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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 freesmartphone.org 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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  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:21AM (#24624175)

    Last I checked, the dialer and address book applications weren't done yet. While it's great that it can do shit like compiling code and whatnot, it's not gonna do me -- as a person who, although a fan of Free Software, doesn't plan on doing OpenMoko development -- any good until it can make phone calls!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:48AM (#24624295)

    The answer is that OpenMoko predates all those things.

    So? Just because it's first doesn't mean it's any good.

    I guess maybe that Openmoko is great for leading the whole Open Source Smartphone movement, but Android actually has backing and is usable out of the box. Once you unleash Android, there's no turning back and Openmoko will be a useless anachronism, that is, unless they have a plan to compete with Android (step 1: Make it so that you can actually use it as a phone without a bunch of complex incantations and rituals).

  • Right, but...? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JohnnyBigodes ( 609498 ) <morphine@PLANCKd ... minus physicist> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:49AM (#24624297)
    So, OpenMoko is a great tool for learning, that much is proven. However... what is it really good for? A phone? Because it really looks like the typical "you can run Linux on it" thingie: you spend 95% of your time tinkering with it and the remaining 5% using it... if you're lucky.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:47AM (#24624497)

    even with jailbreak the iphone is still more locked down than windows mobile.

  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:14AM (#24624587) Journal

    I've been saying this about my laptop for years, but I guess now it's time to say it about my phone as well.

    The phone I use is small, sleek, looks and works great, and does everythin I need it to. It makes phone calls, does SMS messaging great, and I can sync it with my laptop so all my contacts are updated, always. It also has the nice benefit of having a unix core, dpkg, apt, and a slew of unix utilities. It has a terminal with SSH and telnet, I can mount it as a volume over the network, and it plays music too. Even making ringtones for it is as simple as encoding them as AAC.

    So they have Debian on a phone. Great. But just like Debian on desktops, I have to ask myself why anyone but RF geeks would ever care.

    My phone, like my computers, are for getting things done. Call me when this thing is useful and usable.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:51AM (#24624687)

    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.

    I don't think so. Provide all the CAD drawings you like, but companies still own the designs and patents for the processors and other chips used to assemble the phone. Providing a CAD drawing of the assembly doesn't give you the ability or legal right to reproduce those chips. So how can the hardware be considered open or "free" to the core? That's marketing bullshit, not truth.

    One would think the "core" of phone hardware would be you know, the actual units that do the work, not their arrangement on a circuit board, or the design of the case.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @03:05AM (#24624729)

    Pretty simple: The Openmoko is the closest thing to a "PC" of the phone world that you can get.

    That doesn't actually sound like a good thing. It sounds like something to avoid.

  • by aj50 ( 789101 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:24AM (#24624911)

    Then you're missing his point.

    The great thing about PCs is that they're open, you have full control over what software you run on it and you can do whatever you like with it.

    Traditionally, phones have been excessively locked down.

  • by Pbook ( 869108 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:53AM (#24624983) Homepage
    Please yes, I like to have one! I have my Openmoko now for 1 week and use it as my daily phone. ASU is not stable yet, I am using Qtopia. Looking, at the iPhone of my daughter am am glad I did not get one. It's 10 times locked and everything cost $$. This phone has potential. I can log in and do a networkscan with kismet or ftp my scripts I made at home to a server. Great, I hope that in a few months wifi,gprs and gps will work good enough to use it as well. That is with ASU or Qtopia 4.
  • by bacchus612 ( 168559 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:52AM (#24625145)

    ...I've got one too. And until I jailbroke it, it couldn't ssh, it didn't sync very well, I couldn't install any unix apps...

    If you keep the iphone firmware intact, it is just frustrating to know that there is this awesome bsd-based smartphone that stores basically everything in little sqlite databases - THAT YOU CAN'T USE!

    I love the functionality of my hacked iPhone, but Apple's attitude with the appstore has really underscored the need for free software to me.
    I have decided to no longer purchase apple products or services as a result of my experience with the iPhone (been a Mac user ever since they rolled out OS X).

    An openmoko freerunner is definitely on "to buy" list - not because I expect it to be super-functional out of the box, but because I want to (financially) support the concept.

    I'm sick of being unreasonably prevented from using the full capability of products I purchase.

    If you're happy with one company being in charge of what software you can run on your phone, what network ports you can connect to, what access you have to backup your own personal information...then by all means, stick with the iphone. Good luck with that. I've been burned one too many times by vendor lock-in I guess.
    Just my $.02

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:40AM (#24625411) Journal

    Totally Free hardware is an ideal, but it's not feasible at the moment. If you want to go over to OpenCores and start designing a HSPDA chip, then that would be really great. I'm sure the OpenMoko people would love to use it in the next generation, assuming that they can find someone who will fab it cheaply and pay for getting it certified.

    The reason people care more about software being free than hardware is twofold:

    1. If the software is free then you are not locked in to one hardware platform. If you don't like the hardware you can replace it easily and still access the same applications and data.
    2. Non-Free hardware restricts what you can do a lot less than non-Free software. If you don't have total control over the hardware, you can't do some thing in the most efficient way. If you don't have total control over the software then you can't do some things at all.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:51PM (#24627527)

    Also, what's infeasible about totally Free hardware?

    What are you, stupid? Do you not understand that chip fabs are slightly less accessible to normal individuals than compilers are?

    but you could make something more limited.

    Yeah, more limited like an abacus! Even a fucking four-function calculator requires millions of dollars worth of equipment to manufacture the integrated circuits, LCD screen, etc.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."