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My dodgy attempt at x86robin build
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phil.lxnet
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:48 pm    Post subject: My dodgy attempt at x86robin build Reply with quote

I have made an early attempt to do an x86robin and although it has major issues with nodogsplash which I am currently unable to workout it's there for others to hopefully sort or what ever. I will soon have another go. Tried openwrt r10366 and r10420 but issues with madwifi changing how things are done I believe. The latest I have managed to get meshing with a meraki-mini is based on r10229 openwrt and has the good Antonio's r2-c323 scripts. Note that the instructions in the build tar.gz are out of date as openwrt now includes it's own iputils-ping and a far more intelligent batman makefile than mine so best change it's specified version of batman if you do a build. Note that I tried batman r964 but had issues as it seem that 2 digit route code was added in 965 but that also increased the compatibility number ?
Hope this helps someone, by the way I have also included strace, wifidog, and some other bits as packages. Though the ones at openwrt will probably work just fine also. Tried to keep as close to robin as I could make out but its moved on a lot since my r2-c323 attempt. Be sure to read the textfiles within the tar.gz which is currently at:-

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I will post here when I get the next build going.

Please note that I have also tried the lates nodogsplash 0.9beta9.6 and it has the same thing of ndsctl status (run by watchout4node) returning nothings so watchout4node cron job reboots as last resort thinking that nds has not started. I have contacted the author of nds but they are also in the dark as to what the problem is. My jack build also had problems with nds which are different but similar with regard to system message passing I believe. More details within tar.gz's.

Sorry to be so vage but only an amature programmer and this problem is a little out of my depth. Haven't tried the wifidog package but believe it has a history on intel unlike nodogsplash. Would be nice to get going though as then we would have an x86robin proper. Note that these should not be upgraded via open-mesh as at the moment they are only dishing out mips binaries in their updates so will mash the x86robin.

Registers OK though but note the registration details with the files as meraki-mini's seem to have only one mac but intel systems of course will have 2 or more and it seems the ath0 ip is calculated from the ethernet mac. Worth noting if registering with open-mesh.
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phil.lxnet
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:05 pm    Post subject: Batman version issue in Robin sorted, cheers Antonio Reply with quote

In my above post I queried the batman version issue within robin. I have just noticed that Antonio has addressed this by way of supplying his openwrt makefile and patches in his compiling svn under batman4robin directory. Cheers Antonio.

This is a great help.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:49 pm    Post subject: Good to see us being able to recycle the old compaqs & d Reply with quote

Very Happy Great Philip!! I realise the small accton boxes are excellent, small, user friendly etc etc but i am really pleased that we hopefully can recycle decent compaqs/dells with this x86Robin build soon. Ideal for 2 or 3 card boxes.. Ideal for the longer links whilst locally we would mesh with the smaller acctons.... Keep up the good work!! Looking forward to switch over day!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: Newer x86robin (r2-c470) but still broken, any ideas? Reply with quote

Just putting this out in case anyone has the time to sort it, still has broken nodogsplash but I have included a wifidog package to play with.

Show stoppers
1 nodogsplash still doesn't work.
2 still unsure if works as gateway; been busy of late.
3 this version doesn't reconfigure itself to the settings from open-mesh, but it does manage to download them. This is probably something simple and may be related to 1 but yet to work out why. Shame as my last attempt above did manage this. Never mind. Maybee next time.

Please feel free to help with the above.

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It appears I was mistaken on madwifi versions as this build is based on r10366.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're doing a great job, Phil.lxnet! Having an X86 based version of ROBIN will be a nice option, especially to act as a Gateway.

Keep up the good work!

- Tate

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:42 pm    Post subject: x86robin r2-c477, much better now but nodogsplash still dead Reply with quote

This version has like the others before it had very little testing, but I have now had a meraki-mini r2-c379 ping the internet successfully with this build acting as the gateway.

I would like to point out that this is not intended as a fork of Antonio's good work but just an attempt to get it working as best as I can on generic x86 hardware. And if you do try it out please read the text doc I have included in the tar.gz available from the same location as in my previous posts.

Current showstopper

-- nodogsplash

N.B. for this to remain as not a fork we need this to be sorted as currently nodogsplash is the only captive portal included by default in the robin firmware. I believe the solution lies outside my current or near future ability / knowledge.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: Good to see Phil that development continues... Reply with quote

Was just wondering Antonio whether these x86 trial images should have a section at
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to download from. At the moment they are available from the Files section at
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.. But a few have posted wondering where to find the files. Ideally this needs more open development.

Phil is doing some excellent work, but needs help certainly on getting NoDogSplash or WifiDog integrated. Can anyone chip in with a little time and knowledge?

Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: x86robin t_c491 still broken nodogsplash Reply with quote

Again not much testing but meshes successfully with meraki-mini's running current and recent versions of robin firmware. Auto adjusts between client and gateway mode successfully.

showstopper

- nodogsplash

Any volunteers to take a look.

Download url is the same as in previous posts.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: x-86 versions can now auto update Reply with quote

Thanks to Philip the x-86 can now auto update if the box is ticked in the dashboard. Currently our compaqs are running on Antonio's latest build t_c524 . The files can be now downloaded to flash any compaq/dells etc from


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If its easier a .iso will be available shortly. As many, no doubt like me, find it easier to flash a new box with a cd-rom!

Flags still need to be sorted to get nodogsplash working, but the x-86 version is up and running and meshing fine with the reflashed merakis in our test mesh

Anyone using DogOnRails yet...???? This would be good to get on our compaqs with a walled garden and payment feature

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work guys!

your development opens new employment scenarios, specially in re-using of x86 based machines.
I'm anxious to test it, maybe using a... ROBIx live cd?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject: robix_live_install_cd Reply with quote

I have put together a live boot cd to aid x86robin install. You can either install from the image that comes with the cd, t_c491, or download the latest and install that, which is the same version at the moment. If registered with open-mesh and test firmware is ticked this version will upgrade to t_c524 (equivalent to Beta-1.0) though.

The boot cd is not pretty but seems to work OK as long as there is at least 44MB of Ram. Currently it only installs to hda (master drive on first ide channel). It is a 15.6MB download from :-
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The cd is cobbled together by modifying

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but should really be done properly by remastering from a more modern Ubuntu such that it can then support meraki-mini flashing also. I had a look at the build process for this distribution but couldn't work it out in the time I had so have released this rather messy version for us to be getting along with.

To be done:-
-- test if this works for people
-- build properly with consistent libraries for use in flashing meraki-minis etc as well
-- reduce the size such that it will boot on 32MB machines.

Please note that on machines that can't boot from cdrom but only from floppy there is:-
Bootable CD Loader v1.50Z at

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&
Smart Boot Manager at

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Hope this help someone and brings more eyes to the nodogsplash showstopper.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this is really an impressive side project. I wish I could pitch in, but time and a lack of spare x86 boxes makes it difficult. Please keep up the great work!

- Tate

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys,
First post on this forum.
I like what you are doing and am going to get involved and help however i can. Kip has been a great help pointing me in the right direction. Cheers Kip

Excellent job guys on the .iso image. I don't have a spare x86 machine and I am a noob to all this mesh technology. So being able to dig in and look around was going to be difficult until i read this thread.

I was able to get the iso up and running on my personal machine running vista.

This may help some people
Vmware free player download here:-
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Install it

Download the image

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Create a file called"robix_live_install_cd_0.1.vmx"
Place in the following code :-

Code:
 
# VM Machine Info
  guestOS = "linux"
  displayName = "Linux"
config.version = "7"
  memsize = "128"

  # CDROM Info
  ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
  ide1:0.fileName = "robix_live_install_cd_0.1.iso"
  ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

  #Floppy Info
  floppy0.present = "FALSE"

  #Ethernet Info
  Ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
  ethernet0.addressType = "generated"

  # Audio Settings
  sound.present = "TRUE"
  sound.autodetect = "TRUE"

  # Host USB
  usb.present = "TRUE"

virtualHW.version = "3"
sound.fileName = "-1"
extendedConfigFile = "resul.vmxf"
virtualHW.productCompatibility = "hosted"
tools.upgrade.policy = "manual"

ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:17:39:88"
uuid.location = "56 4d f4 ca 8d 2c ea 86-2c 83 f8 3d 7a 17 39 88"
uuid.bios = "56 4d f4 ca 8d 2c ea 86-2c 83 f8 3d 7a 17 39 88"
ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

tools.remindInstall = "TRUE"


place this in the same directory as the .iso file

Open Vmware player
click on the open folder icon and navigate to the .vmx file

Let me know how you get on

Cheers
Doogles alter ego
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject: Re: x86robin t_c491 still broken nodogsplash Reply with quote

phil.lxnet wrote:

showstopper

- nodogsplash


Have you tried asking the author of nodogsplash for help?

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Email contact: nodogsplash (at) kokoro.ucsd.edu
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: @Drew re nodogsplash author contact + @FrTed re OSS vm Reply with quote

@ Drew - Cheers
Thank Drew; but yes I did contact the nodogsplash author via email in January and although he was quick to respond he didn't have any ideas beyond it being a compilation or linking issue that might well be sorted by the appropriate compiler / linker flags. I don't think he uses the x86 arch at all with nodogsplash. He also pointed out that it might be an issue with busybox, which I haven't looked into other than the error codes reported by nodogsplash don't appear in either iptables or busybox, hence the compilation / linking suspicion. This I am afraid is a little out of my area hence my call for assistance.

@ FrTed - Cheers

Thats great, thanks & it will no doubt help those familiar with Vmware but I would like to put forward an OSS alternative Virtual Machine approach that I used with Ubuntu 7.10 & qemu :-

So to have a look using qemu you can:-

Install qemu with the following command or via the synaptic gui:-

sudo apt-get install qemu

Create a 64MB harddisk image file named hda.img in the same location as your downloaded robix_live_install_cd_0.1.iso file:-

qemu-img create -f qcow hda.img 64MB

Then boot the robix_live_install_cd_0.1.iso cd image on a qemu virtual machine using the above created hda.img file as harddisk:-

qemu -hda ./hda.img -cdrom ./robix_live_install_cd_0.1.iso -boot d

Once the vm has booted the robix live cd image file you can type as instructed "x86flash" to install x86robin to the hda.img harddisk image file.

Once the install has finnished you can close the qemu virtual machine and boot another; this time from the hda.img which should now contain x86robin:-

qemu -hda ./hda.img

Or you could use as I did a qemu gui frontend to help experiment with the settings of qemu, such as memory size. To install qemu launcher:-

sudo apt-get install qemu-launcher

I found qemu launcher very helpful. The above qemu programs were available in the Ubuntu universe repository available for selection within synaptic by default.

But it should be noted that because of the lack of an atheros wifi card emulation in either Vmware (as far as I know) or qemu, booting x86robin or indeed the original mips robin (which should at least be possible in qemu) is of limited use as most of the robin systems depend upon the presence of this hardware.

Hope this helps and sorry for the slow response but the various demands of life have been getting in the way.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: x86 progress Reply with quote

Very Happy Great to see your progress Phil. I still have my RobiX box up and running and ready to flash more once we have the new Coova updates from Antonio.

The RobiX really does mesh well with the Robinised meraki units. Hopefully wont be long till we can really start being able to roll them out with the authentication and walled garden problems fixed.

Really appreciate all the time you are spending on this!

Certaily for the SnS mesh your work is invaluable. We need the comapaqs as dual card distance units. Locally we can use the smaller/neater accton boxes. But for getting village to village, town to town.... we certainly need the extra that we can do with the Robix plus the walled garden!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil I don’t know if this helps you but I was able to load the Robix live install cd on to an old pc I have with a D-Link DWL-G520 and I was able to see the open-mesh network and was able to connect to it and browse the internet for a short wile before my system died on me. I did get a good connection when it was up.

Like I said I don’t know if this helps but its what I can offer for now.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Larryinmi

Hello, and Yes that very much helps. At least we know that it works wifi wise with that card. This is the only way we can know what cards it works with so thanks thats great and your input if very much appreciated. I can now at least provisionally add this card to the long list of one (cm-9) cards that I have successfully tested robix / x86robin with. Only provisionally I'm afraid as I don't know why it only worked for a short time so it still might be an issue with this card and the madwifi driver version only working for a short time. The cm-9 I have here has worked for weeks without issue.

Sorry to not reply sooner but had to get on with pressing other issues for a bit so haven't been able to justify much time on x86robin / robix. I have already put quite a bit of time into the next release so hopefully when I managed to get back on it for a bit I will be able to release another version which will hopefully server you better. Still early days I'm afraid.

Thanks again for posting. Good on you.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil the old PC I set this up on was not in use for a long time and I have tried a few different things and getting errors before I tried loading ROBIN to it.

I have been debating on buying a system form my work to try this on, they have some there selling off for 20 bucks and would fit the bill for this need.

I am glad I can help if I get any more info I will be sure to post.
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Works for me Reply with quote

Successfully tested here on a Compaq Presario v2000 laptop, using a PCMCIA TRENDnet TEW-441PC (atheros-based) wifi card.

I did "x86flash-update" to retrieve the latest version when installing via the ISO.

Clients can connect just fine. Tested in both gateway and repeated mode.

Note that I DID NOT have to "enable test firmware" on open-mesh.com (as stated earlier in this thread), I simply just added a node, using the eth0 MAC address when prompted.

I must say, very nice work! Currently, I'm studying the feasibility of using the x86 version as sort of a "super" gateway in an upcoming installation, mostly so I can use slightly stronger radios for the main gateway.

I'd also like to try, using the x86 version, setting up a squid proxy for web traffic for the entire mesh, to reduce maxed-out bandwidth during peak-hours. Also thinking about testing with some sort of policy-based QoS, mostly to restrict P2P traffic (not eliminate, just keep it from becoming abusive).

I do have a few questions:

* Currently, only Atheros chipsets are supported, and nothing Prism, correct? If so, then to the store I guess, so I can get another box or two on my test mesh!

* Will the x86 version currently upgrade automatically, or do I need to do this by hand?

* Can multiple radios be used on the x86 version? Say, one radio for local AP(s), and one radio for mesh backhaul?

Thanks again for the work, and let me know how I can provide better test results!

--Jake
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:57 pm    Post subject: Some Issues Reply with quote

Have 2 clients successfully connected to my test x86 node mentioned above. The interesting thing is that, although one client (ubuntu laptop) is currently downloading a giant ISO with decent throughput, open-mesh.com status currently shows "users" as blank, with no up/down usage recorded either.

You can check it out here:

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--Jake
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ denvergeek

Cheers for the info / input Jake I hadn't tested pcmcia function yet so that really usefull.

The x86flash-latest ( I am assuming this is what you meant by x86flash-update) with the current and only version of the robix live install cd doesn't actually offer any later version than what is on the cd. Hopefully that will change in the future when I get some time to do another release: it was put in so that an old image could download and install the latest version.

To your questions:-

- Yes only Atheros chipsets are supported as with robin.

- I did do a copy of Antonio's upgrade process for the x86 version but this is a lot to port and administer myself and in the last few months I have been to busy. Also in doing a test upgrade to a newer version than I have released I found a sigfault was triggered in ipkg during that upgrade so am now a bit stuck as I may have to change the base revision of openwrt on which x86robin / robix is based. As with Antonio's robin only a few files are upgraded not the whole firmware so one is stuck with the majority of the firmware you originally installed by hand. This is fine if it works but in my case this ipkg segfault is a show stopper and a bit of a wind up. As a consequence I may have to leave the upgrade process until I find a workaround or more likely find a better base revision that doesn't segfault. I did previously try newer revisions (which I didn't release) but they had problems that I now think I understand so there is hope.

- Multiple radios - I am just the grunt here I'm afraid. What I am attempting to do, or was attempting to do when I had time and hopefully will attempt to do again soon, is just provide an x86 port of Antonio's robin mips work; which currently only handles one radio card. It is of course possible to hand alter things that way but it is non trivial and would probably require extra data structures in place to keep track of what card is doing what. Such a change might be a welcome patch to Antonio's robin though, as the root as it were.

- No usage info - Yes this is another show stopper that has doged x86robin / robinx from the start. These stats are gained from nodogsplash which has never worked on the x86robin. This means that there is no captive portal in place. As stated previously here this is outside my expertise and the nodogsplash author who I have contacted about this is also unsure of the issue. I was hoping that in a future release I could get wificpa / user supplied radius working on the x86robin as this also servers my and my colleagues interests more. It's a shame nds doesn't work as this would be nice but the author has only tested it on mips arch and we both suspect is't an arch issue. If luck is on our side a newer version of openwrt may sort this out but don't hold your breath.

- Please note also that as x86robin is still using using ext2 it is not robust to power outage. I have yet to work out how to get openwrt to build ext3 based firmwares or to be able to adapt the install cd to change the ext2 to ext3, which I know is possible but the appropriately linked programs need to be built into the iso and the current iso is dated and a simple hacked version of ubuntutrinux. I have contacted the author a couple of times for instructions on building from scratch more to our needs but we are both pushed for time it seems.

I see from the link you provided that your node was running t_c524 which is only available as an update, I may have this wrong as haven't looked for a bit but on looking just now I think only t_c491 is installable from the cd at prescent. The advise to tick the test firmware was so that the node would reconfigure to pickup upgrades from the test dir which is where presumably you node got 524. Sorry to be a bit brisk but am a bit pushed for time so have to dash.

Hope this helps and makes clear that x86robin or more easily named robix is still very much a work in progress but any more help would be appreciated. And yes I know it's really out of date now but there's only me working on this currently and for a bit I haven't had the time and nor will I easily find it but I will still have a go. I have put in 100 hours or so towards the next release so will try and get this crystalized.

@ Larryinmi
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a very useful open source tool.

@ All - sorry to be so slow but pushed for time and with every day demands it's a stretch. Any advise / assistance on the above problems would be great. And thanks to those here who have chipped in.
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting on the nodogsplash front, now makes total sense why there wouldn't be results reported.

Hopefully I'll have some time next weekend to try doing an x86 build myself and messing around with the toolchain.

Any particular notes on the x86 build process? I'm assuming pull down the x86 work being done over at openwrt, bring in Antonio's code, and see how far I can get...

--Jake
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:25 pm    Post subject: The x86robin / robix build process Reply with quote

@denvergeek

To avoid any duplication with what I have released already you could look at the contents of phil_x86robin_files_t_c491.tar.gz, available at
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Specifically the text file "steps_for_x86robin_t_c491" which details exactly what I did to create that build.

Be warned though that since then much has changed in both Antonio's robin and the openwrt trunk. But if you were to check out the exact same revisions I have detailed then all should be well.

Also note that I have done quite a bit of work on semi automating the porting process since the above release, massively speeding up the process. My last successful build was with t_c648 but I ran into the issues above, specifically time and ipkg seg faulting.

I hope to be able to release what I've done so far in the next few weeks, once I've got a bit of time to run through it again and check that it's not to embarrassing bad.

If you were indeed able to assist then I could attempt to push on with it as it would be great to have assistance as this is not a minor undertaking. Working familiarity with what I have done as detailed in "steps_for_x86robin_t_c491" is essential to understanding the nature of x86robin in relation to robin.

Perhaps it's time I set up a better web page than just the download page above but this has all in taken hundreds of hours which I am still struggling to recover from; still if I kept it simple.

Good luck with my instructions, I have tried to improve on them in each release but most work has gone into the pending release so try not to duplicate my efforts and I will try and get out what I have done as soon as I can. Still, the nodogsplash problem can be viewed / analyzed within t_c491 quite readily, it's just non trivial. At least for me.

Hope this helps.
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denvergeek
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@phil.lxnet:

My apologies, I didn't mean to lead you to believe that I wanted to duplicate your work. I'd just like to run through the build process myself, and see if I can get any love out of nodogsplash.

Thanks for the links, this helps a ton! I'll let you know if I figure anything out.
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phil.lxnet
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:51 pm    Post subject: x86robin, robix t_c891 developers release, broken nds Reply with quote

Sorry to have been so long but I have finally put together another build plus a much revamped howto on the build.

The download is as usual at
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but is also available via the x86flash-latest command using the existing robix live install cd.

This build still has a non functional nodogsplash but may well work with other open-mesh selectable captive portals. Sorry no time to try. As a gateway with my existing meraki-mini running c891 and my existing x86robin t_c524 (not much different from t_c491) it meshed successfully and gave what was left of ap access after nodogsplash and allowed the other two machines internet connectivity. As a repeater is't wifi ap is broken some how but if I look into that then I might never get this out so I am calling this a developers release. Needs some testing time as I just haven't got it at the moment but if I don't release it then no one else can help and it will die.

Will try and release little and often in future.

Please read the text documents that come with this build as they contain much more info on how it was build and what I have hacked (horribly in one case) to get it going.

Hope this helps to keep the x86robin robix robix86 alive. Got a bit of a naming problem at the moment as robix may be tm'ed :- not sure if this is a problem. Any thoughts anyone.

Do remember that this is not ready for deployment but won't be without some more testing which I will take ages doing so here hoping we can get there chip by chip.

Main show stopper = nodogsplash

I have had to do a dirty hack because of this.

Sorry a bit brief but got to dash.
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aphilsmith
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: ROBIN for x86 Linux with madwifi? Reply with quote

Is there RO.B.IN support for a generic Linux x86 (not OpenWRT) distro that already has madwifi for an Atheros card? I'd like to run OrangeMesh and manage (x86/ROBIN) gateway nodes that have other services and would provide DHCP to a number of OpenWRT/ROBIN nodes. Thanks.

Anyone?
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phil.lxnet
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:25 am    Post subject: x86robin, robix t_c965 developers release, broken nds Reply with quote

Same problems as last release only based on robin trunk r965. No time to test anything but its at the usual place:-
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in case anyone has a chance to chip in. Uses same release of openwrt as last build.

Hope this help someone but remember that this is still very much a broken work in progress.
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phil.lxnet
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ aphilsmith

Don't know of another attempt to impliment robin on x86, but haven't really looked.
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aphilsmith
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:36 am    Post subject: re: ROBIN for x86 Linux with madwifi? Reply with quote

phil.lxnet wrote:
@ aphilsmith

Don't know of another attempt to implement robin on x86, but haven't really looked.


Phil

OK. Is there anything you've seen that might not work on, Fedora, for instance?

- Phil
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