This is my first time as GSoC student and I am very glad to have been accepted in the Freifunk organization. I am a computer science student, therefore my life should be full of this kind of experiences, but unfortunately there are few possibilities to develop interesting applications and get a decent wage, due to the ever-increasing cuts in the sphere of research. The university offers several tedious unpaid apprenticeship with few learning value, generally works that machines are supposed to do instead of human beings. Moreover, the state of uncertainty that austerity politics ail people, kills their creativity. The GSoC wage, in addition to community help and fertile environment, will allow me to have some tranquillity and time to devote myself to think on creative ideas and implementing a long awaited feature in OpenWRT.
I have been hacktive in wireless community networks since years and I have seen a lot of situations where the use of the IEEE 802.1ad standard would make a drastic difference. Many times unlucky people were forced to use proprietary software because of the need for 802.1ad. An open implementation of this standard was not available in the past and only recently has it been implemented in the Linux kernel. What is still missing is an UCI standard way to configure 802.1ad interfaces, so at the moment this feature is still not usable by OpenWRT users.
OpenWRT is a Linux distribution primarly designed for embedded devices (e.g. routers) and we currently use it on our community network devices because it is the most suitable for our needs. Furthermore, the OpenWRT community and community networks have wide intersections both in thinking and in participants.
First of all I need to understand better the netifd (OpenWRT network manager) internals, then in agreement with OpenWRT developers I am going to define an 802.1ad UCI device configuration schema and implement its management inside netifd. I am going also to provide a new syntax for 802.1q devices but keeping retrocompatibility, then I am going to update the UCI documentation, do serveral testing and discuss with OpenWRT developers about how to merge the new code in the official repository.
I have already contacted OpenWRT developers and my mentors who seem pleased to help me, I will work hard on this project and I would like to see OpenWRT 802.1ad support rock-solid as soon as possible 🙂 I will push my day by day work on a netifd clone repository on Gitorious, so keep watching it.
More updates soon, and don’t forget the best is yet to come!