Optware was originally developed as a distribution mechanism for software for the Unslung Linux project for the Linksys NSLU2 (a small low cost network storage device). That consumer storage device ran on Linux and was later modified to run custom firmware by the developer community.
Since 2004, Optware has been adopted by a variety of Linux communities and device developers including the webOS community working on the Palm Pre and Pixi, the WL-500g, WL-HDD, WL-500gx, WL-500gP Asus routers, the Synology DS-101, Plug computer (PogoPlug V1, V2, Pro, Biz, Dockstars, etc.) and DS-101g+ NAS devices. In late 2010, the first Optware for Android was released by the Novaports team for the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. Optware now is not limited to Unslung Linux but runs on a variety of distributions, such as the DD-WRT firmware.
At its core, Optware is a package manager to allow you to easily install and uninstall cross-compiled linux applications on your device over the internet. At this time, Optware supports the automatic download and installation of over 1500 programs.
Optware packages currently run on the following devices:
- Linksys NSLU2 with Unslung firmware
- Asus routers with USB and WL-700gE WL-HDD with Oleg's or OpenWrt or DD-WRT firmware
- Certain Netgear routers with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware
- Synology DS-101, DS-101g+ and DS-101j with custom bootstrapping
- QNAP Turbonas
- Maxtor Shared Storage with OpenMSS firmware
- Maxtor Shared Storage II (MSSII) with custom bootstrapping
- Iomega NAS 100d with LudeOS
- Nokia N800/N810 from cs05q1armel feed (install ipkg-opt).
- Freecom FSG-3 with custom bootstrapping 
- Palm Pre, Pre Plus, Palm Pixi, Pixi Plus, Palm Pre Emulator and HP TouchPad (with ipkg-opt from Preware)
- Plug computer (Sheevaplug, Pogoplug V1, V2, Pro, Biz, Dockstar, etc.)
- WD TV devices running WDLXTV custom firmware (WD TV Gen 1, WD TV Live, etc.)
- Android devices (Nook Color, etc.)
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