Openmoko Community newsletter, October 4th to 19th

Dale Maggee antisol at
Mon Oct 20 13:27:47 CEST 2008

as others have said, thanks alot for your work with these updates Minh! 
Great stuff!

Minh Ha Duong wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> welcome to the unofficial Openmoko Community newsletter, October 4th to 19th 
> issue. The two big news are the launch of, an application directory, 
> and Openmoko engineering team focusing back to the basics on Improving user 
> experience.
> Contents
>     * 1 Images
>     * 2 Applications
>     * 3 Good fixes and discussed issues
>     * 4 Community
>     * 5 Outside Openmoko
> Images
> Things were rather quiet on the distribution front. Rasterman's October 11th 
> images (source) were put online. This is not really a distribution, but 
> rather a demonstration that illume runs well and is so beautiful, for others 
> distros to grab. We also saw daily SHR image builds online, no release yet 
> but available for testing. And Qi, the next bootloader, recently got resume 
> support.Testing shows that it is much faster than uboot indeed, but no 
> release yet either.
> Applications
> Everybody applauded when Tobias announced , an online 
> directory of applications (think Freshmeat, Tucows...). The database is 
> community-driven, everybody can register and index applications. In the flow 
> of community developped utilities, I noticed:
>     * the initial release of OpenMooCow, a nice, funny and useless bovine 
> noise simulator.
>     * Optimizations on Rotate. This is an interesting example of competition 
> and cooperation (community development, if you prefer), because there are 
> many versions being developed in parallel, with ideas jumping across all the 
> time.
>     * The Gestures GSoC project developper managed to convince his academic 
> instructors to let him code on the FreeRunner for his degree. Future 
> developments coming at
>     * Auxlaunch is a very simple, finger-friendly application launcher and 
> window switcher for the Freerunner. It appears when the "AUX" button is 
> pressed. 
> With respect to porting other applications to our favorite platform, I read 
> that Intel's made powertop actually runs on the FreeRunner. This is an very 
> handy utility that allows to measure and therefore optimize power usage. 
> Also:
>     * FBReader an e-book reader programme now available for Debian and 2008.8
>     * Sander ported Pingus the free lemmings clone, for OE based distributions 
> (it was already available on Debian).
>     * In addition to minimo, openmoko-browser2, and midori, we saw a bunch of 
> light and fast web browsers announced on the mailing list: Fennec), Dillo 
> (ipk), NetSurf and links2. That makes about seven, working more or less well. 
> Choice, choice, choice...
>     * The same is happening for music players: pythm, openmoko-mediaplayer2, 
> qtopia media player, deforaOS-player, qmmp, sonata, quasar. Thomas's K. also 
> started a mediaplayer. So far I think that your best friend is mplayer from 
> the command line interface (and on 2008.8, I think that mplayer is directly 
> connected to OSS, so installing OSS compatibility packages probably help. And 
> removing pulseaudio also saves tons of CPU cycles) 
> Good fixes and discussed issues
> Many good news:
>     * There is a fix for ticket 2038 about Qtopia USSD requests, so that 
> dialing "*123" or "#4" should work soon.
>     * There is a fix for ticket 1024, the GSM keeps reregistering bug, a.k.a. 
> bouncing Calypso issue. The workaround is to prevent the modem from entering 
> deep sleep, and it has been commited to the QTopia images already.
>     * Powersaving patches landed in stable-2.6.26 on October 8th. Note to 
> application developpers: the best way to blank the screen to conserve power 
> is the fbdev-ioctl method. I think that xset s 5 should do it. Thanks to the 
> Harald and the Swisscom research project !
>     * OM announced two hires: Ray Chao, to work full-time in Taipei on the 
> infrastructure, and Christopher Hall, a very experienced software engineer.
>     * Infrastructure-wise, unstable development of OM is moving back to OE. 
> Too many bugs remain, see Test reports for example. Most of the grief heard 
> these days was about Digital Audio Playing and Wifi. I would like to make an 
> unrequested announcement for the sake of the good vertical communication: 
> Kernels currently has the APM power management interface is still compiled 
> in. This has been deprecated for years and is doomed to go away. Hopefully 
> apm -s will still work for suspend, but userspace applications that still use 
> the deprecated apm interface SHOULD take action, preferably sooner than 
> later.
> Community
>     * Openmoko's engineers reunited for a 3 weeks workshop in Taipei. They 
> decided to focus back on the basics, that is to leave the Installer, 
> Locations, Diversity and Settings applications alone for a while. This 
> decision was very positively received by everybody. John Lee is assembling 
> the engineering task force at OpenMoko for that. He started by initiating a 
> thread to hear about what the community expects most urgently. As a result, 
> his priorities are posted in the Improving user experience wiki page.
>     * Compared to last month, the planet has really taken off. Several 
> prolific authors are now regularly posting long, detailed analysis.
>     * Risto wrote a wrap-up of the "Lost community" thread. Gratuitous praise 
> to him: when someone makes a request on the mailing list, it is indeed a mark 
> of good netizenship to summarize the answers on one's blog/wiki like he did. 
> These discussions led to more discussions about what would be the job 
> description of a community manager and decisions on lowering barriers to 
> participation (i.e. access to write priviledges in code repositories) 
> happened.
>     * I did not see much innovations about cool hardware mods (feel free to 
> add to this wiki page !), but an interesting stylus alternative was 
> documented. It uses a guitar pick attached to the pouch lanyard.
>     * More user groups meetings everywhere in the world. 
> Outside Openmoko
>     * Linux 2.6.27 released.
>     * Pulseaudio released version 0.9.13 with experimental support for 
> Bluetooth devices. 
> Friendly yours,
> Minh
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