Archive for October, 2010 release plans

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I’ve announced this post a long time ago, but I’ve finally gotten around to write a bit about our plans for the next release. I’ll try to be as specific as I can in this post, but of course I’m not 100% sure about how will look or when it will be released either. So, expect some things to change from what I say here :-)

The primary goal for is supporting 2.0g again. It’s been a long while without updates for 2.0g owners. Each time there was some important argument to get out the 2.0n update sooner and leave 2.0g for a while longer, but we really should get the latest fixes and features working for 2.0g again. So the plan is to release for both 2.0g and 2.0n. Having the same version working on both Foneras will also make our life a bit easier, since investigating bugs is easier when we only need to check a single firmware version :-)

In addition to this, we’re trying to squeeze in some actual bugfixes and features as well. A good indication of these plans is the milestone in trac, which lists the tickets we hope to get closed for (or have already closed). Note the word “hope” here: We’d like to close as much of these tickets as possible, but if fixing them takes too much time, we might release without them.

Some highlights:

  • Updating some upstream software: Transmission, usb_modeswitch and OpenVPN.
  • Fixing the twitter plugin (which is broken because Twitter changed its authentication scheme).
  • Some fixes related to special characters in filenames on USB disks.
  • Some improvements for developers (more usable opkg, easier plugin building, etc.)
  • Fixing the music plugin again
  • Enabling wifi repeater / wifi-wan mode again. This needs an update to the wifi driver for 2.0n so it hopefully becomes stable enough to enable in the non-dev as well.
  • Bridge mode for 2.0g. This wasn’t actually planned, but when thinking about it a bit more closely a few weeks back, this appeared to be easier to implement than I had originally thought. I’ve since worked on this and found out that it wasn’t so easy after all, but it is nearly working now, so will probably be included after all.

To get an idea of the fixes committed already, you can look at the closed tickets above, but also at the
revision log for trunk. Anything that is commited to trunk right now, will be included in th release (though we might create a 2.3.7 branch later on).

One issue that needs some attention as well is firmware size: The main firmware has slowly grown a bit over the last year (mainly due to the addition of OpenVPN and OpenSSL). This works fine on 2.0n, but 2.0g has slightly less Flash space available, leaving only a few hundred KiB for plugins. Perhaps we can save some space here and there, or perhaps we’ll release a firmware version without OpenVPN included. We’re not sure yet.

As for the actual release process: There will probably be a beta release first. Since there’s quite some changes, particularly for 2.0g, I expect some new problems to emerge when people start testing. After the issues in the beta release are fixed, there will be one or more release candidates (RC) and finally the actual release.