Minh Ha Duong
haduong at centre-cired.fr
Mon Nov 17 09:40:10 CET 2008
Hello everybody, and welcome to the Openmoko Community Newsletter, for the
November 3th to November 16th timespan. During these two weeks, we had FSO
milestone IV and a testing SHR image released. Openmoko pulled the download
server offline due to an mp3 copyright issue, they are rebuilding everything
without any questionable codecs. Werner announced a firmware update for the
GSM chip that will allow 3G chips compatibility. And there is movement again
towards a better driver for the glamo graphic chip.
* 1 Distributions
* 2 Applications
* 3 Infrastructure: X and OE
* 4 Kernel
* 5 Hardware
FSO team released Milestone IV 'Homework', see the OpenmokoFramework/Status
Update 5. To accomodate the forthcoming release of other FSO API consumers
like paroli or the SHR phone stack, three FSO-compliant images are build and
1. fso-console-image: minimal system with frameworkd, no user interface
2. fso-illume-image: everything in console-image plus X-Window, plus
Enlightenment plus Illume window manager.
3. fso-image: everything in illume-image plus Zhone. Can be used for phone
calls. Like previous milestones. But Zhone is going to be faded out.
Debian: Joachim announced that the preferred installer script is now the one
in the git. The old URL does redirect to it. Thanks mostly to Luca “Gismo”
Capello’s great work, recent improvements include:
1. The use of the general auto-login script “nodm” instead of
zhone-session. Session configuration can now be done by
2. Device independent frameworkd and accompanying configuration packages.
If apt-get upgrade breaks your FreeRunner, try to run apt-get install
3. openmoko-panel-plugin installed by default (running in trayer), to
provide keyboard toggle and device control.
4. The use of the packaged kernel instead of wget/tar. To get this going,
run apt-get install linux-image-2.6.24-openmoko-gta02
SHR is getting closer to a first milestone release. According to BillK and
others who kindly tested the latest version, the ergonomy feels generally
better than other distros. But its early days yet, if you need a phone use
2008.9. Julien Cassignol invites the braves out here to install a preview
SHR-testing (wiki help) and join the Internet Relay Chat on #openmoko-cdevel
FDOM is considering wether to move to OpenEmbeded, as this would solve the
source redistribution issue nicely.
On November 12th, http://downloads.openmoko.org/releases/ were taken offline
due to the discovery of an MP3 licensing issue. Openmoko collaborates with
the Software Freedom Law Center in New York on this kind of issues.
Aapo compiled a newer version of Numptyphysics package on Debian, which can be
played landscaped, without keyboard and it uses same datafiles than any other
numptyphysics-port is at: http://www.opkg.org/package_3.html.
Signal Applications To Any (Audio) Network, or, ehm, SATAN, was born... This
is a tracker to create simple music, or just jam on the train, bus or café.
Debian users rejoice: openmoko-panel-plugin reaches 0.5. Show and modify you
the state of the hardware in you FreeRunner(i.e. gsm, gps ...) with any gtk
based windowmanager (i.e. xfce). (thread, download).
Centerim, a terminal-based instant messager, ported on the freerunner
(package, port page)
In the wiki, the Applications and Distributions pages were revised. We are
having trouble with an engine extention that eats up whitespace, the
workaround is to wrap pre formatted text in <pre> tags. The thematic List of
X applications pages are going away, we want to keep just one big directory
style application linkfarm. The idea is that presenting applications in
organized ways is better done by http://opkg.org . This directory already has
45 entries, please register and go populate it.
 Infrastructure: X and OE
Reports from the optimization team have been landing weekly. They include
patches to fix ticket 1884 ([suspend/resume] if press power batton right
after suspend, the device won't wake up) and patches to improve the network
registering time. The openmoko-mediaplayer2: dependency on pulseaudio was
removed to use alsa instead. And various utilities should appear shortly in
the distributions, including telnet, wget, tcptraceroute, wmiconfig, a bunch
of X system fonts and more.
The lack of GLamo OpenGL is still a major dark hole on the FreeRunner's phone
liberation front. Hacker culture factoid: did you know that as a software
project X is older and about as large as the kernel with a penguin on it, but
has an order of magnitude less contributors to it ?
Wolfgang from Openmoko wrote: If someone wants to seriously develop for the
glamo, please get in touch with me and we will find a legally correct way to
extend the smedia documentation to you. In fact we have done that in a few
cases before already, but I'm not sure how much actual codes have come out of
that. I think very little ;-) So we need some really serious coders that
don't mind a tough challenge.
Following that call, several community members expressed interest, and Andy
made a few suggestions. Work on 2D/3D acceleration should be coordinated with
Graeme (XorA), who is updating the X.org version in OpenEmbeded to 7.4 (it
now completely autodetects hardware on GTA02 with the Framebuffer driver).
Over the next few weeks he will be working on Xglamo to bring it into the
Xorg family of drivers (kdrive is an evolutionary deadend).
The kernel guys are working to switch from the stable to the stable-tracking
branch. The rationale is that a newer 2.6.28 kernel should improve
resume/suspend. And staying closer to upstream allows to spot problems early
and one at a time, while branching every X months implies a great effort to
jump the gap.
* NAND/ECC kernel issues are supposedly solved by this patch.
* Warnings from WLAN driver about "warn_on_slowpath" are gone.
* Page flipping support added to glamo (seem to be a framebuffer feature,
necessary for Android).
* Accelerometers are working but the driver is still under discussion.
* Glamo GPIO is still not working on resume, leading to WSOD.
At the same time, openmoko's kernels and bootloaders are gearing up to support
more devices beyond GTA01 and GTA02: GTA03 and another non-Openmoko ARM-based
freephone, the E-TEN glofiish M800.
What is coming in the future:
* Improve WLAN latency: On the same wireless network on which the Neo has
an average ping of 70+ms, with large excursions, where a laptop gets an
average of 1.7ms and a maximum of about 5-6ms.
* The replacement of the Atheros SDIO stack underneath the WLAN driver
with the Linux SDIO stack is planned but not scheduled.
* Jonas Bonn is working on Variable Clock Frequency and Power Saving.
* A /sys interface to disable the touchscreen
* Userspace breakage, especially in /sys, when the kernel jumps from
2.6.26 to 2.6.28.
And I thought that we were waiting on Sean et al. to give mechanical legs to
the Neo. I was so literally wrong ! (thread).
Werner announced a coming upgrade to the Calypso GSM chip firmware (meanwhile,
the wiki is your friend). The goal with the moko9 firmware is to fix ticket
666 and introduce a new command AT+CSIM. Than means 3G SIM cards should work.
There will be a self-contained update image that can be copied to a uSD card,
then booted from there leading to a simple GUI to kick off the upgrade.
Release date given: 'soon'. Fixing registration bouncing is not scheduled for
The GSM-noise buzz issue is a serious defect that make some phones practically
unusable. Electrical engineering is black magick to me, but I get that Joerg
and other OM hardware engineers have traced which circuit were interfering,
and are experimenting hardware fixes. It is unclear how this applies to the
A7 hardware revision which seems due soon. Problems with the poor
low-frequency audio response with low-impedance headphones are still with us.
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