[OpenWrt-Devel] [LEDE-DEV] openwrt and lede - remerge proposal

Stijn Segers francesco.borromini at inventati.org
Thu May 11 06:53:41 EDT 2017

Hey guys,

This might be a bit lengthy, but I should get this off my chest. I feel 
people are mostly looking at the upside and glossing over the negatives, 
which is a time bomb, and both projects do not deserve this. Paul's 
e-mail [0] already touches a lot of the relevant points, and it 
motivated me to add my own insights to what so far seems to have been a 
'good news show' as we say in Dutch.

While, like most people, I'm happy progress has been made towards a 
re-merge, there still seems quite some passive-agressive behaviour 
present coming from certain people championing OpenWrt [1] - which, from 
where I stand, seemed one of the reasons for starting LEDE. Stifling 
'free' speech (recently, even to the point of removing messages about 
the pending re-merge on the OpenWrt forums) was another one; clearly, 
that one is still very much present as well. One could say old habits 
die hard, but it still feels like par for the course. What's up with 
that? You want to remerge with the LEDE project, yet you cannot tolerate 
any discussion about the actual process on the OpenWrt forums? That's 
some fine duplicity right there.

I can't help but feel very uneasy about this. I'm not implying people 
who stuck with OpenWrt don't want the best for the project and community 
(most do), but we all know LEDE was created to remedy exactly these (and 
other) shortcomings, which made OpenWrt languish to the point it had 
come to a standstill. Not only did LEDE try to tackle these problems; it 
has succeeded beyond expectation. Developers are more accessible, you 
can actually talk to people instead of getting your head bit off, 
contributions are booming, and the atmosphere overall is friendly and 
helpful. Discussion is encouraged, not repressed Soviet-style.

Some of the OpenWrt veterans come across as if they want the re-merge to 
be rushed, ignoring the actual issues that caused the fork in the first 
place. In itself, the desire to re-merge might a noble intent, if it 
didn't taste so much like driven by ulterior, more selfish motives. At 
the same time, while OpenWrt have little to offer beyond the OpenWrt 
name and legacy (which, at this point, feels more and more rotten to me, 
despite all the good things that once came from it), they field some 
pretty hard nos - very astonishing, given the position they are in: no 
to abandoning the OpenWrt name, no to abandoning the OpenWrt 'house 
style' [1]. Luckily, not everyone shares that same attitude [2], but it 
leaves a very bad taste. Almost like some people haven't learnt from the 
whole ordeal, and went back to their old ways pretty quickly.

It feels pushy, and seems to boil down to 'it's all fine and dandy what 
you did, but it's still OpenWrt; don't get any illusions, you're not 
running the show'. This is very toxic, even more so when you realise 
that an overwhelming majority of active (!) OpenWrt developers either 
started or joined the LEDE project. Some of the vocal veterans sticking 
with OpenWrt hardly contribute any code anymore, and haven't done so in 
a while, or other valuable input, but they were most vocal when the 
split happened, pointing fingers and accusing people (ironically, people 
who *did* contribute code, actively maintained infrastructure, and had 
the interests of the project and community at heart). Again, they are 
yelling the hardest now, and waving that OpenWrt flag like there's no 
tomorrow. Imre nothing short of ignores the whole LEDE effort by stating 
explicitly that LEDE 17.01 (which Hauke put forward as an official 
OpenWrt 15.01 successor in an initial communication draft about the 
merge [3]) was NOT its successor [4]. Combined with his push for the 
OpenWrt name and keeping pretty much everything else OpenWrt (the 
dysfunctional homepage, the forums), it reeks of a coverup: LEDE was a 
hiccup, an anomaly, a gene malfunction, something that needs to be 
corrected and removed from the 'history books' as soon as possible, so 
it can all feel hunky dory again - and mostly, so it looks and smells 
like OpenWrt. By now, that smell has turned into quite a stench though. 
Luckily, the industry and a lot of end users seem to be impervious to 

For me, the OpenWrt name and project by now feels tainted. For months on 
end, you could browse the OpenWrt forums, or hang in #openwrt and never 
catch a dev or someone who knew what was (or wasn't) going on. Backends 
went down, sites disappeared, and it doesn't help to keep pointing to 
the OpenWrt name 'because the industry only knows OpenWrt', or 'because 
end users still don't know about LEDE'. Linux has been around for two 
decades now, and a lot of people with a computer still haven't heard of 
it. Before Mozilla, the internet only knew IE. Before Linux, sysadmins 
only knew Unices. Anyway, plenty of comparisons at hand - you get the 
gist. OpenWrt has served its purpose. It is time to part ways.

It looks like some people have resigned to adopting the name again for 
the greater good, because they want this mess to be over with 
(understandably). The last vote tally I found [3] was a tie on the most 
contentious issue - the name. A week ago [4], Hauke states there is a 
majority in favour of re-adopting the OpenWrt name. I have been looking 
up and down but seem to have overlooked the final tally - I cannot find 
it? Can somebody link me?

I'm sure a lot of people want this to be fixed, want things to be right 
again. Most of those have the best interests of the community and both 
projects in mind, but some do not, and the latter seem to be waging a 
war of attrition. I enjoy being part of the LEDE community. I never felt 
OpenWrt was much of a community in the months prior to the fork, and I'd 
hate to see LEDE go the same way as OpenWrt right before. There will be 
infighting again, snide remarks, stalled development... And meanwhile, 
people will say 'hey we need new blood', but that won't come with such a 
backstabbing culture.

My two cents.


Stijn Segers

[0] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-dev/2017-May/007403.html
[1] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-dev/2017-May/007342.html
[2] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-dev/2017-May/007347.html
[3] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-adm/2017-May/000461.html
[4] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-adm/2017-May/000462.html
[5] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-adm/2017-March/000436.html
[6] http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/lede-adm/2017-May/000461.html
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