[Community] GTA04A5 / Letux 2804

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Fri Jan 17 19:56:18 CET 2014

Am 17.01.2014 um 19:13 schrieb Michael Spacefalcon:

> Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at goldelico.com> wrote:
>> Not everybody is weighting the factor of "freeable down to the modem" equally
>> when calculating the relative position of two devices to decide between
>> "upgrade" and "downgrade". You have a different weighting than me.
> If freedom is not important to you, then you might as well use an
> iPhone or the latest Android from Samsung.
> As Jim Marrs has said very eloquently in the preface to one of his
> books, being free is like being pregnant - either you are, or you
> aren't.
>> I don't know, but isn't *that* something you should fight against
>> instead of modifying
>> leaked firmware for a system that never has been locked?
> "Modifying leaked firmware" is not an accurate description of what I
> am doing.  As you should know full well, I am designing and building
> my own Free Plain Phone, and I have chosen to use the same Calypso
> chipset as used in the GTA02.  I chose this chipset because it already
> exists, because it is known to work exceptionally well, at least in
> "dumbphone" applications (I've been using one of my Pirelli phones as
> my everyday cellphone since last spring, and I have nothing but praise
> for it in terms of battery life, GSM signal strength and call quality),
> because all hardware documentation and firmware sources for this
> chipset have already been freed, and because I have already amassed a
> great deal of experience working with this chipset.
> Providing hacking support for Openmoko-made modems is simply a side-
> product of my FreeCalypso work: I have chosen to bring my firmware up
> on known-working hardware first, so that when I build my own hw and
> get to debug it, I will have the benefit of known-working firmware.
> Put another way, the free phone community (combination of FreeCalypso
> and OsmocomBB projects) has already made great progress with the
> Calypso chipset.  Switching to another vendor's chipset on a whim
> would be an enormous setback for the project and for the community,
> and it is not fair for you to ask that of us - here I am referring to
> the "you should be working on this instead of that" argument in your
> comment.
>> So your claim of "GTA02 is 100% freeable and GTA04 is not" is only based on
>> your disinterest to work on solutions?
> I am working on solutions, but the problem I have chosen to solve is
> different from yours.

Agreed. The problem the GTA04 solves is that the GTA02 has no high-speed
modem. Has a  quite old CPU with scarce RAM and NAND. Has no sensors
for games. Has no camera option and some other gimmicks.

All this was expected to be solved by the GTA03 which never appeared
on the surface.

This is what I understand as an *upgrade*.

AFAIR it was never the claim of Openmoko to have an open modem firmware.
And Openmoko did never provide that (because of contractual obligations).

And having this was not formulated as an urgent problem of the Openmoko
community and did not stop to have ~20k units produced in total.

So we are not doing anything differently. We don't claim that the modem 
firmware is free and open. But the OS. So that you have 100% control over
what the modem does since you can verify that it is turned off if you command
it to be off.

>  Some people, such as me, simply want a good
> working cellphone, a device for making and receiving phone calls on
> the go - and we want this cellphone to be free as in 100% owned and
> controlled by the user.  

Even if you have a free and open firmware, it still has components that
are not free and open. Just for example the SIM card. And the network.
And the other end of your communication.

The speech sent by your 100% free phone is still decrypted at the BTS.
And if you encrypt the whole communication path yourself, why do you care
what the modem is doing?

> If the objective is to have a plain phone,
> rather than a mobile computer, a device consisting of just one baseband
> processor, without an extra application processor, is a technically
> superior solution for the problem at hand: greater battery life, less
> unnecessary complexity, fewer points of failure.  And the existence of
> the Calypso chipset makes it possible for such a simple and efficient
> "dumbphone" to also be 100% free by virtue of the user owning and
> controlling the complete firmware.
> Then there are those people who do want their pocket-resident device
> to be a computer complete with an OS like GNU/Linux, rather than just
> a phone - but some of those people would also want that device to be
> 100% free including the telephony processor - and not just "half-free"
> aka "half-pregnant".  For this class of users, the best currently
> extant device is the GTA02, made by Openmoko - not your GTA04, and not
> my dumbphone either.

> Yes, there is the problem of these devices no longer being made - but
> instead of solving this problem by building a new device that would be
> as near-identical to the GTA02 as possible, including the Calypso
> (just like how I seek to copy the Pirelli DP-L10 as closely to verbatim
> as possible), you are making it worse by *actively destroying* the
> remaining stock of Openmoko phones!


I am talking about upgrading ~100 more GTA02 devices with a better
CPU, more RAM, more recent user space software etc. while there
have been 15k around. So I don't care about the other 14900. Those
are for you.

And as you know, we have several proposals how to DIY 3D print
cases and use replacement components. So we don't force anybody to
destroy the GTA02. It is just the easiest way for the majority who already
has a GTA02 and likes a better processor etc. (and don't care about
flashing an open source firmware replacement).

> Hence we will likely always be fighting on opposite sides.

No. If you fight for freeing the Qualcomm modem you will satisfy both
sides: Your 100% freedom and a device that can be produced as
many as you need - and has higher data rates and a better processor.

-- hns

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