Linux Outlaws 10 - The WRT54GL
This week Dan and Fab talk about the Linksys WRT54GL router which both of them use because it runs Linux and is very customisable for that reason.
Daniel writes us about the homework from last week’s show: He’s trying to get the Rosetta Stone language learning software, which uses Adobe’s Shockwave, to run in Wine. Fab initially thought Shockwave wouldn’t work in Wine, but the program entry for Rosetta Stone in the AppDB seems to prove him wrong. When rathole this topic a bit and talk about Photoshop vs. the GIMP and Dan mentions the GIMPshop mod which gives you a more Photoshop-like GUI for the GIMP.
We got another very long email this week from John, who lives in Munich but is actually from the UK (what a perfect listener for a podcast produced by two guys from the UK and Germany). His email contained comments on nearly every show we did so far, which is really awesome! He also says he thinks the little music bumpers we started to put in between the different sections don’t really work for us. What do you think? Do you agree? Do you like them? Please use the feedback form to tell us about it! John also has the idea that we could sell CDs of the shows to recoup some of our expenses and Fab says he’s planning to set up a merchandising shop at CaféPress, possibly in time for christmas. If you have any suggestions about this, please also tell us about it! Fab also plans to put a PayPal donation button on the site, but we definitely want to avoid advertising (both in the show and on the site) as long as we can.
Next, we quickly discuss some news. First off, we mention a news story that suggests Dell might have dropped Ubuntu in the UK and debunk it right away. We also talk about debianshop.com, where you can get very cheap systems with Debian pre-installed (as the name suggests). They also donate some of the proceeds to the Debian developers, which is very nice.
Fab also says he’s aware of the fact that you shouldn’t call Ogg/Vorbis files “Ogg files” like he frequently does, but he also says that he finds the whole container vs. file type issue very confusing and will probably keep saying the wrong thing just because it is much easier to say.
As we promised in the first episode, we wanted to spend a whole show on talking about the great WRT54GL router. Dan starts with summarising its history and we speculate about the fact that Linksys first chose Linux as its operating system and later switched to a proprietary system when they realised they had to open source the original software under the GPL. Dan also tells us the story how he got his copy of the router (after a few tries) and how he uses it. If you want to get one of these, you basically have to watch out to get the right version, ie. one that is using Linux. The safest thing now is probably just to buy a *GL one (Amazon.com sells them for a reasonable price, for example) like our mate Butch did.
We then talk a bit about the different firmware choices you have (most are based on the original open-sourced Linksys OS) and what you can do with them. Dan is using the Whiterussian firmware from OpenWrt, which is being replaced by a newer version called Kamikaze. Fab is using Tomato which is pretty much an optimised version of the stock Linksys firmware with some very cool features and a very nice AJAX interface. We also mention the reasons why you would want to hack your router and why we did it and the fact that flashing the firmware isn’t really as scary as it sounds, as long as you read up on stuff first and don’t plunge head first into things. For a nice overview of the different versions of the device (with screenshots) and links to the many firmware choices, check out this Wikipedia page.
The theme music for this podcast is a song called “Sudo Modprobe”, it was written by Fab and produced by Dan and Fab. The album art was also created by Fab.