[Cerowrt-devel] [Bloat] Two d-link products tested for bloat...

Jonathan Morton chromatix99 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 20 03:47:52 EST 2015

Out of curiosity, perhaps you could talk to A&A about their FireBrick
router. They make a big point of having written the firmware for it
themselves, and they might be more interested in having researchers poke at
it in interesting ways than the average big name.  A&A are an ISP, not a
hardware manufacturer by trade.

Meanwhile, I suspect the ultimate hardware vendors don't care because their
customers, the big brands, don't care. They in turn don't care because
neither ISPs nor consumers care (on average). A coherent, magazine style
review system with specific areas given star ratings might have a chance of
fixing that, if it becomes visible enough. I'm not sure that a rant blog
would gain the same sort of traction.

Some guidance can be gained from the business of reviewing other computer
hardware. Power supplies are generally, at their core, one of a few
standard designs made by one of a couple of big subcontractors. The quality
of the components used to implement that design, and ancillary hardware
such as heatsinks and cabling, are what distinguish them in the
marketplace. Likewise motherboards are all built around a standard CPU
socket, chipset and form factor, but the manufacturers find lots of little
ways to distinguish themselves on razor thin margins; likewise graphics
cards. Laptops are usually badly designed in at least one stupid way
despite the best efforts of reviewers, but thanks to them it is now
possible to sort through the general mess and find one that doesn't
completely suck at a reasonable price.

As for the rating system itself:

- the Communications Black Hole, for when we can't get it to work at all.
Maybe we can shrink a screen grab from Interstellar for the job.

- the Tin Cans & String, for when it passes packets okay (out of the box)
but is horrible in every other important respect.

- the Carrier Pigeon. Bonus points if we can show it defecating on the
message (or the handler's wrist).

- the Telegraph Pole (or Morse Code Key). Maybe put the Titanic in the
background just to remind people how hard they are failing.

- the Dial-Up Modem. Perhaps products which become reliable and useful if
the user installs OpenWRT should get at least this rating.

- the Silver RJ45, for products which contrive to be overall competent in
all important respects.

- the Golden Fibre, for the very best, most outstanding examples of best
practice, without any significant faults at all. Bonus Pink Floyd reference.

I've been toying with the idea of putting up a website on a completely
different subject, but which might have similar structure. Being able to
use the same infrastructure for two different sites might spread the costs
in an interesting way...

- Jonathan Morton
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