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Contest For a Better Open-WRT Wireless Router GUI 217

Posted by kdawson
from the doing-well-by-doing-good dept.
Reader RoundSparrow sends word of a contest, with big cash prizes, being mounted by a commercial vender of open source Open-WRT routers. You have 10 months to come up with "the most impressive User Interface/Firmware for Ubiquiti's newly released open-source embedded wireless platform, the RouterStation." Entries are required to have open source licensing and will all be released. First prize is $160,000, with four runners-up receiving $10,000. RoundSparrow adds: "Could be built on top of existing X-WRT or LuCI OpenWRT web interfaces. OpenWRT Kamikaze 8.09 was just released. Now is perfect timing for OpenWRT to get some kick-ass interface and usability ideas. I'm not affiliated with the contest vendor."
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Contest For a Better Open-WRT Wireless Router GUI

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  • X-WRT? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:22PM (#27025519)

    What's wrong with X-WRT?

    OpenWRT is something you set up, then forget. It doesn't need "themes" or "skins", or 3d effects. This is not "pimp my router".

    • Re:X-WRT? (Score:5, Funny)

      by rbrausse (1319883) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:38PM (#27025615)

      hmm, Crysis with 60 fps on a Beowulf cluster of OpenWRT routers?

      [bye karma, I will miss you :)]

    • Re:X-WRT? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DougBTX (1260312) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:45PM (#27025655)
      This isn't a theme competition, it's a user interface competition - usability counts much more than the style of the buttons.
      • Re:X-WRT? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @07:56PM (#27025999)

        This isn't a theme competition, it's a user interface competition - usability counts much more than the style of the buttons.

        Also, it's a genious move. When the clients are released, you'll have plenty to choose from. Also, being open source. you can merge the best bits of all the clients into one really good one.

        Whoever came up with this idea should get a massive pay rise.

        BTW, we could adopt the methodology in other areas too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RoundSparrow (341175)

          I think we should encourage other companies to join in the contest. Best idea I have is solicit router companies to do $25,000 donations - and allow them to independently judge and reward their own winner.

          That way maybe someone who didn't make the top place could get a chance at another income boost. Would supplement the interest in people fearful of not making 1st place.

          Also note that a single person can enter more than ONE entry - so if they come up with different design cocepts - they don't have to cho

        • I've always like the idea of putting bounties on cool projects. Keeping all contributions open source is an even better way to do it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995)

          You are assuming that good ideas are harder than good integration.

          More and more, I don't think so.

      • Re:X-WRT? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Monday March 02, 2009 @05:32AM (#27038073) Homepage

        People who think "user interface" is synonymous with "themes, skins or 3D effects" are a large part of the reason so much software has a terrible user interface.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zeinfeld (263942)
      And an interface-less interface would be absolutely ideal in my view. Problem is that the WiFi specs are botched and that makes it hard to do a good job of a UI. The way I would do the UI for WiFi (and I describe how to do this in detail in my book) is to generate a self signed cert for every WiFi device during manufacture. Then I would put the fingerprint of the cert onto the case. When a device tries to connect there are two modes 'guest' and 'permanent'. Guest mode is optional and allows a device to co
      • by hardburn (141468)

        How do you nullify and change that cert? If the answer is "you don't", then how do you deal with someone breaking that cert (either through cryptanaylisis or getting access to the machine)?

        OTOH, do you really need to secure wireless networks at all [schneier.com]?

      • by afidel (530433)
        WRT is about a lot more than just wifi, you can do custom firewall rules (yeah there's uPnP for automating that, but sane people turn that off since it's so broken from a security perspective), share files and printers, run a webcam, play music, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. Basically it's a general purpose Linux distribution targeted at small lowpower embedded devices that just happen to start out as cots routers in most cases.
    • Re:X-WRT? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Poltras (680608) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:47PM (#27025669) Homepage

      This is not "pimp my router".

      Yo Dawg! I heard you liked security, so I put a WPA2 in your WRT so you can feel safe whenever you browse porn!

    • Re:X-WRT? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RoundSparrow (341175) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @07:03PM (#27025755)

      Noting wrong with X-WRT, I use it. The OpenWRT developers recently choose LuCI as default for Kamikaze 8.09 release.

      I also forgot to mention there are other up to date alternate such as Gargoyle http://www.gargoyle-router.com/ [gargoyle-router.com] that is GPL license and could be uses as basis for contest entry.

      You can view this as fit and finish challenge - but will you win the contest if you put the least effort in?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "This is not "pimp my router"."

      If enough customers will spend sweet, sweet monies on a pimped router there is every reason to give them that option.

      Slashdot has already provided a suitably artful theme:

      http://armish.linux-sevenler.org/blog/wp-content/pembeslash.jpg [linux-sevenler.org]

    • This is not "pimp my router".

      No, but this PIMP MY INFRASTRUCTURE [youtube.com]

    • My guess is that they want it as easy to use and configure securely as possible. Its time to ask yourself, what would Steve Jobs do?
    • you're confusing "GUI" and "eye-candy".

      A good GUI, as opposed to eye-candy, is all about ergonomics, helping the user see the choices and make the right one...

    • Usability? (Score:2, Informative)

      by nloop (665733)
      I'd say it's because DD-WRT has a nice GUI and is easy to configure... OpenWRT, not so much.

      I use a wireless router as a repeater, and upon searching for which firmware version I would like to use, I found that:

      DD-WRT you click repeater, set the SSID of the source network, the SSID of the new repeater network, and assign it a WPA password. Done. Happy point and click. (source: I did it.)

      OpenWRT I found that you have to edit the /etc/config/network and /etc/config/wireless, adding about 20 lines t
  • by RoundSparrow (341175) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:28PM (#27025553)

    Other OpenWRT news. The newest Atheros 9xxx radio chips is available in a number of OpenWRT supported routers now. I have been working to help organize new 802.11n support in OpenWRT. I have compiled a list of consumer routers that work with Linux ath9k driver and ar71xx CPU. In order of current recommendation:

    Planex (PCI) MZK-W04NU, 32MB RAM and 8MB flash, USB port, 10/100 Ethernet
    Trendnet TEW-652BRP, 32MB RAM and 4MB flash, 10/100 Ethernet
    Trendnet TEW-632BRP, 32MB RAM and 4MB flash, 10/100 Ethernet
    D-Link DIR-615 revision C1 (ONLY!), 32MB of RAM and 4MB flash, 10/100 Ethernet
    TP-Link TL-WR941N WR941ND, 32MB RAM and 4MB flash, 10/100 Ethernet

    OpenWRT team is pretty close also on the Netgear WNR2000.

    These listed above all come from a common Atheros AP81 reference platform. see http://wiki.openwrt.org/AtherosAR9100 [openwrt.org]

    In USA and Japan, the Planex is available on Amazon.com for $59.99 with free shipping... it has more flash and USB port. 3 removable antennas, is a nice hacker system. In the USA, the Trendnet routers have been on sale from Newegg, Fry's, buy.com for only $25 a few times. I will try to post on Reddit / my Slashdot journal when I see them on sale for $25 next time.

    The ath9k driver for Linux is not yet mature but is moving along... in 2 to 3 months I expect we have a very nice platform... and the router interface and ease of use of OpenWRT is getting attention with this contest! Now is an exciting time for OpenWRT and Linux routers - finally moving to some new N devices.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:29PM (#27025565)
    Tomato [polarcloud.com] for the win!
    • by Daimanta (1140543)

      Too bad it still doesn't support ipv6 properly. But personally, I love Tomato. I have bought a WRTGL router because of my problems with other routers(very crappy firmware) and tomato runs like a sunshine with options that I didn't even comprehend would benefit me.

      It's simply another case of FLOSS to the rescue.

    • So why don't the guys who make Tomato port their UI over to OpenWRT and enter it in contest?

      • So why don't the guys who make Tomato port their UI over to OpenWRT and enter it in contest?

        Actually, it's one guy. He was heavily involved in a number of other open-source alternate firmware packages, before coming up with Tomato.

  • by RoundSparrow (341175) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:33PM (#27025587)

    You guys altered the name to Open-WRT :) Anyway, thanks for spreading the world on this and Kamikaze 8.09 release. the OpenWRT devs work hard.

  • Please.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:38PM (#27025613) Homepage

    Oh god no.....no Web 2.0 Crap. the router GUI is supposed to be fast, small, and compatible with EVERYTHING.

    DDWRT has a problem with Firefox on the latest builds because of the stupid Web2.crap to make things more flashy instead of working right.

    I am really tired of the "ooh shiny" becoming far more important than functionality lately in both projects.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I am really tired of the "ooh shiny" becoming far more important than functionality lately in both projects.

      I do netmgt for a living (client and server side, both) and I've turned down jobs that emphasized glitz over actual *needed* functionality.

      I still maintain that a simple forms/cgi interface with NO javascript is all you need to get the job done. I wrote an entire NMS on form/cgi (1998 era) and it didn't have 'active stuff' but who the hell cares! the only lacking I had was no dynamic graphs - and I

    • But that flashy stuff, and the web2.0 is what gets the users, if you don't like it, just use telnet, that'll solve your issues out right wouldn't it ?

      If i'm not in the office, and the dsl connection has an issue, it's alot easier to tell someone to click on the red button or green button etc. trying to tell a non tech person a command for iptables or something like that is just outright stupid. I'd rather have the office administrator implementing the rules she puts in place so i can get onto more important

    • <blockquote>small</blockquote>
      Says who? If it is cheap enough (and energy efficient enough), why not throw a damn Core Duo in the damn thing and use powerful statistical magic to figure shit out?

      "Fast and small" for "fast and small"'s sake is old school man. Nobody gives a rats ass about wasting CPU or memory. The computer works for us and what you should really be concerned about is saving *our* CPU cycles and memory--not the computer.

      <blockquote>I am really tired of the "ooh shiny" be
      • by dltaylor (7510)

        I'll treat your response as one from ignorance, rather than from stupidity or insanity.

        #1 it's for a cost-sensitive market, not gamers. USD $0.20 MATTERS, because by the time the costs are multiplied up the distribution chain, it will make a real difference in sales volume. You want to put in the least-expensive hardware that meets the target requirements (with a bit of headroom for last-minute spec changes). No one will see the GUI until after they've bought it, and if the cost delta is too much, they s

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      The rules require W3C valid entries so if a browser doesn't work, it will be a browser bug.

      If one uses standard W3C standard to increase usabiility like ''click here to show advanced options'', why not?

      Quote from my router ''We suggest that you use Internet Explorer 5.5 or above at a minimum of 1024x768 resolution. ''

      That is old good US Robotics for you which their analogue modems came with 130 page manual explaining every single detail. That is the shape of things in home router world now. I don't think th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:46PM (#27025659)

    interesting contest, but I searched and couldn't find an answer to my biggest questions:

    does it run linux?

    are there any requirements to use it in a beowulf configuration?

    any requirement to be resistant to, and remain working, after having hot grits dumped on it?

    should it support QoS by streaming naked photos of natalie portman at top priority?

    • by Eighty7 (1130057)
      I'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet -[SA]HatfulOfHollow
      • I'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet -[SA]HatfulOfHollow

        Bah. Why send a machine to do a man's job? If you want something done right ... do it yourself.

  • by OverZealous.com (721745) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:56PM (#27025713) Homepage

    It's not like it's your money! I currently use Tomato on one of my routers. I love the interface. I don't log in very often, mostly to check those fantastic real-time usage stats.

    But when I do log in, it is nice to be able to find things quickly. I respect developers who take into account usability and style. In fact, I have basically no respect for those who discount it.

    You probably can code circles around me. But in the end, the customer or user only sees the interface. They only see those "useless" graphics, and that "Web 2.0 Crap". Yet, a well designed interface will allow new users to appreciate the product faster, and hopefully keep them around.

    Just because the majority of web developers suck at designing "web 2.0" interfaces doesn't mean that the problem lies with the "web 2.0" part. We'd have a lot less technology if we used that metric to measure a tools value.

    • by thermian (1267986) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @07:24PM (#27025851)

      In fact, I have basically no respect for those who discount it.

      You probably can code circles around me. But in the end, the customer or user only sees the interface.

      Actually you've hit on a major problem of programers that we don't like to talk about (well, except me, obviously..). The thing is, GUI design is a complex art, one that takes a long time to learn to do well, so its hard to be good both at visual interfaces and the often very complex code that they control.

      I know this from my own work. I'm a pretty good coder (gosh, how modest of me). I can write code to just about anything, and charge a pretty penny to do so, but my ability to code a user interface is rather poor. Sure I know all the theory, but there's something extra you need, that 'eye for the visually pleasing' thats hard to cultivate unless user interfaces are what you do all the time.

      I've used plenty of applications where the guy who wrote the backend code also coded the gui, and as a rule the gui is somewhat lacking. This is't just restricted to single coder projects, it also occurs when a project is full of able back end coders, and they build the gui to suit their own level of ability to use the code.

      You can see this if you use Emacs. Nice though that software is in features, the interface is godawful, and actively prevents anyone new to computer usage or programing from using it.

      • You can see this if you use Emacs. Nice though that software is in features, the interface is godawful, and actively prevents anyone new to computer usage or programing from using it.

        What would you honestly change? 99% of the feature set is packed up in control sequences. If you're using the GUI at all one would have to wonder why you are using Emacs. Vi doesn't even bother.

        I understand the point you are making but Emacs is really not the program to pick on because it has a *fantastic* User Interface for programmers--which is the entire point of the program. No your grandma will not be able to point-and-click her way through writing a new database application, but I think that is ok

        • by thermian (1267986)

          As far as "new programmers" go, I would say (i) if they can't easily get through the included Emacs tutorial, programming is probably not going to work out for them (ii) they should not start off in Emacs anyway. Emacs solves a lot of problems but until you've written your first big program you're unlikely to have much appreciation for its features.

          I get where you're coming from but when I was a post grad teaching first year students my experience was that that they found Emacs to be uncomfortable and used it only when the tutorial sheets required them too. Most of the time the dominant linux text editor in use by students I taught was kwrite.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) *

        The thing is, GUI design is a complex art, one that takes a long time to learn to do well, so its hard to be good both at visual interfaces and the often very complex code that they control.

        You hit the nail on the head. It's an art, and that means that, when all is said and done, it's the guy with the eye who polishes the job. Programmers can follow all the user-interface design rules laid down in the multitude of books on the subject, but if they don't have the touch, what they'll come up with may be functional, but will still look like crap. It's as inevitable as the tide. Good coding can be an art as well ... it is by no means always thus, but some developers do carry their work into the re

      • >> there's something extra you need, that 'eye for the
        >> visually pleasing

        Not only you need "an eye" (i.e. the discriminative system in learning theory parlance), you also need the ability to come up with something new (i.e. the generative system).

        I have "an eye". I can tell whether something is good or not, and can convincingly explain why. I can suggest improvements to an existing interface and explain how they will improve matters. I just can't roll a good UI from scratch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 28, 2009 @06:57PM (#27025727)
    I think the comments so far some up one of the major issues with the open source world and usability. At this point most of the comments are saying "we don't want themes" and "it's fine the way it is". The usability of a device has NOTHING to do with being able to skin it or apply themes. Usability is all about making the device simple for someone with limited knowledge or experience to use. This means things like dimming or disabling options if someone chooses a checkbox for an item that is incompatible those options. If they choose to only run the device as 802.11b (god knows why, but humour me), then don't ask them to set up the security options that only apply to 802.11g and higher. Explain what the options do in plain English. That's what usability is.
    • The usability of a device has NOTHING to do with being able to skin it or apply themes. Usability is all about making the device simple for someone with limited knowledge or experience to use.

      The usability of slashdot seems to be in decline, while the reliance on javascript increases. Now maybe there isn't really a causal relationship there, but correlation is enough for many people.

    • Couldn't agree with your more.

      Also as a systems administrator, i like gui's, generally good ones allow me to get my job done faster, not slower, if I have to, I'll drop to cli, but in a good gui you don't have to, if the gui is written well for usability, you'll be able to cover 95% of what you need to do, and beening able to do that quickly and efficiently is the important thing

      • Couldn't agree with your more.

        Also as a systems administrator, i like gui's, generally good ones allow me to get my job done faster, not slower, if I have to, I'll drop to cli, but in a good gui you don't have to, if the gui is written well for usability, you'll be able to cover 95% of what you need to do, and beening able to do that quickly and efficiently is the important thing

        I take it that you're a big fan of Regedit.

    • Who doesn't enjoy a program that, when you hover your mouse over an option, you get a description of what the option does and why you should use it?

      "Contextual help" makes even the most alien programs a dream to use.

    • by macshit (157376)

      I think the comments so far some up one of the major issues with the open source world and usability ... Usability is all about making the device simple for someone with limited knowledge or experience to use

      No it's not -- that's merely one aspect of usability (other aspects include efficiency of use for an expert, etc). Whether it's the most or least important aspect depends strongly on the context.

      Sadly, many UI creators do seem to emphasize this aspect way too much, often with strongly detrimental effects on other important attributes of the UI. Sure it's great to make your program accessible to beginners -- but if it's a program they'll use every day, and your UI is "expert unfriendly" (inefficient/lim

  • by fantomas (94850) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @07:30PM (#27025879)

    "Simplicity and intuitiveness for the end user (both newbie and expert)"

    Maybe this will be won by the most blinged-up interface but there's hope here that the competition organisers get some well thought out entries which help guide the users through the configuration of their routers.

    Some installs are jargon heavy and just assume you know what all the options mean, little to no explanation or help. I've spent many hours sweating over some WRT GUIs that have (to me as a relative beginner) had meaningless options. I really really want to use these excellent installs but I get really put off by zero-to-poor documentation or explanations of what all the options are.

    A simple interface with excellent documentation and guidance would be worth the prize.

  • Flash based (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @07:58PM (#27026011) Homepage Journal

    Can it be Flash based? I've got some cool ideas involving fancy animated text effects and transitions that would be really useful for a router interface.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) *

      Can it be Flash based? I've got some cool ideas involving fancy animated text effects and transitions that would be really useful for a router interface.

      Gah. I think I'm going to be sick. Yeah, you earned that +5 funny.

    • Yes, the router has 16MB of flash memory, just like a SU SLINUX Disk (SSD).

      • by swillden (191260)

        Duh, I'm slow tonight. I almost started typing a reply asking wny it matters how much memory it has, since flash runs in the browser, not on the server.

  • If you really like CLI and have decent knowledge in networking then give Vyatta a try. No GUI at all.

    I've tried it and it's not too hard. Just have to pay close attention to the syntax or you'll screw it up.

    GUI in routers do provide a quick glace as to what is going on. High end Cisco routers do NOT have a nice web-gui as it is entirely CLI based except for some home versions of the PIX.

    I personally use DD-WRT v24 SP1 in all of my wireless access points (they're really routers but I turned those function

    • RE: "If you really like CLI and have decent knowledge in networking then give Vyatta a try. No GUI at all."

      OpenWRT has "no GUI at all". it is an optional piece when you build the firmware. It has all the settings in /etc/config/ tree. There is a command-line program called UCI that allows you to easily edit them. The GUI's get built on top of that typically.

      There are at least 3 installable package GUI's available that I know of: X-WRT, LuCI, Gargoyle. But people have used it for years and years witho

    • by scottv67 (731709)
      GUI in routers do provide a quick glace as to what is going on. High end Cisco routers do NOT have a nice web-gui as it is entirely CLI based except for some home versions of the PIX.

      Well, the PIX isn't really a *router*. But as long as you mentioned the Cisco firewall product line (which includes the ASA), have you tried ASDM? It's maturing into a pretty useful way to admin a Cisco firewall through a GUI.

      http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6121/index.html [cisco.com]

      When you said "home version of the PIX",
  • It's cute that they're doing this the open-source way, but realistically they'd be better off hiring a few designers and letting them fight it out. Maybe I'm jaded from years of Linux adminning, but I have absolutely no faith in the graphic abilities of network geeks, myself included.

    • but realistically they'd be better off hiring a few designers and letting them fight it out.

      I heard someone say that "Nobody ever made statues of committees".

      I think the money would be better spent one one good designer and what's left over on doing good usability tests and iterating the design and implementation process.

      - Jonas

  • by iris-n (1276146)

    The majority of the posts seems to be sneering down in elitism to these poor folks that don't know how to setup a router in the CLI and, god forgive them, try to setup their home network by themselves, without paying a sysadmin to do the work.

    Yes, a sysadmin that can't configure a router without a good GUI should be hanged by the neck until death, but last time I checked, the majority of the routers supported by OpenWRT were SOHO ones.

    Do you really expect people that just want to setup a minimal network of

    • by coryking (104614) *
      Why modern routers even offer WEP is beyond me. All the stuff I've touched seems to want to place WEP as the "standard" and so people who don't know the acronym soup will pick it over something more secure and usable (no hex passwords) like WPA or WPA2.

      It is too bad the protocols all suck. Ideally the access point and the wifi cards would auto-configure in a way that allowed for the strongest encryption possible between the two. However, 802.11a/b/g doesn't offer that, instead forcing you to pick one.
    • by MoreDruid (584251)
      I guess what everybody is also forgetting is that most people *don't flash their firmware!* The ones who do have at least a basic understanding of what they are doing in the first place, so you won't have to explain everything. This GUI thing is probably geared towards the end-user who has a geek relative/friend that set them up with the initial flashed product, so they can add a MAC filtered device or change some firewall rules. I think the best tradeoff in this is a basic interface with few options like
  • It's not that easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 28, 2009 @11:32PM (#27027033)

    It looks like the overall discussion quickly drifted away from the actual topic and the further degrades into insults and endless discussions about cli vs. gui / enduser vs. professional etc. But hey, this is slashdot so I think it's expected.

    Anyway, I think that most people miss the point here. The challange is about to implement a (new) gui for the Ubiquity Router Station, based on AirOS which is actually a snapshot of the OpenWrt Kamikaze trunk with some patches added for board support and another proprietary hal to drive the Atheros cards used with the board.

    The RouterStation [ubnt.com] is not exactly a SOHO device, it's a bare embedded board featuring a fast MIPS cpu and three MiniPCI slots, POE and some other fuzz.

    It has higher specs then the average Broadcom gear and is intended for larger infrastructure deployments, like wisps etc.

    So far on the target hardware. Since one requirement is to use OpenWrt/AirOS as base operating system, one can rule out Tomato (which ppl quickly suggested) since it's built on top of the former disclosed Linksys SDK for WRT54G devices and relies heavily on a Linux 2.4 kernel to use bcm43xx wireless phy. Part of the original Linksys firmware design was the use of nvram as central configuration storage which is abandonned in nowadays Kamikaze releases. Anyway - I think it's nearly possible to rip the gui off an existing firmware project and refactor it to run on top of OpenWrt, it would be easier to just start from scratch.

    Now the list of required features [ubnt.com] is pretty long and includes stuff that's not present in (half) open source firmwares like Tomato, DD-Wrt or OpenWrt. It includes things like bgp/ospf routing, bonding, snmp or layer 2 firewalling (ebtables, arp nat ...) just to name a few. That are things a normal ui designer can't draft without the support of one or more networking experts who actually know whats this about and how it's done properly. Some of that features also are inherently complex and can't be fully abstracted away with some fancy ui elements and a short help text on each page. On the other hand an ui allows to present complex relations like traffic flow, qos behaviour, wifi signal stength etc. in a visual way that can't be accomplished with a cli-only interface.

    The to-be-developed ui is not intended for casual users that just want to hook up a bunch of computers and get into the internet. It's also not intended to be used by people who don't have a clue about networking or don't want to learn about the principles of the involved technologies. You have to keep in mind that the interface should be able to handle multiple wifi cards with multiple wireless networks each, that it should ease the setup of complex network configurations without limiting the amount of possible options. It's also not about a fancy web 2.0 portal or shiny flash interfaces, just to please possible customers.

    Imho the ui should also be designed in such a way that it allows a smooth coexistance with cli-based workflows. Neither Tomato nor DD-Wrt provide such abilities since the underlying system is optimized to be used by the ui and hardly intuitive to use via the cli. Think of it like the relation of Linux and Xorg. You can uninstall all X related stuff and still have a functional system where you can access all resources etc.

    Another fact to worry about is the portability of such an ui - if one wants to make it into a generic interface for OpenWrt, it would have to support a wide range of hardware from simple Linksys boxes to X86 gear like Avila or Alix boards, tt would have to support wireless configuration for madwifi, legacy broadcom and mac80211 based wireless drivers, each with different ways of configuration. Oh - and it should support kernel 2.4 and 2.6 which becomes a real pain if one relies on sysfs for state information.

    Also the choice of the programming language and framework matters, one could go ahea

    • A great response. I wished you hadn't posted anon so there could be follow-up to your experienced insight. I think it would be very helpful to the OpenWrt community as a whole to really detail what hard tech the project requires that is absent from current Trunk. For example, the bonding you mention.

      I personally encourage anyone to build this on OpenWRT trunk and not the AirOS fork. I don't see a single mention of AirOS on the pages, did I miss it?

      The contest, at minimum, is free marketing for OpenWRT.

    • All good points and one left out. One needs to purchase the hardware in order to be in the game.

      • Man, people are so jaded here. Stop spreading misinformation. The company is giving free routers to contestants. These guys clearly seem to GET IT. But the attitudes of some in the Linux community make it seem like nobody should even try new ideas and all open source work should only be done traditional ways.

        An yha, as soon as you start giving away free routers for entering a contest - guess what happens. People sign up for the free router with no intention of doing any programming. So they rightly have

  • The rules [ubnt.com] of the contest say this:

    Required elements for web interface pages:

    • Full description (requirements)
      • Required elements for web interface pages:
        • Copyright - use "(C) 2008 Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. All rights reserved." as non-intrusive text

    Does this mean entrants do not own the copyright to the web design portion of the contest?

    (Btw, in case you thought this was just about adding a web-based front-end to an existing product, think again: this is about designing intuitive user interfaces for complex networking options. Not a trivial task.)

    • This has had considerable discussion on #OpenWrt IRC. I am not a lawyer or a certified license person. I just been in field and try to get along with this like most educated users.

      My take on this:

      1) They want you to transfer copyright as an employee or contractor would in USA. This would allow them to add additional licenses or what if they wish (fork the project), as they would be the official copyright holder. There is plenty of stuff in the Linux kernel that is copyright Atheros or IBM. So I don't s

  • by nblender (741424) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @10:05AM (#27029359)
    I use dd-wrt and find the interface good enough for everything I've tried to do with it... But I've been thinking that this stuff would get more wide-spread attention if end-users could have various scenarios auto-configured for them. ie: I want a firewall but I also want to provide an open access point while protecting my home network from anonymous users. I want to restrict anonymous users to 100kb/sec of bandwidth. I want my security cameras to be blocked from talking to the outside world .. blah blah blah... none of this "WDS" "VLAN" "DMZ" "QoS" "WPA2" unless you're in expert mode.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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