Community update

Minh Ha Duong haduong at
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

[edit] Distributions

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 
released now:

   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 
modifying /root/.xsession.
   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 
on FreeNode.

FDOM is considering wether to move to OpenEmbeded, as this would solve the 
source redistribution issue nicely.

On November 12th, 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.
[edit] Applications

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:

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 . This directory already has 
45 entries, please register and go populate it.
[edit] 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 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).
[edit] Kernel

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. 

[edit] Hardware

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 
this update.

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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