[OpenWrt-Devel] Introducing the LEDE project

Bill bmoffitt at ayrstone.com
Thu May 5 12:33:29 EDT 2016

I confess I am one of those people who has benefited much more than I 
have contributed to the OpenWRT development group. I run a small company 
in which I am the chief developer, administrator, customer support dude, 
marketer, and salesguy. I would LOVE to be able to contribute more to 
the OpenWRT community, and I do try to test things that are in my way 
and report what I find from those tests, but I certainly don't feel I 
pull my weight.

However, in my defense, as you can probably surmise from the description 
of my job, we're not exactly rolling in extra money or time to 
contribute. Which I regret, but it is what it is. Anyone interested in 
joining a currently unfunded startup using OpenWRT, please get in touch.

I recently purchased a WiFi access point that I realized upon plugging 
it in was running a somewhat restricted version of OpenWRT. I won't say 
who makes it, but it's a very clever, one might say ingenious, product 
that I like very much.

However, when I looked at the OpenWRT tree, I could not find an OpenWRT 
build for this particular device. And that, I must say, has REALLY 
annoyed me - the company clearly expended some resources to port OpenWRT 
to their clever device, and certainly benefits from it, but they 
apparently did not contribute the work they did to support this device 
back to the community so it could be "officially" part of the OpenWRT 

I have also been painfully aware of the infrastructure difficulties that 
OpenWRT has faced, and I have been quietly admiring the work of those 
who keep it running as well as it does. As scary as it was when IBM got 
deeply involved in Linux back in the early 2000s, for instance, I would 
say their involvement has benefited both parties.

OpenWRT is actually a pretty mature and popular codebase, and it 
deserves much better infrastructure than it has now. In order to get a 
better infrastructure, of course, we need, as a community, to attract 
partners with the ability to contribute that infrastructure. It's great 
to be in a project that is not beholden to any big companies UNTIL you 
actually want to get something significant done. Pragmatism has its place.

That's why I was a bit taken aback at the reluctance to embrace prpl's 
offer. I would like to see an organization in which all possible 
partners should be welcomed into the community; while we should be 
appropriately cautious about accepting code from anyone, and subject it 
to strict review as to suitability, fit with mission and architecture, 
and quality, we should be pulling partners in, not holding them at arm's 
length. My hope is that LEDE will either bring this level of pragmatism 
or will enable OpenWRT to be more pragmatic.

Of course, we have to be clear about the mission, architecture, and the 
standards of suitability and quality... perhaps that is the departure 
point for LEDE? I, for one, am eager to better understand, in full 
atomic granularity, the problems that have led to this departure and 
what, again, in atomic granularity, LEDE proposes to do differently.

My thinking is that, if OpenWRT or LEDE is able to attract more support 
from the corporate world, it will serve as an example to those who are 
using OpenWRT/LEDE of what is expected of a larger company that is 
gaining from the use of the software, hopefully pressuring them to step 
up and be better members of the community. I also think that it will 
lead to more visibility, which can help bring in folks like me who have 
an idea and can leverage off of OpenWRT/LEDE to produce products that 
are out of the mainstream.

I'm not privy to all, indeed, any, of the discussions that have led to 
this point of departure; I am commenting as a strict outsider. My simple 
desire is to see the codebase continue to grow, in both code and users, 
and the community to be as open and welcoming as possible. I hope that 
this move will help achieve that for at least one of the resultant 
groups. And I shall do what I can to help either or both. My last 
comment is that the more open of the two communities is likely to be the 
one where I can most easily see how I might contribute.


Bill Moffitt
Ayrstone Productivity LLC

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