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Discussion in 'Asuswrt-Merlin' started by RMerlin, Jun 10, 2018.

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  1. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    33,288
    Location:
    Canada
    Model support

    Q: Will you support the GT-xxxxx?
    A: No, because of infrequent GPL releases from Asus (mandatory for proper support by Asuswrt-Merlin), the amount of extra work involved in supporting specifically those GT models, and their low popularity due to their high price.

    Q: Will you support the RT-xxxxxx that was just announced?
    A: How do I know if that model isn't even on the market yet... If it's not Broadcom based, then that's a definitive "no". If it's Broadcom-based, then the answer is: "I don't know yet, wait until I can at least get one to look at it".

    Q: Will you support router XYZ from this non-Asus manufacturer?
    A: No. Asuswrt-Merlin only targets Asus-supported models, due to both technical and legal reasons.

    Q: I'm having problems with Xvortex/Koolshare on my R7000. Can you help?
    A: You are running an illegal firmware on an unsupported model. This firmware is in violation of the GPL licence, as well as several proprietary licences from Trend Micro/Tuxera and others. Contact the author of your firmware. You will not get any support here from me or the Asuswrt-Merlin community at SNBForums.

    Q: Why can't I update my (modded) TM-AC1900 firmware?
    A: Because you are running Asuswrt-Merlin on an UNSUPPORTED model, and Asus recently changed the firmware validation process to prevent such a thing. You will have to revert back to the original TM-AC1900. Beyond that, you're on your own.

    Q: Why is firmware version 384.xx not available for model XYZ? It's a supported model.
    A: Most likely because Asus hasn't updated the GPL code for that specific model, and the current GPL code I'm using for that firmware release is not compatible with the older versions of the closed source components. We have to wait for Asus to release an updated GPL for that model. Not every model is guaranteed to be supported by a specific firmware release. Don't ask for any ETA, this is completely outside of my control.


    Feature support

    Q: Can I change my router region?
    A: Unless the webui shows you a setting to do so (some regions allow it), then no, due to local legal requirements.

    Q: Will you add feature XYZ?
    A: Chances are that no, since adding new features is a very low priority for this project. Just keeping code in sync with Asus has become nearly a full-time task for this project, and the increasing amount of closed source parts makes it increasingly harder to make significant changes to the firmware.

    See post #2 here for a more in-depth answer.

    Q: Asus just released firmware 3.0.0.4.xxx_yyyyy! Will you implement it/when will you merge it?
    A: The first thing that needs to occur for me to be able to merge new code is for Asus to release the GPL code. Next, that code must be available for all models that I support, or at least still be compatible with the binary components of the previous GPL release. Until all of these requirements are met, I cannot do anything.

    Q: Will you change/fix XYZ with Adaptive QoS/Web History/IPS Protection/etc...
    A: Trend Micro's code is closed source and outside of my control.

    Q: Will you implement VLAN support at the webui?
    A: No, because of lack of documentation on how to configure the switch, and also because it would conflict with Asus's own VLAN implementation used for IPTV support.

    Q: Can I adjust transmit power?
    A: No, for both technical (the code is closed source and cannot be changed, and the SoC will enforce power level based on its internal firmware) and legal (power output and region cannot be legally changed in many regions) reasons.


    General support

    Q: I'm having wifi issues, can your firmware fix it?
    A: Wifi is closed source, therefore outside of my control. Wireless driver and code come directly from Asus's firmware.

    Q: I'm having Dual-WAN related issues. Can you fix it?
    A: Most likely not, because part of the code is closed-source, and the rest is scattered throughout hundreds of thousands of lines of code, and next to impossible to understand.

    Q: I found bug "X", can you report it to Asus?
    A: Unless it's a critical security issue, then most likely not. I don't work for Asus, and while I do cooperate with them, I don't want to become an unpaid Asus rep. Contact them directly through their support channels.

    Q: I need help with XYZ, can I contact you through PM/Email/etc...
    A: I prefer not. I don't have the time or resources to provide one-to-one support to tens of thousands of users on top of developing this firmware AND my regular daytime job. The community at SNBForums is the primary source of support.

    Q: What are the best wireless settings?
    A: Everyone's environment is different. Start by searching these forums, there's a very good chance that your particular questions have already been answered here.

    Q: I sent you a PM asking you something. Why didn't you respond?
    A: Most likely because there was nothing private in that private query that justified contacting me directly. Ask your question on the public forums instead.

    Q: I posted a message, and it got deleted. Why?
    A: It was most likely in violation of one of the forums rules. Make sure you read the sticky posts. If you have any questions, contact the site owner @thiggins as he is the primary decision maker here. Other moderators will only enforce the rules set forward by him.

    Q: I posted a message and it's awaiting moderation. Can you release it/why is it happening?
    A: Just be patient. Your post contained at least one keyword that triggered the spam filter on the forums. As soon one of the moderators logs in and sees the message waiting in the moderating queue, he will release it.

    Q: If I do a factory default reset, can I then restore my saved settings back?
    A: The reason behind doing a factory default reset is so you can start with the default settings as set by your current firmware. Restoring your saved settings will just put back the same (potentially incorrect) settings that were there before the reset. You HAVE to manually reconfigure everything afterward.

    Q: Then what can I use these saved settings for?
    A: Restoring to a known good configuration after issues appeared. Or alternating between different configurations. Or restoring settings after an accidental factory default reset. They do serve a need when used for the right reason.

    Q: How do I do XYZ?
    A: First start by looking at the official documentation. Next, try a forum search in case someone else already did it. If you still can't find anything, then go ahead and start a new post on the forums so the community can help you.

    Q: I'm having problems with my 3G/4G USB modem. Can you help/can you fix it/can you support it?
    A: I don't touch the USB modem support code since I have no way of testing anything related to that feature.


    Security

    Q: My router got hacked, language is now Korean, etc... What do I do?
    A: Restore to factory default, and this time make sure you don't open your webui to the WAN interface. Use a VPN if you need remote access to your router.

    Q: I found a security issue. How do I report it?
    A: Either in PM on this forum, or at my email address (found in the documentation). If the issue is also present in Asus's code, I will generally forward the information to them so they can also have a look at it.

    Q: Is Asuswrt-Merlin vulnerable to VPNFilter?
    A: I don't know, since security researchers themselves don't know what specific methods are used to infect devices (they vary between models).

    Q: Does your firmware call home/share any information?
    A: The only outbound call toward me that was added to Asuswrt-Merlin is a connection attempt to the firmware update server every 48 hours to check for the availability of a new firmware (or if you manually trigger it). The only information visible to the remote server is your IP address (since you are establishing a web connection). Beyond that, no information is sent, not even your router model since the version check is handled locally in your router. For further details, see the documentation.

    As for any outbound call done in Asus's own code, you will have to ask them. Large portions are closed source, so I don't have any information about these.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
    Wekiwa67, Slawek P, asmopul and 60 others like this.
  2. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    33,288
    Location:
    Canada
    An addendum on the "Will you add feature XYZ?" (reposted from a previous discussion)


    I think it might be good that I clarify my position on the matter of donations, money, and feature additions, as I haven't always made my stance clear (except on the feature additions).

    Money: once money gets involved, people start having expectations. They expect you to become their personal tech support, or to make any change they want you to make, or to release frequent updates even for older router models that can no longer be supported. I always kept a very low profile on that front for these reasons. I have one single Paypal link on the project website, a simple mention in the README file, and that's about it. Even the donation thread here on SNBForums was actually created by someone else, and it was also sticky'ed by another moderator. But I always rejected ideas of adding a Paypal link within the firmware itself, or on the Github page. I also rejected accepting other forms of payment. And I have never publicly asked people to donate. When people reach out to me saying they can't use Paypal and ask for an alternative, I politely tell them not to worry about it, and their intentions alone were good enough for me.

    That way, if someone actually donates, it will be 100% out of his own intention, and he shouldn't get any special expectations about future updates. And this has worked very well. In fact, received donations are much more frequent that I would have expected. And so far, I only recall one single incident with someone who had donated, and got frustrated at me because I wouldn't spend my spare time personally answering the support questions he was emailing me, and he pointed out that as a donor, he expected me to be "treating him better".

    So no, there will never be any kind of idea of donating for preferential advantages, special requests, or closer access to my time and resources. Donations will always be strictly for my past work that is currently available, as-is. Otherwise, a personal hobby would turn into a part-time job. I already have one full-time job, I don't need another one. I want to be able to work on this when I feel like it, when I can, and how I want to.


    Feature requests: I have touched on these aspects a couple of times over the years. Here are the most important aspects, all listed together:

    1) Large portions of the code are closed source. That means I have no control over almost anything related to the wireless portions of the firmware, for example. I'd say that at least half of the time someone asks me to change something, this is the number one reason why I can't do what is being asked.

    2) Avoiding feature bloat. More features does not equal better. When there are 10 different knobs to turn just to adjust the volume, you end up not knowing how to properly adjust the volume at all. So, I stick to what is really essential, and belongs in a firewall and a router. I may be old school, but personally I hate a lot of modern software, because they try to do a bazillion things, often forgetting to just do what it's intended for in a proper, reliable way. Modern web browsers are a good example of that, particularly Firefox. Those like me who were around back then remember what Ben's vision was when he started Firebird (which became Firefox): to get rid of the Mozilla bloat, and to move non-essential features into user plugins. 15 years later, look at the mess Firefox has become. Trying to find one single setting is hard. You get a bunch of icons and menu items which 90% of the users will never use, just getting in the way of being able to quickly and easily accomplish your goals. A lot of its features would belong in a user plugin, if Ben's original philosophy had been followed. So when Google Chrome appeared, it's no wonder the market massively moved from Firefox to Chrome. And now Chrome is slowly starting to become another bloated, over-engineered piece of software, and so the wheel begins again with Microsoft Edge, Brave, etc...

    3) Design by committee sucks. You know the saying, too many cooks spoil the meal. The same thing applies to software. I have a very specific idea in mind as to how the final product as a whole should be like. I picture the product to go in one very specific direction. I don't wand end-users also pushing it in the direction of a miniature NAS, AND a miniature media server, AND a miniature home automation center. Again, this can be applied in large measure to Firefox or Chrome these days.

    4) What you might want does not always make sense, or isn't always practical. I'm most likely the one single person who best understands the Asuswrt code outside of Asus's own engineers. (and I only understand a portion of it). Not to sound arrogant, but I believe that I know better than anyone else out there about what can or cannot be done, while retaining some logic behind the actual design rather than hack and patch everyone's ideas on top of it.

    5) The Asuswrt code has become increasingly complex over the years. This is the reason why I am adding fewer new features in 2020 than I was back in 2012 or 2013. One single person cannot fully understand the whole code. And that code is barely commented. So, touching X can very well lead to Y no longer working properly, and as you try to fix these two, then Z will end up going down. More features = even more complexity = loss of stability = many hours wasted not developing, but just trying to keep it all together. So, I am increasingly cautious about any addition to the code, particularly if that code has to directly deal with Asus's own code.

    6) Maintaining the existing code is taking an increased amount of time. Back in 2012, merging a new GPL would take me about 2-3 hours of work. A few years later, this turned into 2 evenings of work. Flash forward to today: a new GPL merge can take me close to a week of my spare time. That leads to having less spare time for anything else, like feature changes, debugging or other improvements.


    So this is basically why a) I don't want money to get an even bigger role in this project, and b) adding new features is increasingly low priority for this project.
     
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