Toastman or Shibby--they're doing an excellent job fixing issues and keeping things current.

          I still use my WRT54G's as wireless bridges throughout my house, but they do show performance issues when I go above 10MBps Upload/30MB Download.
          • Signal output is very strong--I can pick up my internet in my neighbor's house, without adjusting transmitter output power.

            "Planes and satellites do occasionaly fall out of the sky around here, but hey: TANSTAAFL."

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Toastman Tomato is a great release

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            The RT-N66U is $180, The WRT54G is $50...kinda not really comparable, hell an Apple airport is cheaper. How about showing us one under $100 that will run the new/newer stuff?

            Oh and if it isn't wireless so much the better as the first thing I have to do with a wireless router is disable the wireless part, between all the interference from having so many in a large apt complex on the same frequency and the script kiddies constantly pounding on the firewalls looking for somebody to leech off of? Not really

            • by robot5x (1035276)

              How about the TP-LINK WR1043 [pbtech.co.nz]. Costing equivalent of $80USD here in NZ, probably cheaper in US, I didn't look.

              I got one recently when I was looking at ways to manage per-user data usage quotas at home. I have a lodger who is hammering my meager 40gb monthly allowance and with the gargoyle firmware [gargoyle-router.com] I can throttle or kick him off the LAN when quota is exceeded. This firmware is based on openwrt I believe.

              I was running tomato on WRT54-GL before this, but lack of gigabit ethernet was another motivation for me

          • by Dadoo (899435)

            If you're going to get a new router, I'd strongly recommend the RT-N66U

            I understand what makes ASUS think the RT-N66U is worth $60 more than an RT-N16, but does it really make a difference, if you're just using it for a home router?

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I don't think that's the problem hoss, its the fact that they are suggesting using the RPi, which has 1 lousy Ethernet plug and USB 2.0 as a suitable replacement for a fricking router that has most people going WTF.

        To use a slashdot car analogy that would be like Ford saying your truck is obsolete so here is a motor, build yourself a replacement. The "solution" isn't one, its a piss poor substitute for an actual router and this is coming from somebody that actually likes the RPI, its great for things like

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        The WRT54G came out in 2002. The newer WRT54GL version was released in 2005. While these were phenomenal products with a long lifespan, they are obsolete by any standard. Things like no N support, no Gigabit Ethernet, and the lack of CPU and Memory to do cool things have been huge issues for a while.

        Serious users have already moved on. Platforms like the Netgear WNDR3700v2 are cheap, easy to find, and offer modern features. No one is suggesting rolling your own from a Raspberry will be the most popular option, but that enabling it will be a cool option for many hackers.

        Okay, so how is OpenWRT's IPv6 support? Since it's so good that it's okay to drop support for the G?

      • So I'm supposed to pay $150 for a brand new router to replace a working box w/ Tomato that hasn't been touched in 4+ years ??

        When it finally dies THEN I'll look into replacing the WRT54GL workhorse.

        The first rule of networking: If it ain't broke, don't fuck with it.

    • A capable and cost-effective replacement [openwrt.org] for your aging A/B/G router.

      Disclaimer: I own one. It works.
      • by robot5x (1035276)
        +1 agree.

        I posted about this router above. It can be had for $50 at amazon right now.

    • Below are the speedtests of two different routers using a wired connection.

      Actiontec (about 2011) – 53.22 MB (down) 8.23 (up)
      Linksys WRT54G v2 (about 2004) – 23 MB (down) 7.76 (up)

      http://bryanquigley.com/libre-software/on-upgrading-routers [bryanquigley.com]

    • If you have to do that, might as well put a full-featured firewall on instead. Pfsense, for example.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      So they drop support for the routers everyone has...

      "Dropping support" does not mean you won't be able to get an OpenWRT for your old device that's about to go tits-up anyway. The older versions of OpenWRT will still work, won't they?

      What the hell are you going on about?

      raspberry

      Nobody's forcing you to go fruity.

  • Blogspam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:20AM (#43590373) Homepage Journal

    And now for some karma whoring^W^W^Wthe actual details:

    The OpenWrt Release Team would like to announce the final Attitude Adjustment Release (12.09).

    Highlights since Backfire 10.03.1:
    Dropped support for legacy Broadcom target (brcm-2.4)
    Switched to Kernel 3.3
    Switched to uClibc 0.9.33.2
    Switched x86 images from ext2 to ext4 filesystem
    Improved parallel building support
    New netifd implementation to replace the old script based network configuration system
    Switched to shadow passwords
    Support for external overlay filesystems in release images
    Various firewall enhancements
    Wireless driver updates and stability improvements
    Experimential support for 5 and 10 MHz channels in ath5k and ath9k
    Package updates and dependency fixes
    New target support: ramips, bcm2708 (Raspberry Pi) and others
    Support for further router models
    Support for building with eglic instead of uClibc
    Support for 6RD configuration
    Support for bridge firewalling in release images

    Known Issues:
    Most open tickets at the time of the final builds
    Lower end devices with only 16 MiB RAM will easily run out of Memory, for bcm47xx based devices is Backfire with brcm-2.4 recommended

    More detailed information: https://dev.openwrt.org/query?status=closed&group=resolution&milestone=Attitude+Adjustment+12.09 [openwrt.org]
    Detailed core changelog at: https://dev.openwrt.org/log/branches/attitude_adjustment [openwrt.org]
    Detailed packages changelog at: https://dev.openwrt.org/log/branches/packages_12.09 [openwrt.org]
    Binaries can be downloaded at http://downloads.openwrt.org/attitude_adjustment/12.09/ [openwrt.org]

  • Rasberry Pi (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So now it runs on Rasberry Pi?
    Just what I needed, a router with a single network interface!

  • Sigh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @10:35AM (#43590543)

    A few seconds at openwrt.org will reveal that OpenWRT is a specialized Linux distribution, and they've simply migrated to the 3.3 kernel. Kind of like Ubuntu 10 migrated to 2.6, lo those many years ago.

    Maybe this qualifies as news for some people, but it's certainly not something to get your panties in a bunch over.

    • People have their underwear in a bunch over the fact that "OpenWRT" has become an artifact title [tvtropes.org]. It no longer supports the appliance after which it was named (the WRT54G).
      • by Microlith (54737)

        So the original device is being retired and the name lives on. If you're insistent, the Linksys WRT160NL and Linksys WRT350N v2 are supported still as they have 32MB of RAM each. But it's supported on such a wide array of other devices, I still don't see why this is any reason to throw up a fuss.

    • It's not just the linux kernel upgrade that matters here, but also the end-of-support for "low memory devices". IMHO, though, 16MB is a pretty large amount of memory for a home router.

  • Somebody post the link to the latest version that uses the 2.4 kernel, so this can be a useful Slashdot bookmark.

  • For me and many Mac users the question is: Does it support HFS+ for a connected external drive now?

    Previous versions didn't (neither does DDWRT), although you could find the drivers in some obscure place you could not make it work because of kernel support (you could use the HFS, minus +, in some way just to read tough). So far, as I'm lead to believe, only Tomato firmware correctly supports HFS+. I didn't' test it myself tough, so I still take that with a bit of salt.

    • by armanox (826486)

      Last I checked (which was kernel 2.6.18 IIRC) HFS+ was supported by the kernel, but only if journaling was off.

  • Tomato RAF for the WRT54G uses the 2.6.22 kernel, and can push 80 Mbps of routed throughput (not sure why. Optimizations? Performance improvements in 2.6 versus the 2.4 used by most other WRT54G firmwares?) The things are still ancient, though, and should be retired.

    • by fnj (64210)

      Why should they be retired just because they are "ancient". They are still perfect serviceable, and still perfectly available [amazon.com]. They also have a reputation for being more reliable and longer lasting, hardware-wise, than the consumer crap they chrun out nowadays.

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        Lack of support for modern wireless networking (no 802.11n, on either 2.4GHz or 5 GHz), inability to perform any sort of processing whatsoever on faster connections (hitting those 80Mbps speeds requires disabling anything that might hit the CPU, so no stateful firewall, no QoS, no wifi encryption, no nothing), limited wired performance (100 megabit switch is a bottleneck for LAN use), limited conntrack ability due to tiny amounts of RAM and CPU power available, lack of USB ports for external connectivity (n

        • by fnj (64210)

          OK, so to sum up, for about two thirds of North American users it's fine (they don't have more than a 22/5 pipe), and probably 99.9% of casual users would never notice the difference compared to the highest performance available wireless router. They most certainly would never notice the absence of a gigabit switch (although same is only $20 to add on).

          Mind, I personally use a Sonicwall TZ 170 Unlimited with enhanced firmware, and I have four gigabit switches on my LAN, but I'm hardly a typical user.

  • This combination is what I use at home. Debian has all the software one needs. The DN2800MT can take a couple of mini pcie cards, and a pcie card. This gives me two radios (5/2.4GHz) and an extra ethernet port (total 2). It has plenty of SATA connectors for NAS (2x1TB 2.5" drives). I have the whole thing in a tiny M300 case. Power consumption after boot is about 14W under normal use. It is about 11W when idle, and 18W when hammered. It doesn't have a slew of ethernet ports, so I have to add 6W (v.

    • by dbc (135354)

      You must have had better luck finding a WiFi card compatible with the DN2800MT that supported hostapd than I did. Maybe things have changed recently and I need to go update bios and such, but I eventually gave up trying to get hostapd to work and moved on to other things. What hardware have you actually gotten to work in host mode? What BIOS rev are you on? I'd still like to go back and get the AP function working on my robot. (DN2800MT is a great card for higher-end robots, since the power supply requ

      • I don't know the bios version off the top of my head. For the wireless access point, I'm using an Atheros AR9285 for 2.4GHz, and AR9390 for 5GHz. They are both used with hostapd. One needs a separate configuration file for each, but that can be set in /etc/default/hostapd.

        Best wishes,
        Bob

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