Can The Proprietary GPS Daemon Be Removed?

Richard Franks spontificus at
Sun Dec 3 20:16:52 CET 2006

I'm happy to support open source development where appropriate. I
think in this case though, reverse engineering a proprietary driver
for something as single-purpose as a GPS chip is overly aggressive.

And to what end? If it is without the cooperation of Global Locate,
then surely they can switch off AGPS access if they choose? Even with
their blessing, how long would we expect it to take to improve upon
the efforts of their expert full-time development and QA staff who
surely take into account balancing not only individual unit
performance but that of the overall network?

What if we used the open-source replacement and accidentally crashed
their servers in the process? What if someone else crashes their
servers on purpose? Opening up the GSM stack holds similar concerns --
what's the point of having a 100% open (all device drivers and all)
phone, if you can't use it because the commercial carrier has decided
that they are tired of a few people abusing their servers?

Supporting open source initiatives does not mean that one has to
methodologically seek to remove or replace all instances of closed

Open Source is Good, not a God - we have the freedom to choose when it
works best for us, and to permit ourselves a pragmatic flexibility
when it doesn't.

The AGPS driver will have code or algorithms which, for whatever
reason, Global Locate wish not to publish. That is their choice, and
as long as they supply a great product which I derive benefit from, by
choosing their product I am explicitly agreeing to their terms.

Dave Crossland <dave at> wrote:
"I'm essentially asking if its theoretically possible that this phone
might be FSF endorsed - non-free firmware is fine by the FSF as long
as it is burned onto a ROM and can never present an ethical problem."

So... if the APGS driver was burned onto ROM, and not present as a
closed-source binary driver which can be updated and improved.. the
FSF would be happy to endorse a phone which supplied no
upgrade/bug-fix options to the end-user? Assuming that is the FSF's
position, and it does seem to this end-user to be following idealism
to a rather religious extent, then fine - everyone has a choice - this
individual end-user could care less.

"However, straight up, while the proprietary GPS daemon is included by
default, or in fact recommended/mentioned by OpenMoko, its not going
to be endorsed by the FSF:"

What good is freedom of software, if it comes at the cost of freedom of choice?

So any product with a FSF Endorsement is therefore unable to even
mention an alternative closed-source replacement which may provide me
with better functionality?

I have to say, as far as PR in the market-place of ideas goes, it
would make me think twice about picking up a phone with a FSF
endorsement, as my first thought would be.. how hard do I have to hunt
if I want to use this phone to its full potential?

Anyway, back to the fun stuff :-)

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