ASU software - pre-pre-release impressions

Michael Shiloh michael at
Mon May 19 19:38:20 CEST 2008

Ian Darwin wrote:
> I have been using a FreeRunner for a few days with a pre-pre-alpha
> snapshot of the ASU software. For those who have been off-list for a
> while, or who have not been looking at the Wiki much, the April
> Software Update switches the Window Manager from matchbox to
> Enlightenment (E17) and the main applications from the GTK-based apps
> (developed by OpenMoko and OpenedHand) to QTopia (but using X11, of 
> course).
> The new phone is in the same case, so it looks and feels a lot like a
> GTA01. I think the partition numbers for dfu-util have changed; newer
> versions of dfu-util allow you to use the partition names instead of the
> numbers. Beware.
> The Home Page (aka Launcher) can now be displayed either in an Icon Grid
> (conventional cell phone style, e.g., Blackberry, and the traditional
> QTopia format) or a "slider" style (the latter demonstrated by MokoNinja
> here: (flash
> required).
> The small home/current-apps menu has been replaced by a larger
> slide-down top panel, listing the current apps, and containing the time,
> battery panel, GSM on/off, qwerty keyboard on/off, Configuration, and
> the Enlightenment menu.
> Neither of the above is, AFAIK, cast in stone.
> I must admit I have mixed feelings about the switch from OM/GTK apps to
> QTopia. However, I recognize the need to get something "finished" in a
> reasonable time and I infer Sean et al felt the need to go this way;
> in hindsight, building the whole thing from scratch is a daunting task,
> and something that QTopia has been honing for several years.
> The QTopia apps do have a somewhat more conventional "cell phone"
> feel to them (see my screenshot of the Contacts "Overview" page here:
> So, I think we're in good hands here. On to the "experience".
> Short form: functionally, it works.  Among other things, the phone wakes
> up reliably on incoming rings (assuming it's booted and suspended, of
> course), and GSM voice works after a resume.
> There are still some minor glitches. I hope I'm not out of line
> reporting these here, given how pre-pre my software is, but Steve has
> been asking me to report on this list since my FreeRunner arrived. I
> remind everybody reading this to remember that this is PRE-PRE-RELEASE 
> software. None of this intended as criticism of those who worked under 
> time deadline to make this early release ready for the show I was 
> presenting OM at!  Nonetheless these are things that I would not like to 
> have fall through the cracks.
> 1) Incoming calls do wake up the phone, but by the time the dialer
> appears on screen, several rings have gone by, and, by the time you
> press Answer and get it recognized, the screen hasn't responded, the
> Answer button changes to Hangup, so if you double-clicked it, you can
> easily hang up on your caller without intending to.
> 2) The ASU software features a qwerty-keyboard. It is switchable between
> alphabetics and numerics; unfortunately the gesture  needed to do this
> (a triangle drawn counter-clockwise from lower left) is a bit hard to
> get right; hopefully there will be a  button to switch this. As well,
> the current version of ASU uses QTopia's input manager, offering what
> looks like a predictive style but is  actually doing a dictionary
> lookup; I find this very distracting compared to a plain do-what-I-type
> keyboard, and would welcome an easy way to turn this off (I thought
> Lorne Potter posted this once, but I couldn't find it).
> 3) It's easy to accidentally start an application (thus slowing down
> what you're trying to really do) while scrolling the home screen in icon
> grid mode.
> 4) The Preferences that are in the top slide-down panel's Wrench icon
> should presumably be merged with the Preferences App.
> 5) The shutdown dialog does not have a cancel or Back button.
> And, it often doesn't actually shutdown.
> All for now. Again, please remember that this is very early access.
> And don't let my nit-picking distract you from the fact that it's
> looking good for something that was merged only a few weeks ago!
> Ian Darwin

Wonderful feedback, Ian. Thanks very much. And thanks for presenting OM 
at the show.


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