Linux Blog

Some notes on DD-WRT

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Hardware,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 1:44 am on Saturday, June 21, 2008

For those of you that don’t know DD-WRT is a modified version of firmware somewhat like that of the Linksys NSLU2 except more geared towards wireless routers, it runs on over 80 models.

I needed to finally set my home office / desk up with my home wireless network. I currently have a Belkin running DD-WRT and was very happy with the versatility. I have temporarily used it as a wireless bridge in other applications, so I thought I’d add another DD-WRT box to my network and use it as a bridge as I had previously done.

As noted above DD-WRT does support a large variety of wireless routers, the problem is finding a supported model. I purchased another cheap Belkin as it was on the known working hardware and came to realize that it was not possible to get DD-WRT set up on it. It was an version that was specifically put on the not supported list which I had failed to check.

A lot of Netgear routers are supported, but be careful. I noticed that the Model numbers do work, but the newer Netgear versions of the same model are not supported. I oped to buy a WRT54G for a modest $49.99. It has slightly less ram, and flash memory meaning that it can not support the full version but it has more then enough features in the micro version that it can run.

The Linksys WRT54GL retails about $65-$90 and can be purchased from most computer stores that have a decent selection. It features some pretty good specs, like the WRT54GS except it has more RAM and more flash. Again, this depends on the version you get. If you purchase the WRT54GL you are guaranteed to get a working version of DD-WRT on it though. It took me a while to find my WRT54G, I shopped at Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max, Staples and they all had the “latest and greatest” models that are not yet supported by DD-WRT and were incredibly over priced. At one point I was very desperate and almost purchased an overpriced WAP54G which is the same thing without the built in switch. I am very happy that I didn’t as I would have also had to wire up my 16 port switch to a power supply since it went bad.

If your considering purchasing a router to run DD-WRT just check the black list first and take a print out of the supported and not supported lists from DD-WRT.com (The employees of big box retail stores don’t like it when you take every model they have to a computer with Internet and compare the models / versions one by one only to take them all back.)

Linux on Household Appliances

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 9:52 am on Monday, September 3, 2007

Linux is a versatile enough operating system that it could virtually run on anything. Me and some friends have joked about installing Gentoo on toasters but in reality how far away are we from this? For example lets take the Smart Fridge. Its basically a fridge that keeps track of what you have in it. Its packed with lots of features my favorite is its ability to tell you what recipes you can currently make with the ingredients that are in it. The smart fridge could easily be developed with Linux as its plat from.

Next lets look at other house hold items that we take for granted such as washers and dryers. Almost every house hold that owns a computer will have a washer and dryer. I would like to be able to have my washer and dryer notify me via e-mail, on screen display or other means when the cycle is finished. This would be easy to implement with an embedded OS such as Linux. There would be no extra electronics on the appliance because all of the required electronics are already in place. A simple serial or parallel interface would have enough bandwidth to give a detailed information on the current cycle or status.

What else is there? Ovens, Microwaves, Dishwashers or any other house hold appliance. Even simple tasks such as turning them on and off remotely would make sense. For the hardware hacker these features are easy to implement.

I don’t think that we are far from having these features. Take the VCR for example, once the record feature was mainstream some one came up with the idea to schedule recording on the units. A while later we got the Tivo DVR which has even better options for scheduling.

Is Linux going to be running on mainstream appliances? I believe it could be in time. Its already running on so many networking applications. Linksys run a modified version of it on their routers and on network attached storage devices. So I think it will only be a matter of time before it works its way into other mainstream devices. All that is needed is for a company to implement these features and a good marketing campaign. I know I would buy an intelligent household appliance if it would make my daily tasks easier.