Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Debian Handhelds Open Source Hardware

OpenMoko's FreeRunner Rises From the Ashes 133

Posted by timothy
from the yews-uh-spelt-czech-her dept.
ChristW writes "Remember OpenMoko's first free and open source phones, the GTA-01 and GTA-02 (also called FreeRunner)? There is a new project called Phoenux. The German company Golden Delicous is building a new main board (called GTA-04) for the GTA01/02 case. The new hardware features a DM3730 (800 MHz) processor, a GTM601W UMTS (HSPA) module, and lots more." Would you pay extra for a phone that comes with a Debian build?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

OpenMoko's FreeRunner Rises From the Ashes

Comments Filter:
  • Nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:54PM (#38231844) Homepage

    Everyone's already moved on to A9 based SoC's for things. If they'd consider an A9 based SoC (Something like the OMAP4 in the currently MIA Samsung Galaxy Nexus, for example...) for the OpenMoko platform, it might be a gem.

    • Re:Nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:20PM (#38232128)

      It's easy to move on to A9 based platforms when you can go to the SoC vendor and say "we're gonna ship a couple million." They'll be all over supplying you with the chips you need.

      When you're someone small like this, you get stuck at the back of the pack. A9 based chips they can get will probably be available in a year and a half or so...

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Pandaboard manages it nicely enough...

      • Yeah, but the licensing will likely kill them. So many licensing hurdles to jump when building a cellular device.

        Of course, as I look at my GTA02 Freerunner sitting on my desk, if the drivers don't work and runs only 3G, this effort will be another wasted effort.

    • Re:Nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tzanger (1575) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:07PM (#38232560) Homepage

      As long as they're designing it to fit in that god-awful "stretched hockey-puck" case that the original openmoko was built for... no, it won't be a gem.

      I was incredibly excited about the openmoko, until I saw it. Such a wasteful use of physical space.

  • No. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:54PM (#38231848) Homepage Journal

    Sorry not really.
    Get an HTC HD2. It runs linux with a little hacking as well as Android, WM6.5, WP7, and probably AmigaOS..

    • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LeanSystems (2513566) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:57PM (#38231890)
      Even further, I don't want most of that for my primary phone. I want my primary phone to function everytime, when needed. And maybe I'm the exception, but usually my hacking projects are fun and exciting, but also full of troubleshooting and frustration (which is part the excitement to get it working again).

      Would I pay some money for a device to hack up that had some really cool features... sure. But still not sure this is the one.
    • Do you remember those time ? pple use to make demos instead of webpages and the h2h (hand2hand) was the internet ... -- http://rzr.online.fr/q/amiga# [online.fr] #Amiga #SmartPhone is real ! #video of me playing battle #chess on #harmattan #N950Club #AmigaWillNeverDie
    • by tsa (15680)

      I had an N900. Never again. I'm quite fed up with open source software that just doesn't work right, and the lack of choice, and I could go on for quite a while. I've had it with open source software.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Curious, for me it's the opposite.
        I got an N900 when it first came out and I've essentially been in love with it from the start. It's starting to show signs of age now and I'm kind of looking for another, but there's just nothing on the market that could replace it right now.

        • by zladuric (784891)

          nothing on the market that could replace it right now.

          Not even a N9?

          • The N9 isn't available in the markets that would embrace it. This is widely perceived to be totally on purpose ; it's suspected that the device has only been produced to satisfy contractual obligations. Releasing it in a few markets where it's destined to totally bomb [nokiainnovation.com] [1] means that the new Microsoft contingent at Nokia can point the finger and say "look - Linux phones don't sell, we won't be doing *that* again".

            [1] The Middle East and Africa? Not the first place I'd think of to release a high-cost mass mar

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I would buy another N900 NOW.
          Maybe not the best PHONE, sure the best small sized computer I had.

      • I too love my n900, what's wrong with it? It can be customized anyway you like, ans it's the only get connected from anywhere full Linux computer with real qwerty keyboard in this from factor.
  • FreeRunner (Score:5, Informative)

    by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:54PM (#38231854) Homepage
    A friend gave me the Neo FreeRunner a long time ago. The graphics chip in combination with the display really killed the device. It's insanely slow, which I assume scared a lot of potential developers away. I hope this new version will be more balanced.
    • by tencatl (2509490)
      I thought what killed it was the buzzing sound making it impossible to actually phone, without modifying the actual hardware.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Want more dissapointment? try using it as a phone.

      The hardware is an epic fail. I have two of them. both 100% useless as a phone.

      • by neo14450 (2523302)

        Want more disappointment? try using it as a phone.

        While this may have been true in the past it's not as bad now. I use mine as a phone.

        The hardware is an epic fail. I have two of them. both 100% useless as a phone.

        I've been using QtMoko v31 on NAND and QtMoko v36 on SD with good results. SHR was also pretty decent but I haven't used it in over a year. There are also SD only installs of AoF for both Cupcake and Froyo of which I haven't formed an opinion yet (BT audio doesn't work as expected on AoF).

        If you're not planning on using the phones would you be willing to sell/donate them? Please consider posting to the mailing list:

        List for

    • This might start a flamewar... but in my experience X support for lesser-known chipsets is pretty terrible and a simple framebuffer is always faster. The issue could just be a simple choice of driver.

      Although with the FreeRunner I think the main deficiency is the non-capacitive touchscreen.

      • by pipatron (966506)
        Nah, the issue is picking a chipset meant for 320x240 pixels and using it with a 640x480 display. The chipset can't even accelerate more than 512x512 pixels and since the bandwidth to the CPU is some slow serial bus, acceleration is necessary to get anything done..
        • by ChristW (18232)

          Don't forget that this was in the docs that were available _after_ the NDA had been signed and the choice for the chip had been made! So, OpenMoko was 'duped' into buying that chip...

    • I reviewed this a while back on geardiary.com:

      http://www.geardiary.com/2009/02/22/review-openmoko-neo-freerunner-from-sdg-systems/ [geardiary.com]

      It was....a unique design but the Android port didn't work well at all. The Openmoko code was even more of a mess. It was also SLOW.

      I like the idea of a completely libre device, but the G1 was WAY better than this....and that's saying something.

  • Pay more? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frisket (149522) <peter AT silmaril DOT ie> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:54PM (#38231856) Homepage
    Yes, if it doesn't have CarrierIQ
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by frisket (149522)
      Oh, and assuming it does actually make and receive phone calls and texts :-)
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:56PM (#38231878)
    I'd pay more for a phone without CarrierIQ
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Despite the "funny" mod, I'm totally serious. If openmoko isn't an option I'll be buying a non-subsidized android phone from a manufacturer that doesn't install carrierIQ. I'm happy that my iPhone seems to be okay, but I know Apple will abuse it eventually.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or just load CyanogenMod on any of the numerous devices they support. No more CIQ.

        • by emj (15659)

          Yes but the will still support the usage of CarrierIQ.

          • by dave420 (699308)
            No, as CarrierIQ is not installed, and can't be installed OTA by the network.
            • I think OP's point is that by purchasing a device from a manufacturer who uses CarrierIQ, you are supporting their investment into licensing the CarrierIQ software.

              If you go to a Ford dealership and buy a Fiesta, do you think Ford care if you strip the seats out and replace them with a bench? Nope, you still love Ford, and all the stuff Ford gave you.
      • Despite the "funny" mod, I'm totally serious. If openmoko isn't an option I'll be buying a non-subsidized android phone from a manufacturer that doesn't install carrierIQ. I'm happy that my iPhone seems to be okay, but I know Apple will abuse it eventually.

        Agreed, although I do take issue with the concept of having to pay more to not have a keylogger on my phone.

        If privacy is contingent on paying a premium, than only the wealthy will have any privacy.

        • by NSash (711724)

          I do take issue with the concept of having to pay more to not have a keylogger on my phone.

          It makes sense to me that company might offer a cheaper-but-spyware-riddled version of a phone. It's not much different from adware, which is often free or cheaper than other software of its type. Whether you cast it as "paying a premium for privacy" or "getting a discount for giving up privacy", it's the same idea as long as the company is upfront about the spyware (if they aren't, then they're just crooks).

          • It makes sense to me that company might offer a cheaper-but-spyware-riddled version of a phone.

            So, using that same reasoning, you believe it's perfectly acceptable for a landlord to install cameras and microphones in apartments, as long as their upfront about it when you sign the rental agreement? Really? Of course, this can be avoided by owning your own home... oh, wait - most "homeowners" are actually indebted to banks, so again using your 'logic' the banks should be allowed to monitor you inside your home until you pay the loan off.

            • It's called reality TV

              So, using that same reasoning, you believe it's perfectly acceptable for a landlord to install cameras and microphones in apartments, as long as their upfront about it when you sign the rental agreement? Really?

    • by Lally Singh (3427)

      Pick up one of the pure-google phones. My Nexus S doesn't have it on there.

    • Get an iphone.
  • Queue the Apple law suites in 3-2-1...
  • is the radio firmware still open?

    • by lindi (634828)
      gta02 radio firmware was not open either.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        So, no reason to buy this one, either, then.

        If the radio firmware isn't open then you still can't trust the device. Totally. Fucking. Worthless.

        • by lindi (634828)
          Trust isn't black and white. I can trust that if I turn the GSM part off it will stay off. I can also trust that it won't be able to record samples from the microphone when I am not making a call.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I can also trust that it won't be able to record samples from the microphone when I am not making a call.

            You can, but that doesn't mean you should. If there is a vulnerability in the phone side, the radio may be used against you.

  • The problem is that it has to be something that I can let other people use, I had a hard time communicating with my friends who used FreeRunner before things got as stable as they are now.

  • maybe with a better processor, and at least a Gentoo build, maybe an OpenBSD build.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    >Would you pay extra for a phone that comes with a Debian build?

    Yes. If I had the extra money, I'd get one even if it couldn't make phone calls or hold a charge for half a day. Just for the potential of it being able to actually reasonably be used as a phone. If it couldn't reach that, I'd find some other use for it, as it still would be a pocket sized debian box with a built-in screen.

    When the first(or second?) one came, I wanted one, but also needed a working phone, so I got the less cool and free n900

    • It's very usable as a phone. As long as I'm using stable versions of software, I don't miss calls. There are odd bugs here and there with newer kernels, but you can decide if the features are worth the costs.
  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:08PM (#38231994) Homepage

    I really liked the Maemo OS. It was very open, and worked like a normal Linux system. Android looks very unappealing in the way it replaces pretty much all of the base system and requires coding specifically for it.

    So I'd be quite willing to support a project along these lines, so long a few minimum requirements are fulfilled:

    1. It's usable. Not necessarily 100% polished, but at a minimum boots up, charges, and makes and receives phone calls, with acceptable performance and no random crashes.

    I considered getting a Freerunner back when it was new, but it I needed it to work as a phone, and the state at the time seemed to involve things like the inability to charge the battery if it was ever fully discharged.

    2. It works like a normal Linux system. I want something like the N900, where I can compile, debug and run programs just like on my own box.

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:46PM (#38232362)

      N900 is weak as a phone but outstanding as a micro-laptop. You need to bash some parts into sanity (like, keybindings that work with shift-Fn [angband.pl] without a pull-down list of symbols), but you get an actual usable Unix system, rather than just a phone with fart apps like iPhone or Android are.

    • by AdamWill (604569)

      why not just contribute to Meego / Mer / Tizen / whatever the hell it's called today? Yes it's niche and probably doomed, but then hey, so is Openmoko. And Meego/Mer/Tizen/MaryPoppins is somewhat more developed.

      Or, heck, keep using your N900. It appears to be about as powerful as this 'new' Freerunner hardware...

      • by vadim_t (324782)

        I'm considering that, yes. I've been actually trying to figure out if there's anything to contribute to, as in my understanding Meego was a corporate driven project, and I'm not sure if I have it in me to fork an entire distribution.

        Sure, I still have the N900. I'd say the largest problem with it is RAM, it's really got the bare minimum for what it does. I got a N9 recently and things are much smoother. And also a lot more locked down, which is providing some motivation for trying to find something else N90

        • by Microlith (54737)

          I'm not sure if I have it in me to fork an entire distribution.

          That's what Mer is for. It is a fork of MeeGo that intends to retain compatibility with MeeGo and eventually Tizen. As for something truly usable, Nemo and Cordia HD are based upon Mer and provide UIs of their own (as Mer does not supply one.) Beyond that, making changes to the base packages and getting them pushed upstream is one of the benefits of truly being FOSS based.

          If you want to talk to people about it, there are mailing lists and IRC ch

          • by vadim_t (324782)

            That's what Mer is for. It is a fork of MeeGo that intends to retain compatibility with MeeGo and eventually Tizen. As for something truly usable, Nemo and Cordia HD are based upon Mer and provide UIs of their own (as Mer does not supply one.) Beyond that, making changes to the base packages and getting them pushed upstream is one of the benefits of truly being FOSS based.

            Awesome, thanks a lot. You just saved me some time :-)

            Now that my N900 isn't my main phone anymore I can experiment with it a lot more, s

        • by AnyoneEB (574727)
          I am curious about your experiences with the Nokia N9 as I was planning on buying one in part due to liking the Nokia N810 and being able to use it as a pocket-sized Linux computer (I never got an N900). I had thought it was pretty easy to get access to a root terminal and do whatever on it just like the N810. Is this not the case?
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            N9 sucks. Gorgeous hardware for an iPhone-like concept (except the AMOLED is pentile), but no keyboard, and it comes with Aegis, a bloody steward as it were, left behind to enforce the true owner's (i.e. Nokia's) wishes in their absence. No chroot for you!

            N950 has keyboard, and as a "developer's device" permits you to disable Aegis completely, but they won't sell the damned thing...

            I'd recommend an N900 over N9 for any N810 fan at this point, even if it were the same price.

            • N950 has keyboard, and as a "developer's device" permits you to disable Aegis completely

              The *exact* method that worked on N950, reportedly worked (by design) on N9.

              Aegis does have some value. I don't think N900 was ready for a mainstream audience, there would have been rootkit apps all over. Aegis goes some way to protecting users from malicious apps.

            • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Informative)

              by Ecuador (740021) on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:12AM (#38235850) Homepage

              You don't know what you are talking about.
              I have been a very happy N900 user for 2 years now, I have always wanted to have a linux machine always with me, especially with a free phone!
              However, the "phone" experience was not that great. The resistive screen did not help in that respect, while I did prefer it over capacitive screens for other uses (browsing, editing etc), but in general the problem was that the device felt generally unpolished. Under command line everything works great (although they should have put a pipe by default on the hardware keyboard), but give it to a UI user and you can see some frustration. Even Nokia Maps came in an antiquated version.
              So, I waited for the N950. Well, tough luck, they won't sell it to me.
              Plan B, a month ago I bought the N9.
              Well, I was very excited when I first got my N900. With the N9 I was ecstatic and my wife was too! The UI experience is amazing, definately better than android and even iOS! I had never seen my wife be amazed by a phone before - she says that next to the iphone the N9 looks like it came from 2050. Hard to explain but the curved shape of the device makes it very satisfying to swipe from the edge of the screen, which are the simple gestures to control apps (minimize, close). Also, a linux machine with 1G RAM proves really fast and helps the whole experience.
              Now, on the actual reply to the parent, even with firmware 1.0 (my Denmark N9 still does not have the update) you simply go to settings and enable developer mode. Voila, the terminal appears, you launch it and type "devel-su". Password "rootme" :) You can't go more open than that...
              I do miss my hardware keyboard, I will have to do something about that, but for the first time in 2 years I have a device that is great as a phone and as a gps navigator (offline turn by turn). The first week I got it, I went out of the country for the first time without a laptop. I had my emails, access to my servers, could skype-call my contacts back home, plus with a $3 cable I hooked it up to the hotel room's 50-inch and watched the H264 encoded movies I brought with me.
              Apart from the keyboard (can't currently play Civilization I under dosbox like on the N900) I also miss the browser of the N900, it was much closer to a desktop browser (complete with flash), but I hope fennec or opera will cover that void.
              Sorry for the long post, when a simple "you can switch to developer mode in settings" would suffice, but after a month of ownership I am still a very excited N9 owner.
              And sad at the same time. They are burying the device, since its success would mean the new Nokia CEO's windows-only strategy is BS (which it is), so they are selling it in very limited markets at a quite high price. When the N900 was the phone for the Geeks, the N9/N950 could be the phone for everyone including Geeks and Maemo/MeeGo would give us so much more than the walled garden of iOS or the java on steroids mess that is android.

          • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Informative)

            by vadim_t (324782) on Friday December 02, 2011 @04:36AM (#38235554) Homepage

            As a phone, it's very good. The performance is perfect, everything is smooth and works well. There are a few things lacking in a few places, like the lack of ability to create a Jabber account from the GUI, though it can be done from the commandline. Things like that seem to be because the release was somewhat rushed.

            For commandline stuff, the on-screen keyboard isn't very good. If you're going to type a lot, get a N900. The N9 currently seems to lack bluetooth keyboard support for some reason, though it seems trivial to add if you flash the kernel (see below on that)

            The N900 is rather slow in comparison to the N9, but if you want a pocket sized Linux box, it's exactly the thing to get. It also has more applications available. For instance OpenVPN isn't yet on the N9. Also, there's none of the aegis stuff I describe below on it, so you're quite free to do whatever you want.

            Regarding root access: the anon misses a few things. Yes, it's easy to get root (enable develper mode, ssh in as developer@, devel-su, "rootme"). However, you don't really get root access that way.

            There's this thing called "aegis", which is a combination of an permissions system, integrity checker, and encryption.

            The permissions system means that even as root, you can't do some things like loading modules.

            The integrity checker means that if you manage to bypass the security and change one of the protected binaries, the phone will notice and brick itself. It's fixable by reflashing, though.

            The encryption part means that some applications have encrypted data stores. You can flash the phone with a custom kernel where aegis is disabled, however the bootloader will notice it's not official. As a result the keys it uses will change (or are not available at all, I'm not sure about the specifics yet), and the encrypted data stores become unreadable. This gets you real root on the device, with loading modules and all, but it seems you will lose a good part of the official applications. In my understanding this is not all that critical, and if one was determined enough, the missing functionality could be replaced.

        • as in my understanding Meego was a corporate driven project, and I'm not sure if I have it in me to fork an entire distribution.

          Then don't fork the entire distribution, but just port some of the useful apps to Debian (like something useful to actually make phone calls for example...). That would be very valuable work!

          • by lindi (634828)
            I tried to do this with the meego calendar but then noticed that it doesn't come with source code. That kind of makes it impossible to port it to debian.
      • why not just contribute to Meego / Mer / Tizen / whatever the hell it's called today?

        Because it makes no sense to contribute to such project, when we got a solid base in Debian. Contributing nice phone apps in Debian will for sure make it to the device sooner or later. Contributing to Tizen, then you might see the full of the OS simply die for whatever reason not under your control.

        • by mr_jrt (676485)

          Indeed. You would think that by now people wanting to work on these things would learn the lesson and tie yourself closer to a parent distro like Debian which has some kind of longevity. ...it's why I'm not really interested in the "new" Mer. Throws away far too much of Debian when IMHO I think it should be working to tie itself closer to it and undoing some of the unnecessary changes that Nokia made in Maemo. ...but it all got tainted by the pointless Meego fiasco, which is a shame. Divide and conquer is t

  • I'm surprised that anyone honestly believes a substantial number of people want this product. Are there a few hobbyist geeks out there who would die for it? Sure. Are there very many of them? No. Will most people EVER be interested in something like this? No freakin' way. If they're doing this as a hobby, well, live it up. If they're under the delusion that it matters, they're out of touch with reality.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      Great, thank you for stating the obvious. Do you have some overreaching point, or are you just here to beat people over the head with your wisdom?

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:39PM (#38233700) Journal

      You are guilty of preptuating one of the more annoyingly persistent memes on slashdot that one must have an insanely huge market to be a success. Plenty of people make a good living shipping modest volumes of a niche product.

      If they're under the delusion that it matters, they're out of touch with reality.

      I think you're under the delusion that you are able to offer sound business advice.

      • Oh, yeah. When one of these delusional "open source hardware" projects finally turns a profit and matters, then we'll talk. Until then, they're all delusional.
        • When one of these delusional "open source hardware" projects finally turns a profit

          Is turning a profit their goal now? I thought it was to produce a community-developed open source phone that placed the owners in complete control of their device. Maybe I missed the announcement.

          and matters, then we'll talk.

          Matters to whom? To its contributors and users? I think it matters to them already. To everyone in the world? I don't think any phone does that.

  • Sweet now I can hit pedestrians in a car on my phone, while hitting pedestrians in a car because I'm on my phone! Oh... motherboard... darn.
  • At 666 Euros they can keep it too.

  • New Screen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by johnkoer (163434) <johnkoerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:33PM (#38232238) Homepage Journal

    If they are not replacing the screen, just the board, then I think they are wasting their time. Based on how awkward the FreeRunner [amazon.com] is with regards to the shape and size of the screen (480x640), they will never be able to compete with any recent Android or iPhone model.

    Since they stated it will be using the same case, they are really limiting how much they can do for the FreeRunner.

    • by pipatron (966506)
      It doesn't have to compete with any recent Android or iPhone model, it just have to make the mis-designed FreeRunner more usable for the few geeks that have one.
    • As somebody who has used freerunner since 2008 daily I can say that for me the largest problem is the lack of stable touchscreen friendly FOSS applications. For example I'm currently using the debian "dates" package as my calendar but that is going to be removed since upstream has abandoned it ages ago. I can't take the calendar from meego since it does not come with source code. I could take the android calendar but unfortunately after that it'd be difficult to run non-android applications. Perhaps Tizen
  • Why are all the free/open hardware devices so underspeced? The reason I never bought a neo during round 1 was because it was GPRS only, no 3G even when plenty of other phones were coming out with 3G. The n900 looked fantastic, but for the lousy processor (800Mhz vs 1Ghz as standard for other smart phones). Seriously, if you're expected to pay $400, which was roughly what the neo 1773 cost when it first went on sale (not 100% sure, but I remember thinking "Fuck! That's expensive") then provide up to date har
    • Have you checked out the N9? The top-selling, currently highest rated smartphone? It fixes all of the N9 slowness and has awesome specs.
    • by vadim_t (324782)

      I don't think 200MHz make that much of a difference. The main downside to the N900 in my experience is that it only has 256MB RAM, and needs every drop of it. It also uses a swap partition.

      If it had say, 512MB it'd probably work much better. That can be seen on the N9, which is silky smooth and has 1GB RAM, most of which seems to go on simply keeping the base system preloaded to make the basic apps start faster.

      • by sirlark (1676276)

        I don't think 200MHz make that much of a difference. The main downside to the N900 in my experience is that it only has 256MB RAM, and needs every drop of it. It also uses a swap partition.

        That too

  • it's called the n900 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Superken7 (893292) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:03PM (#38232530) Journal

    On top of running debian and being fully open source (well, maybe not the hardware and all the firmware) it seemed fully functional and had great hardware. I still preferred Android because in spite of being less open, it allowed for easier development and I found it more exciting.

    It's a shame maemo (or whatever they call it these days) is not going to take off, because it actually looked pretty good, had very good performance, and was very hacker-friendly. Really sad :(

    OpenMoko has the flaw (and benefit) of being fully open source to the hardware. Thing is, if they are not going to produce millions, cost is going to be very high. Maybe if they focused on porting maemo and did sell millions.. but I'm not sure millions of people would see the benefit of running open source hardware, for the same reason most don't care if the software is free or proprietary. I think nokia with the n900 and Android with the nexus phones have done a great job of providing a nice trade-off between openness, usability, and popularity (who would have thought the year of the linux smartphone was so nigh! ;) )

  • "The German company Golden Delicous is building a new main board (called GTA-04)"

    The next thing you know, an Indian company named Granny Smith will be building a new main board called AngryBirds-Cupertino....

  • I'd pay extra for an open phone, provided it did two things reliably - make calls and receive calls.

    I was excited by the OpenMoko project, and I am still grateful for what they have provided to the community (among other things, the Computer Aided Design models for their phone case are still the best open source CAD models I know of). I even got my hands on a Neo1973 as a physical example of (some of) those CAD files, for reference. I have never seriously considered trying to use it as my primary phone, h

  • by bfree (113420) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:09PM (#38233490)
    Thanks to the FSF [fsf.org] they have decided that somehow the device will be more Free if they add extra hardware to remove the ability load your own firmware for the wifi [goldelico.com]. I'd rather they threw the wifi chip away and use a worse chip which requires no non-free code or just accepted you need the non-free firmware, don't up the cost to embed the non-free firmware into the board itself and then pretend it doesn't exist, it's just dumb.
    • by vadim_t (324782)

      The way I understand it, the idea is that since they're unable to obtain or write open firmware, they'll isolate it from the main CPU instead. So if the firmware has something in it that for instance monitors the user, or does something that interfers with the kernel, it's not able to do anything of the sort because it has no way to.

  • The freeRunner comes with a closed source baseband because of legal/licensing issues. In other words: It's /not/ a free phone.
    • by lindi (634828)
      Yep, "free phone" is always relative. There's non-free software running in the GPS and Wifi parts too.
    • by jonwil (467024)

      I suspect any phone with a "free" baseband would likely be illegal in the US due to the FCC rules that govern the use of the cellular frequency bands.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Nokia N9 runs debian already and it's a damn fine piece of hardware :)

    Plus, getting SSH root is as simple as checking "developer mode" in the settings pane... (The password is 'rootme'.)

  • by flibby (928270)
    because I'd spend more time trying to get it to work and trying to fix it after updates broke it than I would spend actually using it.
  • Would you pay extra for a phone that comes with a Debian build?

    I would pay extra for any phone that allows to run wireshark on the GSM or 3G stack.

The major difference between bonds and bond traders is that the bonds will eventually mature.

Working...