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Thread: New WL-530G research - custom firmwares coming

  1. #1

    New WL-530G research - custom firmwares coming

    This is my first post in this forum, so I'll first say "Hi". I've plagued other forums, so I suppose it's time to plague this one as well .

    I apologize for this post being 'out of place'. I didn't really see an appropriate place to put it..

    A few days ago a nice guy (Dan Flett) sent me an ASUS WL-530G to work on 'hacking'. I've since made a lot of progress. I anticipate I'll release a public custom firmware image for this unit soon that uses the vendor supplied firmware as a base. I'll probably also add support for these images to my Firmware Modification Kit.

    Anyway, you can find what I've completed in the last couple days here:

    Hacking the WL-530G - R&D Wiki - (work in progress)
    UPDATE: As luck would have it, my server just started having troubles. If you get a 'network path not found' error, please just try again in a while.

    I suspect the wiki will go through considerable transformations in the coming days.

    If anyone has any requests or has interest in this, please do respond. I would also love to see the forum admins here create a new board for this unit so that we can discuss it..
    Last edited by db90h; 23-08-2006 at 23:04.

  2. #2
    As predicted, I've done much more work since my original post.

    I've nailed down the exact procedure for extending the vendor supplied firmware images with anything you want, and written necessary tools. I'm adding the capability to manipulate these images to my Firmware Modification Kit, so that anyone can easily create their own custom firmwares based on the vendor firmware images.

    Here's a firwmare image that makes a simple tweak to re-enable telnetd on (it was disabled in the 1.9.x.x series):

    The next one I build will have a more complete busybox and, in general, much more extensive modifications. The vendor firmware soruces will let you set up an ARM cross compile environment easily, and the vendor sources all build themselves except for mvap32 (a customized hostapd implementation.. it's missing the Marvell specific stuff).


  3. #3
    Ok, here's another one.. as promised above.

    + Better busybox
    + msh instead of ash (busybox)
    + telnet enabled
    + removed snmpd (to make room for above..)


    This will probably be the last I waste time on this. I will now work on porting openwrt. Hopefully it won't be too difficult. I wish I had a serial console on this box, as I feel so damn blind without it....

    I'll also quit posting updates here until I see an indication anyone is interested.
    Last edited by db90h; 28-08-2006 at 07:26.

  4. #4

    New 08/28/06 build

    I released a new build of my custom firmware. The last one I just threw together, so this is much better. I was able to restore snmpd and include more busybox utilities. I recommend upgrading to this for anyone who used the previous.

    So, change list:

    + snmpd re-included
    + more busybox utilities (even more coming in next build)
    + vi fixed
    + removed some unnecessary stuff that accidentally got copied into last image

    Latest download:

    I'll always have the latest information and releases posted here: Keep checking it for updates, as I will not continue posting notifications here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by db90h View Post
    I released a new build of my custom firmware. The last one I just threw together, so this is much better. I was able to restore snmpd and include more busybox utilities. I recommend upgrading to this for anyone who used the previous.

    So, change list:

    + snmpd re-included
    + more busybox utilities (even more coming in next build)
    + vi fixed
    + removed some unnecessary stuff that accidentally got copied into last image

    Latest download:

    I'll always have the latest information and releases posted here: Keep checking it for updates, as I will not continue posting notifications here.
    firmware has been mirrored at
    furtherwhile is this the complete 'changelog', and which firmware/gpl is it based on?

    unfortunately I don't have a WL530g so can't test anything at all

    My little Asus Collection: Too much to fit inhere, my 2 babies:WL500w VX2SE Yellow Lamborghini notebook

    WL500g Forum Asus Files OpenDir

    Asusforum.NL -- Asusforum.DE -- Asusforum.RU -- Asusforum.PL -- Asusforum.NET -- Asusforum.EU -- Asusforum.BE -- Asusforum.ES -- Asusforum.INFO

  6. #6

    New build - important update (fixes broken WLAN in 08/28/06)

    Thank you for mirroring it. However, I strongly suggest you update to today's build, which fixes a broken WLAN issue in the previous build. I'm sorry for this, I consider these more like daily snapshots of an eventual killer firmware so didn't even test yeterday's build every well. Today's build I have tested pretty well though. After you update to this build, you might want to refrain from mirroring each one. I'll note in my release notes which I have tested well.

    What I'm doing is using the latest binaries from vendor firmware by extracting that firmware, installing new packages I've built using the GPL build root, then rebuilding the firmware image. I've documented this procedure and soon will have it totally automated as part of my Firmware Modification Kit, giving anyone the ability to create custom firmwares.

    Since ASUS doesn't update the GPL toolchains with every minor version, this also has the added benefit of not generating out-dated custom firmwares.

    Changes (08/29/06)

    + Fixed broken WLAN (whoops)
    + Included iwlist

    Download (today's):
    Download (always latest):
    RSS feed for updates:;board=16.0

    [EDIT] Oh, and as far as the complete change log, currently it is:

    + a much larger set of busybox utilities
    + msh (busybox) instead of ash
    + enabled telnetd
    + added iwlist

    Busybox applets:
    [, basename, busybox, cat, chmod, clear, cmp, cp, cut, date, dd,
    df, dirname, dmesg, du, echo, env, expr, false, find, free, getopt,
    grep, gunzip, head, hostname, ifconfig, insmod, kill, killall,
    klogd, length, ln, logger, logname, logread, ls, lsmod, mkdir,
    mktemp, modprobe, more, mount, msh, mv, nc, nslookup, pidof, ping,
    printf, ps, pwd, rdate, reboot, rm, rmdir, rmmod, route, sed,
    sh, sleep, sort, syslogd, tail, tar, tee, test, tftp, touch, tr,
    traceroute, true, umount, uname, uniq, uptime, usleep, vi, watchdog,
    wc, wget, which, whoami, xargs, yes, zcat

    NOTES: Since this router has no MMU not everything runs smoothly. Most things work fine, but you might run into odd errata every once and a while. The core capabilities of the router should all work great though, as the same binaries and configuration as is present in the vendor firmware is used here. The mistake in the 08/28/06 build was that the mvapd accidentally got copied into the based firmware, so this was a stupid mistake, not anything serious.

    Plans for the future?

    + squashfs instead of cramfs
    + a writable jffs2 partition
    + Updated busybox version
    + Include latest and full wireless-tools
    + Compatibility with Firmware Modification Kit - see
    + pre-built packages (IPKs) users can install into their own firmware images using the kit above
    + port of OLSR to the router
    + anything else that comes up...
    Last edited by db90h; 01-09-2006 at 09:02.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Good project/good job/good plans. Keep it up!

  8. #8

    Firmware Mod Kit now compatible

    I have now added to the Firmware Modification Kit the ability to handle cramfs and WL520/530/550g firmware images. So, now anyone can extract apart the vendor firmware in one step, and rebuild it in one step.

    The kit also contains ipkg_install/remove capabilities so that you can create pacakges for automated addition or removal to/from the firmware file system.

    On other news, a new daily build of this custom firmware was released. It includes iwpriv and iwconfig. This build, like the last one, seems to be trouble free.

  9. #9
    I just released a new one that has many changes, including a login for telnetd (user: root, password: <YOUR_HTTP_PASSWORD>). Also many other changes. It's getting better...

    I plan to host this project somewhere (Google Code or Sourceforge maybe) so that others can join the development effort and the project can be better tracked.

    RSS feed for updates:;board=16.0

  10. #10
    I figured I'd mention a few new developments, which you can see on the wiki page:

    1. serial port discovered - thanks to jr at openwrt forums. After some troubles, I have a working serial console on my router.
    2. 'custom' builds of the kernel working now (before, was using pre-built kernels from vendor firmware images)
    3. latest db90h edition firmware mounts jffs2 partition to /jffs2, so you've got a bit of writable storage (124KB free at present, much more coming in the future though as i optimize things)
    4. project hosting has been set up at BerliOS, but I haven't imported the project yet. I'll do that in the next 24 hours or so, and it may take a day to fully upload.

  11. #11

    Improvements keep coming...

    The latest versions are vastly superior to previous, and include Busybox 1.2.1. Still, much work is left to do to accomplish all said goals. The current 09/17/06 build is quite nice though, and I encourage people to try it out.

    The firmware was renamed to Liberated Libertas, so that it doesn't have my alias in its name.

    I've worked a lot on the buildroot as well. The project hosting is here:
    Last edited by db90h; 19-09-2006 at 20:16.

  12. #12
    Hi db90h!

    Great modding you are doing. I recently bought a WL-530g and although I keep far from compiling firmware myself, I won't get scared of testing some builds you create. As for the "anything else that comes up..." I have the idea of turning my WL-530g into a uPnP media streaming device. However, for this to work ithas to include a complete Samba client in order to find the samba-shares of my NAS-drive that is attached to it. O, and of course a uPnP-server like Twonky-vision.
    Do you think that such a Smb-client might be possible?


  13. #13
    I have included the samba client kernel module (smbfs) already, but need to track down a couple missing symbols in the uClinux kernel. I haven't even taken a look into this having been so busy with the 10,000 other things going on with this firmware. But, I'll take a look later today and try to get it fixed in one of the next daily builds.

    Just FYI, NFS shares are already supported by the latest build.

    As for the UPNP server, there is a 'standard' UPNP server already there, but if you require a specific UPNP server then I'll have to port it to this platform -- which will either be quick or painless, or exhaustive and excruciating .

    Last edited by db90h; 19-09-2006 at 20:16.

  14. #14

    Question how to create fstab?


    I managed to upload the custom firmware to my WL-530g and create a Telnet session to its filesystem.
    My goal is to mount the samba shares of my external NAS-drive in order to access them using a uPnP server.

    However, in order to mount anything, I have to create a file called "fstab" in the directory /etc. My first question: how do I create this file, since the filesystem seems to be read-only? I've tried using the "flashfs enable" command but that doesn't work. I know how to create the file using vi, so that's no problem.


  15. #15
    You don't need an fstab file if you specify all the necessary parameters to 'mount'. It's only necessary when you don't tell mount everything it needs to know. However, for such things sooner or later the root filesystem will be writable (by using jffs2 as root filesystem with symlinks back to cramfs/squashfs).

    None of this matters right now though because the samba client isn't in Milestone 1. I put it off until Milestone 2.

    NFS v3 support is in Milestone 1 though, so I recommend using it instead (there are NFS servers for Windows out there I think).

    If anyone else has questions, see the Liberated Libertas User Guide, which is far, far from complete.. but I can only do so much. The wiki edit password is 'edit' if anyone wants to contribute to the guide.

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