[OpenWrt-Devel] Introducing the LEDE project

Bob Call bob at librecmc.org
Wed May 4 18:05:56 EDT 2016

On Wed, 2016-05-04 at 21:19 +0100, tapper wrote:
> On 04/05/2016 21:01, mbm wrote:
> > 
> > Dear OpenWrt community,
> > 
> > It is with a great amount of surprise that, like all of you, we
> > read
> > about the announcement of the LEDE project yesterday, as there was
> > no
> > prior announcement nor clues this would happen.
> > 
> > While we recognize the current OpenWrt project suffers from a
> > number of
> > issues outlined by Jo-Philip, in each of the 5 bullet points, we do
> > not
> > agree with the conclusions withdrawn, and even less so in deciding
> > to
> > spin off the OpenWrt project in the first place as a way to fix the
> > project and its community. Also, the phrases such as a "reboot" are
> > both
> > vague and misleading and the LEDE project failed to identify its
> > true
> > nature. The LEDE announcement  contains a number of very valid
> > points
> > which we hoped we had an opportunity to discuss and attempt to fix,
> > in a
> > public manner, before this more radical outcome. At this point, the
> > email as well as actions taken are very confusing to a lot of us.
> > 
> > OpenWrt is primarily developed by individuals who may have a day
> > job
> > more or less related to the purpose or the technologies of the
> > project,
> > but who strive to maintain OpenWrt as independent as possible  from
> > any
> > company, organization or interest group, thus maintaining its own
> > infrastructure (website, forums, mailing-lists, bugtracker...),
> > which
> > has been usually at the heart of all debates.
> > 
> > We do acknowledge there has been internal disagreements, on several
> > occasions about some directions of the project, about the release
> > model,
> > the lack of testing, the centralized infrastructure, however, there
> > have
> > been actual work going on under the hoods to solve things one step
> > at a
> > time, starting with a more decentralized infrastructure, which was
> > discussed with the LEDE developers as well.
> > 
> > At this point, we do not have much to offer to the LEDE developers
> > but
> > to encourage them to publicly discuss on
> > openwrt-devel at lists.openwrt.org the different items we should all
> > be
> > fixing together, and avoid spinning off so that all decisions can
> > be
> > taken with the community's involvement, and accountability and
> > transparency can rule us as one community.
> > 
> > As a user, developer, contributor, or just community member,
> > whatever
> > choice you make, keep the choice that matters to you: the ability
> > to
> > utilize superior quality open source software to power whatever
> > embedded
> > device that matters to you!
> > 
> > We would like to stress that we do want to have an open discussion
> > and
> > resolve matters at hand. Our goal is to work with all parties who
> > can
> > and want to contribute to OpenWrt, including the LEDE team.
> > 
> > Sincerely,
> > Your OpenWrt team
> > ______________
> But just who is "Your OpenWrt team?"
> After all the talk about fixing the website and the forum we as the 
> openwrt end users got jack shit! Even wen we offered to do things for
> you.

I'm kind of split on this issue because I run a faltering OpenWRT fork,
feel that OpenWRT has grown beyond the scope of an "embedded" OS/distro
and the goals of LEDE don't fix the faults with OpenWRT or its

There are many issues that need to be addressed and maybe the only way
that some could start the conversation was to start a fork. Sometimes,
great things come out of forks and eventually make it back upstream
(some cerowrt work comes to mind). Regardless of the reason for the
fork, the community at large can start a conversation and work to
resolve everyone's issues in a sane way.

I started my fork due to philosophical and technical reasons with the
intent of address concerns that many in the free software community
have, but during my work on this fork, I've found that:

* Many components in OpenWRT are becoming too bloated and make it
difficult to use some lower-end routers/targets without neutering
commonly wanted functionality. While this is not fully OpenWRT's fault,
it would be good to start making an effort to get some upstream
projects to work on reducing their footprint.

* OpenWRT is still using md5 checks for their source packages and lacks
signatures for most, if not all, of its source packages.

* OpenWRT's documentation is non-free due to the CC-NC-SA licensing,
which means that anyone who wanted to sell OpenWRT on a product with
documentation would have to fully re-write it from scratch.

* OpenWRT works to support too many devices and the quality is lacking
on quite a few targets. While development focus is mainly on a hand
full of targets, this does lead to bad experiences for many end-users
who are not technical enough to help debug or fix issues. It would also
help if poor hardware was not supported in the first place.

Personally, I'd like to see a project which focuses on actual embedded
systems (those with <4 MB of flash and < 16 MB of RAM) and is open to
new ideas about what that might look like. The first step to actually
making that happen is to be a bit more welcoming to new contributions
or entertaining some crazy ideas.

I wish both communities luck, wherever this may go.

Robert Call (Bob)
bob at librecmc.org
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openwrt-devel at lists.openwrt.org

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