November 2009

Donating my HTC Touch Pro (raph100)

I bought the HTC Touch Pro some months ago in order to port the freesmartphone.org middleware to it and help to raise an end-user distro. While things began very optimistic (i.e. the modem support was completed after just a few weeks), it came to a relative halt pretty soonish afterwards — because of missing kernel support. Google releasing the kernel source code for the HTC Dream has enabled the HTClinux folks to quickly come up with some very impressive results, but due to the heavy differences in the baseband firmware it did not spare them from carrying out an amazing pile of reverse engineeering — just like every other anti-vendor-port.

While these guys truly have done great work, I personally think it’s not going anywhere soon — at least not to a point where we have an open GNU/Linux on competitive hardware fully supporting all peripherals of the device. Showstoppers are always Bluetooth, Wifi, Sound, Suspend/Resume, and all the other things where Google didn’t care about standard mainline interfaces, but rather decided to put the meat into userland — stowed away behind a „safe“ closed source license.

Anyways, this hope/dream/experiment has ended, hence I’m offering to donate my HTC Touch Pro (raph100) to one of the HTClinux kernel hackers as a last act of supporting this anti-vendor-port. If you think you are qualified, drop me a mail. Meanwhile, I’ll continue supporting the Openmoko devices and concentrate on the Palm Pre.

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Towards the end of 2009

I just came back from the annual OpenEmbedded Developer Meeting (OEDEM) which happened to be in Cambridge, UK. It was a very productive meeting and we agreed on some important things to move OpenEmbedded forward as a whole. Please see the mailing lists for meeting minutes and summaries. We also elected a new board for the e.V. and despite the grief that led to me leaving the OE core team (which subsequently lead to the dissolving of it), I have volunteered (and been reelected) to serve a 2nd year as board member.

As written in a previous installment of this column, I have dedicated the lion’s share of 2009 to the reimplementation of the freesmartphone.org APIs in Vala. Please see the wiki for architectural details, as I don’t want to repeat this here. This is an overview of the current status:

fsousaged

fsousaged has been fully completed and is being used for quite a while now in distributions. All of the plugins are working:

  • dbus_service: Implementation of resource handling as per org.freesmartphone.Usage.
  • lowlevel_kernel26: Low level suspend/resume handling for Linux 2.6.
  • lowlevel_openmoko: Low level suspend/resume handling for Openmoko Smartphones GTA01/GTA02.

fsodeviced

fsodeviced has been fully completed, but is not yet being used in any distributions. All of the plugins are working:

  • accelerometer: generic accelerometer handling, needs one of the device-specific accelerometer plugins.
  • accelerometer_lis302: lis 302 accelerometer support.
  • alsa_audio: alsa audio PCM output and routing (scenario) support.
  • kernel_idle: system idle notifications.
  • kernel_input: system input handling.
  • kernel_info: kernel information.
  • kernel26_display: display class-device based brightness control.
  • kernel26_rtc: realtime clock, wakeup alarm.
  • kernel26_leds: LED class-device based brightness control.
  • kernel26_powersupply: peripheral power supply control.
  • openmoko_powercontrol: device-specific power supply controls for Openmoko devices.
  • thinkpad_powercontrol: device-specific power supply controls for IBM Thinkpad devices.

fsotimed

fsotimed is about half-way complete compared to frameworkd. The working plugin is:

  • alarm: DBus alarm service as per org.freesmartphone.Time.Alarm.

fsonetworkd

fsonetwork is done with the same level of functionality as in frameworkd. The working plugin is:

  • sharing: internet connection sharing.

fsogsmd

fsogsmd has been on hold since end of April due to waiting for more Vala language features. When they finally appeared in September, I picked up where I left and furiosly worked on what i perceive as the prime subsystem of FSO 🙂

The basic infrastructure is more or less complete now and we cover about 50% of the DBus API as per org.freesmartphone.GSM.*, i.e. device info, sim access, network registration, sms, and call handling is working. All work has been done in a generic way, i.e. without taking any care of modem specifics yet — which is what will be my next task before I go on covering the missing API.

fsogpsd

I have added a skeleton of that to the repository and adapted some lower-level classes in libfsotransport to work both for fsogsmd and fsogpsd. I would have done more work, but I’m not keen on implementing the Gypsy API, since I think it’s not a particular good DBus API

fsopreferencesd / fsopimd / fsoeventsd

All these have not been started, not even been thinking much about ‚em. fsopreferencesd will probably have to wait until dconf / gvariant / gsettings have finally landed in glib. fsopimd is waiting for a redesign of the opimd API. fsoeventsd needs a new architecture, but I have to discuss this with the others before we can start cranking.

2010

will be a very interesting year for Linux on mobile devices, even more so for freesmartphone.org. Due to the lack of someone funding FSO, I will probably not find much time to work on FSO in 2010 — that’s why I’m so furiously working on getting most of it to a state where others can jump in before the end of this year.

Apart from that, I hope we can get FSOSHRCON’10 happening very early in 2010 and uplevel kernel support for some of the more interesting semi-open devices such as the Palm Pre, Nokia N900, and the HTC family. FSO would be more than happy to add device-specific support for this hardware once the kernel is up to par.

Cheers!

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