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HTC Finally Releases Hero Source Code 123

Posted by timothy
from the shouldn't-heroes-be-more-forthcoming? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After months of prodding by developers, HTC has finally released the long-requested Android source code for the HTC Hero. This follows up on a recent report on Slashdot concerning device manufacturer HTC's perceived stonewalling over releasing source code for the device after repeated attempts to initially obtain source were met with vague responses."
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HTC Finally Releases Hero Source Code

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  • by sopssa (1498795) *

    It's great HTC started releasing Android phones too, their Windows Mobile phones have been really nice (with their own tweaks and UI redesign to make it more useful)

    Anyone know what kind of custom stuff they're build for Android?

    • Re:HTC (Score:5, Informative)

      by AnEducatedNegro (1372687) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:27PM (#29841469)

      Anyone know what kind of custom stuff they're build for Android?

      Sense UI and a few applications. Nothing spectacular, android steals all the glory. In fact, don't waste your time on the HTC Hero.. wait another week and get the Samsung Moment. Faster proc, onscreen keyboard and physical keyboard, better battery life.

      I love my HTC Hero but boy is it slow at times. And I'm not just talking about waiting for an app to load, there are times when the entire device just decides to freeze up for 2-3 seconds while queuing input.

      aEN

      • Re:HTC (Score:5, Informative)

        by delire (809063) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:44PM (#29841601)
        Sounds like you need to upgrade the firmware [gizmodo.com]..

        People are reporting huge speedups after doing so.
        • yea except sprint phones already ship with the upgraded firmware.

          aEN
          • by jonnythan (79727)

            No, they don't. Sprint phones ship with 1.5 (Cupcake). We are waiting for 1.6 (Donut) to be released for the device.

            • Well the Spring Hero has Cupcake with additional drivers to enable CDMA, I expect things to become somewhat faster with the 1.6 update (which no one using a hero has currently), but the performance fixes are already in.
              If you want more performance then you probably either have to wait for the 1.6 update or you have to use a custom kernel and probably enable swap (which should give the biggest boost)
              Also have in mind you have to terminate background applications from time to time and remove some of the widge

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by eihab (823648)

        I love my HTC Hero but boy is it slow at times. And I'm not just talking about waiting for an app to load, there are times when the entire device just decides to freeze up for 2-3 seconds while queuing input.

        Give it a second, It's going to space! [youtube.com] [1:30]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        wait another week and get the Samsung Moment.

        Damn my impatience! I waited a moment and ended up with the Samsung Week.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by atamido (1020905)

        I love my HTC Hero but boy is it slow at times. And I'm not just talking about waiting for an app to load, there are times when the entire device just decides to freeze up for 2-3 seconds while queuing input.

        Sounds like my iPhone 3G. From the initial 2 firmware to the current 3, there are constant multi-second pauses. Heck, just unlocking it can sometimes take close to 10 seconds. And yes, I've had my phone replaced so I know it's not the hardware. And I reboot it regularly. It's a great device, but a mediocre phone.

      • Agreed. I got all the way through the ordering the Hero when I noticed an advertisement for the Samsung Moment pre-order on Sprint. The Moment has a real keyboard, faster processor, but only a 3.2MP camera instead of the Hero's 5.0MP camera. Personally I don't care about the camera and the fact that they're going to be the same price really put the nail in the coffin on the Hero for me.

        Then again, supposedly I can use my old SERO plan on the Hero but not on the Moment. That would be a reverse-deal-br
        • ok two things.

          1) the 3.2MP camera has a flash, the hero lacks it and you end up with a lot of blurry useless pics. i will never buy a phone without a flash again. and yes i take pictures with my phone, they take perfect for-facebook pics

          2) you can use your old sero plan, as long as you have unlimited internet otherwise you'll have high bills and the customer reps will laugh at you. however you should not buy your phones in the store, they are trained to make sure you have everything plans. this is wh
        • by Ash Vince (602485)

          Personally I do not care about a keyboard anymore, I just want a phone that fits in my jeans pocket comfortably when I am down the pub. I used to own a Kaiser and it seems the Moment is about the same size. I found on my Kaiser that I never actually got round to opening the keyboard and just used the on screen windows mobile keyboard. If I can make do with that for 2 years even though I have perfectly good keyboard a second away then a Hero is fine.

          This for me is the nicest thing about the Hero: Although it

          • by LurkerXXX (667952)

            The size factor is why I love my Pre. Still linux, but it's just a nicer form factor for keeping in your pocket.

      • don't waste your time on the HTC Hero.. wait another week

        Or better yet, wait a few more weeks and get an Andoird 1.6 phone, with a WVGA (800x480) display.

        I'm fed up with all smartphones using 480x320, that's one area where the iphone did hurt the market: it set a low standard for display resolution. Japanese manufacturers (Sharp etc.) have been releasing phones with FWVGA (854 x 480) displays for a few years now, I really don't understand why the western market has been lagging behind all this time.

        • by darthflo (1095225)

          SE Xperia X1, HTC Touch HD, Touch Pro 2 and (iirc) the Touch Diamond 2 have WVGA (480x800 px) displays and are out since quite some time; they were preceded by several VGA (480x640) smartphones. All Windows Mobile, though.

          Motorola's releasing the Droid/Sholes/Tao soon - 480x852 px with Android 1.6 (or 2.0, not sure). Also planned for soonish release are several devices with 360x640 px displays (SE X3, Samsung Moment et al.).

          480x320 is an iPhone phenomenon. Devices with superior displays have been out there

      • Well before rushing out buying the Samsung wait for the first user reports, the first android Samsung got raving reviews by websites but was flamed to death after a few weeks in the android forums and many reverted back to HTC selling the Samsung phone, the reasons simply were bugs in the drivers (Samsung uses slightly different hardware than htc) and hardware glitches which manifested itself over a few weeks of usage (Stuck buttons, no multitouch, lost calls etc...).
        Also if you already have an Android phon

      • by darthflo (1095225)

        wait another week and get the Samsung Moment.

        Have you already had the chance to test it out? I'm considering replacing my X1 (WinMobile) with something running Android, but couldn't find anything that's superior in all areas. (The Moment looks rather large for it's display size and doesn't have the 480x800 resolution; the X3 lacks the slide-out qwerty keyboard and is somewhat resolution-impaired, the Motorola Droid (might just get that) doesn't look as sleek as the X1 and has a grid-styled qwerty instead of

    • If you promise not to tell anyone, I'll let you in on this secret source of information [google.com].
  • Not so bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:32PM (#29841525) Homepage

    I'm assuming good faith, but personally, I'm not concerned that it took so long to release the source code. Most likely, the developers were under a deadline to have the phone in working order, and had to postpone lower-priority tasks to meet that deadline. These lower-priority tasks were probably such trivial things as comments, changed names, formatting, and all those other bits that get neglected under heavy pressure.

    • Re:Not so bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mevets (322601) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:44PM (#29841597)

      I've been in situations that appear like this in companies before. Usually it is stage fright, the developers know they took outrageous short cuts to meet schedules, and don't want to publish it until SP1, when they have had time to remove the hacks and crap. These are the good guys. One company I worked for thought that the source was harder to understand than the (disassembled) binary; they had a point.

      Sometimes I wonder how much of a role of embarrassment plays in the decision to keep the source code private. Happy Launch Day Windows 7!

      • by jonwil (467024)

        The GPL requires the release of the source as used to build the binaries. If the source code has been modified (no matter what has been done to it), its a GPL violation.

        • by selven (1556643)

          The GPL requires the release of "the preferred form for making modifications" to a work. So if you have some code that you work on and you use an obfuscator on it then compile that you have to release the original code, not the obfuscated stuff.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)
          Thanks for saying that, it saves me pointing it out. The "tidying up" argument is total, utter bullshit. You must release or make available the code used to make the binary. It's not optional, and releasing some similar, sanitised code at a later date is not sufficient. If you're not ready to release the source, you're not ready to distribute the binary.
      • by feitingen (889125)

        Sometimes I wonder how much of a role of embarrassment plays in the decision to keep the source code private.

        This is usually the biggest concern for me when i develop something, if its something i am proud of and can release freely, then it's gonna be GPLed, if i am embarrased of it, i'm not going to release it, unless people email me about it and promise to not mention me.

    • Re:Not so bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iYk6 (1425255) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:54PM (#29841681)

      I'm assuming good faith, but personally, I'm not concerned that it took so long to release the source code. Most likely, the developers ... had to postpone lower-priority tasks to meet that deadline.

      You think that meeting legal requirements is a low priority task? And that pirating free software goes with good faith?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sometimes to coders, legal requirements is a lower task than creating a quality product.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:20PM (#29842577)

        You think that meeting legal requirements is a low priority task?

        That depends on who might sue you. Certainly to technical people it would generally be a low priority, and even to business managers anxious to get something out in the market and revenue going. The company lawyers don't win every battle you know.

        And that pirating free software goes with good faith?

        It's not pirating if the intent is to comply. Just like it's not really pirating if you truly download media with intent to review.

        In other words, cut people some slack - generally they mean well, and in this case specifically they obviously meant well since they complied fully.

        • by jonwil (467024)

          There is also often some conflicting issues vis a vis who may sue you.
          One notable example was the kernel for one of the Motorola EZX linux phones. This kernel contained a driver to support SD memory cards (the phone has a MicroSD slot like many other phones these days do) built into it (and not as a module). Motorola released kernel source for this phone that was missing the SD card driver because the negative outcome of being sued by the SD card association for violating the SD card NDA/license (which may

          • by dissy (172727)

            Motorola released kernel source for this phone that was missing the SD card driver because the negative outcome of being sued by the SD card association for violating the SD card NDA/license (which may well have meant Motorola being unable to use the SD card spec in future products) was deemed by the lawyers to be MUCH bigger than the negative outcome of not releasing the SD card driver code.

            I never understood how a such a decision could be reached.

            On one hand, they could choose the situation where they release the SD driver and get sued by the SD association.
            At that point they can't legally use SD technology, but can still release their phone!

            On the other hand, violating the GPL, sure they will be allowed to use SD technology in the future, just not ship any product.
            A phone without firmware still can't use the SD card, nor do anything else, including boot!
            When you are legally barred from distr

            • by jonwil (467024)

              Except that they released the phone anyway and violated the GPL in the process (releasing the code for everything except the SD car driver)

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        I think it's not so much that the "legal product" aspect is low priority, but as mentioned above, simply pushed too far back. There is a fair amount work involved in preparing source code for public release. It has to be retrieved from wherever it's stored (which may be distributed), cleaned of any sensitive information, separated from what isn't going to be released (data files, compilation scripts, etc.), packaged, and finally placed in a public location. I simply doubt that with all the pressure involved

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It was never a "legal requirement". It's Apache licenced, so changes to the original (available) Android source don't have to be added back in. It's to encourage commercial devs to develop "exclusives" like the HTC Sense features. Noncommercials are free to release the source on their modifications, but it's not an obligation.

    • Re:Not so bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:27PM (#29842063)

      Actually, it's most likely because they are Chinese (Taiwanese, same thing) and don't give a shit about open source anything. Having worked with Chinese and Taiwanese OEMs, I can tell you firsthand that getting them to abide by any open source licensing is like pulling teeth. If it's free to download, it's free to use however they like, period.

      Posting anon because naive politically-correct types with zero Asian development experience will mod me down.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Koreans, too. Not the same AC. But the same sentiment. What little respect you find for the GPL originates in the West, and I really don't think it's unPC (or PinC?) to say so. I mean, the mentioned countries don't care much about our copyright, and the GPL depends on that to be effective, anyway. That's not to say that *nobody* cares but from what I have seen the large firms don't, anyway.

        Luckily, I think we're past the day when most companies could go on ignoring it indefinitely. Good job, pokers and prod

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Chinese (Taiwanese, same thing)

        I think there's strong cultural behavioral differences between the two.

        Anyway, though, I agree with your statement about the difficulty in getting them to abide by licensing. It's not just them, though; it's a problem with most societies outside of North America and the EU (and Japan, Australia, Israel, etc.). I don't think they're as concerned with legal niceties.
        • Re:Not so bad... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:59AM (#29843521)

          Even in the EU you can see differences. I am from central Europe, and sometimes I can only shake my head on the US you have to abide by the law no matter what mentality. We here have the mentality that law is done by people and sometimes the law is not fair so public disrespect and civil disobediance has to be done. That starts with small things but can also go big.
          My personal opinion is this is the best way to cope with laws because as everything in life even laws are not a black and white thing, but if you live that way you have to live with getting punished (which literally no one cares here, unless the punishment starts to hurt severely)

          So we dont have a black and white view on law. I assume if you go further east this becomes more along the lines of a nationalistic view of
          we only care about laws which are done by us and no one else.
          (We dont have that view on due to our history)

          I guess our view is due to our history we have run through 2 fascistic governments
          in the last 100 years and the laws back then neither wair fair nor could you obey
          them without getting into conflict with your personal conscience.
          There is always something above the law because law is done by man.

          • by dayjn (942897)
            There are many people in the USA who agree with your view. I'm one of them. I suspect you're getting a biased view from what you read on the internet. If I had mod points, +1 Interesting.
  • Nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:45PM (#29841607) Journal

    Sure, I know, they were supposed to, by law. But they at least didn't drag their feet too long, and deserve some kudos for choosing an open-source platform to begin with.

    What, if any, is the (physical or otherwise) obstacle for this device to become a hacker's darling? Here "hacker" is used in that old, positive meaning.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wasabii (693236)

      What, if any, is the (physical or otherwise) obstacle for this device to become a hacker's darling? Here "hacker" is used in that old, positive meaning.

      I guess the same as every other Android phone? A signed flashing process that needs to be cracked?

      The only reason people can install custom Android copies on the G1 is because of a leaked SPL and the root console bug. Oh, and the ADP.

    • by stinerman (812158)

      Sure, I know, they were supposed to, by law. But they at least didn't drag their feet too long, and deserve some kudos for choosing an open-source platform to begin with.

      I disagree here. Simply choosing to use open source software and then trying to stiff people their rights granted under that license isn't any better than choosing a closed source platform.

      Let's not beat around the bush here. If there weren't enough people demanding the code, it would have never been released. I don't know about you, but

      • Thing is, you don't know for sure if they had the intent to release the source or not.
        You're simply assuming that they wouldn't have because it forwards your argument.

  • Wow (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe Verizon will FINALLY have a phone which can legitimately be decrippled. Maybe they won't even try to cripple it at all. Too bad too, because if Verizon gave up on that little game, anyone who didn't ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO have a iPhone would be with them due to network strength. Let's hope the dust clears within the next 1 month and 1 week when my AT&T contract finally expires.

    • ... anyone who didn't ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO have a iPhone would be with [Verizon] due to network strength.

      I'd have been with them since 2000 or so, when I first needed a cellphone, if they'd just put in ONE MORE TOWER. My Nevada place is on AT&T's LAST tower in the outskirts of the Reno-Taho/Carson City/Minden-Gardnerville/southbound-US395 coverage area and Verizon's last TWO towers are behind TWO hills and don't cover the valley. B-b

      Sprint/Clearwire could have a bunch of customers, too, if they'd just p

  • by Smidge204 (605297) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:30PM (#29841849) Journal

    They were probably stalling for time while they read over the source code to remove all the swear words and personal attacks against coworkers...

    =Smidge=

    • by dbc (135354)

      Who knows if that was truly the case here, but I can believe that it applies in some cases. Grown-up programmers don't put that slosh in the comments to begin with. Sadly, you see a fair amount of that in close-source code. Less than in the old days, but still too much.

      • I dont know must be probably a US mentality, I have yet to see some european sourcecode which had a swear word in it, probably the main difference here is that programmers here simply cry them out into the air (we dont have the cubicle system but small offices mostly) so they do not have to type it in.

    • They were probably stalling for time while they read over the source code to remove all the swear words and personal attacks against coworkers...
      Man, they should have taken more time so that our outrage wouldn't go away... I need to find another reason to be outraged!1!!! Has apple released all their source code? omg! who is violating the GPL?!?!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Webcommando (755831)

      They were probably stalling for time while they read over the source code to remove all the swear words and personal attacks against coworkers...

      =Smidge=

      Don't forget they had to remove the 1000's of TODO's that were still in the code comments with several "We really should fix this before release" and a couple of "This works but I'm not sure why."

  • by wcoenen (1274706) <wcoenen@gmail.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:03PM (#29841977)
    This is not actually about android source code as the summary says. Android source code is distributed under the Apache License [wikipedia.org], which doesn't require you to "give back" modifications to the open source community. This is just about the GPL-ed part: the linux kernel.
    • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:17PM (#29842563)
      That's an awesome point. To drive that home a little further for the folks at www.phonenews.com, here's the snip from the above link to wikipedia

      Licensing

      Since 21 October 2008, Android has been available as open source. Google opened the entire source code (including network and telephony stacks[23]) under an Apache License.[24]

      With the Apache License, vendors are free to add proprietary extensions without submitting those back to the open source community.

      After the negative attitude I read on the link at "phonenews" from the article, I'm really wishing HTC hadn't released it... Just to put those folks at "phonenews" in their place. They don't know what they're talking about, spewing a bunch of hate towards people from India and they're just trashing on HTC.

      I've been a author / user / supporter of open source software for over 10 years now and I'm still really shocked at the attitude and misconceptions that some folks have about what should be released and how fast it needs to be done. Even under strict GPL, HTC is ONLY required to release the source to people who have actually bought the phone. When exactly did the Hero go on sale?

      I've also personally worked with HTC on several mobile phones and I've found them to be very forthcoming. They're busy as hell, working insane hours continuously, and if they can't satisfy the Trolls at phonenews, that's too bad.

      • Even under strict GPL, HTC is ONLY required to release the source to people who have actually bought the phone. When exactly did the Hero go on sale?

        As I recall, they're required to either ship with source or release the code to all who ask for it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ivucica (1001089)
          No, just provide users of binary releases either source, or a written offer valid for a few years to provide source. Certainly not to everyone [gnu.org].

          a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
          b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source d

      • by mmj638 (905944)

        Even under strict GPL, HTC is ONLY required to release the source to people who have actually bought the phone. When exactly did the Hero go on sale?

        July 2009. Over three months ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Hero [wikipedia.org]

        Even if HTC were not compelled by law to release their source code (which I believe they were, because the kernel is not the part under the Apache license), they would still have been compelled to do so in order to keep their word, given that they have been talking about releasing th

  • A little unfair... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pablo_max (626328) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:11PM (#29842011)

    I would venture to say that any decision to delay the release of code has very little to do with HTC trying to stonewall.
    Contrary to what people think, you are not allowed to do what ever you want to a phone.
    Naturally, Andriod has access to the phones protocol and RF layers. Giving the user access to these layers is a VERY, VERY bad idea.
    To sell a mobile phone in North America, a manufacture must obtain PTCRB certification. This is a very stringent set of tests which look at all layers and all the hardware, including the antenna performance. We are talking more than 6000 tests and more than $800K!!
    Once they pass..this SVN (Software version number) is locked in. ANY changes in code or hardware and the manufacture must make an ECO with PTCRB and make some additional checks.
    The main reasons for this is network health and link budgets.
    The carrier must be able to count on your phone acting in a predetermined way in order to keep the network on the air. Believe it or not, one single phone could bring down an entire tower!
    I can promise you that the carriers will NEVER allow a situation where YOU can alter those layers and kill the network.
    I am sure HTC need a fair amount of time to figure out how to lock it down and still let you mess with the OS.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like bad design to me.

      What if a router could be brought down just by a single misbehaving client? I think the company that made that router wouldn't sell many routers.

      Just sayin'.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeffstar (134407)

        if it is a wireless router, a single misbehaving client can render it useless.

        not surprising that it is possible to jam cell a cell tower with a cell phone if the phone was somehow set to constantly transmit random data at full power. If the tower can't hear the other phones because yours is shouting at it constantly there is nothing you can do to stop that.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I think you mean the that the main reason for this is bad network design.

      If one single phone could do that then their engineering dept needs to be fired.
      Imagine if computer networks worked this way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Miamicanes (730264)

        A major complication is the fact that today's PDA phones are basically cellular winmodems. Ever wonder why a Samsung SPH-i300 with ~40MHz 680x0-ish Dragonfire didn't feel all that much slower than a 400MHz dual-core ARM running WinMo? Part of the problem is WinMo's bloat... but an even bigger part of the problem is the fact that cpu #2 spends basically 100% of its time being a software-based faux DSP anytime the radio is in use... and occasionally steals cycles from cpu #1 while it's at it. In contrast, the

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Seems like the old way really is the better way. I want a dataphone that connects like my laptop, It just talks to the verizon broadband card via serial.

          #and no stupid verizon app needed on ubuntu.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by lordlod (458156)

          The good thing about Winmodem-like cellphones is... um... er... uh... well, I'm sure there's something good about it.

          It's cheaper. Cost is the God in consumer electronics upon which everything else is sacrificed. The could be saving up to $5 per phone doing it this way. Ship 20 million phones and that's $100 million dollars in the bank. The effort made in consumer electronics to save four cents (over 10 million units) would probably make your head spin.

          The difference in the two approaches isn't as much as you are making out to be. The dedicated radio chip is still running a microprocessor written in software. By

          • by Miamicanes (730264) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:17PM (#29842561)

            > The effort made in consumer electronics to save four cents (over 10 million units) would probably make your head spin.

            Tell me about it. It's what condemned many very, very expensive first-generation CD-Rs to the coaster bin (no ram buffer to speak of, so if the CPU got distracted for even a fraction of a second, the CD was toast), and sent almost every Samsung SPH-i330 to an early grave (a few cents saved using mask rom instead of flash, coupled with a fatal bug that bricked them within a few weeks of use and couldn't be fixed). Not to mention the problems due to aggressive cost-cutting that have plagued videogame consoles for decades. Red Ring of Death, anyone?

        • by bushing (20804) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:08PM (#29842533) Homepage

          A major complication is the fact that today's PDA phones are basically cellular winmodems. [...] In contrast, the humble i300 was literally a cell phone radio bolted to a PalmOS PDA, connected by LITERALLY a serial port.

          [...]As I understand it, a phone running Android (or Windows Mobile, for that matter) is kind of like a PC running Linux under VMware under Windows (or vice-versa).

          This is not true, at least not in the case of the iPhone (which has an Infineon baseband processor connected to a Samsung "Applications Processor" by "LITERALLY a serial port") or the Palm Pre (Qualcomm baseband, TI OMAP AP).

          Qualcomm's product info page for the MSM7201 [qctconnect.com] processor used in the HTC Hero says that it includes "Integrated ARM11 applications processor and ARM9 modem, QDSP4000 and QDSP5000 high-performance digital signal processors (DSP)". It would seem likely that the ARM9 core (in combination with one or both of the DSPs) does all of the modem work; I see no reason to suspect that the ARM11 ever "steals cycles from cpu #1".

          • by cliffjumper222 (229876) on Friday October 23, 2009 @12:14AM (#29842785)

            Mod this guy up, the parent doesn't know what he's talking about. Most smartphones use dual cores or bridge architectures where the applications processor and the modem processor are separate and communicate over a serial link, be it USB, shock-horror a UART or shared memory. And even more shock horror, yes they might even use AT commands to do talk to each other - even today!

            • by ripnet (541583)
              Yes, they are seperate. How do you think they got phone / sms / data working on the Kaiser on the Android port if all the DSP etc is software ???
            • by Lumpy (12016)

              Exactly, I have yet to find a Cellphone that has the modem DSP a soft DSP that is a driver in the OS that is running it. and I have been inside every cellphone model made in the past 5 years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeffstar (134407)

        it is wireless, a shared medium. only one client on any given frequency at any given time. it will always be possible to jam radio signals. no amount of engineering can change this

        • by pablo_max (626328)

          Actually..that's not quite true. You can share the same channel, you need only a different UL/DL slot configuration.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jeffstar (134407)

            you have divided the channel into slots in order to share it. slots are assigned by time (TDMA) or frequency (CDMA/FHSS) or other means.

            still only one transmitter per frequency per moment in time

            • by willy_me (212994)

              still only one transmitter per frequency per moment in time

              Not true with CDMA. The entire point of CDMA is that it enables radios to do just that - multiple transmitters operating at the same time. Sounds like magic, but just check out the wiki [wikipedia.org] page for more info. They refer to it as spread-spectrum technology.

              And the ideas behind CDMA have made there way into 3G and 4G standards so all future cell products will all support multiple transmitters to a certain extent.

              • by jeffstar (134407)

                Code Division multiple access divides a frequency band up using the code.

                imagine you had 64 individual frequencies making up a frequency band and a 64-bit code. the exact frequencies uses by each transmitter is determined by their code, which changes constantly.

                So long as each transmitter has a code that is orthogonal to the other codes, they will never be transmitting on the same frequency at the same time.

                That is essentially what it says in the wiki as well, but a lot more eloquently.

                You can share a chan

                • by willy_me (212994)

                  Well what you described is called Frequency-hopping spread spectrum and is utilized in FH-CDMA (or so says Wikipedia).

                  Here is a quote from the wiki that I linked to previously:

                  If sender0 has code (1,–1) and data (1,0,1,1), and sender1 has code (1,1) and data (0,0,1,1), and both senders transmit simultaneously, then this table describes the coding steps:

                  You can see reference to "both senders transmit simultaneously" - this is what CDMA traditionally does. And here is a quote from the Wiki page on DSSS:

                  If an undesired transmitter transmits on the same channel but with a different PN sequence (or no sequence at all), the de-spreading process results in no processing gain for that signal. This effect is the basis for the code division multiple access (CDMA) property of DSSS, which allows multiple transmitters to share the same channel within the limits of the cross-correlation properties of their PN sequences.

                  Note that transmitters share the same channel.

                  This always made sense to me because when you compare similar phones that work on different networks, their battery life differs. Fo

                  • by jeffstar (134407)

                    i think we agree here, but CDMA is a total brain fuck that I barely understood 6 years ago and haven't thought about since.

                    I couldn't read the wiki page, it made my head hurt.

                    we agree that the transmitters share the same channel.
                    the channel is made up of frequencies
                    the exact frequencies in the channel that are used are determined by the code
                    the senders have different codes
                    therefore when the senders transmit, they don't use the *exact same frequency* at the exact same time, although they are sharing the same

                    • by willy_me (212994)

                      we agree that the transmitters share the same channel.

                      Yes

                      the channel is made up of frequencies

                      No - at least not wrt this discussion

                      the exact frequencies in the channel that are used are determined by the code

                      No, all use the same frequency.

                      the senders have different codes

                      Yes

                      therefore when the senders transmit, they don't use the *exact same frequency* at the exact same time, although they are sharing the same channel.

                      No - they send at the same time...

                      For Frequency-hopping spread spectrum, yes, it is how you described. It is used in Bluetooth and wireless sensor networks (802.15??). It is also popular with the military because it is difficult to jam. Basically, it's used in peer to peer networks where you do not have a single coordinator. (Well, bluetooth sort of has one - but I'm sure you understand..)

                      But CDMA (as in cell networks) use DSSS

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Are you nuts? only with maybe a 1000 watt transmitter blasting across the band on a high gain antenna directly at the cell tower. There is no way in hell you or anyone else can modify a callphone to jam a tower. hell good luck even jamming a single channel with your tiny power output on a handset..

          • by darthflo (1095225)

            Know that joke where two guys encounter a bear while camping? A puts on his running shoes, B goes "Why are you putting on your shoes, there's no way for you to outrun a grizzly", A replies "I don't need to. Only need to outrun you."

            It's the same thing with jamming a tower, really. You don't need to transmit stronger than the tower, you couldn't do it, anyways. But that's not a problem -- you only need to transmit enough to distort any other phones enough so the tower can't understand them anymore. A directi

            • by Lumpy (12016)

              your "distortion" will only affect an area around you for around 100 feet. that's it. if you hada 10 watt one you could cover 100 meters but you certianly will not disrupt communications outside a small circle around you.

              I know, I have messed with Cellphone jammers. even 10 watts is not highly effective.

      • by dlgeek (1065796)
        To be fair, a transmitter you can fit in your pocket can "take down" (block) cell service for a pretty decently sized area around it. Jamming, RFI, etc are pretty much unavoidable in any RF based system. You can mitigate them to some extent, but there's pretty much no way any network architecture can prevent me from taking down an area of service with a strong enough jammer.

        Cell phones can also jam each other with bad programming (hence the required testing) if they do things like transmit in the wrong ti
      • by Random5 (826815)
        Way to not know what you're talking about. Any fixed frequency wireless network can be taken down by a single client behaving badly, computer WiFi networks included (well assuming the client has sufficient transmission strength). I'm not so sure how easy it would be with something like bluetooth which hops frequencies repeatedly, but it's still definitely still possible to disrupt. Wired computer networks are a different matter these days because they're entirely switched, but a malicious client on an unm
    • by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:01PM (#29842503)
      The radio software and SPL (second program loader) in a HTC Android phone are closed source, Android sits on top of this and is more analogous to a VM running on a light OS underneath. (As someone points out below, you may think have root on your droid, but you don't really have root). Thus it is not really harmful to have the Android code out there, as the low-level software that would do the most harm is proprietary and fairly well protected.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The bootloader and radio firmware are indeed closed source, but the linux kernel and android userspace run on their own cpu (an ARM11) while the radio firmware runs on its own cpu (an ARM9). They chatter via shared memory. Once the bootloader has loaded the kernel, the kernel's in charge of the apps cpu. No VM or hypervisor exists (at least not on the Qualcomm 7xxx/8xxx chipsets -- you could, of course do it differently elsewhere).

        You do need to talk to the ARM9 to have it setup the DSP for you, for it t

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``The carrier must be able to count on your phone acting in a predetermined way in order to keep the network on the air. Believe it or not, one single phone could bring down an entire tower!''

      If that is true, I foresee Interesting Times. There are always ... individuals ... who think it's great fun to break things, not to mention people who actively seek to do harm ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      All your points are valid, but they don't negate the fact that if you use code under a license that requires you to make your code or modifications available to those you distribute the binaries to, you have to abide by the terms of the license and do so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Contrary to what people think, you are not allowed to do what ever you want to a phone.

      Um yes I can, Please give me the LAWS that state otherwise.

      I can do ANYTHING I WANT with my phone. I have an openmoko on AT&T and they cant control my phone other than turning off service. I can do anything I want with my phone, and the worse they can do is turn off service.

      • by NitroWolf (72977)

        Contrary to what people think, you are not allowed to do what ever you want to a phone.

        Um yes I can, Please give me the LAWS that state otherwise.

        I can do ANYTHING I WANT with my phone. I have an openmoko on AT&T and they cant control my phone other than turning off service. I can do anything I want with my phone, and the worse they can do is turn off service.

        If you believe this, then the FCC would like to have a word with you. Just have a seat over there, the lawyers will be right in to explain exactly why you are going to pay several hundred thousand dollars in fines for operating an unlicensed transmitter.

    • All that they released was the linux kernel, version 2.6.27, along with their modifications to it. This is both not locked down (it can't be, they have to release what they shipped) and the kernel alone is not going to suddenly let you break the network.

      Aside from that, the rest of Android from the HTC Hero is kept to themselves, as the license allows. The article title and article itself are very badly labeled, this is not the Android source code. Releasing this does not magically allow you to mess with th

  • Does this mean I can finally kick some ass on Guitar Hero?

  • The last I heard, the only GPL'd part of Android is the kernel. Everything else is Apache/BSD. So, aside from the kernel, HTC wasn't really "dragging their feet," since they released their modifications voluntarily.

  • For a look at a company who does things differently, have a look at Edimax. For example, for their NS-2502 NAS appliance [edimax.com], they provide a link to the source code right on the product page.

    Unfortunately, the source code doesn't come with instructions for compiling it into a firmware package that you can install on the device, but then, it doesn't look like the GPL actually mandates that, either.

  • I see only kernel source here: http://developer.htc.com/ [htc.com] so it looks like they released only the part they had too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MemoryDragon (544441)

      Yeah why should they release the other part, touchflo is their bread and butter, without that they simply would be just another phone vendor and even one with mediocre low end specced hardware. Touchflo is the part which stands out compared to the rest of the phones.
      I would only release the source either if I was in their position.

  • Did they have to make it sound like they released the source code to the classic game?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.E.R.O [wikipedia.org].

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.

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