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a7thson
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: Re: FreeWRT tested Reply with quote

casso wrote:
Hi,
Sorry it has been so long since my last reply. I was working on another project that is almost complete.

Hello again, no problem on the response time, after all I did all this work, then promptly disappeared for several months :-)
Quote:

I sucessfully installed FreeWRT to my ASUS router and found it useful enough. Problem with most of these WRT distros is that they all use a 2.4 kernel, and I need (yes need) a 2.6 kernel for some additional things I want my router to do.

A few other people have mentioned the Asus routers and a couple of discussions leave me convinced that it's a great platform to try this "Gentoo experiment" with; far less headache-prone than a WRT54G series. Yes the 2.4.x series kernel can be a real hassle, unfortunately (though at least the kernel maintainers keep supporting it)... I remember similar frustration in waiting for a 2.6 kernel for my Zaurus SL5600 - unfortunately, not being much of a kernel hacker, I couldn't do much but wait for dev support.

Quote:

Briefly, I want my router to do the following:
    * Boot into a Linux based system that is simple to configure and does most of what the stock firmware does
    * This system must contain kexec for mipsel, and a 2.6 kernel with the kexec system call
    * A second system stored on a USB connected drive, with all the capabilities I want form a full Gentoo Linux distro
To implement the first point, I will use dd-wrt, which is, from my perspective, the Fedora of WRT distros. I will build a 2.6 kernel and kexec to go with dd-wrt, modifying the original image to fit these inside. Lastly, I will use another computer to load my Gentoo system from an external hard drive, and be able to use Gentoo on my router as if it was any other mipsel computer.

Because I want to be able to have the choice of either a basic distro suitable for a network appliance, and a full Gentoo distro, I have chosen to use kexec to switch between. If I wanted to have just the full distro, I could have made a firmware image that would boot my Gentoo system easily. I could have included the kernel and initramfs image within the firmware image (I have space enough), but I opted to keep these outside for a few reasons, one was to allow an easy upgrade of the Gentoo kernel without the need to reflash the firmware.

A quick observation then, why the need for an alternate kernel? It seems to me you could achieve what you want here merely by switching the filesystem and maintaining a common kernel between the specialized 'network appliance' configuration and a fullblown Gentoo. Or am I missing something here?

Quote:

This thread seems to be looking at running Gentoo on the router as if it was any other mipsel based computer. Here I am looking at running both a network appliance setup (using dd-wrt) and Gentoo on the same hardware, but not simultaneously. I may later look more heavily into GNAP and embedded Gentoo, moving away from dd-wrt and across to a router that runs both systems as Gentoo. I still want to have an easy to configure system for the firmware image, one that uses either jffs or nvram to make changes to its configuration.


OK, now I see where you're going ... I like the idea of dual Gentoo installs here; initially what I wanted to see from this was just replicating all the packages I used in OpenWrt, but as custom-compiled and latest stable versions from the portage tree as OpenWrt is still a binary-based distro (despite the fact it uses a "build" process and cross-compile, the package versions are fixed at each release to ensure/maintain stability of the whole)... Though the WRT54G series w/Broadcom chip is an interesting machine, I wasn't too interested in having a fullblown distro, just enough to build what I needed to deploy on the router and hopefully the ability to rewrite firmware and compile & bootstrap a kernel into place. IMHO anything else (including fouling up the toolchain or a uclibc upgrade) should be recoverable (not necessarily easy, just possible); but the bootloader and/or kernel mishaps could be catastrophic. OpenWrt uses a very sane approach including a failsafe mode to fall back upon; without JTAG or a serial console, you could very easily hit a "point of no return" in the bootstrap process, and turn a nice bit of embedded hardware into a brick. Again, all IMHO.
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casso
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have got my setup correct. Initally, I want to concentrate on getting a full system working with all software that would be contained in a minimal system, as well as software for a more extensive system. I am lucky to own an ASUS, since they have their own flash program should I suddenly brick the router, making it difficult to do so (maybe even impossible).

If I can get the software properly setup in a full Gentoo install, I can then move it to a much smaller install using baselayout-lite, busybox, uclibc, etc. I should be able to get more debugging information from a full install before I move to an embedded style install. As I said before, I will use dd-wrt in the meantime for an embedded style install until I am ready to tackle Gentoo Embedded and create a rather different GNAP.

As for 2.6, in my setup the easiest way to switch between each system is to use the kexec system call. This allows me to avoid reflashing the kernel and early userspace to the router, when I know I will be reverting to another system later. I also have a few other things that require a 2.6 kernel, but that is for another post. I have been working on my GameCube for a while, and it is very near completion. This comes before the router running Gentoo in full, which comes before the router as an embedded system.

Thanks for all the information you have given all of us so far. I hope I may be able to add to it, if I'm lucky.
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orvtech
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so... how is this going ?

is it possible to run kismet on it ?, i have a NSLU2 running gentoo hosting some sites ( http://www.orvtech.com ) and a DSM-G600 just as storage, both running gentoo linux. I need to be able to 'play' with the wifi, but the DSM-G600 is too limited (from what i read at the DSM community http://forum.dsmg600.info/t1474-quick-questions-before-starting...html ). thats why i began to look for a cheap accesspoint that can run gentoo.


regards.
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casso
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No progress yet. Too many other projects running at the moment to make a way forward. I do however want to get a 2.6 kernel onto my router when I get that far, and will run Gentoo from a USB stick.
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orvtech
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

casso wrote:
No progress yet. Too many other projects running at the moment to make a way forward. I do however want to get a 2.6 kernel onto my router when I get that far, and will run Gentoo from a USB stick.
great.. i didnt know that you could get a usb attached to the wrt router.
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GNUtoo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2.6 kernel...hmm
how do you get the wifi in master mode?
patching inside the kernel?
according to:
http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4404
master mode will be in the 2.6.25 kenrel for the new wireless stack...
so mabe b43(if it's b43 and not b43_legacy) will be able to use that...
and so we could finally have a 2.6 kernel on all the routers that have a broadcom chip that has been reverse-engeneered(mabe not the mimo ones)
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casso
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My progress is not specific to the Linksys WRT family. It does belong under the WRT banner, since any changes/updates to the firmware outside of the kernel can apply to any router brand or model. I am running an ASUS 500G Premium. This device has two USB ports, and a 2.6 kernel version is available from OpenWRT. I should be able to get the sources for OpenWRT via SVN, then make my own kernel if necessary to use with this device. I am planning on including a few extra modules not normally built.

WRT54G, WRT54G3G, WRT54GS and a few other WRT models have 2.6 kernel versions of OpenWRT firmware available. These are all available under the Kamikaze release, which is actually marked stable.

(NOTE: Never decide to mark your testing branch with a name that suggests instability. One day that branch may become stable, and your naming convention is bound to confuse)
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a7thson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

casso wrote:
My progress is not specific to the Linksys WRT family. It does belong under the WRT banner, since any changes/updates to the firmware outside of the kernel can apply to any router brand or model. I am running an ASUS 500G Premium.

Asus 500G Premium would probably be a much better platform to get this idea past the initial stages and modernized, though it's still a broadcomm CPU (see later comment). With USB storage you can alleviate the need for an NFS mount (though probably still want to NFS mount a swapfile) and simplify this process a bit more. Good starting point.

Quote:

WRT54G, WRT54G3G, WRT54GS and a few other WRT models have 2.6 kernel versions of OpenWRT firmware available. These are all available under the Kamikaze release, which is actually marked stable.

OpenWrt Kamikaze with 2.6 kernel on broadcom 47xx chipset routers (including the Linksys 54G*-series) provides no wireless support as the dev's there have found it unstable. But the router will work without wireless via the supplied 2.6 kernel, just treat it like a standard router; it has a WAN port and 4 ports in a configurable VLAN, which is plenty to play with on its own. Another place to start for anyone interested. The documentation isn't too clear on this - if you want wireless support under Kamikaze you need their 2.4-broadcom builds. I'm sure 2.6 will give a lot less headaches and a lot more chances of building something useful, so USB-equipped router running non-wifi OpenWrt kamikaze with kernel 2.6 might be the way to go - faster CPU (266MHz vs. 200Mhz) as well in the WL-500g-Premium.

This version should work for Linksys 54G/54GS and Asus WL-500g/500b/500g Premium (but not 500g Deluxe). See also the OpenWrt kamikaze release notes.
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GNUtoo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the 2.6 version of kamikaze didn't have the wireless access point driver last time i checked...
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a7thson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GNUtoo wrote:
the 2.6 version of kamikaze didn't have the wireless access point driver last time i checked...

right. I thought that's what I said:
a7thson wrote:

OpenWrt Kamikaze with 2.6 kernel on broadcom 47xx chipset routers (including the Linksys 54G*-series) provides no wireless support as the dev's there have found it unstable


Or did you mean something else? I'm assuming the kernel will run fine, and the router would be usable, just lacking wifi support. the release notes say explicitly:
Code:

  brcm47xx-2.6 - Netgear WGT634U, Broadcom Devices without Broadcom wifi
                 (you can use this instead of brcm-2.4 but wifi won't work)

But I haven't tried it to confirm that.
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casso
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone tried a 2.6 kernel with an Atheros MiniPCI card for wireless? I was thinking that this was the quickest way around the Broadcom+2.4 kernel limitation.
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mimosinnet
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an asus wl-500w router with dd-wrt and I really miss gentoo on it :roll: I have found this page on installing debian in it. This other page on installing openwrt mentions the issue with broadcom and atheros cards. When I get some spare time I will give it a try.

Cheers!
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casso
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:52 am    Post subject: Will look into it Reply with quote

Hi,
I will certainly look into this. If Debian can work on it, then it shouldn't be that difficult to add the appropriate patches in for the kernel, and perform a Gentoo Embedded build to create a Gentoo system for the device. It may not be possible to use portage to do all of the work. In other words it may require some idea of what packages are required to kick the build off.

I did purchase one of the Atheros WiFi devices, but have not connected it to the router yet. I have been a bit pre-occupied with other things.
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