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Communications Software Handhelds Linux Hardware

The Rise of the Linux-Based Cellphone 151

Posted by Zonk
from the doobie-doobie-dooo dept.
mrscotty99 writes with a link to a Linux.com article about the rising star that is the Linux-based cellphone. Author Murry Shohat argues that the transformation of the cell into a mini-PC this summer is a landmark opportunity for Linux. Apple's offering and Motorola's US launch of the RAZR2 V8 (a linux-based device) may be heralds of great things to come for a new OS frontier: "In the cell phone market, consumers will pay for content, and corporations need to deliver secure content to applications in the palm of employees' hands. These trends suggest products that are simultaneously more functional and less expensive than a Treo or BlackBerry and more secure than an iPhone. MontaVista Software claims to have deployed Mobilinux on more than 35 million mobile devices worldwide. CEO Tom Kelley says, 'Linux is growing rapidly on mobile devices because of its solid reliability, its great flexibility, and because it accelerates the development cycle.' Vendors using or contemplating the use of Linux for mobile devices unanimously point to the operating system's footprint, memory usage, and fast growing ecosystem of developers producing software for graphics, multimedia, connectivity, and security." Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by SourceForge.
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The Rise of the Linux-Based Cellphone

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  • http://openmoko.com/ [openmoko.com]
    - Touchscreen
    - WLAN
    - completely open
    - A-GPS
  • by wehe (135130) <wehe.tuxmobil@org> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @04:58AM (#20649217) Homepage Journal
    Motorola is no the only manufacturer offering mobile phones with Linux operating system. Here is an overview of mobile phones with Linux pre-installed [tuxmobil.org]. The entries marked with an asterisk *) show around twenty manufacturers which offer Linux on mobile cellular phones.
  • by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:12AM (#20649281)
    Now imagine this:
    1. use VoIP from the cellphone (duh!)
    2. GPG-encrypt the data stream, without relying on AT&T's proprietary "encryption" which goes directly to whichever government asks for it
    3. use the existing GPG web of trust for keys; generate a new key for the phone and sign it with your main key so if the phone is stolen you lose only the phone's secret key

    The above makes you imprevious to plain main-in-the-middle snooping. What is left is information whom you talk to.

    4. get an account at a company/group of volunteers who provide a number of servers; the more such independent group of this kind the better
    5. have the phone connect only to the nearest server of your group; this is all the phone company can find out about you
    6. once there, the server will peel the outer onion layer, connecting to the next hop
    7. these servers will be usually already connected as conversations can be aggregated into a single connection; if not, random data can be sent through idle links to thwart traffic analysis
    8. unless you're paranoid, the next hop will be your interlocutor's privacy company/group. 2 hops should be enough for most cases, but if you value privacy more than latency, toss in full onion routing.

    While Tor is WAAAY too slow to allow for usable VoIP, having a network of servers connected with opaque noise-filled pipes should give you decent enough privacy with just two geographically close hops.
  • Re:4 choices (Score:3, Informative)

    by david.given (6740) <dg@cRASPowlark.com minus berry> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @05:28AM (#20649353) Homepage Journal

    Or there's Nucleus, VxWorks, QNX, one of the several proprietary phone OSs (you'll probably only pick one of these if you're part of the same group that owns the OS)... there are lots of RTOSs out there that are suitable for phones, especially the low-end phones that you wouldn't want to run a heavyweight OS on.

    The thing I'm surprised about is that nobody (we hear about) seems to be using BSD. The BSDs are traditionally easier to port than Linux, and have a much friendlier license to commercial use; so why aren't the phone manufacturers using that?

  • Re:4 choices (Score:3, Informative)

    by Molt (116343) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:23AM (#20649631)

    I've been doing all of those things, with the exception of the P2P voice development, on my HTC Universal (Orange M5000) [engadget.com] for nearly two years now- and that was by no means the first device which offered this kind of functionality.

    Please, if you're going to credit anyone with opening up the true power of Smartphones don't make it Apple.. any openness of their device is purely accidental, not unlike the Sony PSP, and is likely to be reduced more and more as they patch. With regards to actually promoting external developers to get things done on their phones they're leagues behind their competition, which includes the Windows Mobile based phones, Symbian, Linux phones, and the Palm offerings. At least we can get specs, APIs, and documentation from these, even if the phones aren't viewed in the same 'manna from heaven' light as Apple's product.

  • by Down_in_the_Park (721993) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @06:26AM (#20649649)
    thanks, so lets wait for the next version. Using a mobile phone for accessing the internet via UMTS is way too expensive.
  • Re:4 choices (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:24AM (#20650047)
    Why don't you download Symbian SDK? You will find that it is based on binutils, gcc for ARM and the IDE is based on Eclipse.

    Motorola Razr is definitely not Symbian based. The only Motorola Symbian-based phones are A1000 and Motorizr Z8.
  • by Gizmhail (821391) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:42AM (#20650213)
    You might find useful information (concerning the first OpenMoko compatible phone) on this page : http://wiki.openmoko.org/index.php?title=Neo1973 [openmoko.org]
    The end user version is the one named "Phase 2" (GTA02, "Mass Market").
    Allong with hardware specs, you'll find there an estimated timeline :
            * Sep 20 - GTA02v3 design finalised.
            * Oct 20 - GTA02v3 design produced, and shipped to qualified developers.
            * Nov 20 - GTA02v3 design verified through testing by developers.
            * Dec 10 - GTA02v3 produced in moderate volume
            * Dec 20 - GTA02v3 goes on sale
            * Dec 25 - GTA02v3 arrives

  • Re:Apple's Offering? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:49AM (#20652267)

    Darwin was an open source project, that never gained traction or support from Apple. From Wikipedia: "OpenDarwin was a community-led operating system based on the Darwin platform, founded in April 2002 by the Internet Software Consortium and Apple. In July 2006, the OpenDarwin Core Team and Administrators announced that all development on OpenDarwin would cease, citing concerns over lack of interest from the community."


    Lack of interest from the community So apple has their own repositories. Releases stuff. People decide to fork it, community doesn't support it and that's Apple's fault?

    WebKit was KHTML, but modified so extensively by Apple it basically turned into a fork. Only recently have attmepts been made to merge them back together. Instead of working on KHTML, Apple chose to grab it, mangle it, and throw it in Safari


    Did they break any laws? Did they break any licenses? Next up:
    1. X.org grabs XFree86 code, mangles it and throws it in their product.
    2. DD-WRT grabs Linksys code, mangles it and releases it as their own.

    The unforking of KDE's KHTML and Webkit [arstechnica.com]

    Please get your facts straight, sir. I bought a G-4 in 2000 (before you could buy a G-4 with OS X preinstalled) and got an OS X t-shirt with it. I thought it was the dawn of a new day at Apple when OS X was released. I was wrong.
  • [A.] "Bob," said Sue, "me and you are going to the greenhouse."
    [B.] Bob said: "Sue me, and you are going to the 'green' house!"
    The phrase "me and you" is not a valid subject in standard English because the pronoun "me" is in object case, not nominative case. A valid subject is "I and you", but "you and I" is more idiomatic. Substituting these words into B produces the invalid sentences "Bob said: 'Sue I, and you are going to the {green} house!'" and "Bob said: 'Sue you, and I are going to the {green} house!'"
  • by Workaphobia (931620) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @03:20PM (#20659111) Journal
    I know you were trying to be funny, but what on Earth makes you think it doesn't have a CLI? It *IS* Linux after all.

    http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Manually_using_GSM [openmoko.org]
  • by xanalogical (808042) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:44AM (#20664255) Homepage
    Sure, the Neo1973 running OpenMoko. It runs X and this past weekend I gave a presentation where programs running on it were displayed on the overhead projector, using my laptop as an X display. It doesn't even need ethernet, just a USB cable between the phone and the laptop.

  • by torpor (458) * <{ibisum} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @05:43AM (#20665435) Homepage Journal

    Yes that is the phone I want to get. But because I can't try it in the shop I have a question which you may be able to answer: can you carry the OpenMoko around in your pocket, or is it a belt pouch phone? I have seen the dimensions on the web site but it is not the same as holding one in your hand.

    Admittedly it is a bit bulky and quite a bit like a large bar of oversized soap .. with not so much to endear you to the plastic form, to be honest, until you turn it on and start using it - the most immediate design appeal comes from the high resolution screen, which is a lot denser and brighter than you might imagine from the screenshots.

    I carry it around in its pouch (provided) with a lanyard attached through the loop on the case .. so its not really so much 'pocketable' as it is luggable. Its akin to having a serious bit of industrial-strength equipment with you, though, keep in mind it has a lot of onboard peripherals inside the somewhat bloated case ..

    I look forward to future refined iterations of the case design, though. Definitely a fairly bloaty bit of kit. Reminds me a lot of an American car, in some ways .. and I'm really not so big a fan of the 'bar of soap' mentality of industrial design that seems to be standard with such kit. Would be very nice if it had a more of a harder edge to it, but I suppose after a while you get used to it.

    It sure is fun to be using autotools to hack code that can run both on my Linux machine and my cell phone, I gotta say! Long live Linux portability and the suite of tools it provides!

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