[OpenWrt-Devel] [OpenWrt] openwrt build system costs: support of or foundation over?

Eric Schultz eschultz at prplfoundation.org
Mon Dec 7 14:26:13 EST 2015


Thanks for bringing this up. Based upon my conversations at the OpenWrt
summit and observations, an official OpenWrt Foundation would be a positive
development. I heard at least a few companies say that they want to help
but they don't even know who to pay in some cases. There's lots of reasons
why this has been the case but, in the end, more clarity in governance and
process would go a long way to help here. I'm happy to personally help but
the committers are really the ones who have to drive this.

On a related topic, prpl is contracting with me to facilitate and help
build a distributed test platform for OpenWrt. The goal is somewhat similar
in design to Kernel CI but handles testing of upstream nightlies on devices
as well as boot. I'd like to have you involved and I'll be sending out the
participation information soon for next week's  kickoff meeting. Obviously,
that platform will require regularly built images so if those don't exist
then we would have to address that. I personally didn't realize there were
significant funding issues with the build infrastructure; I know prpl in
the past has offered to pay for the OpenWrt hosted build server but that
offer wasn't accepted. If you and the OpenWrt team could explain the
situation better, what's hosted where, what the costs are and I understand
the situation better, I can recommend to prpl leadership that funding be


On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 12:51 PM, Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am still not sure what prpl is for. Nor, what happens to donated
> funds, if any...
> I have long wanted some non-profit org to serve as an intermediary
> between the profit centered corps and the developers. I don't think
> SPI or prpl is doing this right. Linaro sort of used to...
> There needs to be some sort of translation between the three parties
> of real needs. A corp is used to paying X for Y, in particular, not
> fuzzy donations...
> As sort of a test case for what I'm trying to explain, there are a few
> people that contribute towards keeping the Continuous Integration and
> build system of openwrt up and running, both in terms of hardware, and
> time.
> Many have been doing it longer than I have, but for most of the last 4
> years a lot of the visible hardware came from me (snapon, huchra,
> gb-XX).
> For 14 months of that, courtesy of a google cloud grant that expired
> last year, I was running 6(?) boxes at a cost of about $1750/month, +
> 2 donated boxes from isc.org - and builds popped out in half a day for
> everything.  I liked it....
> I had to shut all but one machine off after that grant expired, and
> isc has (sadly) just shut down their free non-profit hosting service
> also... huchra is nearly gone, snapon has moved to sweden behind a fw
> where it can't act as a host...
> ... and recently I see that the lack of enough machines in the build
> system was annoying enough to at least one party to start up a new
> box...
> ... but - dang it! -  the benefits of CI for openwrt should be
> *obvious to everyone that uses it*. Especially including some big
> corps for which the opex of a few thousand dollars a month isn't even
> noticeable.
> HP supports debian's build cluster, for example.
> Now, of late, I've had a devil of a time keeping the lights on. My
> contribution to the cluster costs me $220/month that I would rather
> spend on... food, and fixing wifi in general, etc [1]
> So... I'd like it if there was some org(s) were paying these costs
> (and for everyone else contributing a box themselves) rather than me.
> That is a "support of" sort of thing, where control remains in the
> hands of engineers that care. (In fact, I don't have to care, travis
> takes care of the problems, I just pay the opex bill)
> If some org were to "take over" this responsibility, the control slips
> to that org - gains management - and other BS - and the CI might not
> get done as well.
> If some org were to however, take a wishlist of existing costs from
> existing developers, turn that into a budget, present that to willing
> commercial orgs, and turn that around to the requesting dev (and
> publicly), then everyone's lives would be better. X for Y with the
> help of Z.
> Mine, and (I think) most of openwrt folk's resistance to
> "organizations" comes from the top down attempt at exerting control in
> exchange for money.
> ...
> Certainly the build system could get done better! I was very happy
> seeing benchmarks go by with how much faster they could be done... and
> doing that right does involve human resources that might want to get
> paid also... the main reason why gb-10 still exists is because it was
> weeks of time to get it running in the first place, and easy to
> replicate, and I'd hate to lose those invested weeks were more grant
> money to arrive...
> Now: I have no intention of shutting down gb-10, but I came within
> hours of having to do so, last month. Got saved by a shuttleworth
> flash grant...
> At the moment I am just sending the personal - not a single !@#!
> corporate - donations I get at the below url to keep it running, and
> not thinking about it very hard - but I just reached for some spare
> cash to buy a new board, and came up empty.
> it's the meta problem, of keeping infrastructure beneath the devs, in
> general, with a minimal amount of overstructure on top, that's bugging
> me today.
> thx for listening. ideas?
> Dave Täht
> Keeping the lights on for open routers
> [1] https://www.patreon.com/dtaht?ty=h
> _______________________________________________
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Eric Schultz, Community Manager, prpl Foundation
eschultz at prplfoundation.org
cell: 920-539-0404
skype: ericschultzwi
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