As suggested by my friend and [SCEC](/projects/scecvdo) coworker [Kevin Milner](http://www.kevinmilner.net), I finally installed the GNU/Linux based OpenWRT replacement firmware on my house’s Linksys WRT54GL wireless router tonight. It gives you a minimal Linux distribution with most of the features of the WRT54GL’s original firmware built in, plus the ability to add a whole lot more.
It’s extremely easy to install. See page 10 of the [slides](http://www.isi.edu/~faber/pubs/lug-2007-03-22.pdf) [pdf] from Ted Faber’s [USC LUG](http://linux.usc.edu/) talk.
There a couple minor things to watch out for:
* If you use WPA (which you should, since WEP can now be broken in [less than a minute](http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/breaking_wep_in.html)) you need to install an additional package, nas. OpenWRT has a simple package management system, ipkg, to do this for you.
* No, the web interface does *not* have port forwarding configuration. Instead you need to use the slightly more complicated, but much more powerful, iptables. This involves editing a configuration file.
* The only account set up by default is the root account, so when trying to log in you must use “root” as the user, not “admin” as with the original firmware. Be sure to set your password immediately after installation.
See the [configuration documentation](http://wiki.openwrt.org/OpenWrtDocs/Configuration) for details on these things and a lot more.
If you want to dabble with Linux and learn a little about networking (and you have a [compatible router](http://wiki.openwrt.org/TableOfHardware)) I highly recommend trying out OpenWRT.