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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).
As of October 1st, 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 FreeRunner is a reference platform for TrollTech's Qt Extended (formerly Qtopia) distribution.
- The branch currently supported by Openmoko Inc. is Om Om 2008.9 Update (ASU), which is a minor upgrade of Om 2008.8. Based on that, the community made the FDOM distribution by adding lots of fixes and applications to it.
- The trunk tip is FSO, the next major release should be based on that. The Debian packaging team also track that.
- The big G did not make any announcement about an Android port.
To be technically precise, 2007.2, 2008.8, 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 2008.8 are to each other like Ubuntu Gutsy is to Kubuntu Hardy. A roadmap showing the number of remaining active tickets (in other words, bugs) is available on the bug tracking system (also accessible with the DOCS link at the top of every page).
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 an unbootable system. Thus please always use dfu-util 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
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" with continuous updates.
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.
- Om 2007.2
- Availabilty: Official Buildhost and MokoMakefile support for development builds
- Several videos of this stack by Youtube user freeyourphone and video review by BVB Tech
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 - freesmartphone.org
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.
- Development tracker
- Download milestone 3
- fso-testing and fso-unstable images and feeds (maintained by Rod Whitby, MokoMakefile author)
Openmoko Community driven release targets
SHR - Stable Hybrid Release
Stable Hybrid Release is a combination of the middleware from FSO, some of the 2007.2 GTK software (telephony-ui, pim), and Om2008.8 that provides all of the functionality of the 2007.2 software, but with the stability of the FSO.
FDOM (FAT and Dirty Openmoko)
FDOM is a rootfs/kernel image ready to flash of an OM2008.08-updates distribution with some apps already installed and some fixes posted in the lists done. Download from http://compartida.net/openmoko/FDOM . Use wget -c to retrieve the files because of the server seems to cut the connection time to time, and check the files MD5 hashes afterwards.
These are not Openmoko (and OE) based distributions. These are alternatives you can run on your Openmoko phones.
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 :-)
The Android mobile phone platform was developed by Google, and later the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). Google has recently (Oct 21, 2008) released the majority source code for the phone under Apache free and open-source license, with portions covered by other existing licenses, such as the Linux kernel under GPLv2.
Koolu.com has announced that they will be selling the OpenMoko Freerunner with Android pre-installed beginning in November 2008, as well as offering free downloads of the Freerunner port of Android to existing Freerunner owners. Well-known open-source advocate Jon "maddog" Hall is CTO and Ambassador for Koolu.
Features by distribution/release target
|GPRS||Not through UI||Not through UI||Not through UI||N/A||no (3)||yes (1)|
|WiFi||yes||Not through UI||yes (*)||N/A||yes||yes|
|GPS||yes (1)||yes||yes (1)||N/A||yes (1)||yes (1)|
|Terminal||Basic (2)||yes||yes (1)||yes||yes||yes|
|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||?||yes (1)||?||yes||yes (1)|
Toolkits / Runtimes
|Qt/Qt Extended||No||yes ?||yes||yes ?||yes||yes|
|Java||Jalimo||Jalimo||Jalimo||?||?||yes (CacaoVM, JamVM)|
|Mono||yes (1)||?||yes (1)||?||?||yes (1)|
(1) works, but need additional software to be installed
(2) unusable due to lack of certain keyboard characters. Various fixes available.
(3) there is a UI but it crashes the device when used.
Original distribution descriptions are from Mickey Lauer's GTK, ASU, FSO, TMTLA!.