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Cellphones Linux

Nokia Leaks Phone With Full GNU/Linux Distribution 621

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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  • Open Source ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:42AM (#29146169)

    Are the drivers it requires open source ?

    Do Nokia playing nice, are they prepared to go out of their way to obey licenses or are they just interested in 0 cost rather than libre software ?

  • Shell apps? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:43AM (#29146179) Homepage

    I've been thinking about one of these new Linux phones for my next upgrade. What kind of access does one have to the shell? Can one using an ssh client? How does one transfer data to a Linux workstation? Can one install more shell apps (e.g. ipcalc, tdl and remind)?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:50AM (#29146257)

    . . . as an owner of an N800, I would like to know if they will still provide the "Easter Egg" / "Red Pill / Blue Pill" option for installing all the cool (and usefull) apps.

    Unfortunately, these also could make it easy for some dork to brick the thing.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:50AM (#29146269)

    Firstly, if it only runs javascript applications as you say, then it's hardly any more of a "real distro" than Android is.


    What's the difference between, Javascript as the language and HTML/CSS as the GUI, or using Python as the language and XML to do the GUI? And yet the first is "not a real distro", while the second is. Why?

    There are other compiled languages besides C. There are a lot of them in fact...

    Yes, but the real question is, "since when is being compiled a requirement?"

    I suspect from your previous comment that you are terribly unqualified to even understand the implications of what you're saying, or to make that comment at all.

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

  • A great market idea! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JohnMurtari ( 829882 ) <> on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:58AM (#29146351) Homepage
    Folks, I think they new they had to make a strategic move to keep/increase market share. If they do deliver and make it a great open source platform running Linux -- they could have a LOT of applications. Could be a fun device!
  • by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:18AM (#29146595)
    This will likely be my next major phone upgrade.

    I own an N800 and an N810 and do some Maemo development work on them. They're IMHO awesome devices. I don't know or care about Nokia in general but they have been steadily improving this line of devices since the N770 and I just cannot begin to tell you how slick they are (again IMHO).

    I use skype and gizmo to make VoIP phone calls on them at any Wi-Fi hotspot and they are just fun to play around with. The biggest problem with them, in my experience, is people expect them to be phones and don't get the idea that it's just a handheld PC. Adding cell phone capability with the N900 (and increased horsepower) will, I think, cross this device over from enthusiast toy to a more mainstream "smartphone" even though I think the term does the device a dis-service.

    It's just more than a phone. I've never used a cell phone that had a web experience remotely close to the desktop/laptop world. The N800/N810 is 100 times better than any cell phone @ web browsing. The games available (for the most part if it runs on Linux, it'll run on these devices and I've enjoyed playing MAME games on mine), the productivity tools, the multimedia capabilities, etc.

    I've never developed apps for the iPhone but I've tinkered with BlackBerry development, Android development and Maemo development. While I think it's not as well-documented perhaps as Android or BlackBerry, and getting set up to do development on it is not as simple, it's easily manageable and *much less locked down* than the other platforms. Developing for Android isn't too bad but I think it still is a bit more locked down, developing for BlackBerry you are also definitely limited by what RIM (and the cell providers) will allow you to do. I hope that with Maemo 5 and the new cell-phone stuff, Nokia doesn't cave to cell providers and start locking shit down on these devices and instead keeps to the spirit of the original open-ness so I can still write apps that do what *I* want them to do, not what T-Mobile wants them to do.
  • Re:Open Source ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#29146609) Homepage

    Uhm...don't forget that Nokia LGPL-ed Qt, and recently is open sourcing Symbian.

    So while of course there are also practical reasons for what Nokia is doing, don't, FFS DON'T, paint their actions like they're sleazy bastards that are conspiring against you!

  • by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#29146615) Journal

    How does this works with the Microsoft-Nokia deal to have Office in the Nokia phones? Don't tell me we are going to have Office in Linux!

  • Re:woohoo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#29146663) Homepage Journal

    I dropped the third one in the toilet trying to answer it when I was taking a piss.

    That's why I have mine on a lanyard.

  • Application signing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FreezeS ( 1024527 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:36AM (#29146853)
    I'm curious why nobody mentioned this subject. For me this is a major PITA when trying to develop on S60. 20$ for the privilege of running my own application on my own phone ??? No, thanks. Does anyone know if this scheme is going to be implemented on this phone ?
  • Want! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:39AM (#29146895) Journal

    I'm going to have to find a way to get one of these. Decent video, open formats, always on cellular wireless. A gorgeous interface. And I can add applications with apt.

    I think a lot of projects are going to start putting more priority on compiling to the ARM platform.

  • by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:42AM (#29146943) Journal

    I hope they included pulseaudio, too, because there wasn't enough retarded linux desktop crap on mobile phones.

    The most intelligent linux platforms fit for mobile have been Android and Creative's Plaszma so far... this is just retarded overkill. Is it just built for sysadmins and freetards or something? How big can that market possibly be?

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Friday August 21, 2009 @12:09PM (#29147349)

    While I tend to agree with you, the issue here is that Nokia is not exactly a company that can't market. If this were say Samsung, then maybe you have a point.

    I own Nokia shares and let me tell you I am bleeding! But I have not given up hope. And right now I am looking for a smart phone. And this is THE PHONE!

    I wrote a blog entry where Nokia is about to tap into something that all of the other vendors are missing.

    Imagine a world where your phone is your server. Imagine for a moment where your server is your life and tagging everything as you go along. Imagine for the moment where the phone would sync with the telco and distribute your data. THIS IS BLOWOUT THINKING!

    The iPhone and Pre can't do this because they don't allow server processes. The Android could do this, but Nokia is targeting this 100%. From what I see Nokia is creating a cloud of mobile devices. Android assumes your data is somewhere in the cloud. I personally would prefer having my cloud in my pocket and letting others access it.

    I know with this new Nokia device I will use it as my life and blood. That's where I will store my documents, etc, etc.. And when I need it on the road? Its there. Don't like the screen size, Wow, I remote window into the device...

    We are about to embark on a new computing platform and I am for it...

  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @12:53PM (#29148013)

    It's not locked to some "app store" with "approved apps"

    Neither is Android.

    This alone will make it explode ahead of the iPhone and Andriod phones.

    iPhone perhaps, but Android has no restrictions on installing non-market apps. Market is a convenient place to get new apps, but if you want to install from somewhere else, you're perfectly free to do so.

    Perhaps you need to update your propaganda?

  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:14PM (#29148247)

    If I can put Cron on this thing, it will be worth it. Setting schedules for changing profiles (automatically switch phone to silent at 8:30, switch back to normal at 5:30) would almost be worth it on its own.

  • by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Friday August 21, 2009 @02:18PM (#29149069) Homepage

    I use to be part of the "phones are for making calls and the occational SMS" crowd.

    But eventually 3G phones became rather good, and most important of all, data in my native Finland became dirt cheap.

    Nowadays I use my phone's data capabilities every day. Once I've dropped the kids to daycare I check a website that can tell me which of three bus stops to walk to, instead of trying to remember the 20+ buses' schedules that I would otherwise check to get the same effect. It's even better when I want to take the bus home after a night out. I can input my location in the route guide website and it will calculate a reasonable route for me.

    Google maps has proved useful too, as my phone has GPS. The navigation software with voice guidance actually works, so I have no need for a dedicated navigator. The camera has a real xenon flash, so social snaps even in a dim environment are actually perfectly viable. Wikipedia is handy to settle factual disputes in the bar... ;)

    The thing is, I think of my phone as a portable multimedia computer with phone-features attached. I could live without the features it provides, but given that 3G phones are so cheap these days it would make little sense for me to do so.

  • Re:cool - results? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @02:25PM (#29149167) Homepage Journal

    This is cool, really cool. A full Linux machine in your pocket. Wow.

    Though I do wonder how useful it will actually be. Can Linux bypass the desktop and go straight to the next big thing? User interface and good design are important on such small devices (and frankly, most phones fail more or less), and they're not exactly traditional strongholds of the Linux crowd.

    Personally, those issues don't matter to me. That is, at a basic level I don't care about whether this device succeeds (beyond my own self-serving interest, the desire to buy future versions, perhaps) - I don't care whether it's the "next big thing" that everyone will like - what matters is that it's a device I would like.

    My personal reason for wanting a phone running straight Linux is pretty simple: it's what I enjoy. I ran a Powerbook for several years because I thought the combination of a commercially-backed OS and a Unix core would satisfy me - but I've actually been much happier since switching to an EEE running Linux. It just feels right. X apps aren't treated as "foreign", I can install the latest VNC or Firefox or whatever without buying an OS upgrade, etc. I think I would enjoy a Linux phone for similar reasons. I have a Treo now, running a decrepit (and crash-prone now, thanks to PalmOS features like PACE and NVFS) old copy of LispMe... that's great, but what if I want to tinker with Python or Haskell or C or whatever? That's the great thing about phones running Linux - you can just install and run that stuff. In PalmOS it would be a significant effort to port it. There's still a fair bit of work if you want to port something to a phone and have it look nice (having a GUI well-fitted to the device in question is very important!) - but a lot of the time if I can just get a thing working I'm OK with some rough edges.

    Some people want a phone that they can watch movies on, or tilt left and right to make the car steer. That's great stuff, I am super happy that they can get that. I'm after something a little different. I thought Android might be the way to go, now I'm thinking this might be what I need.

  • by ducky10 ( 1622565 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:02PM (#29150869)
    Application Signing is how Nokia is going to control how people distribute applications for this device - this control is a big deal and is not explained in the article. It is a big deal because it determines how "open" the system is: If Nokia has to approve all applications then is this system open at all?

    The link to Symbian's Open Signed Online is an S60 version of how Nokia has done "open" before. I don't think this is the kind of open that people are hoping for, but unless we hear otherwise, it's the type of open we should expect from Nokia.

    Another way to consider the benefits of this phone is to ask how many people have really ever used Symbian's Open Signed Online? Are you. then, the only ones that are supposed to be excited about this phone?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI