Today, while I was in the shower I was thinking:
“What way do people closely interact with Linux everyday without even knowing it”
With the recent re-regurgitation of the old GNU vs. Cisco case it came to mind that many people use Linux on a daily basis by using their routers. While this is not the best example of Linux in its prime it is a good way to demonstrate the versatility of the Linux operating system. To some, the concept of an operating system running on anything other than the latest and greatest hardware is alien. To Linux users this is part of its beauty.
I personally have two Linux powered routers. The first is a cheapo Belkin that is not very well suited, the second is the better supported WRT54G.
There are many variants of the WRT’s My personal favorite is DD-WRT because this is what I’ve used for a while, and I’m most familiar with it. I have an office with quite a lot of equipment that is somewhat distant from my cable modem and access point. What I use the first router for is a static access point, next to the cable modem, the second router has been re-purposed to be a full time bridge. I encrypted the communications and set up some static IP’s. I have a hundred or so DHCP lease IP’s available for friends and virtual machines. Whats great about this setup is DD-WRT does a great job as a bridge and hardly ever drops. My cable connection has gone out far more times then the bridge, if it ever has at all. I am able to connect many machines to the Internet over wireless while keeping my office communications switched. I do not have any of the hassles of multiple wireless cards with touchy Windows and Linux drivers and random dropped connections. The wireless bridge is so reliable I am able to do VOIP over it, with QoS to ensure that my calls always have priority over streaming media and other network traffic. DD-WRT truly has been the best thing that I’ve ever done to my routers and is really a great replacement for the Linksys junkware.
With this in mind next time your dearest Windows zealot complains about the stability of their Small/Home Office router, perhaps taking a stab at the stability of Linux (if their router even runs it) how about you educate them on the versatility of Linux. If you like, you could walk them through the very easy steps of installing a WRT variant onto the router (if possible) and enable Linux’s full potential to shine through.