Echo issue on OM2008.08 solved

Michael Zanetti michael_zanetti at
Wed Oct 8 16:26:44 CEST 2008

I see... Thank you very much for these clarifications.


On Wednesday 08 October 2008 13:52:58 Alastair Johnson wrote:
> Michael Zanetti wrote:
> > On Sunday 31 August 2008 15:50:05 Al Johnson wrote:
> >> The patch turns on the echo and noise suppression capabilities in the
> >> GSM chipset using one of the hidden and NDA's AT commands someone kindly
> >> posted on the hardware list.
> >
> > Just for my understanding: I thought that on my openmoko-phone even the
> > hardware is supposed to be free and open. How can it be than, that there
> > are "hidden commands" and NDA's?
> >
> > I read somewhere (long time ago - before the FR reached its birthday)
> > that there might be some pieces of hardware not open such as the GSM
> > chip. I guess exactly this is the case. Could someone experienced to
> > NDA's, copyright laws, GPL violations and so on please explain me how
> > exactly this is handled here?
> I'm sure someone from openmoko will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll
> have a go. The aim is to be as open as practicable, and they are more
> open than anything else I know of.
> Companies hold copyright on their documentation, and can grant or deny
> the right to copy that documentation. Ideally this would be both public
> and redistributable, but this is often not the case. They may make it
> public but not redistributable, or keep it entirely private, disclosing
> it only under some variety of nondisclosure agreement.
> NDA is a very general description, and any NDA will detail what can and
> can't be disclosed under what conditions. It is quite possible for an
> NDA to allow documentation to be used in writing GPL code. I gather from
> discussions on the list that the NDA for the Glamo would allow Openmoko
> to rewrite the documentation and release the rewrite, but not the
> original documentation. This may seem bizarre, but it allows SMedia to
> keep control of their documents, and to disclaim liability for errors in
> anything disclosed.
> GSM firmware will never be fully open unless national telecoms
> regulators decide to relax their rules. The GSM modem is in effect a
> separate device with its own firmware that we talk to through a serial
> interface. It just happens to be on the same board. The commands that
> the modem has to deal with are set out in a number of GSM standards. On
> top of this there are commands specific to this chipset/firmware, some
> of which Openmoko have documentation for under an NDA. This appears to
> let them use the commands in GPL code and to answer specific questions,
> but not to release a description of the whole command set. It seems
> there are further commands, such as those controlling AEC, that are not
> mentioned in the documents Openmoko have.
> Openmoko are walking a tightrope here. Open is a new word to chipset
> manufacturers in the telecoms arena, and some understand more than
> others. Until they can be educated there will be compromises to be made,
> and decisions may not always work out as well as they initially
> appeared. Certain features that people expect may not be possible in an
> open phone right now. This applied to wifi for GTA01 as there was no
> sufficiently low power wifi chip with an open driver. The problems with
> the binary blob for the GTA01 gps have made those clearly unacceptable,
> but 3D acceleration without a binary blob is currently unobtainable in a
> mobile with 480x640 resolution. In the meantime they're heading in the
> right direction and researching the most open options available - see
> for examples. With luck they
> will manage to convince manufacturers of the advantages of openness
> along the way.
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