I’ll only buy routers if they (can) run Free Software!

Being in the fortunate situation that I can finally spend some time in Z├╝rich to catch up on issues that were left unattended, like finishing the network infrastructure.

For this, I discovered OpenWRT, a GNU/Linux based firmware for routers that can be used like any other GNU/Linux operating system, including running sophisticated firewalls, Samba or Asterisk servers, Wikis, or whatever else you wanted to put on an embedded box. I also discovered another project called FreeWRT, which seems to be a spin-off of OpenWRT, aiming to support more hardware platforms, but they currently have no release out, so I could not try them.

The existance of these projects has changed my life to the better in a very fundamental way. Finally I can make my routers do what I actually want them to do, and not what some marketing person in some company thought you should want it to do according to their market segment and pricing calculations.

While all of that may be generally acceptable, I’d much rather get hardware with a good and sane default operating system and function set, but with the freedom to modify it to what I actually want, if I so choose.

And after I now found that freedom, I certainly won’t go below it in the future, which translates into a very clear and simple message:

    From now on, I will only buy routers that are supported by OpenWRT and/or FreeWRT — or a similar Free Software project!

In fact I hope that other people will pick make this pledge their own and also put it up on the web, making sure that routers that do NOT offer you this freedom simply won’t be selling very well.

About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is a technologist and entrepreneur. Background as a software developer and physicist. Head of product development and Chairman at Vereign AG. Founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Previously president and CEO at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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