State of third party firmware.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by magnus33, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    As things stand now we basically have four main options for firmware.

    Stock firmware...Stable more often then not but quite limited and slow to be fixed.

    Tomato.. Basically entry level third party firmware with a smaller hardware base but stable and richer features then stock with a decent bug fix timeline.

    DDwrt..Middle of the road firmware offering quite a few features and a large hardware support base.Sadly since it gone commercial the firmware has gone down hill. Long term bugs like Qos have never been fixed and user complaints are often ignored. The present firmware has been in development for two plus years and still retains major bugs its had from the start. Sadly it appears to be going the way of sveasoft firmware.

    Openwrt..Still open source but as always not for the faint of heart or those with little linux knowledge. This has improved over time but is still the hardest for the average user to install and fixes are sometimes slow.

    There are still other smaller projects but they are smaller in scope and often have small hardware bases and hit and miss support.

    Thing seem to be dieing off in the third party firmware scene compared to a few years ago where there where many thriving projects.
    Some have lost sight of what made them popular (the users) and gone for the money.
    Others lost interest as newer routers came out with better features and firmware.

    Sadly in a few years it looks like there shall be few third party options for routers.
  2. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    I wouldn't say Tomato is entry level.. The main branch of Tomato has not seen an update in over a year, mostly due to the fact that no one (that I know of) has heard from the main author, Jonathan Zarate. However the Tomato modding community is alive and thriving and there are many stable and VERY useful Tomato mods out there.
    Toxic likes this.
  3. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

  4. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    Its good to see tomato is taking up the slack to some degree.
    Its become painful clear that ddwrt has gone down hill at a a fightning rate.
    The users are still trying to keep things going but brain and the others involved seem far more concerned with adding features that can make them money then actually adress major firmware issues.
    Some mods are in the dark and not aware of some of the issues since they been closed and buried without being addressed or just plain old deleted.
    When you got a mod saying a feature not going to be added unless it can make them money its not a good

    Fortnightly there likely to be some modding going on regardless if a group forgets the reasons it became popular in the first place.
  5. Disman_ca

    Disman_ca Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    thibor(Hyperwrt) is still my favourite as it was kept simple and close to the factory code. Tomato is certainly my second and what I consider robust for certain applications beyond the scope of the factory code.
  6. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    Yeah he did a good job of balancing extra features and control but kept the basic code the same.
    Meant very little risk of bricking or mess ups.

    Down side is it was for a limited set of hardware.

    Actually there no firmware like it these days which is a shame.
  7. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    I think alot of those Tomato Modders has moved on to better hardware rather than restricting themselves to the limits of the broadcom cpu, memory, flash, and slow SD mod. Even w/ USB support, it's not quite as useful w/o a proper CPU.

    I had replaced my main router w/ an Alix 2D3 awhile ago, and may later upgrade to a dual core Atom w/ IDS, squid, ad blocking, etc and various other services which will make it much more useful. It'll also have Gigabit Intel NICs which lowers CPU usage substantially.

    I still like Tomato & use it as wireless bridges, APs , desktop connectivity, and repeating. However, these features are staring to show up on stock firmwares. Reason most people chose 3rd party was because of stability and added features. Once those relevant features are included & stable and even stock firmware is now mostly based on OpenWRT, it becomes almost irrelevant for many people to use Tomato (the graphs are nice though). I'm testing various x86 router using a Virtual Machine right now and they are MUCH more impressive than any top end 2-3 stream consumer Broadcom, Atheros, or RAlink router that I've seen running stock or 3rd party firmware.
  8. DallasFlier

    DallasFlier Network Guru Member

    Yes, as you point out, there are LOTS of different modification branches for Tomato. I guess that's good and bad. I'm a technically competent user, and moved to Tomato after using HyperWRT, the various Thibor and tofu mods for HyperWRT, and a brief flirtation with dd-WRT. I've also set up (and maintain) at least about a dozen routers for family and friends, first with HyperWRT and then Tomato. As has been noted, the main Tomato hasn't been updated in over a year, and so I started looking around at the various Tomato mod branches.

    After reading many of the dozens of threads here and going to the various download/info sites - I confess I'm rather bewildered at which variant to consider upgrading to from Tomato 1.28-ND. Victek? Toastman? TomatoUSB? one of several others? I've yet to find anywhere where there's any clear explanation/comparison of what each brings in terms of features and capabilities. I'm sure these authors are all doing great work, but if its confusing to me after using 3rd party firmware on my routers for years, it must be totally bewildering to someone relatively new. Right now I haven't moved to anything new yet, after spending time off and on for about 3 weeks trying to decipher the differences.
  9. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps the authors can combine a list of features and put it to some good use.
  10. DallasFlier

    DallasFlier Network Guru Member

    That would be fantastic - the authors; or someone else who has had time to study/use them, with help from the authors.

    And, to be clear, I'm sure that the authors are all doing good work, and I greatfully thank them for that. But a comparison of features available on each, maybe with a short explanation of some (like SpeedMod, for example) would be a fantastic reference, and maybe a help to all of them. Drawing everything together a bit more into the "Tomato family" would help cement the position of Tomato amongst the other projects, particularly with DD-WRT seeming to be on a downward slide of late.
  11. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    Yeah DDwrt has gone down hill shockingly fast of late.
    The forum never been updated and its now about features rather then fixing bugs.

    Many have gotten disgusted and walked away but there is still a core group thats doing it best to added support for new routers.
    I expect they may end up starting there own if things keep going as is.

    Of course me being a geek bought a linksys e3200 which can be supported but the 5ghz driver are no where in sight lol.

    Update ..correction seems DDwrt is circling the drain of the big white bowel .
    Post disagreeing with the state of things are getting deleted or even questioning whats going on.
    Seems very familiar to another forums behavior.
  12. EOC_Jason

    EOC_Jason Networkin' Nut Member

    Well, the problem I see is that people constantly want new features, even if the don't know what it is...

    Like I have an old WRT54GS... It runs DD-WRT (build somewhere like 14929 or whatever)... People say all the time, "Why aren't there new builds for my WRT54....?" The answer I tell them is that it is an older router with limited flash & RAM, there's only so much you can do. These routers run better on the older 2.4 kernel than the 2.6... Broadcom has probably stopped updating code for these long ago... what do they expect to magically happen?

    Newer routers on the other hand... That's why we see lots of new builds being released (at least as beta)... to support NEW devices, to fix bugs with supporting these devices, etc... There's only so many features that make sense on a consumer grade router... People that need something specific usually have the knowledge to roll their own firmware, use optware, or whatever... Home users just "want it to magically work"...

    Why do most open-source projects die? The original person usually looses interest. People constantly complain about things not working and demand (yes, I said demand) them to be fixed... How many people actually click the "donate" button? From every project I've done (some extremely popular)... You probably average fractions of a cent in your hourly labor... So if you aren't doing it for fun then you usually give up eventually...

    Sorry for the rant... But if there's one thing to take away from that it is to THANK THE PEOPLE THAT WORK ON THE PROJECT...
  13. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    In ddwrt case its got it own reason for failing.

    Mostly do to one thing greed.

    Bugs aren't fixed anymore..hell the Qos bug has been there for nearly two years but every bug report is closed or deleted.
    With sash the main suspect finally saying he doesn't care the bug hasn't been fixed.

    There are some good people still working on it but it seems they been kept in the dark.

    What was once a good idea in response to bad behavior on another developers part has now gone down the same road.

    Or as granddad use to say some people fail down to their expectations.
  14. EOC_Jason

    EOC_Jason Networkin' Nut Member

    If you don't do too crazy of things and have an older router that runs on the 2.4 kernel builds... the older builds of DD-WRT are actually decent enough. Better than the stock firmware at least... ;)

    Newer routers, I kept reading bad things about dd-wrt bugs so I decided to give tomato a try first thing and have never looked back. It's been super great, and super stable. I don't do QOS or anything crazy, but the features I do use have performed flawlessly... I never have had to reboot the router... it just works...
  15. lancethepants

    lancethepants Network Guru Member

    DD-WRT was what got me into messing with router firmware (and my eventual arrival to Tomato!) It certainly was better than stock firmware, and just fun to play with for someone new to the scene.
    It's supposedly open source, though it appears they don't make it easy to get the source. Even then I haven't seen any third parties successfully compile anything, appears they don't make it easy to do so. Instead it's pretty much locked off, and they only suggest you mess around with their "firmware modification kit" if you want to roll your own.
    I felt motivated to contribute with documentation and even helped with the wiki, but it all just feels like a lost cause. Not to mention their forums have a generally feeling of hostility and many responses come in the form of "RTFM".

    Luckily there's tomato with an active and happy community, a variety of flavors, truely open source, and you can even contribute if you want to. Kudos to those that contribute, your freakin' awesome.
  16. magnus33

    magnus33 Network Guru Member

    Yeah ddwrt has got the same major bugs its had for the last two years of development and the forums are a joke now.
    Posts get deleted left and right with people leaving every day.

    I looked into tomato but it turns out my replacement router for my wrt 400n only has sort of support.

    Went and bought the E3200 which is quite decent even on stock firmware.

    Sadly lack of 5ghz drivers means its likely not going to see support any time soon.
  17. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    Just want to follow up on my quote from 7 months ago:

    Shibby, Toastman and Victek, amongst others, are actively working on Tomato mods. Tomato now works 100% perfect on recent Dual-Band R900 routers such as the Asus RT-N66U and Linksys R4200, with both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands working. Also VLAN, OpenVPN, integrated BT client, Captive Portal etc are available, and coming soon from Shibby are MultiSSID (BSSID), and PPTP VPN.

    While the main branch of Tomato, and even TomatoUSB from Teddybear appear to be at a standstill, the modding community is very active with this firmware and are making some very useful and stable changes :)
  18. wappy

    wappy Serious Server Member

    They are doing good work, first time i used tomato was on a wrt54g and gl version after that on a wl500gp, then i jumped to dd-wrt, for some years it workf perfect but like many says here, the last 2 years is going downwards bad support buggy firmware.

    Now i am back on tomato and a love it, i only mis the 5Ghz(allot of 2.4Ghz networks her)
    Toxic likes this.
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