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Debian Cellphones Communications

Debian On the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner Phone 167

BrianWCarver writes "It was inevitable. One can now run the entire Debian distribution (ARM port) on the Openmoko Neo Freerunner. We previously discussed the July 4th launch of this GNU/Linux-based smartphone, which is open down to its core, with the company providing CAD files and schematics for the phone. Openmoko released an update to their software stack earlier this month, called Om2008.8, which is still a work in progress. But now one can use these instructions on the Debian wiki to open up the possibility of using apt-get to access Debian's more than 20,000 applications on your phone, which, due to integration with efforts, can also actually be used as a phone. There were previous efforts to run Debian on the predecessor product to the Neo FreeRunner, the Neo 1973, but with the wider adoption of the Neo FreeRunner and the hard work of many Debian developers at the ongoing DebConf 8, carrying Debian in your pocket has just gotten a lot easier."
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Debian On the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner Phone

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  • Re:Neo 1973? (Score:4, Informative)

    by squidinkcalligraphy ( 558677 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:25AM (#24624189)

    (I think you're being funny here, but for the record) 1973 was the year of the first call on a mobile phone.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:30AM (#24624215)

    I'm really struggling to understand whether there is any use for this outside of the learning context.

    In terms of platform, Symbian is on its way to being open-sourced, and Android is supposed to be F/OSS as well. I don't think LiMo is going anywhere, but it has the same virtues of openness.

    The answer is that OpenMoko predates all those things.

  • Re:Neo 1973? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:40AM (#24624265)

    No it wasn't... the first (cellular) call of a mobile phone would have been somewhere in the mid-60's...

    The first "mobile" phone call, was probably in the early 1900's, using radio, however it was limited to a few channels, but could be linked into an actual phone network, albeit cumbersome and annoying, with middle-men.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:54AM (#24624311)

    Android actually has backing and is usable out of the box.

    Devices that run Android don't even exist yet. How can you possibly claim it will be usable out of the box?

  • Re:Right, but...? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:40AM (#24624475) []

    The hardware

    It was smaller than I thought, and is quite light. My girlfriend says it's ugly, but I'm fine with the look of it. Besides being a GSM-phone, it comes with some nice gimmics: GPS, accelerometer, WLAN. The touchscreen works fine, although I don't have anything to compare it with.

    The software

    The system it comes with, even after upgrading, is still very rough. It mostly works for doing phone calls and SMSs, but there are a number of unsolved quirks that prevent me from using the Freerunner as my sole phone for now. The suspend mode is left too often, resulting in a battery life of about eight hours, and there are issues with the audio for the conversation partners, who will hear static and echoes. But, as this is free software, there is hope that this will be fixed eventually

    It's ok if you bring a Lauterbach and a laptop with you when you carry it. And TALK LOUDLY to make sure people can here you over the static and echoes. Echoes. echoes. ec...

  • Re:Right, but...? (Score:2, Informative)

    by aristos_achaion ( 1345711 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @03:59AM (#24624837)
    With the FSO stack (the one that's been packaged for Debian), the echo's pretty much gone, and the static's a lot better. There's still a lot of work left, but there's definitely been a lot of progress.
  • by lindi ( 634828 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:25AM (#24625233)
    I use the "zhone" package to make and receive calls (the same app has also a primitive address book). However, you are correct in that there is probably not much point in using the phone if you have already decided that you don't plan to do any development.
  • by toxygen01 ( 901511 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:47AM (#24625295) Journal
    Right, how comes I have new sony-ericcson and it keeps turning off anytime it wants. My friend experience the same problem, so it's not a bad luck. Another friend of mine bought pricey new nokia N90. And it crashes just similarly like my s-e. If they cannot provide stable softwar, they should let community try. Rather try and fail than not try at all.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:30AM (#24625393) Journal
    EDGE is not 2.5G, it's 2.75G. OpenMoko has 2.5G (GPRS), which is painfully slow - I got an average of around 2.5Kb/s with 2 second latencies back when I used to use GPRS (four years ago, before UMTS phones became cheap).

    I have high hopes for OpenMoko - if they can release a HSPDA phone in a year or two with a bigger screen then I'll definitely buy one.

  • by musicalwoods ( 1115347 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:34PM (#24627843)
    The screen is VGA (640x480) and you can actually plug in a keyboard as the USB connection can be used in host mode.
  • by musicalwoods ( 1115347 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:38PM (#24627877)
    Well, OpenMoko itself is sold out currently. Other distributors are the only way to purchase the FreeRunner currently.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:01AM (#24632093)

    So, use transistors then.

    If you used individual transistors, you'd barely be able to fit a single ALU in the space occupied by the entire case of a modern mini-tower PC. Your "computer" would fill up a large room, consume megawatts of electricity, cost millions of dollars, have a clock frequency measured in the tens or hundreds of hertz, and have the same capabilities as that same four-function calculator that I mentioned before.

    This just shows the hypocrisy of saying free software should be used, even if it less functional or advanced - and then making excuses when it comes to the hardware side of things, because what the community can build is less functional than what's available off-the-shelf.

    On the contrary, that's not hypocritical at all. The difference is that it is possible to make Free software equally functional as proprietary stuff, while it is not possible to make even slightly comparable hardware without spending millions of dollars.

    In other words, they advocate "dog-fooding" somewhat less capable Free software because they're working to improve it. For hardware, that would be entirely futile.

BLISS is ignorance.