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Operating Systems Software Handhelds Linux Hardware

Launch of OSS For Mobile Phones 75

Posted by Hemos
from the fits-in-your-hand dept.
Linux Mobile Phone Guy writes "Members of the open source GPE project (GPE Palmtop Environment) today announced a new offspring project to create a fully open source software stack for mobile phones, GPE Phone Edition. GPE Phone Edition is a fully open source project based on developments from the GPE project adding necessary components for mobile phone usage. Based on standards defined by the LiPS Forum a complete application software stack is built. The current implementation is based on code contributed to the LiPS Forum by Orange/France Telecom's research and development lab located in Beijing China in collaboration with GPE project members. The result is now an open sourced software stack which can handle a GSM compliant mobile modem for making voice calls, handling the SIM address book and sending and receiving SMS. Also some additional application exists e.g. for media playback, instant messaging and email. They have some screenshots there and even a downloadable VMware image using which you can try the whole thing in a virtual phone on your PC — if you connect a GSM Modem (like an existing phone) to /dev/GSM-Modem you should probably even be able to use the full phone functionality (access SIM card, send/receive SMS, make a call!)."
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Launch of OSS For Mobile Phones

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  • I wonder if this is just going to be some "tech experiment" or maybe something that people will be actually able to use. In real life, I mean
    • by Threni (635302)
      Not sure the phone networks will be so keen. It will allow you to defeat the DRM which stops you putting a game (etc) on your phone and then sharing it with your friends (currently it's not possible to get installed apps off your phone - at least, I've never managed it). The minute they look like losing money, this sort of phone will be blocked from the network.

      There's also the unique number of each phone (not the sim card or the phone number, but the IMEI number which is what is used to block the use of
      • They can probably replicate the number. I think I remember a ruling (by the Library of Congress?) recently that users can unlock their phones. You can already use an unlocked phone (with manufacturer's firmware) with phone companies, I imagine there are relatively few restrictions in that firmware.
        • by Threni (635302)
          It's got nothing to do with unlocking the phone. You don't unlock a phone by changing the IMEI number. What happens when a phone gets stolen is the IMEI number gets added to a database which is checked whenever a call is made. If your phone's on the list it's not going to be allowed to make any calls to any network in the UK. (Most stolen phones get shipped off to Africa/Asia now, where phones are expensive but calls are cheap - the opposite to the UK, where phones are typically free).
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

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    • by mentem (1060302)
      I have wrote about Open Source phone on my own blog [pctipsworld.com]. Soon this phone will be available for public and you you'll get OSS phone in real life
  • Is there a list yet
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mustafap (452510)
      Well, hopefully Openmoko [http://www.openmoko.com/] if that ever appears.
      • by Simon80 (874052) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:58AM (#17888828)
        I don't blame you for mincing words, but OpenMoko is an alternative software stack for mobile phones, similar to this one. You meant to mention the Neo1973, which is the phone that OpenMoko's initially going to run on.
        • by mustafap (452510)
          yea, fair point. Thanks for the clarification.

          Hoping to get ones of those, some day.

          The trolltech greenphone might be an alternative, but it seems there are issues with the hardware that cause even trolltech to not advise it for general use.

          I'm hoping the Neo1973 doesn't have similar problems, although I'm prepared to stomach a small reduction in battery life for the extra freedom.
          • by Simon80 (874052)
            Yeah, the Greenphone isn't what you're looking for, it's mainly an SDK designed to help Qtopia proliferate. The Neo1973 IS what you're looking for, but they aren't going to start selling it through regular retail channels until this September, as of the last announcement. If you really, really want one, you should be able to get it direct from them on 11 March, if they don't change plans, but again, intended only for devs.
    • Is that a question
  • DRM (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So where is the DRM in this? All mobile phone stacks are rushing down the "Trusted Computing" (or ARM's TrustZone) route with locked down software and DRM built on top of that. So where in this stack is the rights management stuff (or the placeholder for it)... since all of this software will be digitally signed and locked so it cannot be modified or changed by users.

    It uses GStreamer, and since Fluendo (a company that touts itself as a Free software company) is committed to bringing the wonderful ness of

  • by kalpaha (667921) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:26AM (#17888574)

    Greenphone [trolltech.com] from Trolltech already has a development device available, although it is a bit pricey for common usage ($695 USD). Does anyone have any information about the differences in the project?

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:27AM (#17888580) Homepage Journal
    I'm looking forward to the day that I can buy a phone and install an open source OS on it, customize everything to be just the way I want it, etc. This projects brings that day one step closer. Congratulations, and good luck!
  • Coming Soon (Score:5, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:29AM (#17888602) Homepage Journal
    Coming soon: software to turn a bunch of mobile phones into a Beowulf cluster.
    • by div_2n (525075)
      You joke, but there is more to this than you think. With data and voice converging along with ever increasing smaller and more powerful chips, projects like SETI and other distributed computing initiatives will be VERY interested in those unused CPU cycles. An open platform makes it much more possible for them to use. Of course, this will drain battery power faster, but I'd volunteer my battery power if it meant I had to plug in my phone every night instead of every other night.
    • Coming soon: software to turn a bunch of mobile phones into a Beowulf cluster.

      Ah, hell, my poor little Treo 650 can't even manage to run all day on a single battery with its dumb little single-threaded OS checking my e-mail and you want it to start folding proteins? The poor dear would burn itself to a crisp in 23 minutes.
  • Virtual Phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mgiuca (1040724) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:32AM (#17888622)
    Being able to run a virtual phone on a PC is what entices me. It means anyone can sit at home and play around, write software, etc, even without owning a phone. While this is all "for fun", by the time these phones become cheap and accessible there will be a mass of kids who already have the expertise to use and program these devices.

    I'll definately check this out on my PC.
    • A clunky suite of software to emulate a phone, fax, and answering machine through a voice modem came with my first Pentium computer in 1995. It used the mic and speakers, and was surprisingly good for what it was. I think it stored messages in the cranky old .voc format, and of course each fax received was a huge TIFF.
      • And upon rereading that I realize what you were really talking about. Please pardon my boneheadedness. Effing Monday mornings..
      • Re:Nothing new. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:00AM (#17888840)
        I think you totally missed the point here. While the ability to use the virtual phone while it's hooked a real phone is neat, but real benefit comes from being able to create and test phone applications with real connectivity, and without taking a chance on destroying a real phone.

        I must say, though, the idea of hooking asterisk to a real cellphone for calls like this is intriguing already.

        Also, for those looking for a mirror, These finally loaded:

        http://gpe.linuxtogo.org.nyud.net:8080/ [nyud.net]

        http://gpephone.linuxtogo.org.nyud.net:8080/ [nyud.net]
        • That already exists on several platforms. The only ones I'm familiar with myself are the Windows Mobile ones, where the dev studio can emulate all of the target phones. You can just fire up the emulator and play about with the OS.

          Also, an OSS OS already exists here, Linux was ported to the platform several years ago. It's still a work-in-progress and the user interface is as bad as you'd expect it to be for a project of this maturity. Unfortunately, IMHO the most important thing on a portable device is th

  • Which Windows mobile phones are the easiest to install this stack, which have the most of their features supported by the OS for apps? That can then run (recompiled) existing Linux apps? Mapping a touchscreen, joystick or keypad combo to the mouse, full Bluetooth and other radio control for voice/SMS/MMS/data...

    Not just because I want my phone to run the same apps on the same shared data as my desktop. But because the limited phone UI will force new paradigms in using these little mobile devices which will
    • I'm not really sure what you are trying to say here but I can tell you a little about GPE. You demand:

      ... run (recompiled) existing Linux apps? Mapping a touchscreen, joystick or keypad combo to the mouse, full Bluetooth and other radio control for voice/SMS/MMS/data ...

      and shall receive. GPE already runs recompiled applications with good mapping of input from all available buttons and the touch screen. Xstroke is on of the best graffiti handwriting recognitions I've ever used. The average distribu

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I know all that. I've run exclusively a GNU/Linux desktop (GNOME) for several years, switching from Windows over the course of a year, after a decade following switching from a Mac (I used to work for Apple), when I'd also designed Windows 3.0/3.1 desktop publishing apps.

        What I'm talking about is mainly drivers for phone touchscreens and other HW. And specifically, which Windows phones are most completely supported by GPE now. I ran the Handhelds.org Linux on some iPaqs without X (ethernet to stereo audio f
  • similar projects (Score:5, Informative)

    by g2ek (852570) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:25AM (#17889084)
    The LiMo Foundation [limofoundation.org]
    OpenMoko [openmoko.com]
    The GreenPhone [trolltech.com]
  • GNU radio should be able to be the modem, in software, given merely a transmitter/receiver/DAC/ADC setup.

    How do you get a SIM card into a PC? :-) Maybe that too can be faked in software.
    • by juergen (313397)

      USB connected smart card reader with a SIM adapter.

    • by jonwil (467024)
      IANAL but I believe FCC rules would prohibit such a device, especially as it most likely could be changed quite easily to spy on all cellular communication instead of just listening to what it is supposed to.
      • by makapuf (412290)
        except that GSM/3G communication are cyphered (though I dunno how crackable it is) ; however you could just be a jackass and spread noise around in the right frequency, so I assume it would effectively be prohibited.
  • vmware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smoker2 (750216) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:36AM (#17889922) Homepage Journal
    If anybody can actually find this mythical vmware image can you post a link please.
  • by gidds (56397) <slashdot@@@gidds...me...uk> on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:57AM (#17890190) Homepage
    Who thinks that any service provider will allow an uncertified software stack onto any of their handsets, and/or onto their network?

    This isn't like getting a PC onto the internet, where any software can be installed and anything that talks TCP/IP can connect. Like it or not (and I don't), many of the more recent phones, music players, etc. are not open platforms in that sense. And the service providers are more than a tad concerned about keeping control of what connects to their networks. (I don't know whether their worries are about a compromised device crashing the network, introducing some unreliability, or just bypassing one of their many ways to profit from every byte that gets transferred.)

    Do we have any reason to think that this stack will be treated any differently?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most of these 'stacks' are application stacks with the actual protocol/modem part that controls the RF hardware locked away in a chip elsewhere. So in terms of breaking the network, the risk is very low, I'd liken it to the damage that someone could do with a PC connected to the Internet via dialup to a premium rate number. Also remember here that the network operator can disconnect you if they want (think of how pre-pay SIMs are managed, or the black lists for stolen phones that identify device IMEIs).
      • Critics need to know these details, if they are true. If not, they need to refute them. Either way, this post was informative to me and would be to others if it weren't below most people's thresholds.
    • by w4k (543607)
      It is not a matter of service provider or operator, it's the law (often - not in every country). In many countries _type approval_ is required, if the device does not pass the type approval tests, it is illegal to sell or use it. A cell phone is really very different from a PC. System upgrade images made available by some phone manufacturer (Nokia, Sony Ericsson) do pass through type approval.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bigtrike (904535)
      You can run your own software on quite a few GSM phones, which typically don't have any memory protection in order to save on hardware costs. You can pretty much do anything with a Symbian based phone that you want and there haven't been any massive service outages yet.

      The control issue is only about selling you extras. They want you to have to purchase $2 wallpapers, ringtones, etc. from the carrier.
      • Maybe you want to have a look at Symbian Signed so see what kind of loops and hops you have to go thrue to run your own software on a smart phone.

        It's the same for Windows Mobile and will be the same for the iPhone.

        And, of course: a network provider can ban the use of specific API's and or unsigned software on subsidised/branded phones.

        Martin

        [1] https://www.symbiansigned.com/app/page/dev/devcert Summary [symbiansigned.com]
  • But whats the point of this when you can't go gown to your local phone store and buy these things off the shelf. Now when I first heard that people were releasing devices that run Linux I was very, very interested in purchasing one or at least testing one out. Much to my surprise these devices were no where to be found. Not only are they not at the local phone store I have emailed countless people about getting a linux based phone and no one has even replied, are these phones vaporware or what? Does anyone

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