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Unslung 2.x beta release plans

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  • rwhitby
    With the number of Unslung 2.x alpha testers rising past the half-way mark to achieve a binary firmware release for beta testing, we need to decide what binary
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2004
      With the number of Unslung 2.x alpha testers rising past the half-way
      mark to achieve a binary firmware release for beta testing, we need to
      decide what binary variants will be actually be released for beta
      testing.

      For Unslung 1.x, there are currently two variants: "standard" and "ext3flash".

      The "standard" variant should really be called the "limit1gb" variant,
      because it reduces the flash/hdd detection limit from 10Gb to 1Gb.
      This allows small hard disks and Cornice drives to be treated properly
      as hard disks, instead of being detected as flash drives.

      The "ext3flash" variant allows flash drives of sizes 256Mb or 512Mb to
      be formatted as ext3 and used just like a hard disk in the Disk2 port.
      Note that this doesn't work for flash disks of 128Mb or smaller,
      because the fdisk program only formats it with one ext3 partition
      which makes it not very useable with the Linksys applications (there
      is some hardcoded limit in fdisk, and we do not have the source code
      to those modifications to change that limit).

      The first question is: "How many people are actually using the
      ext3flash variant?"

      If you are using the ext3flash variant (and only two people have noted
      in the beta tester database that they have even tested the ext3flash
      variant, versus more than 100 beta testers for the standard variant),
      then please let me know ASAP. Unless a significant number of people
      object, we will *not* be releasing a binary for the ext3flash variant
      (however, you will still be able to build that variant from source
      code yourself, and even mix-and-match that feature with other new
      variants).

      The second question is: "How many people are relying on the reduction
      of the 10Gb detection limit to 1Gb, and conversely, how many people
      wish that the detection limit was larger than 1Gb (so that their 1Gb
      or 2Gb flash cards were detected as flash rather than as a hard
      disk)?".

      If you do *not* want the default detection limit to continue to be the
      reduced 1Gb figure, then please let me know ASAP. Unless a
      significant number of people object, we will continue with the 1Gb
      limit as a standard feature in all future binary releases.

      For Unslung 2.x, a couple of other variant possibilities have sprung
      up during development. There are now five patch-sets which can be
      combined to produce firmware variants: "limit1gb", "ext3flash",
      "usbnet", "genesys", "vfatdisk2", and "able".

      The "limit1gb" patch-set was described earlier (it is included in the
      "standard" Unslung 1.x variant, and will be included in all future
      Unslung 2.x variants unless a significant number of beta testers
      object).

      The "ext3flash" patch-set was also described earlier, except that in
      Unslung 2.x it should also allow you to plug the 256Mb or 512Mb flash
      disk into the Disk1 port (we can do that because we build the kernel
      from source code for Unslung 2.x). It formed the basis of the
      "ext3flash" Unslung 1.x variant, but will not be released as a binary
      firmware release unless there are significant people who will be
      testing it.

      The "usbnet" patch-set adds some missing things which are required for
      using a USB network adapter (note that further work is required on
      this to actually support an adaptor - this patch just enables the
      right things in the kernel to allow people to experiment with that).

      The "genesys" patch-set adds support for the Genesys enclosure
      chipset, and is expected to be in all future Unslung 2.x binary
      firmware releases.

      The "vfatdisk2" is an experimental patch-set which attempts to mount
      anything attached to the Disk2 port as a vfat (Windows-formatted)
      drive. Note that the Linksys applications treat this like a flash
      disk, so the functionality is restricted to only those things that you
      can normally do with a flash disk. We do not have the source code to
      the Linksys applications, so we can't change that situation. This
      patch-set will stay experimental unless there are significant numbers
      of alpha testers who report success with it.

      The "able" patch-set is a work-in-progress. You can find details at
      http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Unslung/UnslungAble - note that as it
      is experimental, there will no be a binary firmware release for it
      just yet.

      The upshot of all this is that we are currently looking at releasing
      only a single Unslung 2.x binary firmware variant (called "standard"),
      containing the "limit1gb" and "genesys" patch-sets.

      If there is significant demand, we would also release a second Unslung
      2.x binary firmware variant (called "ext3flash") which would also
      include the "ext3flash" patch-set. A significant number of beta
      testers need to let us know exactly what success they are having with
      the current Unslung 1.x "ext3flash" variant for this one to have any
      chance of an Unslung 2.x binary release (as the current database only
      indicates two people using it, and we know that at least one of those
      people is able to build it himself, so he doesn't need a binary
      release).

      Note that you must be currently beta-testing Unslung 1.x (with an
      entry in the database) for your objection to be noted as significant
      :-)

      Please let me know any objections by private email reply (note that by
      default your mailer will address your reply to the list, so you will
      have to manually change it to be a private reply rather than a mailing
      list posting).

      If you have no objections, then please do not email. Silence will be
      assumed to be agreement with the plans above. If you have a really
      strong objection (or if you just feel like telling *everyone* your
      opinion), then feel free to reply to the list address :-)

      And remember that we still need 9 more people to follow the
      instructions at
      http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/OpenEmbedded/GettingStarted and report
      on your alpha testing of Unslung 2.x before it is considered ready for
      a binary firmware beta release ...

      -- Rod
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