Free phone: smart or not?

Norayr Chilingarian norayr at
Mon Mar 16 20:24:12 UTC 2015


I don't talk on phone. I just don't talk. I chat. I email.
That's why I don't need a dumbphone. I need a device with a full operating 
system so I can compile my preferred applications for it. If I need a gsm 
then I need it to get an Internet connection. Then I can use ssl/tor for 
chatting, browsing, whatever.

On Mon, 16 Mar 2015, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:

> guru at wrote:
>> I'm using since 2008 the FR as my one and only cellphone. This is not
>> lying, it is just a fact. And I do not know any other person from this
>> list who is doing so.
> Nick <openmoko-community at> followed:
>> I am too. The only thing that makes me tempted to switch phones is=20
>> redphone or chatsecure, basically. The GTA02 sucks, in some ways,=20
>> but I have no plans to buy a less free phone than it, so I'll stay=20
>> where I am for now.
> I am very glad to see a couple of people using their Freerunners and
> not switching to anything less free.  But I just can't help but wonder:
> are you using your FR because it's free or because it's a smartphone?
> In other words, if there were a phone just as free as the FR, i.e.,
> full source code for everything (including the GSM radio interface)
> without any binary blobs, full hardware schematics, free bootloader
> w/o any locks etc, but a dumbphone instead of a smartphone - a small,
> non-touch-sensitive LCD, a traditional numeric button pad for dialing
> and T9 texting, a processor with just enough horsepower to make/receive
> calls and send/receive SMS and not one iota more, and an OS-less
> firmware architecture optimized specifically for those functions -
> would you wish to use such a phone?
> What I find almost tragic about the history of this community is that
> someone effectively "jumped the gun" on evolution: produced a free
> smartphone (Openmoko) without producing a free dumbphone first.  Some
> of us are life-long dumbphone users, but are very unhappy about the
> fact that all existing dumbphones are 100% closed and proprietary,
> with no ability for an end user to fix functional bugs herself or to
> make her own changes to the user interface code in the firmware.
> I currently use my Freerunner as a development platform and nothing
> more: I use its modem block as a BUV (bring-up vehicle) to run my
> experimental FreeCalypso firmware before porting the latter to
> dumbphone hardware targets.  But I don't use it as my personal phone
> with an end user hat on.  I don't do the latter because I have too
> much intrinsic personal revulsion against the idea of using an entire
> second processor running a full-blown GNU/Linux OS just to make a
> phone call - when I know full well that this functionality has been
> very successfully implemented on a tiny ARM7TDMI processor @ 52 MHz
> with a total of 4 MiB of flash, 256 KiB of fast SRAM and 512 KiB of
> slow SRAM (specific numbers from Mot C139) running a real-time
> firmware environment without any full-blown OS.
> So I wonder how other Freerunner users feel about this issue: do you
> actually *like* the fact that it is a smartphone, or would you rather
> use a dumbphone, but are using the FR and tolerating its smart aspects
> because no free dumbphone currently exists?
> VLR,
> SF
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