What should we do with questions involving hobbyist 3rd party firmware such as dd-wrt, openwrt, and tomato?
I'll grudgingly admit there is a corner case for these in the small office professional environmental, but my personal experience with dd-wrt has lead me to never consider even using it at home let alone in a professional setting. And while there are certainly on topic networking questions that meet the topicality requirements of ServerFault, there's really not much troubleshooting that can be done with this firmware - in the case of dd-wrt its often that a particular feature is broken in that particular build of the firmware and the only way to know that is wade through their forums with the exact model number and revision of the posters hardware to see what their community has posted about it (for example NAT loopback has been broken for years).
I basically find myself wanting to answer any question involving hobbyist firmware, even if the firmware itself is not directly involved, with something along the lines of, "Buy a real router and then come back. You will save yourself time and money in the end".
Reasons why I think topics involving hobbyist firmware should be considered off-topic:
- It's "hobbyist" firmware. By definition that should go on SuperUser
- It's primarily designed for installation on COTS hardware (with the exception of the Soekris and hardware ALIX kits). COTS hardware should go on SuperUser
- I have a feeling that many of existing questions involving hobbyist firmware are actually for home network or home test labs. Again that kind of thing should be on SuperUser.
- Trying to answer relevant ServerFault questions when these devices are involved is largely a waste of time in my opinion. If you enter a Pinto in a Formula 1 race and you're trying to analyze why your lap times are so slow, a good crew chief will say "because your car sucks", instead of spending hours looking at your course line trying to improve it.
- Hobbyist hackery is fun, but it's not for the workplace. Again, SuperUser is probably the right place for this.
I suggest that we consider closing or migrating as appropriate and perhaps a canonical answer of why using unsupported, 3rd party, hobbyist firmware in a professional setting is, well unprofessional.