Thanks to zbv2net for this!
DD-WRT V24 SP1 Special Version (Paid Versions All Special Edition)
At the moment DD-WRT supports more than 80 different router models.
To check if your router is supported by DD-WRT and which version
you can use for the router please refer to the following entry in the DD-WRT Wiki:
DD-WRT Why This Should Be Free
DD-WRT - An affront to the good will of the F/OSS community
It is hard to persuade a man of something when his income depends on him not being persuaded. --todo: quote from?
DISCLAIMER: The statements here reflect my own personal observations and opinions. I encourage the reader to verify these assertions for himself or herself. Everything written here can be easily confirmed by the reader through an analysis of the DD-WRT web site, DD-WRT source code, DD-WRT forums, and admissions of Brainslayer and other DD-WRT affiliates.
For a long time now I've been working to add value to DD-WRT. I supported the project in a number of ways, including developing the technology to flash v5 series 'micro' routers and the Firmware Modification Kit. Both these technologies, particularly the former have greatly increased DD-WRT's user base.
In the last few months I started to notice some disturbing trends in the DD-WRT development. You can see these trends yourself, you don't have to look hard. This article has the intention of introducing the reader to what DD-WRT is, how it came to be, and why I think the direction of development is very wrong. You may think otherwise, but it is important that the FACTS be heard, instead of suppressed.
How DD-WRT came to be
The DD-WRT project was originally a fork of Sveasoft. It came about because Sveasoft started placing restrictions on their supposed open-source firmware in an attempt to generate revenue. Major complaints about Sveasoft are summarized below:
ΓÇó Sveasoft started charging for their GPL firmwares (nothing inherently wrong with this, as unpopular as it may be).
ΓÇó Sveasoft started trying to prevent distribution of their source code, even to paying customers (illegal since their firmware is based on GPL code).
ΓÇó Sveasoft placed anti-piracy mechanisms in the firmware to prevent redistribution, something that would not have been illegal since their project is GPL.
ΓÇó Sveasoft started a campaign of banning from their forums anyone who spoke remotely critical of their firmware or merely mentioned alternatives, even in OTHER forums than their own.
Sveasoft got to this shameful state because the focus of the project shifted from helping the community and having fun to pure revenue generation. Even if a project has noble intentions, once profit is the motivating factor, natural forces propel the project into a commercial direction, which is often directly in contrast to the free open-source community-driven philosophy. Again, nothing inherently wrong with this - as long as it is done right and without violating GPL licenses.
So, in short DD-WRT was born because Sveasoft went 'commercial' and started trying to restrict technology instead of advance it.
What is DD-WRT? - Mostly the work of others
DD-WRT is an open-source project built upon the works of Linux, Broadcom, Linksys, OpenWrt, Busybox, and countless other contributors. Probably far less than 1% of the code has been authored by Brainslayer. In fact, I would estimate the actual authorship of code somewhere between 0.01% and 0.10% , most all of which is modifications to the GPL code of others, not brand new libraries and applications.
For instance, the most major development of DD-WRT is extensions to the HTTP management console. These were all done on top of the existing code he forked from Sveasoft, which was forked from Linksys, who forked it from someone else. DD-WRT's code is NOT separate and distinct, rather it is tightly integrated, direct modifications to existing code. This hasn't stopped DD-WRT from trying to make their extensions to the web interface suddenly non-GPL!
Consider it for yourself. The linux kernel, drivers, and all the common packages you see on most any linux distribution make up the vast majority of DD-WRT, not Brainslayer's few additions. Furthermore, it isn't just him who has extended the code. When DD-WRT was thought to have altruistic motives, many developers joined the cause. If there is any reluctance to accept the fact that almost all the code is written by others, it is simple arrogance -- and, yes, surprisingly there is a denial of this fact. If you aren't a developer, don't take my word for it --- ask someone you really trust how much they think of DD-WRT is original code.
Consider it for yourself. The linux kernel, drivers, and all the common packages you see on most any linux distribution make up the vast majority of DD-WRT, not Brainslayer's few additions. Furthermore, it isn't just him who has extended the code. When DD-WRT was thought to have altruistic motives, many developers joined the cause.
Instead of giving credit where credit is due, Brainslayer has changed strings in the software to in an attempt to hide the true authors of programs simply because he, or someone, changed a handful of lines of code amongst tens of thousands. Consider Busybox, which is the single component responsible for implementing almost all core system utilities and the system shell. Its shell startup message was changed in DD-WRT to downplay the contributions of the numerous developers of Busybox from all over the world:
BusyBox v1.01 (2006.05.16-18:12+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
AND NOW IT READS:
Now DD-WRT VeryBusyBox v1.01 (2006.05.16-18:12+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Furthermore, DD-WRT at one point did give sparse credit to a handful of contributors. This was later removed as Brainslayer decided more and more of the code was 'his'. Although this lack of attribution may be offensive to some, it is not illegal. The fact that DD-WRT is so much the work of others is a critical part of the argument that follows below.
DD-WRT: Profit in sight
Brainslayer received many donations from users around the world in support of 'his' free open-source project. Many developers came to give contributions - advancing the project farther than Brainslayer could have ever done himself. The community loved DD-WRT.
After a while, Brainslayer realized that he could make money with DD-WRT. The potential of making big money overshadowed the original purpose of the project, and he started to formulate a plan. Now, we all want to make money, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Although he would be turning his back on his 'base' to go commercial, we can not fault him for wanting to make money. We can, however, fault him for how he is going about it. Violating GPL licenses, removing credits, and soliciting donations under the pretense of being a free open-source project is NOT acceptable.
Although he (Brainslayer) would be turning his back on his 'base' to go commercial, we can not fault him for wanting to make money. We can, however, fault him for how he is going about it. Violating GPL licenses, removing credits, and soliciting donations under the pretense of being a free open-source project is NOT acceptable.
At first, he didn't want to admit even to himself his commercial aspirations. Little things were done, which were clearly the start of a slide down a very slippery slope. A few of these early actions are below, in order of LEAST egregious to MOST egregious.
ΓÇó DD-WRT Web UI protected against modification
After development of the Firmware Modification Kit by third-party developers (namely me), Brainslayer was afraid someone might take the free/open-source code and re-brand it, much like he did. He therefore encrypted the web UI, making it very difficult to change with the firmware modification kit, and further at first 'forgot' to distribute with the source code the component that encrypts the web UI. Whether or not DD-WRT can fully be rebuilt from its publicly available source code is unknown at this point. The build root is intentionally kept hard to use. Remember, DD-WRT is mostly NOT his code and is all GPL, this is a direct offense to those whose code he uses freely. It's ok for HIM to sell other people's code, but not for others to sell HIS.
ΓÇó DD-WRT Free for home use only
Adding this ILLEGAL statement to DD-WRT clearly showed the intentions of the author. Brainslayer has no right to restrict where his GPL derivative works are allowed to be used. Again, DD-WRT's code is not stand-alone, dynamically linked extensions. Instead, all major components are built upon the code that was originally there (i.e. the original Linksys http management console). Update: He removed this text from the license in v23 SP1, probably because he discovered it to be illegal. See Appendix A for a snippet of the license text in DD-WRT v23.
ΓÇó DD-WRT 'Special Edition' for sale: approx. $17-$22 USD
This special edition of DD-WRT offers more features than the 'free' version of DD-WRT. Call it what you want, but this is the full edition of DD-WRT and the free edition is a crippled counterpart. Where do you think new features will go first in the future? The free version or the 'special edition' version? In order to protect revenue, Brainslayer will feel increasingly compelled to add exclusive features to the special edition, add anti-copying mechanisms, and illegally protect GPL code. That is what happens when paying your bills is dependent on how many sales you make. He admits to this very fact on the DD-WRT store page that sells the 'special edition': "we will additional features in this version in future too." (reference) You'll find this 'special edition' of DD-WRT for sale in the DD-WRT store right now.
ΓÇó DD-WRT x86 Edition license required
If you want a license to use the x86 edition at home you must request one nicely from Brainslayer and hope he responds, otherwise you must purchase a license. No unlicensed copies will exist! This version DOES HAVE copy protections. You can go see for yourself, or just ask Brainslayer and he'll admit it.
If by now you don't see that DD-WRT is a commercial project, not a F/OSS project, then you need to re-read the above.
When profit becomes a primary motivator, there are almost irresistible pressures to let the pursuit of profit guide all decisions in the project. Things like restricting distribution of GPL source code, intentional obfuscation of source code, anti-copy mechanisms, and suppression of competing technological advances have real advantages when the goal is to make money. If DD-WRT weren't a GPL'd project, these issues wouldn't exist.. but it is.
When profit becomes a primary motivator, there are almost irresistible pressures to let the pursuit of profit guide all decisions in the project. Things like restricting distribution of GPL source code, intentional obfuscation of source code, anti-copy mechanisms, and suppression of competing technological advances have real benefits when the goal is to make money. If DD-WRT weren't a GPL'd project, these issues wouldn't exist.. but it is.
DD-WRT: Suppressing criticism (or protecting revenue)
When I voiced my concern about profit becoming a primary motivator and the irresistible pressure to commercialize that comes with it, I was treated as if I ran over Brainslayer's dog. So, I just went elsewhere and started work on a community-driven multi-developer project with built-in protections against having the project itself go commercial since I knew market forces are hard to resist.
Later, I heard Brainslayer said I was 'exiled' from the DD-WRT community, as if because I had a different opinion I was run off and ridiculed. It was clear his ego was getting out of control at this point. No big deal, I let it slide.
A few weeks later during a discussion in the DD-WRT forums about the Tomato firmware, I posted a message that mentioned reasonable rationale for using competing products. It was CENSORED despite clearly inflammatory posts being left in place, further demonstrating that Brainslayer is about protection of revenue and suppression of competing technologies.
After it was clear to Brainslayer that I might spread the truth about his plans to commercialize the project, he sought to find a way to ban me from the forums. Since I did not actually post in the forums after this, it was not easy for him. Finally, I made a single topic change on the #dd-wrt channel on irc which gave him a 'reason' to ban me. After that, I changed it a couple more times the next day for fun, but always clearly showing who changed it.
Here is Brainslayer's post explaining what I supposedly did to get banned from the forums. He made this post publicly for whatever reason.
he was doing the following
18:38 -!- db90h [[email protected]] has joined #dd-wrt
18:39 -!- db90h is now known as ddwrtusr
18:39 -!- ddwrtusr changed the topic of #DD-WRT to: DD-WRT goes commercial on 12/01/06
then today again
16:42 >>> #dd-wrt, db90h [[email protected]]
16:43 --- #dd-wrt topic by db90h: DD-WRT full edition - only $19.95
he is doing vandalism within the irc etc. he is also posting such topics under my name or better he changes it to a style that i looks like i wrote it.
this is why i disables his forum account. he still can read here under his name but not post. maybe he will create another account with another same to flood this forum with other bogus stuff. who knows
1. Yea, I did change the IRC channel topic ONCE prior to being banned from the forums, and made it clear I was the one who changed the topic (see log he gives above). I was really just joking, though DD-WRT is quite obviously a commercial operation since they are out to make money. Besides, what happens on the apparently unofficial and unmoderated #dd-wrt irc channel has nothing to do with the forum. After he banned me, I went ahead and changed the topic again to 'DD-WRT full edition - only $19.95'. The truth is that the special edition is about 20 euros in Europe, or about $22 in the US.
2. I DID NOT set the topic so that it appeared to be written by BrainSlayer, someone else did that.
3. I have NEVER posted bogus information in the forums and haven't even posted anything in over a month (at least). Yet he is afraid I 'might' so preemptively bans me. Perhaps he is afraid I will do something else? Like spread the truth?
4. There have been completely baseless accusations that I am trying to advertise for my own project. First, it's not my project, and, second, I do not have any financial interests in its success (unlike Brainslayer and DD-WRT). Lastly, I never mentioned the X-Wrt project and it was Brainslayer who made the public announcement about me being banned for simply setting a topic saying DD-WRT was commercial (which it is).
DD-WRT: Sliding down the slippery slope...
So, today the slide towards commercializing continues unabated. That is DD-WRT's right, but let us FORCE them to do it ethically and within the guidelines of the GPL code they have based their project on. They are NOT ALLOWED by the GPL license to take someone else's code and claim it as their own, put new restrictions on its use, or not distribute the modified sources.
Granted, what DD-WRT does or doesn't do isn't that important in the grand scheme of things, but I feel users should be AWARE of what is going on, specifically those users who donate to DD-WRT under the false pretense of it being a free open-source project.
Here are my recommendations:
1. DO NOT DONATE TO DD-WRT. It now sells firmwares, donating to them would be like donating to any commercial software company.
2. DEMAND BUILD-ABLE SOURCE CODE. The entire source code should and MUST be build-able without having to ask the author to kindly include missing pieces.
3. DEMAND SUPPORT. Now that DD-WRT is in the business of making money, they are also RESPONSIBLE to provide support they currently DO NOT provide. Also, they are more liable for all the routers they brick.
4. SPREAD THE TRUTH. One merely has to point to the DD-WRT Store. Don't listen to their spin, look at what they are doing.
5. ALTERNATIVES SHOULD BE USED. Instead of encouraging users to find the firmware best for them, Brainslayer has started a campaign of suppressing information about firmwares that might hurt his revenue. There are plenty of alternatives, but to remain neutral I will leave it up to google.
You decide. Don't listen to me, look for yourself. It doesn't take much effort to verify assertions made here.
LICENSE TEXT FROM v23 (sp0):
the use of the "NON GPL Parts" of this firmware and the distributed source
is permitted without any charge for PRIVATE USE ONLY unless other rights are
granted by the firmware author only.
26.8.2005 Sebastian Gottschall / Blueline AG
the following features are tagged as NON-GPL
Webinterface <-- *** ILLEGAL, THIS IS A GPL DERIVATIVE WORK!! ***
macupd (mac update daemon for rflow collector)
the configuration scripts and definitions within /etc/config