Ditching Linux

After spending about 8 hours debugging a VOIP connection problem, I finally decided that the problem was in my wireless router/gateway/firewall, a WRT54G running DD-WRT. To make a long story short, I tried replacing it with OpenWRT (which is really getting good in the Kamikaze release) but in addition to a DHCP problem (not OpenWRT’s fault) I wound up replacing the whole thing with a VIA C3 system I had originally bought for a MythTV box (but that’s another post). I tried installing Fedora 7 on it for a home file server last week, but after 7 days it was only half done (a combination of MTRR detection issues and DMA detection issues, I think). So, I installed the software, Pfsense 1.2b, I’ve been using for large clients, on a slightly clunkier box. It’s based on m0n0wall/DragonFlyBSD, which is based in turn on and FreeBSD. It detected all the hardware perfectly, and runs great. It knows how to handle VOIP prioritization natively now, and also contains an OpenVPN server, SNMP, NTP, and everything else I need. Now my VOIP connection works perfectly. This may be a DD-WRT problem, as I’ve seen similar things at home with videophones – I don’t think it’s really a linux kernel problem, but the distribution is what makes the product, not just the kernel.

That reminded me that when I do get my home fileserver running it’ll be based on NexentaOS, an Ubuntu on OpenSolaris project, for ZFS filesystems. So, that’s another linux box gone. On the other hand, in my pockets I have a PalmOS 5 box and a PortalPlayer/Pixo-based iPod. And I’m typing this on Mac OS X. My home router is still linux, and my mythbackend will be linux. My mythfrontend will probably be linux or Mac OS X. So I’m comfortably using at least five operating systems on my own hardware on a daily basis, and this is a good thing. It means we have a healthy market (in the “other 18% category” anyway) and really good interoperability through standards. And, of course, I have no idea what OS some of the embedded parts and gadgets use.

So, that I’m ditching Linux for a couple tasks isn’t a problem, it’s a victory for the Open community. It really strengthens linux in that it can be dropped in and taken out as needed, and that’s good for its users. Since it isn’t driven by profit motive, the community is free to pick the best of breed technologies. And, there’s no worry, my next phone will be based on Linux (assuming Palm pulls through) and I’m working on a project to get a Linux machine prominently in 32 million homes next year (heh, I can aim high, can’t I?)

[Edit: fixed incorrect reference to DragonFlyBSD – thanks, Scott! Duh on me – I switched from m0n0wall to pfSense for the FreeBSD 6 features!]