- web server, with CGI, PHP, etc.
- file server on the LAN
- handling downloads
- using an external display to show information from the Internet (such as e-mail notification, the weather forecast, RSS feeds and messages left via the web server)
- webcam server
- playing Internet radio
- doing things via the serial console
The initial experience with the WL-500W and Oleg's firmware was quite positive. Things simply worked. Configuration was simple and there was a nice repository of software which can be installed on an external drive.
However, I quickly learnt that doing all the things I initially imagined would be a lot of work. In many cases, it doesn't seem like the software is available, and I would have to do a lot of coding. For example, I'm not aware of any software which can use an external display in the way I envisioned. The closest thing seems to be LCDproc. Another example the lack of download manager software which can run as a daemon.
There were also some problems, even with things which should simply work:
- Much to my surprise, the procedure for building a cross-development environment was simple, but GCC 3.2.3 is so buggy that it can't even bootstrap itself. There, the solution seems to be -fno-schedule-insns2, but I would still like fully functional GCC.
- Oleg's firmware helpfully provides modules for using a USB-to-serial adapter, but that version of Linux has a serious bug which prevents the onlcr stty option from working properly. The solution was simple: use the pl2303.c and pl2303.h files from the latest version of the 2.4 Linux kernel.
- My webcam was totally unsupported, and spca5xx failed to build correctly. The binaries I found didn't support my webcam. I found a patch, applied it to the latest compatible version, and it worked. It even allowed me to use my Dakota "single use" digital camera as a webcam. The Asus webcam software didn't work properly with either, and it seems like an kludge, but fortunately, other applications are available, and w3cam works.