Openmoko distributions are similar to any other Linux distribution, they are complete operating systems with user applications. You can choose to install any of these on your phone, you can even have multiboot system with two distributions installed.
Openmoko distributions are designed to run on various mobile devices, with the primary aim of Openmoko Inc.'s Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner phones. While the Openmoko distributions will run on other mobile devices too, some other software distributions will also run on the Openmoko Inc. phones.
Distribution descriptions are from Mickey Lauer's GTK, ASU, FSO, TMTLA!.
To be technically precise, 2007.2, ASU, FSO and SHR of these are not directly independent distributions, but different 'release targets'.
They are built out of different branches of the openembedded metadistribution source tree.
e.g. 2007.2 and asu are to each other like ubuntu gutsy to kubuntu hardy.
one should only use feeds from packages of the same source-branch, else 'stuff will break', similar to like using .debs from hardy on a gutsy base system.
also note that there is NO supported upgrade path between these at the moment, thus updating by changing the feeds will most likely end in broken packages or even a unbootable system.
thus please always use dfu to switch between the different 'distributions' for now or install them in a dual-boot setup (e.g. via sdcard or nfs).
Openmoko Inc. driven release targets
Openmoko2007.2 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 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.
- Availabilty: Official Buildhost and MokoMakefile support for development builds
- Download: Releases are labeled "openmoko-devel-image"
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 asu, 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.
ASU - April Software Update
ASU - April/August Software Update - has been started to integrate the Qtopia stack - on X11 - with a new set of graphically pleasing applications based on the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. 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, that is until you are writing applications that do not communicate with the framework. If you want to integrate, then you’re back to C++ and Qt.
FSO - freesmartphone.org
FSO has been started to overcome the deficiencies both of the 2007.2 and the ASU 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)
Openmoko Community driven release targets
SHR - Stable Hybrid Release
Stable Hybrid Release, a combination of the middleware from FSO, some of the 2007.2 GTK software (telephony-ui, pim), and the ASU that provides all of the functionality of the 2007.2 software, but with the stability of the FSO.
Non-Openmoko Inc. distributions
These are not Openmoko Inc. software stacks. These are an alternative distributions you can run on your Openmoko phones.
The Qtopia distribution from Trolltech, it aims to provide a ready-to use image for Openmoko devices.
Debian Linux, the whole distribution, on a mobile phone.
Features by distribution/release target
|GPRS||Not through UI||Not through UI||Not through UI||N/A||Not through UI||??|
|WiFi||Yes||Not through UI||Yes||N/A||Not through UI||Yes|
|GPS||Yes (1)||Yes||Yes (1)||N/A||No||??|
Toolkits / Runtimes
(1) works, but need additional software to be installed
(2) unusable due to lack of certain keyboard characters (unless you install matchbox-keyboard)