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Cellphones Linux

Nokia Leaks Phone With Full GNU/Linux Distribution 621

Posted by kdawson
from the rocket-in-your-pocket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It is now clear why Nokia has been so slow with S60 updates: the upcoming N900 just left everything else in the dust. Unlike Google's Linux platform, Nokia is not intentionally breaking compatibility with real distros, choosing instead to bring you the unmatchable power of GNU/Linux on your phone. This is the most awesome device I have ever seen: MAP3 CPU/GPU, 3,5" 800x480 touchscreen, keyboard, Wi-Fi, HSPA, GPS; 5-MP camera, CZ lens, 32 GB storage, SD slot; X11, VT100 terminal emulator, APT package manager. Estimated price without credit: $780 (N.5800: $390, iPhone 3GS: $750). Developers should note that even though the current desktop is still GTK+, Qt will be standard across all Nokia platforms in the near future (less powerful phones will use Qt on the Symbian kernel). Users can download flashing software from Nokia, and patches can be submitted at the Maemo site."
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Nokia Leaks Phone With Full GNU/Linux Distribution

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  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:35AM (#29146113)

    The Pre runs a practically normal Linux distribution. Granted, all the applications are written in Javascript and not some compiled language using C, but I look at that as a good thing.

  • Corrections (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:37AM (#29146125)

    It's not MAP3.. it's OMAP 3

    And the VT100 term emulator is based on gnome-terminal (at least it is in older maemo and I see no reason for them to have written a different one)

  • by Speare (84249) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:38AM (#29146139) Homepage Journal
    I searched for the word "phone" throughout that linked article, and nowhere did it mention things like, oh, talking and listening and dialing. No "3G" or "GPRS" mentions either. The N810 and N800 and (N)700 Internet Tablet models look just like this, but WITH NO PHONE GUTS. A few screenshots look like they have phone features, but it really seems odd that a review/preview just doesn't even mention such obvious things. Maybe it's just Skype for all I know.
  • by ultrabot (200914) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:43AM (#29146189)

    The Pre runs a practically normal Linux distribution. Granted, all the applications are written in Javascript and not some compiled language using C, but I look at that as a good thing.

    You realize that it doesn't matter if the device runs Linux when the development environment is locked down, right?

    You don't have to hack C or C++ to make programs for this device either; PyGtk has emerged as the most popular programming platform for third party developers of Maemo software.

    What Nokia is bringing to the table is completely different from Android / Palm - it's a full, open Linux, no strings attached. You can develop software using the tools you want to use, instead of sticking to Java or Javascript.

  • Re:$800? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Neil Watson (60859) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:46AM (#29146207) Homepage

    Miniaturization. I can't fit a netbook in my pocket. Close not quite.

  • by radish (98371) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:46AM (#29146211) Homepage

    Well there's a screenshot of a dialler, and the status screen shows an IMEI number, so I'm going with "yes it is a phone" :) Nice hardware for sure, and open-ness is a benefit for us hacker types, but they need to work on that UI. Still, interesting!

  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bug1 (96678) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:48AM (#29146239)

    To answer my own questions....

    Apparently this device is based on Maemo, from its website; "Maemo is a software platform that is mostly based on open source code" (emphasis mine)

    Expect proprietary blobs wherever they can get away with it.

  • by Efreet (246368) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:57AM (#29146339)

    To quote TFA

    "I thought it wouldn't make much sense to go through all features of the phone just yet - I'm not lazy, I just have to leave some bread for Nokia's announcement guys!"

    So I suspect you didn't read TFA very well.

  • Re:$800? (Score:2, Informative)

    by SilverEyes (822768) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:59AM (#29146365)
    Your problem is that your pockets aren't big enough.
  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NospAm.gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:03AM (#29146397)

    The distinction between "full distro" and "non-full distro" is one that the slashdot summary defined, and is not nessesarily something that I agree with.

    That said, the summary makes it pretty clear that it's using the term to make a distinction between a phone that uses a traditional userland and interface, and one with a custom-ish one that doesn't really support "native" (poorly defined, I think most people understand what it's trying to say though) linux applications. I'm not trying to inflect my believes here.

    I suspect you're a language snob who dislikes Javascript for no rational reason.

    I never said anything was wrong with javascript, I'd be unqualified to properly insult it even if I wanted too. Your insulting assumption is I assume the reason you're modded flamebait.

  • Down the Pan eh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:03AM (#29146405)

    If you are that accident prone why not buy used phones. You know the ones that people chuck in a drawer when they get their next shiny new toy.

    Get them unlocked and you are good to go.
    My skinflint cousin does it this way.
    He then signs up for sim only contracts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:05AM (#29146425)

    HSPA is a form of 3G. So yes, it's a phone.

  • by samkass (174571) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:05AM (#29146431) Homepage Journal

    You seem to have a significant mis-understanding of iPhone software. The iPhone is based on a C kernel with an Objective-C interface/library layer. Both of those languages are compiled languages. All third party "native" apps for the iPhone are compiled Objective-C apps. The compiler is gcc, and the target is either x86 for the emulator or ARM for the iPhone. And Objective-C on the iPhone allows the direct linking of C or C++ libraries.

    It's true that Apple locks down their App Store, but that's a separate business decision, not a technological one.

  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonwil (467024) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:05AM (#29146435)

    Nokia seem to be in compliance with other versions of their linux tablet OS so there is no reason to suspect that this will be any different.
    If by some chance it has phone functionality, it will almost certainly be like the OpenMoko phone where the phone functionality is in a blackbox on a seperate baseband CPU.

  • Re:Shell apps? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:13AM (#29146525)

    Yes, Maemo is pretty much a full Linux distribution. You can ssh into the device and ssh out from the device. On the N810 (with a large enough MicroSD card) you can even install a full Debian distribution. It's still ARM, so don't expect it to be as fast as a Desktop, but everything works (mplayer, pidgin, Open Office, VNC client & server, etc).

  • by MynockGuano (164259) <hyperactiveChipm ... AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:14AM (#29146547)

    I tried to RTFA, but apparently the author assumes that I spend day and night reading his website and know the story behind all his half-alluded-to technologies. The only bit of coherent information I was able to garner from that pile of misspelled words, glued together with condescension, was how great the author thinks he is for being all "insider" and stuff.

  • by Keruo (771880) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:20AM (#29146617)

    No it's not. Nokia doesn't call N-series devices phones.

    They are multimedia computers which have capability to make calls over 3G networks.

    N(700/800/810) were all marketed as internet tablets and had no phone capability to begin with.(beyond skype that is)

    This N900 is next gen internet tablet with builtin 3G. You can do much more with this device than you can with "normal smartphones" as it runs complete operating system.

    You can even install and run openoffice on this device.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:20AM (#29146629)

    You can use a bluetooth keyboard. You can also use a VNC server on the phone and do your work from a VNC client on the desktop (or just ssh into the device).

  • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:22AM (#29146647) Homepage
    Looks like it's the successor of N800 series, and new feature is the built-in phone and back mounted camera. I had an N810, and that thing is awesome. The 800x480 display really sets them things apart from other gadgets of similar size which resort to 320x480. It makes a world of a difference when you're browsing the web.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:22AM (#29146649)

    The N900 is not comparable to firefox. It is comparable to a Thinkpad, that fits on your pocket, and is also a cell phone.

    I don't have time to learn some one-off development environment that the folks at Palm thought was cool. I use standard POSIX/GNU/Linux for software I develop. If that software will run on my phone with minimal porting effort, that would be very cool.

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:24AM (#29146681)

    Nepenthes attenboroughii. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article6799283.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:27AM (#29146717) Homepage

    "What Nokia is bringing to the table is completely different from Android / Palm - it's a full, open Linux, no strings attached. "

    Android is a complete linux distribution that uses a different Window Manager and has a well defined consistent Object Oriented development platform. You can hack root on the T-Mobile G1, for example, and then install any Linux binary you care to build against the FOSS source code that you can download and build at will. Furthermore, to write applications which leverage the Androids advantages all you need is a PC and there is no need to jailbreak at all. The consistency in behavior one observes regardless of the application installed from the Android Market is a direct consequence of this enforced development consistency. Android rocks !!!

    (I believe they are adding C/C++ support at some point in the relatively near future IIRC)

  • Re:$800? (Score:3, Informative)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:30AM (#29146773) Homepage Journal

    How can you justify that cost? For $800, you could buy a netbook, a basic smart phone, plus hookers and blow.

    You must live in the US, where the cost of a mobile phone is heavily subsidized by multi year contracts for wireless plans. If and when Nokia's new model makes it to the US, expect to see it for $199 when purchased with a two year contract from your wireless carrier.

  • Re:$800? (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:32AM (#29146795)

    They don't subsidize the cost of the phone, they build it into the monthly payment.

    It would be accurate to say that they are helping the buyer finance the phone, but they aren't doing it at a loss.

  • by just fiddling around (636818) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:32AM (#29146797) Journal

    They bought Trolltech and their Qt Extended phone OS last May, which is completely open-source.

    If you want to see what the OS is like, go and see one of the forks: QtMoko, Qt Extended Improved, and probably others. I am using QtMoko on a Freerunner and the interface is sweet even if some parts need more polishing.

  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PTBarnum (233319) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:37AM (#29146871)

    In my experience, (which admittedly is years out of date) you can't build a phone with a libre radio and expect to get it past type acceptance. There are a lot of very precise regulations on the way a phone has to behave on the air, and in many cases the manufacturer is at least theoretically liable if the device misbehaves. Allowing users to mess with the protocols is therefore widely regarded as a bad idea by manufacturers, carriers, and regulators. When I was doing smart phone development, I was working on a totally proprietary system with no way for the end user to install apps, but we still used dual processors to ensure our app code didn't interfere with the GSM stack.

    Obviously, things may have changed since then, but I'm not aware of any phone where the user can get direct control over the radio. If there is an exception to that, I'd love to hear about it.

  • by DingerX (847589) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:43AM (#29146955) Journal
    It's in the garage [maemo.org].

    If it works in Diablo, and on N770s, n800s and n810s, the n900 has got you covered. The n900 may be a phone, but with its OMAP processor and MID heritage, the nerd angle is already covered.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#29147005)

    No.

    N900 uses Maemo which afaik predates Trolltechs qtopia, openmoko, android etc. It uses GTK as primary toolkit, and Qt only as "community supported", emerging tech. If you want to have some kind of idea what kind of system it is, nokia has already existing line of products using it (n700, n800, n810), and some kind of emulator or something is probably included in the devkit.

  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#29147533) Homepage Journal

    You can't just hack together your own code, plug it into the GSM network and expect the FCC to just smile and look the other way.

    You can if all GSM/UMTS-related code runs on a dedicated core that communicates with the main core (which runs the apps) through a well-defined interface. The Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi, although not phones, follow the same general scheme: one core to handle audio, Wi-Fi, and power management, and one core to handle everything else.

  • by randallman (605329) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:55AM (#29148033)

    * You can watch a movie on this phone. The screen on these things (I have an n800) is stunning at 800 x 480. I and some of my relatives have enjoyed full length movies on my n800 and I keep my personal video collection (dv converted to mpeg4) on it.

    * word-work? Never heard that term, but I'll assume you're talking about messaging (I hope your not talking about word processing). Many people are quite efficient on each of the various keyboard input setups and this has two of them; touchscreen and pop-out keyboard, so you probably just need practice.

    * In case you missed the article the camera is very nice. Carl Zeiss; 5.2 MP. More than enough for "happy snaps".

    * Maemo is a very active community (http://www.maemo.org) with lots of great software. So what is it that you want your phone to do? More than likely there is an application to do it.

    We (the geeks) have been clamoring for an open platform phone and now it appears we're getting it. I admit that I get excited at the thought of being able to ssh into my phone, run scripts and write programs in Python/GTK and configure pretty much any and every aspect of the device. If you don't, you're probably not a geek and this whole thing will be lost on you.

  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday August 21, 2009 @12:13PM (#29148223) Homepage

    Are you serious?...

    Ehhh...if Nokia owns Trolltech (nvm "if they can change license like that"), they also have access to commercial Qt license...for free.

    Why you all can't get over the fact that there were no short-term benefits for Nokia in making Qt LGPL-ed? (long-term, sure, probably...but that's the goal of OSS/free software, right? Right?!)

  • by peppepz (1311345) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:29PM (#29149215)
    You can already run your own application on your own phone, officially and for free.
    Just use the Open Signed Online [symbiansigned.com] service.
  • by Knytefall (7348) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:38PM (#29149351)

    the Palm Pre has a standard OpenEmbedded based distro. you can install packages from the OptWare repository [webos-internals.org]. enjoy fully supported, debugged and tested Linux components that are updated on a regular basis--all written by very talented engineers who are committed to getting awesomeness to customers as often as they can. (has Nokia ever released updates as often as Palm has for webOS?)

    don't like javascript apps? rip out the webOS window manager and put whatever you want on it. or maybe you want both. you can always switch between the two. the development community has already figured out how to do this.

    and the Mojo javascript development environment does have its strengths. it's the first platform since the computers of the 80s where you can hack on it right out of the box.

    how could you not love a company that made the contra code an officially-supported way of entering development mode?

  • by hao3 (1182447) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:40PM (#29149373)

    symbian has apps for answering (and texting) through your computer using and remotely taking pictures/video.

  • Re:most awesome? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:43PM (#29149405)

    The LHC is like most women; frigid, a bit temperamental, and capable of making things that nothing else can.

    Did I miss any salient points?

  • Re:damit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by hao3 (1182447) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:58PM (#29149611)

    i'd still keep the n97. i just got one, and i quite like the d-pad, it's quite handy, especially browsing. although the n900 has the separate arrow keys, a d-pad seems convenient.

  • Re:Yeah but (Score:3, Informative)

    by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) on Friday August 21, 2009 @02:41PM (#29150049)
    Finland has 10 people?
  • by jfanning (35979) on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:12PM (#29150347) Homepage

    The site is from Russia and the articles in English tend to have rather interesting grammar and punctuation. So give them a break.

    Second, the site is well known for leaking pre-release Nokia models (among others). I have no idea how they do it or where they get the protos from, but they are good at it and they know their shit.

    If you followed the global mobile news you would know about mobile-review already. But most in the US don't know shit about anything except RIM, Apple and Motorola.

  • by supernova_hq (1014429) on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:13PM (#29150357)
    The N810 (N900 predecessor) already HAS wesnoth in the repos!

All the simple programs have been written.

Working...