testing the free calypso software

Michael Spacefalcon msokolov at ivan.Harhan.ORG
Mon Jan 27 19:26:19 CET 2014

Giacomo 'giotti' Mariani <giacomomariani at yahoo.it> wrote:

> Hi David, Michael, all,
> thanks a lot for your work, it is very emotional to see this
> "little" piece of freedom rising!

You're welcome. :-)

> I'm still not brave enough to risk my only (I mean in all my life time
> so far) mobile phone, but I will soon ;-)

There is nothing at risk really - if the leo2moko firmware doesn't
work for you for some reason, you can always revert to moko11, using
either our flashing tools or the "official" moko11 flasher.

Even in the case of the FFS with the RF calibration values etc, there
is absolutely no danger of corrupting this FFS if you issue loadtool
commands exactly per the instructions.  Saving a backup copy of the
FFS sectors is a precaution just in case you erase or write to the
wrong part of the flash.  If you have this backup saved, you can
always restore it.

In the absolute worst case scenario imaginable, if someone does lose
their RF calibration values and has no backup copy anywhere, you
should be able to send your FR to some lab to get it recalibrated.  I
don't offer such service currently because I haven't acquired the
necessary RF test equipment and process knowledge yet, but when I
start building my own Calypso phones, I will obviously need to get
them calibrated, and once we have the knowledge and the setup to do
it, Harhan Engineering Co. will also offer recalibration services to
Freerunner users.

> By the way, I think that your work, with the right notes about being
> experimental and so on of course, should also be in the official wiki.

As much as I would love to see it happen, I doubt that the powers
controlling that wiki will ever allow it.

> A small question about the procedure you describe: is the t191 cable
> only needed to backup the "vital parts of the calypso memory" or also to
> write the new firmware?

Both if you use the uSD system which David just released; neither if
you get FreeCalypso loadtools running on the Linux processor of your
FR like Norayr did.

Oh, and just to be clear as to exactly what the "vital parts of the
calypso memory" in question are: the only entity that lives in the GSM
modem's flash memory besides the firmware image (which is exactly the
same in a device as it is on the web at the official download URL) is
the flash file system, or FFS.  The FFS in Openmoko's modems takes up
exactly 448 KiB of flash space (64 KiB x 7); per TI's design it is
structured like a UNIX file system (directory tree, forward-slash-
separated pathnames, case-sensitive etc) and stores a bunch of things:

* The modem's IMEI;
* RF calibration values;
* ID strings which say that your device is a "Neo1973 GTA02" made by
  "FIC/OpenMoko" - Om's late firmwares (moko10/11) appear to not use
  these strings from FFS (fw returns hard-coded strings instead), but
  my leo2moko fw returns the strings from FFS following TI's canon;

* Some dynamic data written into the FFS (the fw always "mounts" the
  FFS with R/W access, TI's fw has no concept of a "read-only mount"
  for the FFS) during the operational lifetime of the modem: history
  of what SIM cards this modem saw, dialed/received/missed calls, and
  probably received SMS as well - I have yet to play with the latter.

Just this weekend I wrote a new utility for examining FFS images read
out of TI-based GSM devices (our beloved FR being one of them); this
new tiffs utility (with mokoffs and pirffs wrappers) supercedes my
earlier mpffs-* tools I wrote and released last summer.  The new
utility allows one to list and extract not only the "current" file
content of the FFS (i.e., what one sees when "mounting" the file
system normally), but also those files which have been logically
deleted or overwritten, but not yet reclaimed, i.e., not truly gone.
Hence the tool can be used to do forensics on Freerunner modems - I
suspect many of you probably never thought about the modem's flash
memory remembering the history of what SIM cards you had in there,
what numbers you called or received calls from, and probably your SMS
exchanges too...

The just-described utility currently lives in the freecalypso-sw tree
on Bitbucket:


Look in the ffstools directory.  Now I need to write some more
documentation and make a release tarball for the FTP site.  Stay
tuned; I'll post here when I make that release.

> By the way, yes, a distro able to flash and back-up everything without
> additional cables would be very appreciated.

Of course...  Shortage of qualified volunteer manpower is our only


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