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Openmoko distributions are designed to run on various mobile devices, with the primary aim of supporting Openmoko Inc.'s Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner phones. They are GNU/Linux distributions -- complete operating systems with more or less user applications. You can install any of them on your phone or even have a multiboot system with two distributions installed.

While the Openmoko distributions will run on other mobile devices too, some other software distributions will also run on the Openmoko Inc. phones (see below).

For downloads see Download, for installation instructions see Flashing the Neo FreeRunner.

About distributions

As of November 3rd, 2008:

  • The phones ship with Om 2007.2. It is not supported by Openmoko Inc. anymore. But community developpers continue to work on it as the SHR project.
  • The branch currently supported by Openmoko Inc. is Om 2008.9 Update, which is a minor upgrade of Om 2008.8 (formerly named ASU). Based on that, the community made the FDOM distribution by adding lots of fixes and applications to it.
  • The trunk tip is a "base image" on which the next major release should be based. This next release can be previewed by installing milestones of the FSO - Free Smartphone.Org project. The Debian packaging team also track that branch.
  • The FreeRunner is a reference platform for TrollTech's Qt Extended (formerly Qtopia) distribution.
  • The Android port is work-in-progress.

Which distribution should I use ?

  • Most new users find FDOM the most comprehensive and functional distribution.
  • If you want "just a phone", try Qtopia.
  • If you want to develop anything that last, your target is FSO.
  • SHR, Debian, Gentoo and Android are for developers who know where they are.
  • Tracking the "base image" by updating daily from testing/unstable is a different game either.

Note that unresolved hardware/kernel/drivers issues bite all distributions in more or less the same way.

Most of these distributions also have package repositories. It is a BAD idea to feed from another distribution's repository. Upgrade path between these distributions are not tested enough, thus updating by changing the feeds will most likely end in broken packages or even an unbootable system. It is advisable to reflash the whole filesystem with dfu-util to switch between the different distributions, with the reminder that a dual-boot setup (e.g. via sdcard or NFS) can be used.

Openmoko Inc. driven release targets

These different 'release targets' are built out of different branches of the OpenEmbedded metadistribution source tree.

Om 2008.9

Main article: Om 2008.9 Update

Om 2008.8 (ASU, April/August Software Update)

Om 2008.8 has been started to integrate the Qtopia stack - on X11 - with a new set of graphically pleasing applications based on the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. ASU is the internal name and is known as Om 2008.8 upon its release on August 8, 2008. Qtopia is a more mature product than the GNOME Mobile stack and you can expect all the standard feature phone applications to work in a solid way. It uses the Qtopia phone server. Since - contrary to standard Qtopia - it does not directly use the framebuffer, non-Qt applications can safely share the screen with Qt applications. Om 2008.8 is maintained as "ASU-stable".

Main article: Om2008.8

Om 2007.2 (GTK)

Om 2007.2 is for people who are familiar with the GNOME Mobile initiative and who want to write applications that run on multiple devices running (parts of) GNOME Mobile. This includes Maemo, which runs on the Nokia Internet Tablets. The strength of the GTK+ stack is a UI and programming environment similar to what you run on your GNU/Linux desktop, if you’re into GNOME. The GTK+ has PIM applications based on the Evolution Data Server and runs the gsmd phone server. Although you can use them, the applications are still pretty rough und unfinished. Some people have problems with the stability of the phone server.

Main article: Om 2007.2

This is the base-system which is installed on FreeRunner when it leaves the factory.

2007.2 development driven by openmoko inc. has basically stopped and resources are allocated in favor of 2008.8, while the community currently does the effort to 'rescue' the 2007.2 telephony apps and pull them to the future middleware from FSO (see SHR). thus patches are still welcome, especially if they help development of SHR.


FSO has been started to overcome the deficiencies both of the 2007.2 and the 2008.8 stack, namely to come up with an extensible framework that gives developers the infrastructure they need to create solid and exciting software products based on the Openmoko platform. An infrastructure that supports competing UIs while we can collaborate on developing services, making the framework strong . Here, the focus is on stable highlevel services that you can access from whatever language or UI that supports dbus. People report that despite its infancy, e.g. the phone server part in FSO is already more solid than anywhere else.

It is not really intended as future release-target, but used as a 'vessel' or 'container' for the development and testing of the new, future middleware.

The applications installed are intended as test-tools for the new middleware and not as fully featured, end user oriented applications. (even if it looks that way sometimes)

In the words of Mickey, project manager:

FSO is only a distro because "we can" (thanks to OpenEmbedded). Zhone is an independent UI application based on the FSO framework to facilitate testing. If you want to build own UIs or custom applications on the forthcoming Openmoko dbus service framework, then the FSO-image is a good starting point.
Main article: FSO

Openmoko Community driven release targets

SHR - Stable Hybrid Release

SHR is mainly a community driven distribution, that contains some basic applications which make use of the FSO. There currently is a EFL (with elementary) dialer, messages and contacts application programmed in C.

Main article: Stable Hybrid Release

FDOM (FAT and Dirty Openmoko)

FDOM is a distribution based on Openmoko's currently supported image, updated with many ready-to-use applications and with fixes posted in the mailing lists.

Main article: FDOM

Non-Openmoko distributions

These are not Openmoko (and OE) based distributions. These are alternatives you can run on your Openmoko phones.

Qt Extended

The Qt Extended distribution (formerly known as Qtopia) from Trolltech aims to provide a ready-to use image for Openmoko devices.


In the words of Joachim "nomeata" Breitner from the pkg-fso team:

It’s not really a distribution in the Openmoko sense of the word, but rather a different underlying system for Openmoko distributions. At the moment, we ship the software from the FSO stack, but hopefully we’ll also have, for example, the Stable Hybrid Release software in our archive.
So for now, Debian is a different way of installing FSO, which takes more space and provides more programs :-)
Main article: Debian


Main article: Gentoo


Android is a mobile phone platform by Google, and later the Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

Openmoko is fully supporting Android running on the Freerunner. Details along with images are being constructed at the moment. Visit the user web page for Sean McNeil for further details. And you can download kernel and image here

Features by distribution/release target


Om 2008.9 Om 2008.8 Om 2007.2 FSO SHR FDOM Qt Extended Debian Gento Android
Telephony  ?? yes yes yes yes yes yes yes (1)  ?? no
SMS  ?? yes yes yes yes yes yes yes (1)  ?? no
GPRS  ?? Not through UI Not through UI Not through UI Not through UI  ?? yes yes (1)  ?? no
WiFi  ?? yes (*) yes Not through UI  ?? yes yes yes  ?? no
VoIP  ??  ??  ??  ??  ?? yes  ?? yes  ?? no
Bluetooth  ?? yes yes no  ?? yes yes yes  ?? no
GPS (1)  ?? yes (1) yes yes yes yes yes (1) yes (1)  ?? no

User Interaction

Om 2008.9 Om2008.8 2007.2 FSO SHR FDOM Qt Extended Debian Gento Android
Stylus friendly  ?? yes yes yes yes  ?? yes yes  ??  ??
Finger friendly  ?? Partially Partially Partially yes  ?? yes no  ??  ??
Accelerometer  ?? yes (1) no no no  ?? no no  ??  ??


Om 2008.9 Om2008.8 2007.2 FSO SHR FDOM Qt Extended Debian Gento Android
Terminal  ?? yes (1) Basic (2) yes yes  ?? yes yes  ??  ??
PIM  ?? yes yes no N/A  ?? yes yes (1)  ??  ??
Phonebook  ?? yes yes yes yes  ?? yes yes (1)  ??  ??
Dialer  ?? yes yes yes yes  ?? yes yes (1)  ??  ??
Web Browser  ?? yes (1) yes (1)  ?  ?  ?? yes yes (midori)  ??  ??
Mail Client  ?? yes  ?  ?  ?  ?? yes yes (1)  ??  ??
XMPP Client  ?? yes (1) yes (1)  ?  ?  ?? no yes (1)  ??  ??
Media Player  ?? yes (1) yes  ?  ?  ?? yes yes (1)  ??  ??

Toolkits / Runtimes

Om 2008.9 Om2008.8 2007.2 FSO SHR FDOM Qt Extended Debian Gento Android
GTK+  ?? yes yes yes yes  ?? no yes  ??  ??
Qt/Qt Extended  ?? yes no yes  ? yes ?  ?? yes yes  ??  ??
Middleware  ?? qtopia-x11 gsmd/neod FSO FSO  ?? Qt Extended FSO  ??  ??
Java  ?? Jalimo Jalimo Jalimo no  ??  ?? CacaoVM, JamVM  ??  ??
Python  ?? yes yes yes yes  ?? yes yes  ??  ??
Mono  ?? yes (1) yes (1)  ?? no  ??  ?? yes (1)  ??  ??


Latest and stable combinations for Neo FreeRunner gta02

OM FDOM Qt Extended Android
current bootloader U-Boot from OM version gta02v5_and_up U-Boot from OM version gta02v5_and_up U-Boot from OM version gta02v5_and_up
future bootloader Qi from Andy version s3c6410 Qi from Andy version s3c6410 Qi from Andy version s3c6410
splash U-Boot from OM version 2008.9 U-Boot from OM version 2008.9 U-Boot from OM version 2008.9
kernel Linux from OM version 2008.9-gta02-20080916 Linux from mwester version gta02-g291a9d50 or from treviño version gta02-git9beef3fc6239895d Linux from mwester version gta02-g291a9d50 or from treviño version gta02-git9beef3fc6239895d Linux from McNiel version 2.6.26-android
modules  ? Linux from mwester version min-gta02-g291a9d50 or all-gta02-g291a9d50 Linux from mwester version min-gta02-g291a9d50 or all-gta02-g291a9d50
rootfs OM from OM version 2008.9-gta02-20080916 FDOM from TuxBrain version 200809_20081023 QtExtended from TrollTech version gta02-4.4.2 or from Hypnotize version gta02-4.4.2-working Android from McNiel version android


(1) works, but need additional software to be installed

(2) unusable due to lack of certain keyboard characters. Various fixes available.

(*) unstable

External links

Original distribution descriptions are from Mickey Lauer's GTK, ASU, FSO, TMTLA!.