Jim Buzbee has released Batbox, a mini-Linux that runs on the WRT54g wireless router. This is a Linksys router, the most popular on the market, and Linksys is owned by Cisco, which may be why this offering appeared here first.
Personally I think this is terribly exciting. Here's why.
For the last two years I have been writing a lot about what I call The World of Always-On. The idea is to use 802.11 networks as a platform for applications, controlling your home, checking your medical condition, managing your home inventory in the air, without reference to your PC.
BatBox delivers a no-cost platform hobbyists can use to explore what this means.
As Buzbee notes:
Upon completion of the installation, you'll be able to telnet into the box and have a system with basic tools such as syslog, httpd (with cgi-bin support), vi, snort, mount, insmod, rmmod, top, grep, ls, ifconfig, iptables, ssh, iptraf etc.
Right now this is for hobbyist use only. If you reset the router, or if there's a power surge that knocks out the power, you have to re-install. But it does give you a chance to start playing with medical, inventory, and home control programs that live independently of your PC set-up.
I think once enough people do this, demand will grow for giving such routers more memory, more processing, more security -- more of the properties of a real PC.
And then we will be on to something.