OpenWrt

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OpenWrt
Openwrt-login.svg
OpenWrt 10.03.1-RC5 ("Backfire")
Company / developer OpenWrt Project
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Free and open source software
Initial release January 2004 (2004-01)
Latest release 12.09 (Attitude Adjustment) (April 25, 2013; 14 months ago (2013-04-25)) [±][1]
Latest preview 14.07-rc1 (Barrier Breaker) (14 July 2014; 7 days ago (2014-07-14)) [±][2]
Available in 22 languages[3]
Update method opkg
Package manager opkg
Supported platforms 50 different platforms using the following Instruction sets: AVR32, ARM, CRIS, m68k, MIPS, PowerPC, SPARC, SuperH, Ubicom32, x86, x86-64[4]
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland BusyBox, GNU
Default user interface CLI, WebUIs
License Free software, mainly the GNU GPL, and other licenses
Official website openwrt.org

OpenWrt is an operating system / embedded operating system based on the Linux kernel, and primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic. The main components are the Linux kernel, util-linux, uClibc and BusyBox. All components have been optimized for size, to be small enough for fitting into the limited storage and memory available in home routers.

OpenWrt is configured using a command-line interface (ash shell), or a web interface (LuCI). There are about 3500 optional software packages available for installation via the opkg package management system.

OpenWrt can be run on CPE routers, residential gateways, smartphones (e.g. Neo FreeRunner), pocket computers (e.g. Ben NanoNote), and laptops (e.g. One Laptop per Child (OLPC)). Also, it is possible to run OpenWrt on ordinary computers (e.g. x86 architecture). Many patches from the OpenWrt source base have been included upstream in the Linux kernel mainline.

History[edit]

The project came into being because Linksys built the firmware for their WRT54G wireless router from publicly available code licensed under the GPL. Under the terms of that license, they were required to make the source code of their modified version available under the same license, enabling independent developers to create additional derivative versions. Support was originally limited to the WRT54G series, but has since been expanded to include many other chipsets, manufacturers and device types, including Plug Computers and Openmoko mobile phones.

Using this code as a base and later as a reference, developers created a Linux distribution that offers many features not previously found in consumer-level routers. Some features formerly required proprietary software. Before the introduction of OpenWrt 8.09, using Linux 2.6.25 and the b43 kernel module, WLAN for many Broadcom-based routers was only available through the proprietary wl.o module that was also provided for Linux kernel version 2.4.x only.

The code names of OpenWrt branches are named after alcoholic beverages, usually including their recipes in the SSH login screen as well, cf. White Russian, Kamikaze, Backfire, Attitude Adjustment, Barrier Breaker.

The bleeding edge development trunk was confusingly also called Kamikaze until February 2011 but with r25514 it was renamed as "Attitude Adjustment" and is now being constantly renamed to the next stable name.

Releases[edit]

Tagged Code Name Version Release date Linux kernel C standard library Binary packages Source packages Notes
(default) (available)
N/A Old version, no longer supported: pre Buildroot-NG 0.x N/A N/A uClibc 474 ≈ 310
r6268 Old version, no longer supported: White Russian 0.9 2006-01 2.4.30 uClibc ≈ 360 ≈ 140 NVRAM-based, nas, wl. Supported platform: brcm-2.4.
r7428 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 7.06 2007-06 2.6.19 uClibc ≈ 750 ≈ 450 Using opkg. Supported platforms: atheros-2.6, au1000-2.6, brcm-2.4, brcm47xx-2.6, ixp4xx-2.6, imagicbox-2.6, rb532-2.6 and x86-2.6.
r7832 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 7.07 2007-07 2.6.21 uClibc ≈ 790 ≈ 475 New platform: amcc-2.6.
r8679 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 7.09 2007-09 2.6.21 uClibc ≈ 630 ≈ 500
r14547 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 8.09 2008-09 2.6.26 uClibc ≈ 1,400 ≈ 875
r16279 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 8.09.1 2009-06 2.6.26 uClibc ≈ 1,400 ≈ 875
r18961 Old version, no longer supported: Kamikaze 8.09.2 2010-01-10[5] 2.6.26 uClibc ≈ 1,400 ≈ 875
r20742 Old version, no longer supported: Backfire 10.03 2010-04-07[6] 2.6.32 uClibc ≈ 2,350 ≈ 1,050 Supported platforms: adm5120_mips, adm5120_mipsel, ar7, ar71xx, atheros, au1000, avr32, brcm-2.4, brcm47xx, brcm63xx, cobalt, ep80579, ifxmips, ixp4xx, kirkwood, octeon, orion, ppc40x, ppc44x, rb532, rdc, x86 and xburst.
r29594 Old version, no longer supported: Backfire 10.03.1 2011-12-21[7] 2.6.32 uClibc eglibc
glibc
≈ 2,950 ≈ 1,175
r36088 Current stable version: Attitude Adjustment 12.09 2013-04-25[8] 3.3 uClibc eglibc ≈ 3,450 ≈ 1,150 CoDel (network scheduler) backported from Linux 3.5 to 3.3. New platforms: ramips, bcm2708 (Raspberry Pi) and others.
trunk Latest preview version of a future release: Barrier Breaker 14.07-rc1[9] 2014-07-14 3.10.44[10] uClibc musl
eglibc
growing growing New platforms: i.MX23, i.MX6[11] and mvebu.
trunk Future release: Chaos Calmer development continuously ≥3.14[9] uClibc musl
eglibc
nftables (available since Linux kernel 3.12); New platforms: TBA if any
Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

Hardware incompatibilities[edit]

With the Attitude Adjustment (12.09) release of OpenWrt, all hardware devices with 16 MB or less RAM are no longer supported as they can run out of memory easily. Older Backfire (10.03) is recommended instead for bcm47xx devices, as issues for those devices came from dropping support for the legacy Broadcom target brcm-2.4.[12][13]

Features[edit]

OpenWrt follows the bazaar-philosophy and is known for an abundance of options. Features include:

Web interface[edit]

Before release 8.09, OpenWrt had a minimal web interface. In OpenWrt releases 8.09 and newer, a more capable web interface is included.[19] This interface is based on LuCI, a MVC framework written in Lua programming language.[18]

The X-Wrt project provides an alternative web interface, named webif² in the package repositories, for the current and previous versions of OpenWrt.

The Gargoyle Router Management Utility[20] is a web interface for OpenWrt with a strong emphasis on usability. It was originally available as a set of packages for OpenWrt. As the author of Gargoyle started to make modifications to the base system layout of OpenWrt, the package system was dropped and the only currently available downloads are full firmware images. Gargoyle makes extensive use of JavaScript, to offload as much work as possible to the client computer, and is focused on ease of use, striving to reach a level comparable to the appliance feeling of commercial router firmwares.

Development[edit]

OpenWrt's development environment and build system, known together as OpenWrt Buildroot, are based on a heavily modified Buildroot system. OpenWrt Buildroot is a set of Makefiles and patches that automates the process of building a complete Linux-based OpenWrt system for an embedded device, by building and using an appropriate cross-compilation toolchain.[21][22]

Embedded devices usually use a different processor than the one found in host computers used for building their OpenWrt system images, requiring a cross-compilation toolchain. Such a compilation toolchain runs on a host system, but generates code for a targeted embedded device and its processor's instruction set architecture (ISA). For example, if a host system uses x86 and a target system uses MIPS32, the regular compilation toolchain of the host runs on x86 and generates code for x86 architecture, while the cross-compilation toolchain runs on x86 and generates code for the MIPS32 architecture. OpenWrt Buildroot automates this whole process to work on the instruction set architectures of most embedded devices and host systems.[21][23]

OpenWrt Buildroot provides the following features:[21][23]

  • makes it easy to port software across architectures
  • uses kconfig (Linux kernel menuconfig) for the configuration of all options
  • provides an integrated cross-compiler toolchain (gcc, ld, uClibc etc.)
  • provides an abstraction for autotools (automake, autoconf), cmake and SCons
  • handles standard OpenWrt image build workflow: downloading, patching, configuration, compilation and packaging
  • provides a number of common fixes for known badly behaving packages.

Besides building system images, OpenWrt development environment also provides a mechanism for simplified cross-platform building of OpenWrt software packages. Source code for each software package is required to provide a Makefile-like set of building instructions, and an optional set of patches for bug fixes or footprint optimizations.[24]

Adoption[edit]

OpenWrt, especially its Buildroot build system, has been adopted many times:

  • Freifunk and other mesh network communities
  • Bufferbloat.net (Cerowrt)
  • IETF IPv6 integration projects HIPnet and HomeNet are OpenWrt-based.

Derivatives[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Attitude Adjustment 12.09 final released, openwrt.org, 2013-04-25 
  2. ^ [OpenWrt-Devel] Barrier Breaker 14.07-rc1, openwrt.org, July 14, 2014 
  3. ^ "LuCI Translation Portal". 2004-09-01. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
  4. ^ "Config.in in trunk/target – OpenWrt". Dev.openwrt.org. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Release Notes Kamikaze 8.09.2". openwrt. 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  6. ^ "Release Notes Backfire 10.03". openwrt. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  7. ^ "Release Notes Backfire 10.03.1". openwrt. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  8. ^ "Release Notes Attitude Adjustment 12.09". openwrt. 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  9. ^ a b "[OpenWrt-Devel] Barrier Breaker 14.07-rc1". 2014-07-14. 
  10. ^ "kernel: update 3.10.36->3.10.44 – OpenWrt". dev.openwrt.org. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-06-30. 
  11. ^ Freescale i.MX support
  12. ^ "Release Notes for Attitude Adjustment (12.09 final)". openwrt.org. 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  13. ^ "OpenWrt: Table of Hardware". openwrt.org. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  14. ^ "OpenWrt partition layout". 
  15. ^ "OpenWrt Unified Configuration Interface". 
  16. ^ freecwmp is a CWMP client for OpenWrt
  17. ^ "Changeset 31756 – OpenWrt". Dev.openwrt.org. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  18. ^ a b "LuCI project". Retrieved February 28, 2009. 
  19. ^ "OpenWrt 8.09 release notes". Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Gargoyle Router Management Utility". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b c "OpenWrt Buildroot – About". openwrt.org. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  22. ^ "OpenWrt Buildroot - Usage and documentation". openwrt.org. 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  23. ^ a b Tao Jin (2012-02-13). "OpenWrt Development Guide" (PDF). Wireless Networks Lab, CCIS, NEU. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  24. ^ "Creating packages". openwrt.org. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  25. ^ "About CeroWrt". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  26. ^ "ANNOUNCE: debloat-testing kernel git tree". Lwn.net. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  27. ^ ""closing time" message from author on PacketProtector forum". 

External links[edit]