Community newsletter

Minh Ha Duong haduong at
Mon Dec 29 12:00:41 CET 2008

Hi everybody,

  This is Openmoko community community newsletter #8, year's end issue. This 
couple of weeks were packed with lots of action. Openmoko released the 
2008.12 distribution upgrade and Koolu released its first Android beta. Both 
these were very expected and, actually contained no surprise at all, since 
the developpement process is completely open. Administration for was transferred to knowledgeable community member  
Armin Ranjbar (nickname: zoup), and got a complete overhaul.


    * 1 Distributions
    * 2 New applications
    * 3 Applications updates
    * 4 Community
    * 5 Hardware
    * 6 Tips and tricks

This is retrieved from
which has all the good links in


    * Om 2008.12 Update is out ! This is the fastest, latest and probably last 
of the ASU familly line of distributions. Officially upgrades 2008.9, 
optimized with faster boot, volume control during phonecall, and much more. 
Read the announcement, then go to the download dir.
    * Android. Koolu announced their first beta release. Based on Sean's 
image, Wendy from Openmoko produced test reports (PDF) concluding that 
Android Image On Freerunner really looks good, but [...] not ready to be a 
daily phone yet. Interesting applications waiting to be fixed to work on 
Freerunner include bluetooth, wifi, GPS, browser...
    * hackable:1 announced (documentation). Led by Marcus Bauer of TangoGPS 
fame, this project aims to implement the GNOME Mobile stack on top of Debian 
on FreeRunner. Its installation is specially simple: download the tarball, 
unpack the files on a 2 GB SD card, put the card in the FreeRunner.
    * Telefoninux 0.01 is out. First alpha release for this Debian-optimized 
    * Bytestore points out an augmented 2008.12 image with russian keyboard, 
GPRS and other goodies. 

New applications

    * Carlo released OpenVibe, the first opensource vibrator :) Pander also 
offers an open source MIDlet in a JAR to control the vibrator function. We 
are still waiting for test reports tought.
    * Yann released meooem 0.0.1, a realtime weather notifier opkg page. Setup 
the displayed city in /etc/meooem.conf.
    * Ilja pushed out version 0.1.0 of om-manager, a python Freerunner 
manager: flash, backup, get logs, manage packages, VNC (if x11vnc is 
installed on the phone).
    * Valéry released Neon, a simple Python/EFL image viewer, designed to be 
lightweight, fast, and easy to use.
    * Nathan shared his GPRS launcher script and the ipk for Gtkdialog it 
uses. The script can be used to start the connection, stop the connection, or 
to simply find out the current GPRS status.
    * Openmoko's next generation telephony, messaging and addressbook 
application paroli was merged with tichy, the application starter. So opkg 
install tichy, setup according to Mirko's email, and enjoy.
    * Angus offers a "where are you now" daemon that can SMS back its location 
upon request.
    * Chris submits for testing the prototype for a fullscreen keyboard.
    * A dutch keyboard for illume.
    * Daniel MT released Bright Player 0.1, a lightweight, quick and easy 
random music player for OM2008.X based distributions.
    * Last but not least, Josh shares an IMAP Mail reader and a collection of 
scripts to manage launching applications, control wifi, power, screen etc. 
Initially developped on 2007.2, most ported to Debian. 

Applications updates

    * OpenMoocow 0.3 released. Changes include: better graphics from by "bsantos", more responsive, kernel 2.6.28 new sysfs paths 
ready, thinkpad HDAPS merged in.
    * ZOMG!, an opkg frontend, updated. Faster, cacao and jamvm compatible 
(jamvm still recommended).
    * navit, a drivers' GPS navigation system (trac) is being optimized for 
the FreeRunner by Christian Anke and others.
    * Damian A. Spriggs started working on a MAME port. The Multimedia Arcade 
Machine Emulator is a must for all retro-gamers out there. I can't wait to 
play P*c-M*n and G*l*xi*n again on my subway commute !
    * Angus updated to use the FSO framework. It should 
automatically detect scenario changes and update the mixers now. Put into /usr bin and chmod +x it. volume_fso.desktop goes 
into /usr/share/applications.
    * The Zedlock screen locker rewritten and re-released as 0.1 functional 
    * siglaunchd, a daemon which listens to dbus signals and runs applications 
accordingly, got regular expressions (string patterns) matching, and was 
ported to C. For example, one can set the aux button to launch the dialer and 
the other can set a sound when screen is dimmed with as little as no effort.
    * Homezoneapplet 0.2. An applet and daemon to display the O2 (german 
mobile provider) Homezone icon. Now works on FSO and SHR.
    * omnewrotate 0.5.3. Updated for 2008.12 compatibility. 


    * Recognizing that they have never been able to get the projects gforge 
running well, Openmoko decided to throw the towel and terminate the project. 
Sean said: "If somebody wants to step up and own this responsibility -- you 
bet -- we'll pay the bill." Luckily Armin Ranjbar (a.k.a. zoup from FDOM), 
stepped forward (among others) to lead the newly formed, community-led gforge 
administration team on the Openmoko server. He is creating an admin mailing 
list were interested people can join him (link here).
    * relaunched ! New look, same API. Now if Openmoko wants to 
terminate useless projects, how about the "community repository" ? Is there 
any community project to feed opkg from the gforge ?
    * The documentation team discussed on how to write the missing Neo's 
reference handbook.
    * OpenJDK integration into Jalimo was finished, including packaging. 
Cacao+OpenJDK runs on the FreeRunner. A step towards better Java support in 
all OpenEmbedded devices. 


    * The technical feasibility of fixing the "buzz" at a reasonable price was 
confirmed by several hardware repair shops. Steve is still working on the 
program to bring that "big capacitor" rework to users worldwide. The 
technical draft is still being worked on: how to open the case, how to test, 
possibility of using alternative capacitor types (although these will be 
provided for free by OM), possibility of applying other A6 -> A7 hardware 
upgrades like the GPS/uSD fix at the same time... Do not expect resolution 
before CES (jan 8-11). Meanwhile, DIYers will be supported.
    * The level of lust for 3G on GTA03 reached astounding highs on the 
community mailing list. For a reality check before dreaming further, read 
Carsten explanations on the costs of a 3G module. For insights about 
schedules, read Steve's explanations on production in real life. 

Tips and tricks

    * No audio on 2008.9 after suspend/resume ? If you installed navit, it 
pulled speech-dispacher as a dependency. Try killing and uninstalling 
speech-dispatcher. See ticket 1599.
    * Terminal-based applications slow to startup on FDOM ? Try opkg remove 
termcap, processing /etc/termcap each time takes like 10 seconds.
    * Media player so sloooow it's unusable ? Try running it with a -15 nice 
priority value (For users of pythm+mplayer, set it up in /etc/pythm.conf).
    * A cooler theme in 2008.12 ? Try replacing "asu" 
with "illume" /etc/enlightenment/default_profile.
    * Enlightenment eating 20% CPU ? Disable drop shadows by 
deleting /usr/lib/enlightenment/modules/dropshadow.
    * Enlightenment crashing with the illume theme in 2008.12 ? Try disabling 
drop shadows. Otherwise, change the "Engine" in the enlightenment config from 
SOFTWARE_16 to SOFTWARE (to access the config, disable qtopia 
under /etc/X11/Xsession.d first, restart X, do the config, then move qtopia 


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