Newbie: Converting a brick to a phone

Andreas "Cyberfrag" Fischer cyberfrag at
Mon Dec 8 20:59:13 CET 2008

Hash: SHA1

Hi Roland,

Since I was the one claiming that WSOD was gone, I'm gonna answer that.
As you should know if you skimmed through the list, there seem to be
several different hardware revisions of the Freerunner, all of which
have subtle differences with regard to hardware. For example some people
seem to never have gotten a WSOD, while for me (up to this weekend) it
was a 9 out of 10 chance that my phone would give me the WSOD on a
suspend/resume cycle. Also, I understand that other issues like the echo
are partly influenced by environmental issues (like what provider you
are using).

Am I able to tell you how to get a fully functional phone? No. It
depends on your specific scenario. However, I can tell you how I got to
the point where I am now - at a level where I (as a user who is not
dependent on his mobile phone) can more or less reasonably use my phone
without it being a brick.

The process I followed was (as far as I remember - this took me ~3
months after all): Flash OM2008.9 (along with provided kernel and
bootloader), install illume-config and illume-config-illume, update to
testing branch, deactivate auto-screen blank/suspend, update to newest
kernel. I'm not sure, whether I modified the alsa state file after
flashing OM2008.9, but since echo is not gone yet this should not make a
To shorten the process, you'd probably be at the same state if you just
flash the newest testing images.

This gives me at least:
- - Working calls, incoming and outgoing. Other party hears noticeable
echo of his/her own voice. Call quality on my side is good, though.
- - Working SMS, sending and receiving
- - Working GPS (used it several times for navigation already - very
useful in Venice for example)
- - Working suspend - no WSOD, phone wakes up on incoming calls.
- - (Probably) working WLAN (finds APs just fine, I think I connected once
to my own AP, but I'm using USB networking usually)
- - Unreliable accelerometers - they seem to crash sometimes. Didn't check
for some time, though - this may have changed.

Unconfirmed (because I don't use it at the moment):
- - Bluetooth
- - USB Host mode
- - GPRS
- - Headset
- - Provider service numbers (reportedly, these seem to cause problems)

Remaining nuisances:
- - I've been told that the echo on a call is very irritating for the
other party.
- - I want Raster's keyboard back :)

Apart from the echo, this is already way more than what my (very old)
Nokia phone could do. And with WSOD gone, 24h of battery time should be
easy to reach. I'd suppose that even 48h might be possible without problems.

Hope that gives you an overview of the situation.


Am 08.12.2008 17:23, Roland Whitehead schrieb:
> I, like a great many others I suspect, have a NeoFreerunner doing its
> best impression of a brick on the shelf because I just don't have the
> time to get it to the point where it works as a phone before I start
> doing what I got it for - developing additional software. Monitoring
> these lists and the wiki periodically produces an impetus for dusting it
> off and giving it another go (like this past week-end's claim that WSOD
> was gone) before reality sinks home and either the Neo white screens or
> my trusty Mac grey screens.
> Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
> clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a
> brick to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off,
> will ring, answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when on
> a call. After that, the user should be left to get on with it but I've
> completely failed to get to that stage despite trying 4 different
> distributions. I'm really talking basic here - if you have a machine
> that works for you, what Bootloader, Kernel and RootFS are you using and
> where did you get them from? What were the core applications that you
> loaded to make it work, where did you get them from and which versions?
> What were the modifications that you made to various settings files. If
> you have a working machine, could you blat it and rebuild it to get to
> the same position as you are in now? If so, would you document your
> process and share it with us? I don't really care which distribution at
> the moment - I just want one that could claim to work that I can then
> start developing with. I've got my Python books out ready...
> I have searched high and low through the wiki and list archives for over
> a month with no joy. If I've missed something blindingly obvious then
> perhaps you'd point me in the right direction. I guess the issue is that
> I'm neither a hardware hacker nor a kernel hacker but an application
> hacker - I'm certainly not an "end user" in the normal mobile phone
> sense but I still can't get anywhere.
> The temptation is just to say "oh well, I'll just leave it and go and
> play with Android or get an iPhone" but that is not what I got onto this
> for...
> Roland
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Openmoko community mailing list
> community at

Version: GnuPG v2.0.9 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


More information about the community mailing list