Getting Started

Selecting the right version

Gluon’s releases are managed using Git tags. If you’re a community getting started with Gluon we recommend to use the latest stable release of Gluon.

Take a look at the list of gluon releases and notice the latest release, e.g. v2014.3.

Please keep in mind that a matching site configuration for your community is required. Due to new features being added (or sometimes being removed) the format of the site configuration changes slightly between releases.

Recent releases (starting with v2014.3.1) will come with an example configuration located in docs/site-example/.


To build Gluon, several packages need to be installed on the system. On a freshly installed Debian Wheezy system the following packages are required:

  • git (to get Gluon and other dependencies)
  • subversion
  • build-essential
  • gawk
  • unzip
  • libncurses-dev (actually libncurses5-dev)
  • libz-dev (actually zlib1g-dev)

Building the images

To build Gluon, first check out the repository. Replace RELEASE with the version you’d like to checkout, e.g. v2015.1.

git clone gluon -b RELEASE

This command will create a directory named gluon/. It might also tell a scary message about being in a detached state. Don’t panic! Everything’s fine. Now, enter the freshly created directory:

cd gluon

It’s time to add (or create) your site configuration. So let’s create the directory site/:

mkdir site
cd site

Copy site.conf, and i18n from docs/site-example:

cp ../docs/site-example/site.conf .
cp ../docs/site-example/ .
cp -r ../docs/site-example/i18n .

Edit these files to match your community, then go back to the top-level Gluon directory and build Gluon:

cd ..
make update                        # Get other repositories used by Gluon
make GLUON_TARGET=ar71xx-generic   # Build Gluon

When calling make, the OpenWrt build environment is prepared/updated. In case of errors read the messages carefully and try to fix the stated issues (e.g. install tools not available yet).

ar71xx-generic is the most common target and will generated images for most of the supported hardware. To see a complete list of supported targets, call make without setting GLUON_TARGET.

The built images can be found in the directory images. Of these, the factory images are to be used when flashing from the original firmware a device came with, and sysupgrade is to upgrade from other versions of Gluon or any other OpenWRT-based system.

You should reserve about 10GB of disk space for each GLUON_TARGET.

There are two levels of make clean:

make clean GLUON_TARGET=ar71xx-generic

will ensure all packages are rebuilt for a single target; this is what you normally want to do after an update.

make dirclean

will clean the entire tree, so the toolchain will be rebuilt as well, which is not necessary in most cases, and will take a while.

Environment variables

Gluon’s build process can be controlled by various environment variables.

Path to the site configuration. Defaults to site/.
Path where images will be stored. Defaults to images/.
Working directory during build. Defaults to build/.

So all in all, to update and rebuild a Gluon build tree, the following commands should be used (repeat the make clean and make for all targets you want to build):

git pull
(cd site && git pull)
make update
make clean GLUON_TARGET=ar71xx-generic
make GLUON_TARGET=ar71xx-generic