[OpenWrt-Devel] Introducing the LEDE project
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.
Ayrstone Productivity LLC
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