Gaw'bless you, Matt Johnson.
A year ago today I mentioned, almost in passing, that I had picked up a cheap wireless router and hoped to get Linux running on it shortly. Since then, I've learned an incredible amount about electronics, reverse-engineering, assembly language, compilers, the Linux kernel, and programming as I moved further up the abstraction ladder. I'm still no expert at any of this, but it astounds me how far I've managed to get along.
Currently I'm stuck at getting flash memory to work -- specifically, being able to erase and then program a chunk of flash memory. The trouble is that the magic numbers that the Linux drivers and the datasheet say are needed don't seem to be working. Previously, I was having the same sort of problem getting the kernel to detect the flash in the first place; the trick was figuring out that GPIO was involved in all this. But I'm doing that same trick now, and it's still not working. As always, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.
Still, though, I think I'm going to keep poking at it -- for a while, anyway. My interest is beginning to wane a bit (I flit a lot; a year is a long time to me), plus I got a kid on the way (ack!). I may move on to trying to make all the ethernet interfaces work, not to mention the wireless card, as a way of taking a bit of a break. And of course, I'm still aiming at making the world's first Beowulf cluster of wireless routers.
On another note: today's entry is brought to you by the fine, fine folks at the Free Software Foundation, to whom I've just paid my membership dues for another year. I owe these people a huge amount: not only do I get to use a staggering amount of world-class software, written by their members and with their support, for free (I'm writing this on Emacs right now), not only have I been able to earn a fucking living from what I've taught myself using GPL'd and BSD'd software, RMS has also given us the language to, I dunno, frame the whole question of why this is important: by starting the FSF, by naming the Free Software movement, by giving us the GPL. There are those who disagree, while still cherishing the freedom the FSF seeks -- but I think you'd be hard-pressed to deny the power that one pissed-off geek gained when he got pissed off about some closed-source printer drivers.
(Yes, that may be a big myth -- but that is not the same as being a lie, and the providing^Hsynthesis of motivating myths is important too.)
From their website:
Hate RMS? Fine by me. Give to others:
- The FreeBSD Foundation
- The OpenBSD folks (Don't use SSH? Liar.)
- Software in the Public Interest (Debian, among others)
Do it. We owe them.