Frequently Asked Questions for WiBSD 1.x and 2.x


Q: Why have you been developing this system?
A: When we began using many Soekris boxes in one project back in 2003, we were all longtime FreeBSD users and no existing embedded FreeBSD distribution fitted our needs. We have been developing and improving WiBSD since then. We also think that FreeBSD is a great system and since we got it for free, we decided to give WiBSD for free. And of course - more people can do more work so if you seriously want to help us, please contact us.

Q: Do you know that WiBSD documentation sucks?
A: Yes. If you are willing to help us document the project we will be more than happy. You can participate on Handbook, FAQ, write HOWTO's and more, much more. Just let us know.

Q: What is the difference between 1.0 and 2.0 branches?
A: 2.0 is a different FreeBSD branch (currently 5.4 against 4.11 in 1.0) and except of that, all major changes goes to 2.0 at first.

Q: What is it with those two types of images? Why I cannot use bin.gz image to remotely upgrade my WiBSD box?
A: WiBSD is designed for boxes with little memory and little flash/disk space. upgrade.tar image is just a boot directory which is inside of the bin.gz image. There is no easy way to get the boot directory out of bin.gz image with expected little memory and little flashcard space.

Q: If I decide to use WiBSD in my project, how can I be sure that WiBSD will be still alive in a year, two years, ...?
A: We use it extensively in our commercial projects and we want to use it in the future, too. And if you help us, the chance that WiBSD will last for long is even better.

Q: I need a web-based interface. Is there one? Will be in the future?
A: Not now and we are still not decided about the future for this. Have you ever seen a guy configuring a Cisco box via web-based interface? Would you really want this guy to configure your WiBSD box? Do you really want such an interface? Let us know.

Q: Why the name 'WiBSD'?
A: We began to use this system for some wi-fi installations at first. Therefore the 'Wi' in the name. Since then, WiBSD became a general purpose embedded distribution but we kept the name because we liked it.

Development and New Features

Q: I like WiBSD but I definitely need to add some feature. Is it possible?
A: It depends. If your suggestion is a good one and you believe that others could profit from that too, mail us and we will discuss that with you.

Q: Can I create my own WiBSD image, for example to add some system binary I really need (nc, ...) or some 3rd party software (snort, ...)?
A: Not now, but we plan to set up a read-only CVS repository of the whole WiBSD build environment.

Q: What about some dynamic routing daemon?
A: We used routed somewhere and currently the system has now such software. We plan to incorporate something that supports OSPF, probably quagga, but it would add some hundreds of kilobytes which is definitely not good news for our memory based root filesystem. We have to analyze this yet.

Q: WiBSD doesn't boot with my special 'xyz' single-board computer from this 'abc' manufacturer. What shall I do?
A: Let us know. If you could possibly lend us the board for a while, we may try to do something about it.


Q: Do you know that storing OpenVPN private key in the /etc/rc.conf file could be dangerous?
A: Yes, it's a trade off. If you are worried about that you can use just openvpn_key variable without defining the openvpn_x_key, keep your key on the flashcard with proper access rights and it will work. Please note that then you cannot just move the rc.conf file without also the key file to create exactly the same box. We are analyzing other solutions to this problem.

Q: Do you know that storing MD5 pasword hashes in the /etc/rc.conf file could be dangerous?
A: Yes. See the question about OpenVPN private key above.

Q: Will you incorporate PF firewall and possibly ALTQ into the system?
A: It's on our TODO list for 2.0 branch but it will need some substantial amount of work because we must create a similar configuration environment (= to configure the firewall through /etc/rc.conf variables) as used with IPFW.

Specific questions on WiBSD-1.0.x

Q: Why doesn't version 1.0.x work with GEODE processors?
A: FreeBSD 4.x doesn't work with GEODE out of box. And since we use Soekris 4801 together with its USB port we use WiBSD 2.0.x anyway and therefore it has a low priority for us now. If you really need 1.0.x for GEODE equipped boxes (Soekris 4801, WRAP, ...), contact us.

Q: Will 1.0.x branch ever move to FreeBSD 5.x?
A: No. Finally this branch will become a legacy one and will live on. WiBSD made from FreeBSD-5.x consumes more memory then FreeBSD-4.x and is not generally usable on boxes with 64MB of RAM (we use memory root filesystem that is read from a read-only media and consumes about 20MB of RAM by itself).

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