The future of nslu2-linux firmware development
[Read on for exiting news about OpenWrt support for the NSLU2, including
a web interface, which may in the future replace Unslung and SlugOS as
the supported firmware for the NSLU2. More details in the second half
of this message.]
As you may know, it has been some time since we had a binary firmware
release. There are a number of reasons for this:
1) The people who do the firmware development have been busy. It looks
like this is an ongoing thing, so we need to do something to bring in
new blood into the firmware development team.
2) We have been concentrating on widening the scope of the kernel
support for different devices. We now support the NSLU2, NAS100d,
DSMG600 and just recently have started working on support for the
3) We have also been trying to help get the open source IXP4xx ethernet
driver into the mainline kernel. There has been one attempt last year,
and there is now a competing open source driver under development. This
has slowed down our own plaform kernel work, which in turn has slowed
down the firmware development.
4) People seem to be reasonably happy with our existing released
firmware (Unslung 6.8 and SlugOS 3.10) and are getting package updates
regularly through the great work of our Optware developers.
5) We have also been busy getting Debian to officially support the
NSLU2. The NSLU2 is now a first-class citizen in the Debian-arm world,
and probably accounts for most of the new Debian arm installations.
6) We have also been busy getting OpenWrt to support the NSLU2. I've
just released an alpha test image of OpenWrt Kamikaze 7.07 on
www.slug-firmware.net and it's looking like a perfect candidate to
replace the old UcSlugC distribution (i.e. for people who want to run
all their packages from internal flash) and is also looking like a
good replacement for SlugOS and maybe even Unslung.
So we're coming to a cross-roads as far as nslu2-linux firmware
The main question is: How much effort do we expend in continuing to
support the Unslung and SlugOS firmware, as opposed to expending effort
in supporting the Debian firmware and the new OpenWrt firmware.
Now before anyone gets excited - we are talking about long-term future
strategy not about making immediate changes. Support for existing
Unslung and SlugOS installations is not going away. We will support the
package feeds for our existing binary releases well into the future.
So what do I want you to do?
I want you to test out the new OpenWrt alpha test image, and consider
whether the combination of Unslung (with no new changes unless Linksys
releases new source code, but with Optware package support continuing
indefinitely), OpenWrt (both with OpenWrt packages and also with
Optware packages) and Debian will cover the complete space of
NSLU2-Linux firmware requirements.
Feel free to post your thoughts to the nslu2-linux mailing list.