[OpenWrt-Devel] Introducing the LEDE project

Kathy Giori kathy.giori at gmail.com
Wed May 4 19:32:04 EDT 2016

On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 2:40 PM, Daniel Dickinson
<openwrt at daniel.thecshore.com> wrote:
> On 16-05-04 12:25 PM, Kathy Giori wrote:
>> Also wearing my hat within the prpl Foundation, which is funded by
>> industry sponsorships that in turn provides financial support for
>> OpenWrt, no one I have spoken to in prpl understands the reason for
>> this spin-off either. It'll cause more confusion and inefficiency in
>> industry. prpl will stick with OpenWrt, and I expect most companies
>> who follow and/or contribute to OpenWrt will stick with it too.
> Silly question, but can you outline some specific examples of
> contributions that an outsider like me has somehow missed as being as
> concrete examples of companies contributing back to openwrt, rather than
> just benefiting from it?

Daniel I fully concur that industry "give back" is severely lacking.
It seems to me that the bigger the company, the less likely they are
to give back. One of the goals of the prpl Foundation was to help big
industry members to better "see" that problem, and to use prpl to help
them do something about it.

I see two main reasons for the lack of contributions problem (not
developer fault).
1. short-term focus. Industry rushes to meet product release schedules
and managers are too often not aware of the downstream maintenance
burdens they will face later, by not integrating their changes
properly into the Linux kernel (and OpenWrt).
2. legal. I could blab about this problem for days, but mainly there
is a fear of open source licensing when compared to the value of
giving back. This type of FUD problem is perhaps one that prpl could
help address too, through educational efforts.

As an example of a contribution, prpl is promoting the OpenWrt "board
farm" project, intended to support automated testing (of trunk) on
various platforms on a daily basis. The test framework was in fact
contributed by industry.

Now imagine the new problem that industry faces if they want to give
back. Do they have to push changes back into two different/similar
project branches? Do they need to setup two board farms or double the
test time? Will some companies choose to push to OpenWrt and others to
LEDE, leaving the end-user to figure out which project's software will
run on their board?

In my opinion, the OpenWrt core team members need to setup some
policies and procedures (e.g., take ideas from the LEDE objectives)
that allow the fairness and flexibility that is desired, so that only
one OpenWrt development branch continues to be developed. Reducing the
core team to the LEDE subgroup will take away from the diversity of
the project at the core, and I don't see that as a good thing. Yes,
collaboration in a diverse environment is harder, but research has
shown repeatedly that companies with staff diversity perform better.

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