GL-iNet false advertising, not really using OpenWrt?

I am trying to get help on an issue with my GL-iNet router. I posted on the openwrt forums but people commenting on my post have indicated I’m using an outdated version of OpenWrt despite the fact that I have kept my router up to date (using the gl-inet interface), and that my version of openwrt is not really openwrt. They’ve also suggested GL-iNet is engaging in false advertising because of this, and “not allowed to use the openwrt name and logo”. I can’t even get support on the forum there because I’m apparently not running an official version.

Is this something I / we should be worried about? Personally I do think that some people who use open source products can be overzealous, but then again, it’s a problem if I can’t get support elsewhere.

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I just spent a good few hours trying to get travelmate working on my GL-MT3000 Beryl AX. This plug-in is (supposed) to be able to log you into (hotel) captive portals, a feature missing from this travel router. From what I read on the OpenWrt forum, there are travelmate issues that are fixed in later versions of travelmate that are only released on later versions of OpenWrt (like 23.05.2), but the 4.5 firmware (latest) is based on a much older (21.x) version.

As another user asks in the link below, I would like to ask when there will be a firmware update based on OpenWrt stable 23.05.2. Without this I do not see an easy path to getting this “travel router” working with captive portals in the way you would expect a travel router to work with such portals.

Claiming that this travel router let’s you use the rich set of OpenWrt plug-ins may sound nice in the marketing literature but, if when it comes down to actually taking advantage of this, you get stuck because the underlying OpenWrt version is too old, the reality is not as nice as it sounds.


Well, this is a difficult topic because - in my opinion - there is no “real” OpenWrt version. That’s one of the cons of running Open-Source software. There are different versions (spoken in software update cycles) and different flavors.

Would I call it a misleading advertisement? Not sure since most things didn’t change during the major upgrades of OpenWrt and most basic stuff, like replacing the TLS cert, are possible without any issue.

Can’t you just … well … login yourself? I don’t see why there is need for a plugin like that?

This has been an issue for a long time with GL iNet routers. Some routers like the Slate Plus (A1300) had official OpenWrt firmware available shortly after the product was released, as it uses a standard chip-set and design.

Other routers like the Opal (SFT1200) will probably never have an official OpenWrt version available due to the chip-set used. My big problem with this is that GL iNet marketing states on their web page:

Runs on OpenWrt 18.06

Opal presents a user-friendly interface for common users to set up the router with minimal inputs, and an extended customization experience for advanced users to install plug-ins and applications. Opal runs on open source OpenWrt 18.06, supporting more than 5,000 ready-made plug-ins for customization. Simply browse, install, and manage packages within Opal’s Admin Panel.

This is very misleading. The Opal runs a modified version of OpenWrt 18.06 that contains non open source code. The 18.06 code base is so old that it has not been supported by the OpenWrt comunity for years, so these plug-ins may contain security bugs.

I wish GL iNet marketing was a little more honest.

After being burned with one of my GL iNet routers, I will now only purchase GL iNet routers that have OpenWrt firmware available on the OpenWrt site.

Marketing page for the Opal:


The kernel is OpenWRT. The core system is OpenWRT. Lots of embedded systems have open-source components but also include a ton of closed-source components. It is not required that all of your code be open-source to run on OpenWRT. If you wish only to run OpenWRT, then I think you are likely on the right path in verifying availibility. It doesn’t mean that GL-iNet is doing anything wrong or underhanded, though.


I don’t get what’s misleading here. They even wrote the exact version of the OS.

It’s like selling a PC with Windows XP. Everyone* will know that it’s outdated.
But it’s still an OS with plenty of applications.

*) at least if they can use Google

With embedded operating systems such as OpenWrt, I take a fundamentally different view of security. Such systems are already more secure per se and even an old OpenWrt is not automatically a problem, as long as it is used as it is intended.

As soon as you start with creepy voodoo, it becomes difficult. But normal routers should not be accessible from the outside and should only do a bit of DNS, DHCP and maybe iptables within the network - the version is comparatively irrelevant.

I agree that a more recent version would be nice. But needed? Hm.


Per the marketing page: Opal runs on open source OpenWrt 18.06

If this is a true statement then: Where can I download the open source code that will run on an Opal?

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Different question, different topic.

I also don’t understand why we are discussing this. I, personally, (!) don’t care whether the license is respected or not.

Apart from that, you don’t have to make the source code available. It is enough if the programs are human-readable.

Whether additional software (because that’s exactly what most GL stuff is) automatically falls under this, I would doubt anyway.

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Some of use do care about licenses and product statements. Some of us have built products based on these licenses, and did a bunch of extra work to make sure we did not violate the letter or spirit of the open source licenses we used.

If the source code is not available, then GL iNet marking should not state:

Opal runs on open source OpenWrt 18.06

Otherwise it is false advertising, which was the question asked in the original post.



So let’s consider another example. Debian is a linux distribution that prides itself on openness. Some hardware requires proprietary (not open-sourced) firmware to operate. You can add the non-free repos for non-free software. If you do that and install something, is it not consider Debian anymore? Of course it is. Same here. Just because it requires proprietary code to operate does not mean it doesn’t “run on OpenWrt 18.06.” I just don’t why you feel like you need to stand on this pedestal honestly. Best of luck.


The captive portal works by redirecting browser requests to the IP that prompts for username and password. With VPN on, that redirect does not work. You have to fiddle with the settings just to be able to log in. Typically you will have to do this multiple times and revalidate your credentials regularly (after some timeout). Big pain in the anatomy. So, long story short, there obviously is a need for a plug-in like that, or else why would it exist?

Anyway the point here, that sometimes you need a much newer version of OpenWrt, could apply to any plug-in. Travelmate was just an example of a plug-in that I experienced issues with. Issues that would go away (based on information I found on another forum) with a newer version of travelmate, requiring a newer version of OpenWrt than provided by the latest 4.5 firmware.


I wish we could go all along with the license stuff.

Just keep openwrt on openwrt and gl-inet on gl-inet and voila no more confusion and abstraction, from a dev point of view i dont think its good to mix different projects also support wise, simply because it can sent a dev to the wrong path of fixing things and then actually breaking it, so understandable they sent you back here.

The only thing i agree on, is the statement of being ‘true openwrt’, just call it a fork, just for the abstractions sake.

And i also agree to be more transparant on non supported socs in the marketing :wink:

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The answer would be: In GitHub → GitHub - gl-inet/openwrt at openwrt-18.06

the packageTravelmate is is a shell script? A little init voodoo plus some configuration files and list … And as it is open source, like OpenWRT, it should be no problem to port it. If a port is even necessary, because the developer wrote ‘it is tested on 23.xx’. He does not wrote it won’t work on 18.06 …

Removing the “open source” now!


I would like to stress the support issue. I really don’t think it’s fair that because I’m using an older version of the software, because it’s the only version that is supported by my device, that I can’t get any support from them because of that. That just feels like I’m not really using openwrt, like I’m using some tainted version that isn’t really open source. It would be like buying a laptop that came with Fedora pre-installed, but I can’t get support for it because I’m using an older version.

What gl-inet routers work (with all features) with the latest version of OpenWrt? Are there any devices where it would make sense to use vanilla openwrt? What about the GL-E750 Mudi?

There are many people using generic OpenWrt on older GL iNet routers like the AR300M, AR750, AR750s, A1300, … . My GL iNet routers working as VPN servers are all running generic OpenWrt 23.05 firmware, where my travel routers are still running GL iNet firmware, as I like the interface for setting up a simple travel router.

A search of “GL” on the OpenWrt firmware selector page at:
Will list which GL.iNet routers are currently supported.

It still lists open source in the paragraph itself.

“Opal presents a user-friendly interface for common users to set up the router with minimal inputs, and an extended customization experience for advanced users to install plug-ins and applications. Opal runs on open source OpenWrt 18.06, supporting more than 5,000 ready-made plug-ins for customization. Simply browse, install, and manage packages within Opal’s Admin Panel.”

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Updarte. Not there now!


It’s not just the opal!!
You should remove it from all your routers description pages including the Flint 2!!

You should change it and state your routers run on a folk of openwrt all of them!!

That way you would be more honest about it, just my two cents

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They don’t run a fork though do they? They run OpenWRT (just an older version) and they have a GUI alongside it

The version of OpenWRT it supports is clearly stated

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