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Debian On the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner Phone

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-with-extra-open dept.

Debian 167

BrianWCarver writes "It was inevitable. One can now run the entire Debian distribution (ARM port) on the Openmoko Neo Freerunner. We previously discussed the July 4th launch of this GNU/Linux-based smartphone, which is open down to its core, with the company providing CAD files and schematics for the phone. Openmoko released an update to their software stack earlier this month, called Om2008.8, which is still a work in progress. But now one can use these instructions on the Debian wiki to open up the possibility of using apt-get to access Debian's more than 20,000 applications on your phone, which, due to integration with freesmartphone.org efforts, can also actually be used as a phone. There were previous efforts to run Debian on the predecessor product to the Neo FreeRunner, the Neo 1973, but with the wider adoption of the Neo FreeRunner and the hard work of many Debian developers at the ongoing DebConf 8, carrying Debian in your pocket has just gotten a lot easier."

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167 comments

First Post (0, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624095)

Come on, this one was too easy.

Re:First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624103)

Fuck you. I was going to get first post. Scrotum.

OpenMoko vs. Android (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624251)

What's the difference?

Great (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624151)

Debian's more than 20,000 applications on your phone, which, due to integration with freesmartphone.org efforts, can also actually be used as a phone...

You're saying that I can install debian on my computer and use it as a phone? The computer weighs about 15kg already. I just need to add a truck battery (another 20kg I guess) and a small array of solar cells (another 180kg). I will then have an utra-portable cell phone! And, it weighs in at only 215kg!

Re:Great (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624267)

There we hae it ladies and gentleman. After years, I think we can say we have found the person with the least understanding of the article and summary.

RTFA? This guy obviously didn't even read the TITLE fully. In fact, given his laughably silly comment, it very well may be that he only read the first word of the title and had some objection with "Debian" and portability.

May I present the new standard setter for Slashdot cluelessness, the man who didn't even RTFT!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624371)

I heard the distinctive "whoosh" of a joke sailing far above someone's head and came as fast as I could.

Neo 1973? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624171)

I didn't realize this technology was THAT old.

Re:Neo 1973? (3, Informative)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624189)

(I think you're being funny here, but for the record) 1973 was the year of the first call on a mobile phone.

Re:Neo 1973? (3, Informative)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624265)

No it wasn't... the first (cellular) call of a mobile phone would have been somewhere in the mid-60's...

The first "mobile" phone call, was probably in the early 1900's, using radio, however it was limited to a few channels, but could be linked into an actual phone network, albeit cumbersome and annoying, with middle-men.

Re:Neo 1973? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625581)

No it wasn't... the first (cellular) call of a mobile phone would have been somewhere in the mid-60's...

The first "mobile" phone call, was probably in the early 1900's, using radio, however it was limited to a few channels, but could be linked into an actual phone network, albeit cumbersome and annoying, with middle-men.

Well, ship to shore phones were used in cars in at least in the 70's; a friend's 928 had one. It was pretty cool to see the looks on people's faces when you made a call from the car. It used an operator to do the connect.

Can it reliably make phone calls yet? (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624175)

Last I checked, the dialer and address book applications weren't done yet. While it's great that it can do shit like compiling code and whatnot, it's not gonna do me -- as a person who, although a fan of Free Software, doesn't plan on doing OpenMoko development -- any good until it can make phone calls!

Re:Can it reliably make phone calls yet? (4, Informative)

lindi (634828) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625233)

I use the "zhone" package to make and receive calls (the same app has also a primitive address book). However, you are correct in that there is probably not much point in using the phone if you have already decided that you don't plan to do any development.

but (1, Funny)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624183)

but does it run.. oh, wait, yes it does.

Great (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624185)

Now you too can have a phone with the most hilarious startup sequence ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c0eVdj4E7w [youtube.com]

...and run Debian on it too! "Hold on honey, just one more minute...or so...and we'll be running XTerm. It'll be cool!"

On a more serious note, I do happen to love this. You can't expect a geek to know how to do a debian install *and* grasp things like interface design or usability, but nothing's stopping somebody with the skills from building on that foundation.

Re:Great (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624315)

It didn't even finish! My ASUS eeePC boots in about 30 seconds. I don't see why Linux should go to so much trouble on a phone.

Great learning tool. But what else? (5, Interesting)

schnell (163007) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624197)

Somebody help me out here. I get that the OpenMoko has great potential as a learning tool - that's unquestionable, and I applaud their efforts. But I'm really struggling to understand whether there is any use for this outside of the learning context.

In terms of platform, Symbian is on its way to being open-sourced, and Android is supposed to be F/OSS as well. I don't think LiMo is going anywhere, but it has the same virtues of openness. And if you care more about open development environments than license types, Windows Mobile already has a huge and growing smartphone applications ecosystem. On top of that, there are also easy ways into developing for the RIM, Palm and iPhone platforms.

In terms of hardware, this device seems to be lacking even a workable data connection - GPRS is tunneled packet data over channelized voice so you're looking at best case speeds of a 1994 modem (9.6 kbps or so). So broadband apps are out, as is useful e-mail/calendar syncing - at least over the GSM networks. It's also more expensive than the carrier-subsidized devices that everyone likes to complain about how overpriced they are with subsidies ...

So this isn't a rhetorical question, it's a serious one. Other than for folks who just want to learn about the guts of GSM and mobile devices, who would get a practical benefit from buying this phone vs. a Nokia/Symbian, HTC/Android or any other devices from the WinMo, Palm or iPhone families?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624215)

I'm really struggling to understand whether there is any use for this outside of the learning context.

In terms of platform, Symbian is on its way to being open-sourced, and Android is supposed to be F/OSS as well. I don't think LiMo is going anywhere, but it has the same virtues of openness.

The answer is that OpenMoko predates all those things.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624295)

The answer is that OpenMoko predates all those things.

So? Just because it's first doesn't mean it's any good.

I guess maybe that Openmoko is great for leading the whole Open Source Smartphone movement, but Android actually has backing and is usable out of the box. Once you unleash Android, there's no turning back and Openmoko will be a useless anachronism, that is, unless they have a plan to compete with Android (step 1: Make it so that you can actually use it as a phone without a bunch of complex incantations and rituals).

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624311)

Android actually has backing and is usable out of the box.

Devices that run Android don't even exist yet. How can you possibly claim it will be usable out of the box?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625205)

Android is Linux based too. I'm sure it'll be possible to use it on the OpenMoko if you want.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (2)

dns_server (696283) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624255)

openmoko is the only one that is not currently vaporware.
There is a sdk called android, and a promise to open source symbian (anyone know the licence?).
The only phone and software stack where you can actually make any changes is openmoko, we need to wait till the first devices come out and for google to decide before android is open source and who knows how many months/years till simbian is open.

It does have 2.5g (edge) so it should be fast enough for some internet even if it isn't as fast as 3g.
The extra speed is also only usefull if your network has good coverage and edge is more available at the moment.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625393)

EDGE is not 2.5G, it's 2.75G. OpenMoko has 2.5G (GPRS), which is painfully slow - I got an average of around 2.5Kb/s with 2 second latencies back when I used to use GPRS (four years ago, before UMTS phones became cheap).

I have high hopes for OpenMoko - if they can release a HSPDA phone in a year or two with a bigger screen then I'll definitely buy one.

Symbian Foundation is supposed to be EPL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625513)

Make of that what you will, there are good arguments either way that GPL is more or less suitable for the real world in this marketplace. And it's slightly more than a promise on Nokia's part - however they have to receive regulatory approval before they can actually do anything. So in fact, legally they cannot do anything other than promise for now.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624365)

Pretty simple: The Openmoko is the closest thing to a "PC" of the phone world that you can get. Nothing else is as open as it is. Symbian isn't OSS yet, and there is no assurance the most of the handsets running it will ever be freed of carrier or manufacturer lockdown. Android doesn't yet exist in the wild, and carries the same risk. LiMo may be open as a stack(save for the DRM bits and bobs); but LiMo handsets in the wild are the usual lockdown stuff. The iPhone is markedly more competent than usual; but nothing happens on that platform without Steve's approval. WinCE might actually be the best of the heap. Closed base; but fairly encouraging for 3rd party work on top of that. Only the OpenMoko is a free implementation of a free stack.

If that doesn't matter to you, it probably isn't the phone for you. Others are more mature, and offer greater economies of scale. If you do want Freedom on the handset, the OpenMoko is it.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624427)

Jailbroken iPhones on the other hand are remarkably open and capable.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624497)

even with jailbreak the iphone is still more locked down than windows mobile.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

schnell (163007) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624467)

If that doesn't matter to you, it probably isn't the phone for you. Others are more mature, and offer greater economies of scale. If you do want Freedom on the handset, the OpenMoko is it.

Fair enough, that is a reasonable rationale.

The reason that I asked the GGP question is that I don't see what the value is to "Joe Mobile Phone User." My personal belief is that mobile devices are one area where simplicity trumps openness/configurability for the everyday user.

My personal $.02 is that mobile devices (potentially excluding the iPhone) have been Exhibit A in the case against software developers understanding the value of usability. Nearly everyone - from RIM and Palm to WinMo and LiMo - developing smartphone platforms has gotten wrapped around the "smart" and forgotten the "phone." This isn't meant to say that added functionality is a negative ... but to over-analogize, it's like all these developers have built software for toasters where "toasting" is an option three layers down in the GUI. And unfortunately, F/OSS GUIs have thus far been among the worst offenders when it comes to sacrificing usability at the expense of rich functionality. Again my personal belief is that this is a fine thing when it comes to PCs for geeks, but is an absolutely TERRIBLE thing when it comes to consumer purpose-built devices.

If a really "open" environment (a la OpenMoko) has some benefits for end users, I'd like to figure that out - as it is, I just can't see it. I'm a gadget geek and would love to see a reason to pick up one of these devices, but as someone who is not a developer "for the fun of it" I just don't get it yet.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624515)

My laptop is a pretty poor stereo system but that is one of the things I use it for. Yes, the moko is not a great phone if all you want is a phone (I have a motorola C139). But as a multipurpose computing device it may turn out to be quite good.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624533)

Honestly, I just bypass the phone and go directly to my Nokia N810.

Since it does basically everything except calls, just tether it to the network of your choice and use it for everything except making calls. You could even install the Skype or sign up or Gizmo and then it actually does makes calls! As long as there is Wifi around, or you've got set up a connection to the faster gsm/cdma networks.

These are the people that bought up Trolltech, after all. And just about any OSS app that can run on the thing has been ported.

You know what the beauty of it is? For the price of buying it (it cost a tad less than crappy laptop, a bit more than an Eee --but I don't have to lug an Eee around all the time--), and carrying that extra thing around in my laptop baring man-purse, I can save everything I want and not have to worry about the vendor disabling shit.

It really is to bad that Nokia decided to base the N series phones off Symbian and not OS2008 though.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624603)

The even nicer thing is that the N800 is even cheaper than an EeePC. I was thinking of getting an N800 since the N810 is somewhat expensive, but I don't know whether I'd use it much and I have a smallish tablet PC so I feel like it might be redundant. How's the battery life on that? And would it fit in a (somewhat large) pocket?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624695)

It will fit in almost any pocket in mens jeans and chinos (from my experience), but you should probably use a case to protect it. Just like all devices with big open screens, it is vulnerable.

Battery life is about 6 hours when you're using it. Much, much longer when you're not (but you leave it on)

Those are the questions I can answer, I don't know whether you'll use it much. Depends on your situation.

They have ported a couple different VPN & VNC implementations, so it works for eveything I need it to

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

lindi (634828) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625279)

Does wifi in N810 still require a proprietary driver to operate (something with "HAL" in its name if I recall correctly)?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624729)

Pretty simple: The Openmoko is the closest thing to a "PC" of the phone world that you can get.

That doesn't actually sound like a good thing. It sounds like something to avoid.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (4, Insightful)

aj50 (789101) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624911)

Then you're missing his point.

The great thing about PCs is that they're open, you have full control over what software you run on it and you can do whatever you like with it.

Traditionally, phones have been excessively locked down.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624975)

But they're also well known for being a pain in the ass to use, and overcomplicated. Being able to do whatever you want is great, but not if it comes at the expense of usability.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (2, Interesting)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625157)

I can't agree. I would like to have absolute control over what my mobile phone is doing. E.g. whether it is connecting to any bluetooth device or not. I would love to be able to log in to it over ssh to send sms to my friends. I would love to run nginx on it to be able to share my data with my friends over webdav even if there is no internet available. And many more things. For me, I'ts good thing. Btw.: have you ever seen an PC with ARM processor in it?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625271)

But what if it was full of bugs, and caused dropped phone calls and whatnot? People expect a lot more reliability from phones than they do from computers.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (2, Informative)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625295)

Right, how comes I have new sony-ericcson and it keeps turning off anytime it wants. My friend experience the same problem, so it's not a bad luck. Another friend of mine bought pricey new nokia N90. And it crashes just similarly like my s-e. If they cannot provide stable softwar, they should let community try. Rather try and fail than not try at all.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625383)

Sounds like you have a shit phone. I'm don't see how that makes the Openmoko any good. From what it looks like, it barely works at all. Most people wouldn't accept the experience you are having with your Sony-Ericcson, let alone something worse.

Why the hell are you putting up with a dud phone, anyway?

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625415)

Well, it's not about my phone. It's about many phones which are mid-high level. They contain bugs, unstable software. As I said, is N90 shitty phone? nope, but software can be crap sometimes. Right now, I'm going for iphone because that gives me the highes freedom/price ratio. It runs unix kernel, I can ssh into the phone, i can install sw there - sounds ok.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (3, Interesting)

jmcnaught (915264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624573)

I have a Freerunner with the hope that I'll be able to use it as a learning device. Right now I've got the Om2008.8 installed and it's barely usable.

I'm hoping Openmoko will be able to keep up a quick development pace. Since switching away from GTK and moving to Qtopia over X11 and Englightenment they've really come a long way. I have doubts that the Openmoko software will be stable and reliable any time soon, but hopefully a developer community will grow out of all the new Freerunner customers.

Another poster mentioned above that this phone is the closest you can get to a PC in a cell phone. Everybody's heard all the freedom related reasons behind Openmoko, but a big part of it for me is fun nerd stuff. There's actually a handful of Linux distributions [openmoko.org] that run on it, and I'm sure there's more to come. I really like how they're calling them distros and not firmwares. You can dual boot, or boot from the microSD card. The official 2008.8 distro is standard Linux+X11. You can install Debian into a chroot environment and then run any of your Debian apps right along side your Openmoko apps. My phone has Python on it, how cool is that?

It's these things that set Openmoko apart from other Linux mobile initiatives. Openmoko selling Linux computers with integrated cell phones. From what I understand about Android and LiMo the Linux kernel is used but the rest of the stack is nothing like a familiar Linux system.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

ketilwaa (1095727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625549)

My phone has Python on it, how cool is that?

As cool as my off-the-rack Nokia that also has Python. I had high hopes for OpenMoko, but it seems that it will remain a developer toy.

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24626031)

Well, with the OpenMoko, you can download, compile (leave it on for a week, I guess) and run Emacs, then show your friends that you can do a quadruple bucky cokebottle on your phone with pride!

Re:Great learning tool. But what else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625247)

In terms of hardware, this device seems to be lacking even a workable data connection - GPRS is tunneled packet data over channelized voice so you're looking at best case speeds of a 1994 modem (9.6 kbps or so). So broadband apps are out, as is useful e-mail/calendar syncing - at least over the GSM networks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gprs

"General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet oriented Mobile Data Service available to users of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and IS-136 mobile phones. It provides data rates from 56 up to 114 kbit/s."

I think this speed is sufficient for sync/mail/IM/web. Maybe not "web 2.0" but who cares?

Don't forget that it has also got wifi.

CE development without Visual Studio? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625425)

And if you care more about open development environments than license types, Windows Mobile already has a huge and growing smartphone applications ecosystem.

But can I develop apps for PDAs and phones running Windows Mobile without having to buy a copy of Visual Studio? Microsoft leaves the Windows Mobile SDK out of the Express version.

20,000 applications my ass (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624213)

open up the possibility of using apt-get to access Debian's more than 20,000 applications on your phone, which, due to tiny size of the screen or the complete lack of a keyboard make them completely unusable on a phone

There fixed that for you....

the one good thing i can say about this? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624223)

linux fags aren't nearly as disgusting as apple fags.

Dawn of an era? (0)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624235)

I'm impressed... and hope this will usher in (yeah, yeah... in the long run) an age of openness that will relegate current smartphones, if not computers as well, to museum curiosities -- of an era akin to early Industrial Revolution.

Incidentally, We Are Not Amused by does-it-make-an-effing-phone-call witticisms. Of course it will! Not to mention that phone calls currently account for maybe 1% of my overall BlackBerry usage. Don't sweat the small stuff :)

Re:Dawn of an era? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624325)

i have never read such a delusional post in all my years on slashdot.

you're a royal moron.

why the fuck do you linux fucks act like every press release is the 'dawn of a new era'? fucking get over yourselves. linux will probably never see the day that you guys dream of. it will be steamrolled just like microsoft and apple before that day ever comes.

you just keep dreaming and sucking dicks. we'll keep laughing.

Right, but...? (1, Insightful)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624297)

So, OpenMoko is a great tool for learning, that much is proven. However... what is it really good for? A phone? Because it really looks like the typical "you can run Linux on it" thingie: you spend 95% of your time tinkering with it and the remaining 5% using it... if you're lucky.

Re:Right, but...? (4, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624475)

http://www.joachim-breitner.de/blog/archives/297-guid.html [joachim-breitner.de]

The hardware

It was smaller than I thought, and is quite light. My girlfriend says it's ugly, but I'm fine with the look of it. Besides being a GSM-phone, it comes with some nice gimmics: GPS, accelerometer, WLAN. The touchscreen works fine, although I don't have anything to compare it with.

The software

The system it comes with, even after upgrading, is still very rough. It mostly works for doing phone calls and SMSs, but there are a number of unsolved quirks that prevent me from using the Freerunner as my sole phone for now. The suspend mode is left too often, resulting in a battery life of about eight hours, and there are issues with the audio for the conversation partners, who will hear static and echoes. But, as this is free software, there is hope that this will be fixed eventually

It's ok if you bring a Lauterbach and a laptop with you when you carry it. And TALK LOUDLY to make sure people can here you over the static and echoes. Echoes. echoes. ec...

Re:Right, but...? (2, Informative)

aristos_achaion (1345711) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624837)

With the FSO stack (the one that's been packaged for Debian), the echo's pretty much gone, and the static's a lot better. There's still a lot of work left, but there's definitely been a lot of progress.

Re:Right, but...? (1)

aristos_achaion (1345711) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624895)

With the FSO stack (the one that's packaged for Debian) the echo's pretty much gone, and the static's much better. There's still work to be done, but there's been a lot of progress.

Re:Right, but...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624519)

THis made me laugh and belongs in the "funny cos it's true" category.... ;o)

Re:Right, but...? (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624935)

``However... what is it really good for? A phone? Because it really looks like the typical "you can run Linux on it" thingie: you spend 95% of your time tinkering with it and the remaining 5% using it... if you're lucky.''

Not the way I see it. To be completely honest, that used to be the way I used Linux on my PC. Perhaps it used to be the way anyone used Linux on their PC. But it's not like that anymore. Nowadays, I use Debian, because:

1. It costs me less time in maintenance than any other operating system I have experienced.

2. If something doesn't work the way I want it to, or some functionality I want isn't there, I can change that.

3. I spend less time waiting for my system to complete a task then on certain other systems.

All of these improve my user experience and productivity compared to various alternatives. All this has been accomplished thanks to years of hard work by numerous people, who were allowed to perform that work, thanks to Debian being open source.

When a device runs open source software, that is a great plus to me.

Re:Right, but...? (1)

eaman (710548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625509)

you spend 95% of your time tinkering with it and the remaining 5% using it... if you're lucky.

That would make my day :)

Interesting design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624317)

Wow, a talking maxi pad !!!

Can you still buy it direct? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624341)

I just checked openmoko.com [openmoko.com] and I can't find the option to buy directly from the web site. Previously you were able to get a list of dealers and also choose to order a phone on line. Has this gone? Or am I seeing things?

Re:Can you still buy it direct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624591)

I just checked openmoko.com [openmoko.com] and I can't find the option to buy directly from the web site. Previously you were able to get a list of dealers and also choose to order a phone on line. Has this gone? Or am I seeing things?

Try http://us.direct.openmoko.com/ just a bad site redesign

you fags loving it yet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624465)

is this like a big dick for you to suck on? maybe even as good as having a 10 incher up your faggot ass? i've been reading about this shit on here for years. it's dick sucking shit.

MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624481)

Will Microsoft make a $10 port of windows xp for it?

No camera. (0, Redundant)

gumpish (682245) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624483)

No camera.

Re:No camera. (1)

sarathmenon (751376) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624579)

Isn't that a good thing? I don't know about you, but I have rarely seen the need to take the spur of the moment photo.

Plus, lighter the mobile stack is, the more reliable it gets. I can give examples of my current phone where turning on the camera almost always causes the phone to crash.

Can't carry a camera onto the premises (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625445)

No camera.

This means you're allowed to carry it at work, in the lobby of a movie theater, or in other places that may forbid cameras.

Re: Great learning tool. But what else? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624563)

Everything starts this way.

> Symbian is on its way to being open-sourced

So is Java. Has been for ten years now. Wake me when it happens.
(To be fair, Java *has* made real progress in this area, but it was not as smooth or fast as anyone thought it would be - to the point that it got to the very brink or obsolescence a couple of times)

> Android is supposed to be F/OSS as well

Except, compiled against non-standard libraries. Which, in practice, is the only thing that stops it being used, as a software platform, by the OpenMoko itself, right now (and in principal, even this could be overcome, depending on exactly what form the Android codebase ultimately takes)

> Windows Mobile already has a huge and growing smartphone applications ecosystem. On top of that, there are also easy ways into developing for the RIM, Palm and iPhone platforms.

Yeah, if you want apps specifically for a phone. If you want to compile a current desktop application and use it on your phone, or even the other way around (maybe you really like your calendar/contacts application), well, none of those platforms really allow for that. It's not an Achillie's Heel (yet), but it is a weakness (from the point of view of a developer, mostly, but still).

> In terms of hardware, this device seems to be lacking even a workable data connection - GPRS is tunneled packet data over channelized voice so you're looking at best case speeds of a 1994 modem (9.6 kbps or so). So broadband apps are out, as is useful e-mail/calendar syncing - at least over the GSM networks.

You have WiFi and Bluetooth if you can use it, GPRS as an emergency fallback. It's a phone, not a mobile contact manager. The distinction has been blurred, but primarily, it's a mini computer that can also make phone calls. It also has USB, so there's the possibility of a HSDPA adapter working if you want. If you *must have* built-in world-wide location-independent high-bandwidth wireless data communication... then yeah, this might not be for you. The next revision might be, but this is version 1.0. Don't you know what they say about 1.0 software? It's never as good, in quality terms, as the idea behind it. But it will be, if it makes it to a few versions beyond that.

> It's also more expensive than the carrier-subsidized devices that everyone likes to complain about how overpriced they are with subsidies ...

Carriers will never subsidize a truly open phone. They lose the ability to lock the phone to their network, to extract premiums from DRM'd software/music sales, etc. Any truly open phone will have to succeed on its own merits, because people will have to want to buy the phone at whatever price. One great way to do that is make it do non-phone things as well, so the phone portion of your purchase price is smaller (except, this only works if you *want* the non-phone portion of the phone - think cameras or mp3 players). Think of it more as a micro-form-factor sub-notebook, with a GSM module, making it a practical phone. Common folks don't want their phone to be a computer (heck, they often explicitly refuse to accept it), but that's okay - it's not for them. If, and only if, it is successful enough, then either economies of scale will bring it to the masses at a price they will accept, or clones/imitators will persuade them to embrace this kind of phone.

> So this isn't a rhetorical question, it's a serious one. Other than for folks who just want to learn about the guts of GSM and mobile devices, who would get a practical benefit from buying this phone vs. a Nokia/Symbian, HTC/Android or any other devices from the WinMo, Palm or iPhone families?

I want Open, no matter the cost. I want to be able to open it, dismantle it, reconfigure it, alter it, change it (not necessarily *do* and of those things; just be able to). That's why I got one.

What other phone do you know of where you can buy a debug board for it from the same store that sells the phone - the same board that the phones' engineers used to develop it?

But is it a phone worth having? (4, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624587)

I've been saying this about my laptop for years, but I guess now it's time to say it about my phone as well.

The phone I use is small, sleek, looks and works great, and does everythin I need it to. It makes phone calls, does SMS messaging great, and I can sync it with my laptop so all my contacts are updated, always. It also has the nice benefit of having a unix core, dpkg, apt, and a slew of unix utilities. It has a terminal with SSH and telnet, I can mount it as a volume over the network, and it plays music too. Even making ringtones for it is as simple as encoding them as AAC.

So they have Debian on a phone. Great. But just like Debian on desktops, I have to ask myself why anyone but RF geeks would ever care.

My phone, like my computers, are for getting things done. Call me when this thing is useful and usable.

Re:But is it a phone worth having? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624617)

Way to mention what phone it is that you have...

Re:But is it a phone worth having? (1)

longbot (789962) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624761)

It's pretty obvious he has an iPhone, especially since he mentions AAC ringtones.

Re:But is it a phone worth having? (1)

lurch_mojoff (867210) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624929)

Way to mention what phone it is that you have...

Does it really matter? If the grandparent have said he has, say, an iPhone it would not have made his point any better, but rather it would have turned the thread into a iPhone sucks - iPhone rocks flamewar.

Re:But is it a phone worth having? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24624673)

With an attitude like that, why anyone would want call you about it is beyond me....

What is your phone? (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624731)

I think a lot of us would like to know the name of this amazing phone. Personally, I've been looking for a phone like that (albeit not putting that much energy into it) for several years. If you have one already, why not share so we can stop reading about things like openmoko?

Re:What is your phone? (3, Insightful)

Pbook (869108) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624983)

Please yes, I like to have one! I have my Openmoko now for 1 week and use it as my daily phone. ASU is not stable yet, I am using Qtopia. Looking, at the iPhone of my daughter am am glad I did not get one. It's 10 times locked and everything cost $$. This phone has potential. I can log in and do a networkscan with kismet or ftp my scripts I made at home to a server. Great, I hope that in a few months wifi,gprs and gps will work good enough to use it as well. That is with ASU or Qtopia 4.

Re:But is it a phone worth having? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625021)

And that lovely phone is...? :)

Yeah, iPhones are cool - *if* they are jailbroken (4, Insightful)

bacchus612 (168559) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625145)

...I've got one too. And until I jailbroke it, it couldn't ssh, it didn't sync very well, I couldn't install any unix apps...

If you keep the iphone firmware intact, it is just frustrating to know that there is this awesome bsd-based smartphone that stores basically everything in little sqlite databases - THAT YOU CAN'T USE!

I love the functionality of my hacked iPhone, but Apple's attitude with the appstore has really underscored the need for free software to me.
I have decided to no longer purchase apple products or services as a result of my experience with the iPhone (been a Mac user ever since they rolled out OS X).

An openmoko freerunner is definitely on "to buy" list - not because I expect it to be super-functional out of the box, but because I want to (financially) support the concept.

I'm sick of being unreasonably prevented from using the full capability of products I purchase.

If you're happy with one company being in charge of what software you can run on your phone, what network ports you can connect to, what access you have to backup your own personal information...then by all means, stick with the iphone. Good luck with that. I've been burned one too many times by vendor lock-in I guess.
Just my $.02

Open down to its core?? (1, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24624687)

We previously discussed the July 4th launch of this GNU/Linux-based smartphone, which is open down to its core, with the company providing CAD files and schematics for the phone.

I don't think so. Provide all the CAD drawings you like, but companies still own the designs and patents for the processors and other chips used to assemble the phone. Providing a CAD drawing of the assembly doesn't give you the ability or legal right to reproduce those chips. So how can the hardware be considered open or "free" to the core? That's marketing bullshit, not truth.

One would think the "core" of phone hardware would be you know, the actual units that do the work, not their arrangement on a circuit board, or the design of the case.

Re:Open down to its core?? (1)

bacchus612 (168559) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625181)

I agree, this is my big gripe with the project - they highly misrepresent how "open" the hardware is.

I was all jazzed up to borrow some aspects of their circuit design for a little pet project of mine...until I figured out that the "open hardware" stuff was BS. They are only providing like 20% of the design.

That said, it's still more info than anyone else provides about their hardware. I wish other companies would look at what is provided with OpenMoko - and realize that they won't lose any competitive advantage by providing similar details, which are still quite useful for hacking.

I do wish the openmoko project wouldn't dilute the term "open hardware" like that.

Re:Open down to its core?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625183)

We previously discussed the July 4th launch of this GNU/Linux-based smartphone, which is open down to its core, with the company providing CAD files and schematics for the phone.

I don't think so. Provide all the CAD drawings you like, but companies still own the designs and patents for the processors and other chips used to assemble the phone. Providing a CAD drawing of the assembly doesn't give you the ability or legal right to reproduce those chips. So how can the hardware be considered open or "free" to the core? That's marketing bullshit, not truth.

One would think the "core" of phone hardware would be you know, the actual units that do the work, not their arrangement on a circuit board, or the design of the case.

thinking like this...
chip designer and manufacturer should "free" the chips, mining company should "free" the ore... don't forget to "free" the train, railroad or other vehicles/roads involved in carrying all these materials.. "free" the people/machines manufacturing the chips.. "free" the air/water/earth/space generating these materials.. God should "free" the universe and you may have a chance to have a %100 "free" product.

making a "free" phone call is another issue..

Re:Open down to its core?? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625267)

Indeed. What I can't wrap my head around is how the FSF crowd has such a strong religious belief that software should be Free and not be subject to patents, etc, but they seem to be perfectly fine with patents and lack of freedom in so many other areas. It's hypocritical. If they care so much about freedom, shouldn't all the hardware they run also be made by the community under open licenses?

You can see how irrational and religious they get, when simply pointing out that the hardware isn't totally free results in my original post being modded "flamebait."

Re:Open down to its core?? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625411)

Totally Free hardware is an ideal, but it's not feasible at the moment. If you want to go over to OpenCores and start designing a HSPDA chip, then that would be really great. I'm sure the OpenMoko people would love to use it in the next generation, assuming that they can find someone who will fab it cheaply and pay for getting it certified.

The reason people care more about software being free than hardware is twofold:

  1. If the software is free then you are not locked in to one hardware platform. If you don't like the hardware you can replace it easily and still access the same applications and data.
  2. Non-Free hardware restricts what you can do a lot less than non-Free software. If you don't have total control over the hardware, you can't do some thing in the most efficient way. If you don't have total control over the software then you can't do some things at all.

Re:Open down to its core?? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625893)

Totally Free hardware is an ideal, but it's not feasible at the moment.

Neither is totally Free software. But that doesn't stop the FSF bitching about people who choose to use proprietary software. Also, what's infeasible about totally Free hardware? Sure, you might not get a Free Intel Core Duo - but you could make something more limited. Exactly the same as it is with Free Software. but for some reason, the FSF proponents aren't willing to put up with inferior hardware, even as they evangelize inferior software.

If the software is free then you are not locked in to one hardware platform. If you don't like the hardware you can replace it easily and still access the same applications and data.

Easily? I guess that depends on how much money one has. And what hardware is available (not many choices there, even if one has the money).

If you don't have total control over the hardware, you can't do some thing in the most efficient way. If you don't have total control over the software then you can't do some things at all.

I'm not seeing it. Software is also limited by hardware. There are plenty of things one can't do because one doesn't have control over hardware. Software and hardware work together. They are inter-dependent. So why so much emphasis on the software side?

Wow, just what I need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625315)

... an even SMALLER onscreen keyboard for the openjokeo.

My rant (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625373)

I use my phone a lot. It's a Motorola A1200 Linux (locked with DRM) smart phone and it is generations ahead of the OpenMoko.

I take pictures and videos a lot, listen to music on the radio, web browse with the opera client, make calls over a bluetooth headset, use the voice recognition software to phone people in my address book using only the bluetooth headset, check my gmail account and I have even telnet'd into the nethack server and watched people play (because I can).

I use almost all the features of my phone but I am disatisfied with some things which I was hoping that the OpenMoko would be an answer for me.

My videos are stored in a propitiatory format and the quality sucks, I don't like the fact that my phone makes a noise when I am taking a photo or video. I want to have more access to my phone and customise the software to my needs. My phone has a weird bug which sometimes says I have a new voice mail which I have no way to fix.

That's all I can think of right now and after many years of lurking on the OpenMoko project and reading about this phone here on Slashdot all I can say is that the hardware is poorly designed and the software is not quite there yet at all.

Lets start with the hardware.

There's nothing wrong with the current specs, I am excited by the inclusion of the accelerometer and gps devices, what I have a problem with is that there is no camera.

Now before someone replies with "but some places won't let you take a phone into work with a camera" I think you should realise you're in the minority and I believe that not including a camera in this phone turned into a really bad decision which has effected it's sales and popularity.

Also: I don't care if you don't use the camera or your carry around a 50" telescopic lens wherever you go. I and a lot of other people do care about this, very much. I could justify buying this phone at the ripping me off price, the fact that it doesn't really work yet and all the other problems but not including a camera just put me off completely.

The other big mistake was not including a holder for the stylus in the phone. It makes me feel like no thought was put into the design of this phone at all, although that's probably not true how could you miss such an obvious error?

That's my beef with the hardware, now on to software.

Why does it take so long to cold boot? Like I said at the beginning I have a Linux smart phone. A cold start takes around 14 seconds at which point you can phone someone. The moko takes over 2 minutes [youtube.com] and that's still accurate to this day. Don't believe me? Download an image and try for yourself. What is Motorola doing so right that can't be copied?

I can excuse that for the moment as booting the phone doesn't matter that much, but the whole UI including the vanilla QT release just damn sucks [vimeo.com] . Download a version of the latest image and you'll see what I mean. There's a picture of a boot when the thing starts, yes it's a funny joke but it's mostly highlights how little time has been spent on making the software look good.

I wanted to help out with the art and researched the wiki for ages, there's no information I could find on how to contribute artwork, I couldn't even figure out how to change the background image on the OS which is a horribly pixilated plant. (If someone knows how I can contribute to the artwork please write it in the wiki and reply here).

I'm saying this not to troll. I'm saying this because I care so damn much about this project succeeding and right now it's full of fail, from the hardware and software to the fact that my phone released in 2005 is magnitudes better then this device.

If you want the OpenMoko to succeed, if you want more open source phones to exist then you need to have a baseline of quality. You need to be able to use the device in the first place and it needs to be at least on par with the competition only then will amazing innovation happen.

Either way I won't be buying a Free Runner, and if the next phone that comes out doesn't have at least a camera I won't be getting that too.

Here's one customer who tried to contribute to this project that you've lost for now.

PS: Please don't respond with one liners and/or comments about how "free" this phone is, you're missing the point. It's a phone.

Re:My rant (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24625451)

PS: Please don't respond with one liners and/or comments about how "free" this phone is, you're missing the point. It's a phone.

Actually, I think you are missing the point. I don't see the Freerunner as a product, I see it as a proof-of-concept. The best outcome for the OpenMoko project is similar to that for OLPC - have other manufacturers take their designs and build improved versions. Right now, Apple, Nokia, and all of their competitors spend a lot of money developing their hardware and software. This is exactly the situation that the personal computer market was in in the early '80s. Then systems like CP/M and DOS started to commoditise the market by allowing you to run your software on any PC that ran this OS. Suddenly, a hardware company could spring up, build a cheap 8088 or 8086 machine, license the operating system cheaply and undercut companies doing everything in-house.

My hope is that OpenMoko (and maybe the new, open source, Symbian releases) will start to do this for mobile phones. Manufacturers will start to appear who build nice hardware and just grab the OpenMoko (or Symbian, or Android) stack and pop it on top.

Open hardware isn't really important at this stage. Anyone can run a compiler, but it takes a lot more investment to create the components required for a phone. As home fabrication becomes cheaper and more capable, this will change, but for now it is more important to have open interface to hardware than open hardware, and this is something OpenMoko and related projects stand a good chance of achieving.

Re:My rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625707)

I could give or take the camera, but not being Quad band (And the hotly commented on lack of EDGE) kills it.

Imagine the buildd farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24625401)

... it'll fit into a standard handbag !

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