Project Status

Hi Everyone,

It’s been far too long since our last post and we’ve received a number of emails asking about the current status of EasyTomato, so we wanted to write to update everyone. EasyTomato is in hibernation, but not abandoned. The website will stay up and we’ll to reply to any emails we get, but active code development has stopped.

While there are always more features that could be added, finishing version .8 means we met all of the goals we set out to accomplish and felt it was a good stopping point for us as we pursue other projects.

We had a great time building EasyTomato and are proud of the number of locations around the world it ended up.   We tried to answer a few common questions below, but if you’ve got another question or a comment, drop us a line! We’re always happy to hear from you.

Happy Routing,
The EasyTomato Team

Is the current release stable? Yes. Thousands of routers exist out there happily running EasyTomato. Our .8 release would be turned into our 1.0 release with a few minor bug fixes, were we still actively developing the project.

The one known issue with .8 is it is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. Though, unless you’re using OpenVPN, this shouldn’t be a big security concern. Heartbleed has been patched in Github, if you’d like to make your own EasyTomato build (we even have a nice instructions how!).

Support. We’ll keep replying to email or questions as we have time. We’ve never been able to give very advanced tech support (try asking that on the LinksysInfo forum), but if you have a general question, we’d be happy to answer!

Future of Routers. Yes there are newer, harder, better, faster, stronger routers out there (especially ones that broadcast on the 5ghz band), but the Asus RT-N16 is still available, so at this point we’re not working to move EasyTomato over to a new router.   One of the reasons EasyTomato was possible for us was that we only supported one router. It made our lives so much easier and the end product more reliable and far better documented.

Once the RT-N16 is discontinued, we might revisit this. If you test EasyTomato on another router and get it working, we’d love to hear about it and can post something to let everyone know. (Be careful if do this!)

I want to work on EasyTomato or make a fork. Awesome! We’d love to help you. All of the code is hosted publicly on GitHub. Shoot us an email and we’re happy to give whatever help we can.

Current user base. The EasyTomato website gets about 5,000 unique visitors and 350 downloads a month. This has been very constant since .8 was released. EasyTomato has grown internationally as well. Here is a map showing the last 1000 visitors on the website.

 

EasyTomato Usage Map

 

Version 0.8.1 UN-released, back to 0.8, for now.

Well 0.8.1 had a few ugly bugs, so we’re dropping back to 0.8 until we have time to get all of the bugs squashed.  Thanks a lot to everyone who submitted bug requests!

We’re also going to switch over to a stable release and beta release setup to try to avoid what we’re doing right now 😛  Hopefully have 0.8.2 Beta posted on the download page soon!

EasyTomato 0.8.1 Released

Hullo all,

We’ve just put a new version of EasyTomato on the download page.  This is a minor upgrade with a few bug fixes, new newer libraries, and a newer version of Toastman’s Tomato.  If you’re already happily running EasyTomato version 0.8, there is likely no need to upgrade to 0.8.1.

If you’ve yet to visit GrowEasyTomato.org, please do!  We’d love some of you to submit your EasyTomato installs.  It’s a great and FREE way to support EasyTomato.

Introducing GrowEasyTomato.org

Hi all,

We’re launching a new website today called GrowEasyTomato to highlight some of the EasyTomato installs out there and how they’ve helped their users.

It’s a bit like Facebook, only rather than your aunt posting pictures of her cat, Mr. Jingles, it shows a few pictures of the install site, where it’s located, a brief description of who they are and why functional internet is important to them.

One of the hardest parts of the EasyTomato project isn’t technical, but rather how to best raise awareness that EasyTomato exists and can be helpful.  This is where we need the EasyTomato or greater Tomato community’s help!

If you’re using EasyTomato in a situation that showcases its utility, we’d love for you to submit it to the GrowEasyTomato submission page so we can throw it on the map.

So what are you waiting for? Have an ET router powering a school, nonprofit, small business, or clinic, we want to hear about it!!  Head over the GrowEasyTomato submission page and let us know.

EasyTomato 0.8 Released!

We’re really happy to announce the release of EasyTomato 0.8!!  This is a major release of EasyTomato with a number of new features.  A lot of work went into this so I’d like to thank all of the developers who spent their after hours time on both EasyTomato and the core Tomato firmware.  We know you could have been doing a lot of other things, so THANKS!

Here are some of the highlights of the new version:

  • Bandwidth Graphing – We’ve got it, finally. Checkout the Bandwidth tab and see the pretty graphs. Clicking on any of the devices listed below will superimpose their data on the total.

[singlepic id=36 w=320 h=240 float=center]

  • Blocking HTTPS websites – Sites like Twitter and Facebook have switched to encrypted HTTPS connections, which is good, but makes blocking hard with the traditional way Tomato blocked website.  We’ve updated the blocking to deal with HTTPS sites.
  • Direct Flashing – No more DD-WRT involved in the install!  Users can go right from the Asus Firmware to EasyTomato.  We’ve updated the install guide to reflect this.
  • Integrated Adblocking – The check box right on the groups page.  It won’t get everything and AdBlock Plus is still a better option, but this lets you reduce ads on the entire network.
  • Restore Settings to any EasyTomato router (same version only) – As we are starting to see multiple routers used by a individual organizations, we have made it so your config settings are no longer locked to a single router. They should move nicely, between routers, but only routers running the same version number of EasyTomato.
  • Numerous Bug Fixes – Bugs are always a problem, but we’ve squashed lots!  Checkout github if you want an idea of what some of them were.
  • Newest Version of Toastman – We’ve updated EasyTomato to incorporate all of the newest bug fix.

Head over to the revamped download page to grab the new version and follow the upgrade guide, if needed.

Support EasyTomato

Don’t forget that if you use Amazon.com, you can support EasyTomato by clicking our affiliates link before shopping on Amazon. It costs you nothing, takes 3 seconds of your time, and gives us about 6% of your purchase.

 

 

EasyTomato Release 0.8 Candidate 2

We’ve shipped EasyTomato’s 0.8 Release Candidate 2 off to the SEALs for the next round of testing!  They did some great hunting last time and found a couple of bugs in the blocking rules  that needed to be fixed before ET 0.8 hits the website.  These should be all fixed up now and we’ve also updated to the latest Toastman  release, which fixes some issues with bandwidth statistics and a few other things.

We’re always looking for more SEALs, so if you think you’ve got what it takes (nn Asus RT-N16 router,  a fearless attitude towards router flashing and possibly, though unlikely, router recovery, and willingness to submit bugs and give us feedback.), sign up here!

Random Hacks of Kindness – Boston 2013

EasyTomato is happy to be at Random Hacks of Kindness – Boston 2013.  For those who don’t know about RHOK, check it out.  We were one of a handful of cool project pitched and got about thirteen people working on ET!

Cool panoramic of people presenting at RHOK
Cool panoramic of people presenting at RHOK

The goal for this hack was to start working on making an EasyQoS interface that can be put into EasyTomato.  QoS or Quality of Service, for those who don’t know, is a way to prioritize specific types of traffic over others and on overloaded connections it’s amazing.  For example one might want to have a windows updates just download slowly in the background while web browsing stays fast.  When you have 50 computers on the equivalent of a low speed DSL line all downloading a windows update and full speed, you can imagine how well web browsing works (or doesn’t as the case may be).  This is exactly what QoS helps with.

After seeing how insanely effective QoS was in Rwanda, we wanted to really figure out a way to bring it to the masses.  Unfortunately setting up QoS is very counterintuitive, even for tech folks who just haven’t done quiet enough homework. So making a clean and extremely simple interface is a necessity, but we think we’ve got a great team to help.

RHOK Boston 2013
Filling whiteboards with ideas for EasyQoS

Our group of hackers divided nicely into a lower level group of C coders and a group of UI/UX and JS folks.  While the C table brainstormed on ways to automatically measure bandwidth (critical for an effective QoS), the JS team started filling whiteboards and sketching up what the QoS interface might look like.

We’re back at 10am tomorrow morning and will hopefully have some good stuff to show for it by tomorrow afternoon.

Part of the RHOK EasyTomato team presenting our work to the other groups.
Part of the RHOK EasyTomato team presenting our work to the other groups.

In other news, we think we’ve found the two blocking rules related bugs that are currently holding back version 0.8.  Hopefully we’ll also have a chance to fix those up this weekend and put out the next release candidate.

0.8 Release Candidate Shipped [Updated]

Things have been so quiet around here that we’ve even been getting emails asking whats going on.   We’ve all been pretty busy, but fear not, the new 0.8 Release Candidate is going out to our SEAL Team testers today.  We’ll give them about a week to hunt for any show-stopping bugs, then the new version is hitting the website.

We’ve got a number of great new additions, but the main ones are new bandwidth graphing, HTTPS website blocking (sites like facebook and twitter), and ad blocking.

Check back for more soon!

[Update May-29th]

One of our SEALs found a bug that breaks some blocking rules if you make any rule that blocks all access.  This has to get fixed before 0.8 goes public and there have been weddings and stuff in the last few weeks that have been keeping us busy.  We’re getting to it now.

More to come and thanks for being patient!

Hello From Rwanda and ID Hack 2013!

Hello from Rwanda! Two of us are over here helping Partners in Health install EasyTomato in some of their facilities here. We’ve also done an install for the Clinton Foundation, a school with a Peace Corps volunteer, and have Save the Children and CHF International both very interested in ET routers, but unfortunately, we’re out of routers!

The feedback so far has been nothing short of amazing. Being able to limit access to distracting websites during work hours, viewing bandwidth usage, and Toastman’s QoS settings have breathed life into overcrowded, saturated Internet connections. It’s also gotten the IT folks here really excited and when their main concern after using ET is how to get enough RT-N16 routers in country, we know we’re doing something right.

What else does this Rwanda trip mean? Lots of coding! It’s been a coding retreat of sorts. The long awaited .8, which should turn into 1.0, is just really actually around the corner! (After it gets the green light from our SEALs) We’ve added a number of features (https website blocking, integrated adblocking, restoring settings between EasyTomato routers), fixed a few bugs, and moved up to Toastman’s newest version of Tomato.

We’ve also looking a bit more into the auto Squid caching as well as fully automatic QoS (click on and it goes). These are going to be awesome features, but are also going to take a fair amount of work to get right, so don’t expect to see them in this next version.

The other long promised addition to .8 is new bandwidth graphing. This weekend MIT and Harvard are putting on ID Hack 2013, which will have more than 170 hackers locked in the Microsoft NERD building for 28 hours. EasyTomato will be there, represented by three fearless volunteers, ready to turn bandwidth data into some amazing and intuitive visualizations. As it’s a hack, we’re not quite sure what will come out of it, but we’re pretty excited to see with what the hackers and three EasyTomato volunteers churn out!!

Happy New Year From ET

Happy New Year to all! We’ve been a bit quiet here at EasyTomato, but fear not, things are rolling.

Growing User Base

We’re growing in the Tomato community and while this is great, we’re thrilled that we’re starting to get some larger nonprofits using EasyTomato (since that was the whole point of this project).  We’ve had a few ET routers running some hospitals in Haiti for a couple months now and they’ve done well enough that two of us are going to be going to Rwanda next month to install some ET routers in the same nonprofits African hospitals.

We will talk more about who is using it and where in the coming weeks.  We’re setting up another website to show users and try to highlight why this is such an important subject for healthcare and education in the developing world.

Blocking HTTPS Websites

The way Tomato and therefore EasyTomato blocks webpages is a little cranky and won’t block HTTPS (encrypted) websites.  In the past, it didn’t matter much as few websites other than financial sites were using HTTPS.  As schools and hospitals aren’t too worried about people gobbling up their bandwidth transferring lots of money from bank account to bank account this wasn’t an issue.

A year and a half or so ago Gmail and Twitter went to HTTPS only (at least by default), which meant Tomato couldn’t block them.  Ok still not a huge deal, but as of end of November…. Facebook went HTTPS only.  This is a very big deal…

Long story short is EasyTomato needs to learn how to block HTTPS sites or its access control wont be worth squat as everyone is moving to HTTPS sites.  There are a few different ways of blocking them and we’re still sorting it out.  More to come.

Graphing

Graphing is working in our nightly builds (feel free build a test image off github), but still needs so work to make the css around the graph and the bandwidth table below pretty.