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Linux Hacked Onto Fry's Cheap Wireless G Router

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the cheap-and-cheerful dept.

Wireless Networking 153

nerdyH points to this smile-inducing story at LinuxDevices which begins "An inexpensive house-brand 802.11b/g wireless router from Fry's (Outpost.com) has been adopted by a group of Linux hackers that aims to make Fry's 'AirLink' devices 'as capable as name-brand gadgets.' The AirLink101 AR315W is based on a Marvell board that can run Linux or eCos, and has a six-port 10/100 Ethernet switch built in. It's listed for $45 online, but is reportedly on sale for $20 in some Fry's stores."

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153 comments

Fry's? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300113)

BITE MY SHINY METAL ASS!!

FP, you coon-shits!

buttfuckbuttfuckbuttfuck

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300114)

fp

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300143)

haha yuo got pwnd

"AirLink" products (2, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300122)

..That project aims to devise improved Linux firmware for the inexpensive gadgets to make them "as good as name brands wireless products."

Whats wrong with them as they are? Granted, its cool that they were finagle a new OS into the firmware, but what exactly was lacking from these devices that "name brand" (one can only assume Linksys, D-Link, Netgear and Apple) appliances have?

Re:"AirLink" products (1, Informative)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300152)

It will likely be used to extend functionality
The popular linksys G router has a linux firmware that people have done some really cool things with.

Re:"AirLink" products (-1, Flamebait)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300248)

It will likely be used to extend functionality The popular linksys G router has a linux firmware that people have done some really cool things with.

What kind of cool things for example? What kind of extended functionality? You're not answering the question at all, are you?

Who modded this +Interesting?

Re:"AirLink" products (4, Informative)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300264)

Fine, here's just a few:
Bridged mode for point to point. Think about extending two buildings as though an ethernet cable was simply connecting the two physical networks
Plain access point, not router
Promicuous mode for war driving
Mount to lan share to dump data for WEP cracking
etc. etc.

I'm a software engineer not a network engineer but its easy enough to see the possibilities.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300378)

Don't forget the coolest... Running an Asterisk server

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301254)

And of course QoS. The most useful things are not always the most innovative. Not even often.

Re:"AirLink" products (4, Interesting)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300281)

For example, HyperWRT [hyperwrt.org] has managed to find the setting on a WRT54G to double the output power. You can also modify the hardware to add an LCD display, two serial ports (to use as console, our you could connect a modem and setup a backup PPP dial-up connection in case of broadband outage) and a smart card slot. For $69 I got a small Linux box to play with, with working wireless, and a 200Mhz processor.

Re:"AirLink" products (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300476)

Hello,

I'm writing to ask for your advice. I would like to upgrade my neighbor's Linksys WRT54G router with this HyperWRT firmware, but I'm not sure if it is possible to do so via a wireless connection. Do you know if this is possible? Are there any other "gotchas" I should look out for? Your advice would be most appreciated.

Re:"AirLink" products (2, Informative)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301136)

I'm not sure if this is a joke or not, but DO NOT upgrade the firmware on a WRT via the wireless connection. The risk of "bricking" the router is far greater (increasing from 1 in 1000 to about 50/50) over a wireless link than wired.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

sd_diamond (839492) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300793)

For example, HyperWRT has managed to find the setting on a WRT54G to double the output power. You can also modify the hardware to add an LCD display, two serial ports (to use as console, our you could connect a modem and setup a backup PPP dial-up connection in case of broadband outage) and a smart card slot.

The hard part is explaining to your wife why you had to do it.

Re:"AirLink" products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300883)

I don't tell her how to decorate the house.

She doesn't tell me how to wire it. (or wireless it)

~

Re:"AirLink" products (2, Interesting)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300972)

Be careful with increasing the output power, it may be self-defeating. In 802.11g mode, many of these products are power-constrained by a spec known as error vector magnitude (EVM). It's a figure of merit for the quality of the RF waveform. As you increase the ouput power, the signal distorts and this may actually increase the receive bit-error rate. 802.11b isn't quite as bad, typically the output power here is constrained by the level of adjacent channel interference. Increasing the output power in 802.11b mode will just piss off adjacent channel users while gaining you some range, though EVM may be a concern once you really start bumping up the power. Although most of these products are padded somewhat to allow for production margin, it's almost never 3 dB worth (double the power) and mucking with the power in most cases isn't wise.

Re:"AirLink" products (2, Informative)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300311)

Maybe parent assumed that everyone knew about this.

http://www.hyperspacehome.com/hyperwrt/index.php?p age=home-page [hyperspacehome.com]
http://www.sveasoft.com/modules/phpBB2/ [sveasoft.com]
http://www.sveasoft.com/content/view/3/1/ [sveasoft.com]
http://www.seattlewireless.net/index.cgi/LinksysWr t54g [seattlewireless.net]
https://sourceforge.net/projects/wifi-box/ [sourceforge.net]

Not a complete list and some of the above may be a little dated but you can get an idea of the additional features that hackers have been able to squeeze into these devices.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300383)

For Slashdotters, the fancy stuff that can be done with the WRT54G ought to be common knowledge considering how many stories there've been about it. The quick summary (since despite your ID#, you must be new here) is that it can basically do anything that Linux can do and that can fit on the flash memory. In fact, it can use all ths software listed here [openwrt.org].

Re:"AirLink" products (3, Informative)

archangel85j (905305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300163)

They probably mean to incorporate SPI, WPA, TKP, AES, VPN, Mac filtering, and or content filtering. You know features that you typically don't see until you are over the $150 range.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

Kyril (1097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301069)

My inexpensive dlink DI-524 wireless-G router has MAC filtering...and it was about $50 after rebate, a year ago...

Re:"AirLink" products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300165)

I can think of two things. One is useful, the other isn't:

1. Being able to rewrite the firmware, to make the gadget behave as you want it. This is cool -- I'm not normally into hacking around in gadgets and such, but I find that it would be pretty sweet to rewrite the packet prioritizing code to make a game router.
2. Hacking Linux into yet another device, so you can be the envy of thousands of /. readers, and proving your e-penis is larger than theirs.

No backdoor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300199)

One benefit could be to ensure that there is no backdoor in it like the FCC wants to force on everyone...

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300255)

I can not speak for every device but I've personally used 4 different home routers that were boderline junk. A Siemens, an AT&T, Netgear and a SMC. Each has various locking and dropping issues and lack of various features I wanted.
A perfect example is the AT&T router playing SOCOM2 for the PS2. Even with the correct ports forwarded (which you should not have to do anyway), 50% of the time, the headset does not communicate. Another immediate show stopper is I get knocked out of games about every 10 minutes. The thing is a POS. I actually still use the device but only as an access point to my network for my laptop. The PS2 wired on it blows. I even tried just using the device as nothing more then a 4 port switch with the PS2 and I still got kicked off the game servers. I'd like to blame the PS2 but I only have those problems with the AT&T device.
After experiencing various issues like that (not all PS2 related either), I finally built my own router using an old PC and a Smoothwall iso so I am out of the market for a home router device now. It would be nice to have a device that had more frequent firmware updates based on feedback from other hackers and users. Based on my experience, I can see why people would feel more comfortable with a hackable device as well.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300263)

The corollary to this is, if Linux or BSD based router software is so much better, why are these companies investing significant time and effort in writing their own OSes for routers. Particularly with BSD, where there are no particular problems involved with giving away your companies' code...why not just take NetBSD or something and tweak it a little?

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300740)

The Linksys WRT54G router/ap *is* Linux based.

But there are also dark side issues as to why various manufacturers want proprietary OSes.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

n6mod (17734) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301707)

What's wrong with them the way they are?

The firmware's crap. It drops the wireless connection every fifteen minutes or so, and it seems to fall off the net at least twice that often, even through the wired side.

Finding this article literally saved mine from the bin...I replaced it with a WRT54G after a week.

Re:"AirLink" products (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301721)

What's wrong with them? no NAT for a start - took me forever to set one up as an AP at home (not a router) I had MAC filtering on the main router and didnt realise you have to add both' the MAC of the AP and the box behind it.

The box comes with instructions on how to tftp in new firmware - and in for a linux port if ever I heard of one ....

Got one for 25 bucks (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300131)

two weeks ago from fry's.
still in package. most definetly brings a smile.

However, its just a project that "aims" to devise improved Linux firmware .

So what is it running now? (2, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300138)

A lot of these devices already run Linux or sometimes BSD as it allows for straightforward debugging and troubleshooting, not to mention easy programming.

I was wondering what OS it currently runs. What if it already runs Linux?

I have 5 of them clustered together folding (-1, Redundant)

Aberfoyle (907024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300149)

This site [overheardintheuk.com] says that they have 3 of them running to fend off all of the would be hackers angry at them for linking on slashdot so often.

Re:I have 5 of them clustered together folding (1, Flamebait)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300218)

stop trying to pimp your shitty site. creating a new acct wont help.

SPAMMER INFO HERE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300865)

Aberfoyle [slashdot.org], TGIFF [slashdot.org], Gestures [slashdot.org], CarbonBasedSoda [slashdot.org], and BorgGates [slashdot.org] are all sock puppet accounts of the same guy who is trying to use the Slashdot comment system as his/her own personal ad agency. Go away spammer!

Registrant:
      Louis Waweru
      525 W. 7th Street
      Suite 2116
      Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
      United States

      Registered through: GoDaddy.com
      Domain Name: OVERHEARDINTHEUK.COM
            Created on: 16-Jul-05
            Expires on: 17-Jul-06
            Last Updated on: 16-Jul-05

      Administrative Contact:
            Waweru, Louis youngbonzi@earthlink.net
            625 W. 113th Street
            Suite 3R
            New York, New York 10025
            United States
            (646) 339-8190
      Technical Contact:
            Waweru, Louis youngbonzi@earthlink.net
            625 W. 113th Street
            Suite 3R
            New York, New York 10025
            United States
            (646) 339-8190

      Domain servers in listed order:
            NS8.ZONEEDIT.COM
            NS17.ZONEEDIT.COM

youngbonzi@earthlink.net
user-0c8h4ji.cable.mindspring.com
DOB 11/09/1981
AOL: louislogicnyc
YM: lushlouis

Re:SPAMMER INFO HERE (2, Informative)

fwitness (195565) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301262)

I randomly clicked up all these accounts, then randomly selected one of their lasts posts. You are correct, every post had the link in there, usually snuck in as semi related (they are not). I wouldn't call the guy a "spammer", as that waters down the term. He's just some guy with a blog wanting attention.

Oh, and I've clicked his little link, don't waste your time, the site is tame.

Can I ask why? (4, Insightful)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300154)

Considering that I can get the LinkSys WRT54G at Amazon.com for $47 and flash it with the great DD-WRT firmware, I really don't see this device as being all that attractive.

Re:Can I ask why? (3, Insightful)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300161)

If you could get the same functionality for less than half the price, wouldn't that be a good thing?

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300234)

Key word: if. Fry's is not selling it for $20 despite what the original poster says, it's $45. The reference to "some stores" must mean returns or some other non-stock way of purchasing it. The official price is $45 which is $2 less than the LinkSys and the DD-WRT firmware is tried and true unlike the new attempt.

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300246)

I bought mine in phoenix for 25 dollars a couple weeks ago. Brand new,not returned, not refurbished, and no rebate required.
Fry's always has good sales on friday, I wouldn't be surprised if its 20 or 25 bucks tomorrow.

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300339)

These things are almost always on sale for $20. That's how much I picked mine up for. I picked it up because I wanted a wired router, but thanks to wireless's popularity wireless routers are cheaper than wired ones...

It's a little flaky when dealing with alot of connections (for example a busy torrent) but otherwise works great.

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

trumpetboy8282 (871271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300261)

I saw it a few days ago in the Fry's ad in the Los Angeles Times (back of the Sports section) for $20. That reference to "some stores" probably does apply to some stores, like my local one (Burbank, CA).

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

MasterD (18638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300482)

I got one of these for $17 when it was on sale. I am not shitting you. The airlink101 pcmcia card was on sale for $10 and the router was $17.

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300402)

I got very unstable wireless speeds when I tried the DD-WRT firmware I wouldn't reccomend it. I switched to HyperWRT.

Re:Can I ask why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300468)

Because Linksys sucks. HTML markup cannot stress it enough. I have owned 4 routers in the last 6 years (I upgrade frequently for one reason or another). My first two were Linksys. The first one died after a year, the second died after 3 months. Besides the pitiful life expectancy, they were very lackluster in features.

Then I bought a D-Link with built in print server. Features were excellent, but performance was abysmal and one of the wireless anntenae broke off in my hand when I picked it up! Still, it was better than the two LinkSys routers I had, but I expected more.

Next, I tried the NetGear WGT-624. An excellent unit. Granted, I had a fair amount of problems at first, but after applying a couple of firmware updates, the router is functioning exactly as I had desired. A very sweet unit. No problems, easy to configure+update, and feature rich. Their web-based interface is somewhat mediocre, but it's still better than what I've seen from Linksys or D-Link. Is it too much to ask to contract a UI consultant/designer for help?! I mean, I suck at design, but I feel like I could come up with better interfaces after a 6 hour bender than the crap I've seen from the big 3.

Re:Can I ask why? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300475)

Damn that's cheap.. that's around £20.

Over here the cheapest you can get them is £60 ($100) and retail they go for over £100 ($160).

Good for them! (5, Interesting)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300162)

Congratulations to these guys -- this is very cool. As TFA sez, a $20 embedded Linux box is Just A Good Thing; the flexibility that'll come with getting Linux (or NetBSD or whatever) working on these things will be amazing. I'm also glad to see that these guys are active -- the HRI [sourceforge.net] people, who have a very similar project, seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. (Where are you guys?)

I've been working on something similar: last Christmas, I picked up 3 Network Everywhere NWR04B wireless routers [networkeverywhere.com] on sale -- $18 each! -- and have been trying ever since to duplicate [saintaardv...rpeted.com]this guy's success [linux-hacker.net] in getting uClinux [uclinux.org] (a version of Linux for CPUs with no MMU) running on the thing.

The guy who got it running originally hasn't responded to my emails, so it's a good thing he made his kernel tree available. Alsoplus, I think he used a JTAG adapter to load the image; since I wanted to make a firmware image that anyone could upload with the web interface, I had to reverse engineer the firmware checksum too. (Luckily it was a pretty simple checksum [saintaardv...rpeted.com], or else I don't think I would've been able to do it...I'm really learning all this as I go along.)

In July I finally managed to get a kernel panic [saintaardv...rpeted.com], am now trying to get BusyBox [busybox.org] working on the thing. I keep getting these errors:

Unhandled fault: external abort on linefetch (D4) at 0x00000001
fault-common.c(97): start_code=0x740040, start_stack=0x71ffbc)

which, from [uclinux.org] what [uclinux.org] I [uclinux.org] have [uclinux.org] been able to Google, may be because of differing opinions (libc/uClibc vs. the kernel vs. the chip) about whether or not this thing has an FPU. If anyone's got any suggestions, please leave a note -- I need all the help I can get.

It's been an incredible learning experience -- I know more now about how the kernel interacts with CPUs, the filesystems, compilers and the bootloader than I ever had. (Still got tons to learn, mind you.) I'm looking forward to the day I can get a Beowulf cluster of these things going. :-)

Re:Good for them! (1)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300332)

You (meaning the masses) might not have an old pentium. :)

Point taken though, effort = payoff? Definately not, unless you consider the knowledge he's gained doing the project which may lead to more lucrative goals.

Re:Good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300400)

LUNIX

Re:Good for them! (2, Interesting)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300517)

A Pentium is loud -- doubly so for any hard drive that's in there (I've learned to hate that high-pitched whine), or for any hard drive its BIOS will recognize. (Good luck trying to find a BIOS upgrade for a 10-year old mobo.)

It's bigger, bulkier and draws more power.

Depending on the mobo, you may also have problems finding an ISA network card that still works, and you may run into problems getting two or more to work together (though I might be misremembering what it was like...it's been a while.)

The wireless card alone will cost you more than $20 (and that's Canuckistan pesos, keep in mind). Good luck trying to find one that's ISA, and good luck trying to find one that works with a non-PCI 2.0 (2.2?) mobo. (Someone leave a link and prove me wrong.)

But let's assume you have a wireless card already. Even an old Pentium, or (if you do have one around) whatever parts it's missing, could well end up costing more than $20. (Not much more than $20, I admit -- but still.)

You might not be up to the challenge of getting Linux to work on a random wiress router -- and hey, that's cool. But these people are. And that's cool: there's a ton of stuff to learn when you start getting your hands dirty like that. (Like I mentioned in my post, I'm very lucky that so much work has been done for me already -- otherwise I wouldn't have got nearly as far as I have. But it's still the hardest thing I've had to do with Linux, and I think it's taught me the most about how everything fits together.)

Re:Good for them! (1)

jackofallbrandnames (881785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300927)

These days, you're lucky to find a mobo that is "only" ISA to be as rare as the 386 itself that still has its guts. :) So I'd have to say there are alot of machines out there classified as "old" and with plenty of PCI slots to make the homemade router. Made one myself with Smoothwall for my company and it outshines the crappy $1000 POS that it replaced.

I agree, though, if you've still got an old ISA only board (anywhere along the x86 family, including the Pentium) it's time to think of moving on and throw the electricity sucking machine to the smelters. I would guess with wireless, alot of the cheapies have usb and the "newer" old computers have those ports as well, I suspect the cost of a cheap usb card AND the cheapy wireless would outweigh a better one anyway.

I like the project because it brings customization to an appliance vs workstations/servers.

Why bother? (1, Redundant)

radish (98371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300167)

Why? You can usually pick up one of the "name brand" devices for under $40, sometimes $0 (after rebate). Seems like a lot of bother for nothing to me.

Re:Why bother? (2, Insightful)

leobh (904344) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300238)

You really don't understand the hacker mentality, do you? It's not about saving money, it's about taking on challenges and getting Linux to run on things that were never intended to run it. For what reason do you think Linux itself exists anyway?

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300266)

For what reason do you think Linux itself exists anyway?

Because Minix didn't do what Linus wanted it to?

Why bother?-Milk-shakes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300574)

"You really don't understand the hacker mentality, do you? It's not about saving money, it's about taking on challenges and getting Linux to run on things that were never intended to run it."

I'm still waiting for some hacker to get Linux running on either a vibrator, or a breast pump.

Re:Why bother? (1)

jackofallbrandnames (881785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300946)

... it's about taking on challenges and getting Linux to run on things that were never intended to run it.

I would like to expand that to the challenge of getting any software to do things that weren't its intended purpose.

hacking the DI-524 (2, Interesting)

sshore (50665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300202)

Oooh.. these use the same chipset as the Dlink DI-524. I've been looking for an in on that one.

Re:hacking the DI-524 (2, Informative)

sshore (50665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300254)

Waitaminute - I don't see any mention on the site that they actually did get Linux running on this thing, just that they "adopted" it.

Blech.

Doesnt seem like its been hacked yet (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300209)

the title says its been hacked onto it, but the article seems to be soliciting people to try to create a linux firmware instead. Plus the article that it links to (http://mhos.free.fr/ar315w/ar315w.htm), just lists specs; nothing about linux.

Re:Doesnt seem like its been hacked yet (1)

humina (603463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301240)

I also couldn't find the "Hey I got Linux running on my $20 frys router" page. I certainly found the "wouldn't it be cool if linux ran on one of these cheap routers" page linked by the story. Free +5 insightful if someone can post a link to the page showing how to install linux on one of these things or perhaps some screenshots of it running on it.

jeez --- why NOT (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300241)

13 posts in and half the posts are of the "why bother" variety. For cryin' out loud -- why not? First off, it's cool someone can do this. More importantly, it frees people from using devices in a manner only approved by the manufacturer. Sure, right now most devices will behave in a manner the user generally wants. But what about in the future when everything is so DRM/spyware infested you can't open your fridge without Coca-Cola's approval or knowledge. The people who are learning how to hack these things are our insurance against what might be a bleak future. Instead of making idiotic "seems pointless to me" comments, how about looking at the big picture. And even if that dark future never arises -- so what -- these guys have skills. They deserve a bit more respect than I'm seeing here. One thing is certain, I sure wish I had their abilities.

Re:jeez --- why NOT (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300356)

The point is that there are already boxes of this type, and they already run Linux (direct from the manufacturer), and they can be had for less ($0-$5 after rebates). So the purpose served by this hack is what? It doesn't save money, it doesn't provide unavailable functionality, and it's not all that cool. It's like saying "Look! I bought a car, and I put new tires on it! N-E-W T-I-R-E-S!!!". If there were no 802.11g routers running Linux, then it would be cool. If it were a cheaper box that was made to provide the function of a more expensive box, then it would be cool. That it does neither is just not all that interesting.

Re:jeez --- why NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300449)

no it seems to be more like buying a new car and squeezing a custom engine in.
Sure there may be other cars out there with the same engine doing the same thing but this is still your custom car made to work the way you want it.

Re:jeez --- why NOT (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300696)

It's these hardware hackers who make it possible to not only run linux on various hardware, but to run various bits of hardware with linux systems. For example, without hardware hackers, I could never have uploaded songs to my Creative Nomad II or used my Handspring from my linux system. We should be happy that there are people who have the ability to make linux run on random stuff, or who can get random stuff to work with linux. It makes my life better and I have a lot of respect and appreciation for those who can do this. These guys deserve our praise, not sneers.

Or maybe the sneers come from the windows slashdotters. Could be wrong, but I'd think most linux users would see the value and appreciate the skills and experience that these hackers are building.

Yeah but (1)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300783)

I think the biggest thing that most of us are going 'huh?' about is... well, what does doing this actually give you? What is the point? The site doesn't help anything, it doesn't explain things well either...

The question is: What will doing this give me that the $20 pice of kit won't out of the box?

Does it have PPTP passthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300247)

My WRT54G fails in that department

You'd do this because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300338)

.. you could then customize your Access point / firewall your way, instead of being stuck with a device that goes obsolete in a few years.

Currently, I'm stuck with an Intel Wireless gateway with it's own set of security issues (such as broadcasting the admin username/password combination when 'discovereed' by the 'Wireless Manager' program.

I want an under-$40 linux device with VGA and USB (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300346)

Instant dirt-cheap thin client - USB can handle the networking, keyboard, and mouse, VGA gives you a screen.

Can you say ThinStation [thinstation.org]? I knew you could.

solaris (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301529)

It's called a SunRay, and they're even available with built-in 1280x1024 displays.

So far as I know, there's no Linux port, but you can boot its regular firmware from a Linux server using these directions [uni-erlangen.de] if you aren't lucky enough to have a Solaris machine.

3 sitting right here... (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300358)

one at the office (sitting behind a pix and used only as a wap) one at the house (sitting behind a smoothie and used as a wap) one sitting right here in my laptop bag for those hotels that put the ethernet port at the damned opposite end of the room (far from the bed)... 17.99 each and i managed to get a beta firmware from one of their engineers a while ago.. (latest release is like .23 and i have .26 P) anyway... nice little cheap router/wap...

Re:3 sitting right here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300532)

the joke's on you, .24/.26 suck. .21 is the only stable version. even the linked site [mhos.free.fr] says that.

Really who the fuck cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300371)

This is really fucking pathetic

Linux Hacked Onto Fry's Cheap Bending Robot (0, Troll)

zephc (225327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300420)

"An inexpensive house-brand bending robot (gotfuturama.com) has been adopted by a group of Linux hackers that aims to make Fry's robot devices 'as capable as Mom's-brand gadgets.' The Bending Unit 22 is based on an Atari board that can run Linux or PC-DOS, and has six beer ports built in. It's listed for $45 online, but is reportedly on sale for $20 in some stores."

Difference in firmware versions (2, Interesting)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300461)

Can anyone list and compare the most popular firmware bundles available for the linksys routers? There are so many of them, some Free, some closed source, which provide a different set of features. My wireless linksys router is working perfectly in my home, but i would like to have ssh and such.

Refurb (1)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300507)

Judging from the the responses other commenters have posted, I'll assume this is NOT a refurb device they contracted in bulk.

HOWEVER, Fry's is known for it's refurb love, similar to how Walmart loves 3rd rate produce.

The message:
BEWARE OF FRY's

http://www.google.com/search?q=fry+refurbished&sou rceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=u tf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:offici al [google.com]
http://www.procata.com/blog/archives/2004/06/05/co mpeting-with-wal-mart/ [procata.com] (do a search on mold, soz not in the mood for html submissions tonight.)

Re:Refurb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300788)

Actually very few of the 50,000-60,000 odd items in a Fry's store are refurbished. And all refurbished items are clearly marked as refurbished on the sticker (3.5"x15/16" label).

I don't see what your post has to do with anything.

Re:Refurb (1)

edb (87448) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301182)

Right you are! By far most of the 60K+ items are not refurbished, let alone labeled as refurbished.

Yeah, right.

However, a significant percentage of the items on the shelf being sold as "new" are actually customer returns, many are missing items including the odd cable or two, even a CD or manual, and re-sealed by the store as if it is still pristine new and complete.

Open each box before you buy it (do it with a "customer service representative" present if you like), and make sure the contents of the box look unused, and that they match the list in the manual or QuickStart guide (if there is such a list).

After purchasing a supposedly new answering machine but finding someone had already recorded an outgoing message, and received incoming calls, I learned never to trust Fry's. Trust but verify.

Over the last 3 years, I have returned 2 items to Fry's as defective at purchase (DOA), and found that same box on the shelf later that week. Based on my own personal experience, I made a little mark in an unobtrusive spot on the box before returning the dead equipment. They taped the box and put it back on the shelf -- the mark told the tale.

Fry's Electronics stores are prime examples of why we, the buyer, need to beware. Sure we can get cheap deals, but we can also get royally ripped off if we don't check what we're getting.

Do these things see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300621)

The ethernet switch as eth0-eth5?

That'd be pretty neat, only have an eth4 in my linux box. ;-)

So (0)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300868)

I didn't see any real selling point. There are many cheap Wireless AP's around. Nothing special per say about this.

If it had things like SNMP support, then I may be interested, as that would be a decent bargain.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301811)

Uh, that's the entire point of the article. With debian ported to it, you _can_ have SNMP support. Likewise, for users who don't care about SNMP support but want to run TuxRacer they have that option as well.

Fry's (4, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300909)

Before everyone rushes out to Fry's with their $20.... I feel compelled to share my best friend's Fry's story.

He went there to purchase a hard drive and was sold a brand new drive in original packaging with at a new price.

When he got it home, he installed it ready to format, and lo-and-behold it booted up into Windows!

After some mild snooping, he found Quickbooks files and other documents from the former owner. Being a good person, he found the guy's phone number (among other things) and learned that the guy bought the hard drive about three weeks prior and returned it because it had some bad sectors on it. They assured him that they would destroy it.

Re:Fry's (2, Informative)

Schrade (902157) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301423)

He surely missed the returned product sticker. He also probably missed the shoddy heatshrinking job the Fry's reps will do.

Brand New = factory heatshrink packaging. Usually a very different type of heatshrinking than what Fry's uses to repackage returned items.

Best Buy long ago (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301593)

I had a similar experience at Best Buy. This was back in like 94 when single-spin CDRom drives were still fairly pricey. I bought one and didn't know the shrink-wrap job wasn't the same since it was the last one. When I got home, it had a floppy drive with newspaper packing. When I took it back they had to get the manager, they probably thought I was trying to pull something on them.

Why is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301215)

...that I can get a wireless router with wired ports as well for $20, but a simple wireless access point costs nearer to $100?

Firmware? (2, Interesting)

mogalpha (782997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301266)

I bought this router a few weeks ago, and it runs really well actually; no DNS discon. error that everyone else seems to be getting. One thing that bugs me though, I'm pretty sure some other routers have signal strength controls in the admin. panel, not just wifi radio: on/off. Does anyone know for certain which other firmwares work with this router, and if any of them are better in any regard?

LTSP extension possibilities? (2, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301605)

It occurs to me that, with some hardware hacking, this could become an interesting thin client. The price and form factor are very attractive and a 200 MHz (or so) CPU would be adequate. Need to check on RAM -- 128MB would be ample.

it is a generic D-Link DI-524 ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13301643)

Radio Shack has the D-Link DI-524 for $20 after rebate [radioshack.com] this week which suspeciously uses the same chipset as the Fry router.

The DI-524 has WPA encryption, transmit power control, mac filter list, time-of-day limiting. etc Not bad at all for $20.

Great..but can we mesh them soon? (1)

Entity1633 (746896) | more than 8 years ago | (#13301771)

I think this is great! But I would like to see some developers adding mesh topologies and software to these nodes. That would make low cost cheap mesh networks. POE, Low cost off the shelf equipment that meshes would be just awesome.
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