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Can FreedomBox be an alternative to commercial home routers?

Can FreedomBox be an alternative to commercial home routers?

Posted Jul 5, 2012 4:16 UTC (Thu) by paravoid (subscriber, #32869)
Parent article: Can FreedomBox be an alternative to commercial home routers?

ALIX is a pretty standard x86 box and stock Debian runs perfectly -- no special port needed nor any binary drivers. Since quite a while there has been kernel support in mainline for the box's LEDs too, through the led subsystem. Everything works like a charm.

That being said, the box does not include WiFi, ADSL, GSM/GPS or anything like that. It just has miniPCI slots for people to buy their own cards. Some of them may require firmware, although there are certainly e.g. WiFi cards that don't.


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Debian on ALIX

Posted Jul 5, 2012 8:04 UTC (Thu) by osma (subscriber, #6912) [Link]

I think the main feature that is missing (AFAIK) from stock Debian is running from a read-only file system by default in order to increase Compact Flash lifetime. This is offered by the debian-for-alix port. Also, most ALIX boards do not have a VGA console, so installation of stock Debian may be a bit of a challenge for the uninitiated.

Another option not mentioned in the article is Voyage Linux, a Debian-based embedded distribution which runs on ALIX, Soekris and similar platforms. I use it to run a few ALIX and WRAP boxes and it works quite well. As with the Debian ALIX port, you have easy access to all Debian packages, but the base system is pre-customized for the hardware, root filesystem is read-only and installation is relatively easy.

Can FreedomBox be an alternative to commercial home routers?

Posted Jul 12, 2012 0:56 UTC (Thu) by BenHutchings (subscriber, #37955) [Link]

I don't believe there are any wifi cards that don't require firmware. Some of them load it from flash, but that doesn't make it any more free than firmware loaded from disk. (It may be easier to install, though.)

Can FreedomBox be an alternative to commercial home routers?

Posted Jul 12, 2012 0:58 UTC (Thu) by BenHutchings (subscriber, #37955) [Link]

Having said that: there is free firmware for some wifi cards.


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