OPNsense Forum

English Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: xenium on March 13, 2017, 01:47:26 pm

Title: ALIX/i386 support?
Post by: xenium on March 13, 2017, 01:47:26 pm
Hi everyone,

pfSense refugee here. :-)

I've been running pfSense on ALIX 2d3 hardware for a few years as my home gateway. (https://pcengines.ch/alix2d3.htm (https://pcengines.ch/alix2d3.htm))

I recently learned that the pfSense team has decided to end-of-life support for this platform. (Actually the i386 architecture entirely, from what I understand, I guess they're moving to 64-bit.) That caused me to start looking for other options, and I wound up here.

I really like what I see in opnsense so far, but before I commit myself to it and spend a lot of time setting everything up, I just wanted to check to be sure that the same isn't going to happen anytime soon with opnsense?

I did take a look at the roadmap on the web site, and I noticed that it lists "Functional second slice on NanoBSD images" as a future goal, which is a promising sign, but I didn't see anything that definitively says that continuing support for ALIX/i386 is a long-term goal.

Could someone tell me what the long-term plans are for support of this platform?

I know that "time marches on", but for a home network on a < 100mbps connection, this is still perfectly capable hardware for a router, so I just can't see any point in throwing it in the trash and starting over.

Title: Re: ALIX/i386 support?
Post by: dfabry on April 10, 2017, 11:28:09 pm
I'm in the same trouble and it seems obvious that our beloved Alix 2dxxx reached the end of the road because the bare minimum hardware requirements are - by far - more than the Alix 2dxxx can provide

This is the minimum hardware Opnsense require (from https://docs.opnsense.org/manual/hardware.html)
Processor :   500MHz single core cpu
RAM   : 512 MB
Install method :Serial console or video (vga)
Install target   :SD or CF card with a minimum of 4GB, use nano images for installation

I guess you are in the same dilemma I'm on ... install Opnsense even if you have a performance impact due to the reliability and low power comsumption of the Alix boards...

I tried the liveCD mode and it runs in my Alix 2d2 !!

Form my perspective the only chance left is to get a preloaded image for different CF card sizes as we had with PFsense. I'm googling for those images but with no luck.

Please feel free to share your tears with me, I'd been running my Alix for almost 6+ years with no trouble at all  :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: ALIX/i386 support?
Post by: franco on April 11, 2017, 06:04:47 am
Hi guys,

Erm, I don't want to burst your bubbles, but we have i386 support at least till 2018 and Nano images. The second slice has been removed, but there were actually no complaints about that. The image now even auto-expands to the SD/CF/SSD card size because of this change.

ALIX with 256 MB is low in memory, which does not work with the bsdinstaller and may be too little for a web proxy or intrusion prevention, but the Nano flashes to the disk via DD and it's up and running.

I would encourage you to try the Nano i386 image to see how it goes. :)

Title: Re: ALIX/i386 support?
Post by: monstermania on April 11, 2017, 07:37:17 am
i also use the x86-Nano Image on an older HW (Lex Uno 3V700). But i can use 1GB RAM.
I know, that some HW-Firewalls based on Lex Barebones. Some with VIA-CPU's other with Intel ATOM. All these Barebones only Support x86!
OPNSense ist running like a charm on my HW. Also the proxy works! Its more than enough to bring an 50Mbit WAN to the limit.
I hope that OPNsense supports the x86-Nano Platform up to end the decade.

best regards
Title: Re: ALIX/i386 support?
Post by: franco on April 11, 2017, 01:13:27 pm
Except from doubling the build time, i386 is very low in maintenance so there is no argument like e.g. "refocusing efforts" or "freeing resources" to kill it off. Concerns were made about diminishing returns with modern exploit mitigation techniques, higher power consumption, and most of all decreasing amount of available hardware.

Let's say this: we all know i386 is going to be removed eventually, but as long as OPNsense runs on FreeBSD 11 we shall keep it. This gives us a 1-2 year span to further discuss and review. A quick estimate puts that into version 19.1, depending on FreeBSD's time frame (there isn't anything concrete).

When i386 is gone, there is much room for an official ARM port to keep the build servers happy, likely also in the 64 bit variety. We'll have to wait and see. :)