My wife runs a Coffee House with free Internet Access. Until now, we just had a compleatly open Wifi Router. This was great for the customers, but she worried about her liability. So I had the task to create a solution with the following requirements:
Users must acknowledge terms and conditions
Easy to use
Collection of information (MAC address, email, etc.), although this was an optonal requirement.
My first hope was to buy a working solution, rather than building one. Well, the price tag was beyond €1000, so that became a last-resort option.
My neighbor was then pointing me to OpenWRT, a Linux System for embedded devices. He suggested to use it together with ChillySpot. Cool. I started to look into WRT, and for a while I was hoping to use it directly on my D-Link. But that was too much to ask for, so I invested in a Linksys WRT54GL, a fairly cheap router that was opensourced by Linksys (thank you, Linksys!!!). Installing OpenWRT was a breeze, and I was truely amazed! A fully working Linux system, with web server and plenty of goodies, running on a router!
The excitement wasn't lasting for long, though, as I was trying to get Chillispot to work. Even though there was plenty documentation online, the project became quickly a pain: Dependencies were missing, far too many parameters had to be tweaked, and the whole thing felt like a mess. Even worse, eventually I figured out that Chillispot would not work without an accounting system, consisting of a Radius and Database Server, and those cannot be installed on the Router. So I'd have to configure my home server, figure out a way to connect securely, etc., etc. That was too much, and I started to look around for other software.
Then I discovered, NoCat, and NoCatSplash specifically. That sounded exactly what I wanted. But my excitement started to crumble when the whole damn thing first didn't work, and then started to give me Segmentation Faults. I even went back and installed older versions of WRT, which only made things worse.
The final rescue came in the form of EWRT - a bundle of WRT and NoCatSplash. So I flashed the router again. First I got a shock - it looked as if I had lost WRT and was back to the Linksys interface! But soon I discovered that EWRT simply gave the system the Linksys look. And it worked - it worked beautifully! Modifying the splash screen to fit the Cafe's theme was extremely easy, too.
And that was that. There is no collecting of information, but that wasn't a firm requirement, and in retrospect seems like a lot of hassle for very little gain.