What distro's exist that are designed for routers? Please include the following

  • link to the project page
  • link to supported hardware list
  • what distinguishes them, why pick this option
  • friendly web interface?
  • above friendly interface easily disabled?
  • package management for software not initially installed? (e.g. ipkg/opkg)
  • good documentation?

OpenWrt is a powerful distribution for open source routers. It supports for a lot of devices. A 2.6er kernel, an 2.4 is available, too. The web-interface is surprisingly useful, e.g. it supports switching between normal and advanced mode, in the advanced mode it supports more options and transactions for a set of configuration changes. It can be easily disabled. opkg is initially installed.

There is some documentation. They have a manual. Regarding hardware support the wiki has a lot of information. You can find a lot of useful stuff via a google search in their web forums (why can't they use mailinglists like a normal open source project?).

what distinguishes them, why pick this option

OpenWrt has a history of continuous development. It is not a fork, where you have to worry, if you get updates (i.e. current releases). ATM various firmware images of the current release for different hardware devices are available for flashing - no need to setup a cross-compile environment, figure out a sane default configuration etc. A lot of setups are supported out of the box (e.g. bridging, non-bridging, vlan tagging, pppoe, UMTS sticks etc.) - the web-interface is impressive - even if you don't plan to use it for regular stuff, it demonstrates powerful configuration possibilities of the base system.

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I'd suggest Gargoyle as in my opinion it's much easier to update and manage. Not to mention it has live graphic statistics on its web interface and Dynamic DNS support at the router level should you need it.

  • Gargoyle is based off of OpenWRT and uses the same hardware table. See installation manual for more details (read carefully).

  • I do not believe you can disable the web interface (possibility exists), but you can SSH into the router.

  • Unsure of kernel version

  • Documented not as throughly as OpenWRT, but gargoyle is based off of it so can defer to that for more specific information.

  • Unsure on package management

  • easy to update through the web interface

Gargoyle page

supported hardware

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Wikipedia's list of projects.

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