There is quite a respectable number of consumer appliances that have an Open Source operating system under their hoods, even though the fact isn’t publicized (nor is it usually kept secret, either). I have at least two of them, a WRT54GL and an NSLU2, both by Linksys. Often the manufacturers publish the Open Source–based code and some clever people take that and add features or capabilities to the devices that make them much more versatile. Case in point is a LinkStation PRO which comes with a nice looking (if terribly slow) Web interface. The device as such is useful enough (in a predominantly Windows environment), but it isn’t quite as capable as it ought to be. Why doesn’t it offer NFS, for example? A few clicks, and I find the LinkStation Wiki. I follow some simple instructions, produce a bit of adrenalin and transpire a bit (not caused by the warmth in my office) and after five minutes my device is not bricked and welcomes me with Now, this wouldn’t be acceptable to the general public of course, but why don’t these devices have a “simple” and a “complex” interface? The manufacturer could refuse support if a modification to the system has been performed (e.g. as soon as an SSH login was conducted). The code is there, just waiting to be used. Give it to us.

Hardware, Linux, CLI, and Backup :: 11 Nov 2007 :: e-mail