Re-registering to GSM network

Joel Newkirk freerunner at
Thu Oct 16 17:41:22 CEST 2008

On Tue, 14 Oct 2008 22:35:43 -0400, Joel Newkirk <freerunner at>
> On Tue, 14 Oct 2008 10:34:17 -0700, Michael Shiloh <michael at>
> wrote:
>> Marco Trevisan (Treviño) wrote:
>>> Leonti Bielski wrote:
>>>> As I get it it is unfortunately impossible to upgrade the firmware at
>>>> home because of NDA - only Openmoko Inc. employee can do that.
>>>> I hope (but doubt it ) it will will be available to the public someday
>>>> in the future.
>>> Why? Isn't it a binary blob?
>>> I can't understand why they can't release the firmware binary...
>> Two issues:
>> 1. If we allow you to update the firmware, then our own standard of 
>> openness requires that we give you the source. Due to NDA with chip 
>> manufacturer, and probably FCC regulations as well, we're not allowed to
>> give you the source, so therefore we chose not to allow you to update 
>> the firmware.
>> 2. The NDA with the chip manufacturer does not allow us to distribute 
>> the update utility.
>> Michael
> I'm very curious if that restriction extends to Openmoko performing the
> update via remote connection to the user's host computer or Freerunner...

> ;)  Something along the lines of a 'firmware update installer' that we
> locally, which tunnels to OM and triggers a firmware update run by &
> managed by OM, but executing on the local host system or directly on the
> Freerunner.  I'd have no objection to setting up remote login to my FR if
> that were needed for such an unusual circumstance as updating GSM
> firmware.
>  (If it could be fully automated at your end so much the better, but even
> requiring manual action at your end it would probably be faster and
> cheaper
> for you, and certainly for us, than shipping every Freerunner suffering
> this issue back to OM for the update, always assuming that turns out to
> the needed resolution of course...)
> I'm wondering if the restriction is more to protect the firmware itself
> the utility that performs the update.
> j

I'm starting to think of this as BUG#1.  I tested the other evening, and
with nominal full-strength GSM signal, 45% of my inbound calls (9 of 20)
never reached the phone because it was re-registering.  And I'm damned sure
NOT happy with the prospect of another 2-week+ RMA cycle to get the
firmware bug addressed.  (worse I expect for other who bought from a
distributor instead of direct - I assume you have to RMA through the
distributor, who would then need to ship back to OM for firmware update,
then back to distrib, then back to customer??  How long, 4 weeks??)

Are any other options being explored?

(Can unpaid interns at Openmoko perform the operation under the terms of
the NDA?  If so, how many offsite interns can you get away with having? ;)


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