Community Updates/2010-07-01

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Period 2010-06-01 to 2010-06-30


Debian-openlogo-480.png Debian GNU/Linux

Debian ( is a universal operating system used on many other embedded devices, and also on home computers. Using Debian on the FreeRunner gives access to the Huge army of software packaged in the Debian repositories, already compiled for the Neo's arm(v4) processor. Moreover, one can build one's own source files for programs without having to learn the OpenEmbedded way. For an existing Debian/Ubuntu user, choosing Debian for Neo FreeRunner makes phone a very familiar, trustworthy and flexible place to hack in.

The FSO phone stack and SHR user applications have seen a lot of updates. The following packages have been updated to official Debian archives and also made their way to testing repository (which will become Debian 6.0):: libphone-ui 0.1+git20100517.1, libphone-utils 0.1+git20100219-1, libfsotransport, fso-abyss 0.9.0+git20100310-1, libgsm0710mux 0.9.1+git20100322-2, phonefsod 0.1+git20100515-1. The majority of FSO/SHR stack is now in Debian official archives, a major step forward from hosting them only in pkg-fso team's own repository. Literki keyboard was also transferred and improved from pkg-fso to official Debian repositories. Jonas Smedegaard drew a nice overview graph of the all the old and new components in the stack:

As a final note, the new FSO2/cornucopia GSM daemon, fso-gsmd 0.5.0+git20100602-1, has just been uploaded to Debian.

Codename: 'sid'

Hardware Works
Neo 1973 yes
FreeRunner yes
GTA04 ?
HTC-Dream yes
Other yes

SHR-Logo.png SHR [unstable]

SHR is a community driven GNU/Linux distribution for smartphones based on OpenEmbedded using E17 (illume) as window manager and own gui apps on top of FSO. After hopefully lucky incident we have finally switched to new kernel (based on, KMS enabled):

  • New images are built with kernel and all needed changes are already included.
  • Images doesn't have udevd installed by default (using devtmpfs), which makes it boot about twice as fast as before (less then 1 min to PIN dialog). But it also won't mount your uSD automatically (it was blacklisted before, but removing it from blacklist won't help now).
  • Included packages contains latest stuff like xserver-1.9 (RC3), foxtrotgps and tangogps 0.99.4, QT 4.7.0-beta1 and QML enabled navit.
  • Distribution revision was changed in OE, this means that every package installed from shr-unstable feeds will be upgraded during next opkg upgrade (so be sure that you have enough time and space in /var partition). Consider flashing new image, it can be faster and safer in the end.
  • Used GCC was upgraded from version 4.4.4 to 4.5 (svn revision 160764 from gcc-4.5-branch, because released 4.5.0 has few issues on ARM targets).
  • New GCC brings LTO optimizations, which can give us 30% speedup in some cases see Benchmark results. LTO is not enabled by default yet.
  • New kernel has some issues, so please try first (on another uSD partition), before upgrading your daily-phone-partition.
  • The kernel is bigger than 2MB so if you're using u-boot, update your environment according to this wiki entry
  • With slower uSD you can see unknown-block-device while booting. Flash newer Qi from SHR it is using rootwait instead of rootdelay=1. For u-boot increase rootdelay or use rootwait.
  • Sometimes (and only on some devices) it can show all white (looks like old WSoD, but it's without death). Suspend/Resume should fix this.
  • SHR unstable with kernel version 2.6.29 is still available for download
  • Changelog for all libs/apps included in image
  • Changelog for SHR apps

Codename: unstable

Hardware Works
Neo 1973 yes
FreeRunner yes
GTA04 ?
HTC-Dream yes
Other yes


New Applications

Dwdwetter-Screenshot-2.png DWDWetter 0.2.8

DWDwetter 0.2.8 is an application to get free (only registration), available worldwide Weather information from DWD and view this in a Viewer Window. Possibility for automatically update files delivered on ftp-server of DWD.

Package: [1]
Tested on: SHR

Foxtrotgps.png FoxtrotGPS 0.99.4

FoxtrotGPS is a tangoGPS fork adding multiple improvements (see changelog)

Package: foxtrotgps-0.99.4.tar.gz
Tested on: SHR-Unstable(feeds)

Application Updates

Mcnavi1.png MC Navi 0.2.10

MC Navi is GPS navigation system aimed at portable devices like Neo Freerunner using OpenStreetMap as map source. It uses Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) for graphic GUI, so it is fast and light. In future it may be ported to other devices. This version needs new map If you want to use new features. New version of MC Navi should be more stable now and have some improvements:

  • added support for orchards
  • mcnavi: fixed crash on invalid speed value (routing on cycle route)
  • mcnavi: fixed routing of car on cycle routes
  • osm2mcmap: added link from way to street name
  • mcnavi: draw cycle and tourist ways
  • mcnavi: optimized routing for cycle and MTB
  • mcnavi: show route distance and time after routing
  • mcnavi: fixed computing of route time (only speed of first way used)
  • mcnavi: fixed crash when reached destination
  • mcnavi: draw the street names

Package: Packages
Tested on: QtMoko, (any Debian based distro)


  • Gennady Kupava announced his Neo FreeRunner overclocking experiments with enclosed performance tests. Overclocked u-boot images are here. Read full announcement before use them. You should use them at your own risk!
  • Christoph Mair has announced that he is developing second version of navigation board for Neo FreeRunner. If you wan to upgrade your smartphone write an email Christoph, if there will be enough interest, a first "production run" will be made. Initial price shoul be 75-80€ but this probably depends on how many devices will be made.
  • Gennady Kupava again amazed us with his new series of file system performance tests. Full message is available on community mailing list archive. The file systems tested were: btrfs,nilfs2,ext2,ext3,ext4,reiserfs,jfs,xfs. Or if you are just curious, you can peek into results table.
  • Regarding Al Johnson's email, apparently HTC Corporation is trying to patent application for Joerg's Y-cable. Short abstract shows very similar design. Any legal savvy volunteers to point out mistakes to US Patent & Trademarks office?
  • As David "leviathan" Lanzendöfer writes to gta02-core mailing list, new idea was born, to pilot a new Openmoko like platform, based on SAMSUNG-Omnia. The plan is to provide full hardware support by the upstream kernel, and a full SHR-userspace on the shipped phone. The target customers will be business employees, but also private users.
  • Recently a lot is happening on, initiated by Sveinung Kvilhaugsvik and mainly caused by Thibaut Girka who is merging upstreaming a lot of patches for Neo FreeRunner.
  • Aaron Carroll and Gernot Heiser published their study An Analysis of Power Consumption in a Smartphone in Proceedings of the 2010 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (full paper, slides). The study is measuring and analysing Neo FreeRunner power consumption of main hardware components. They also investigated influence of CPU dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) on energy usage. In conclusion, they analysed power consumption and overall battery lifetime on various daily life usage patterns, however without GSM deep sleep mode enabled, which can be fixed by recamping rework.

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