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Return to Getting Started with your Neo FreeRunner.

Personal tools

Thank you for purchasing this Developer release of Neo FreeRunner. The Neo FreeRunner phone is the second hardware platform to take advantage of Openmoko. This guide will help you get to know your Neo FreeRunner and how to start using your Neo FreeRunner.

Some Frequently Asked Questions for new owners are featured in the Getting Started FAQ.

Neo FreeRunner Package

Package Contents

Inside the package

Circle2.gif Neo FreeRunner
Circle2.gif Stylus
Circle2.gif Battery
Circle2.gif Charger
Circle2.gif USB Cable (A -> Mini-B 5-pole)
Circle2.gif microSD Card 512MB & SD adapter

Setting up the hardware, getting to know the Neo FreeRunner physically

Installing the Micro-SD card, the SIM card, and the Battery

Open the case like this.
Opening !
Put the SIM card and SD card here.
Finally, put in the battery.

  1. Remove the rear cover of the Neo FreeRunner by first holding the Neo FreeRunner on the side and then use your fingernail to prise off the rear cover at the slot on top of the device.
  2. Now you should be able to locate the combined SIM and Micro-SD card holder at the bottom of the battery compartment.
  3. Unlock the SIM card holder by sliding the metal clip down, towards the USB socket, with your fingernail. Use caution, as these parts are delicate and could be damaged by forcing them in the wrong direction.
  4. Lift up on the SIM card holder.
  5. The Micro-SD card holder is held in place by a latch on either side. It is easiest to open the Micro-SD card holder by releasing these latches one at a time rather than by lifting from the middle, as lifting from the middle tends to increase the latching pressure. A small screwdriver or knife can be used for this.
  6. Insert the Micro-SD card into the Micro-SD card holder. Note that on the inside of metal part of the holder there are little holding tabs for the card. Slide the card in these holders (on the metal part) before closing the card holder. Note that the electrical contacts should face down and towards the edge of the Neo Freerunner.
  7. Close the Micro-SD card holder, making sure that both latches of the holder are securely fastened.
  8. Insert the SIM card into the SIM card holder, taking care to slide inside the two metal tabs in the cover. Note that the electrical contacts should face down and that the cut corner should be closest to the external GPS Antenna Socket.
  9. Close the SIM card holder and lock it by sliding the metal clip towards the external GPS Antenna Socket on the FreeRunner.
  10. Insert the battery into the battery compartment, aligning the electrical contacts on the battery with the electrical contacts in the battery compartment. Insert the side with the electrical contacts first.
  11. Replace the rear cover on the FreeRunner.
SIM and SD holders open, with cards in place

[A short video] is also available. It was shot using the previous version of the Neo, but the installation procedures remains the same.

Charging the Neo FreeRunner

When using the Neo FreeRunner for the first time, you should charge the battery completely. The battery can be charged using the provided charger (at 1000mA) or from a powered USB port capable of providing 500mA worth of current. Most computers will be able to charge the FreeRunner without any problems.

Charging an empty battery at 100mA takes 12~15 hours, at 500mA takes 2,5~3,5 hours, and at 1000mA takes 1.5~2.5 hours. (90%~100%) [to be confirmed]

Make sure that the battery never discharges completely. This is an issue because the internal charging circuitry can not be turned on until the FreeRunner has booted, and booting through USB power alone does not work. Should the battery become completely discharged, your options are: - Use external stand-alone charger (compatible with the Nokia BL-5C battery) - Boot the FreeRunner with an alternative battery, or with a spare GTA01 or GTA02 battery, plug USB power, then switch to the empty battery. - Boot the FreeRunner with a 4.5VDC external power source (steady hand and great care involved), plug USB power, then insert the empty battery.

Buttons and connectors

Power Button, USB and external GPS Antenna (left to right)
AUX Button and phone jack (left to right)

Tapping the power button exits the current application.

Holding the power button brings up a menu allowing you to:

  • Power on and off the GPS, wifi, GSM, and bluetooth antennae
  • Change power management mode to:
    • Dim first then lock
    • Dim only, don't lock
    • Disabled
  • Lock the screen
  • Shutdown the device.

Holding the Aux button brings up a menu allowing you to:

  • Hide and show the title bar (Fullscreen toggle)
  • Alternate wide or tall display modes (Swap Orientation)
  • Save the content of the screen as an image file (Screenshot)

The phone jack is a 2.5mm connector with four contacts: stereo + MIC. It is compatible with the headsets used by Motorola smartphones (A780,A1200, ...) and the V-360.

To plug regular (i.e. without microphone) headphones commonly used to listen to music, a compatible 2.5mm 4 rings jack to 3.5mm stereo jack adapter is needed. It has been reported that Nokia's 2.5mm -> 3.5mm adapters do not work, but that a 3.5mm Stereo Audio Adapter for Motorola MPx200/E398 works well. You will also want to switch from speaker output to headset, by restoring the appropriate alsa.state-file (usually the mediaplayer should do this for you) or via alsamixer (see below), to enable stereo output in there.

Unlocking the screen

When the screen is locked, you should see a Matrix-style green graphic with the Openmoko symbol in the middle of the bottom of the screen along with lock and unlock symbols. If you drag the Openmoko symbol to the unlock symbol at the top then the screen will become unlocked.

Navigating menus and applications

Note: this section describes the interface used by the "2007.2" image, which is the current default image for Openmoko.

Today Page

Todaypage reduced true.png
Openmoko starts by displaying the "Today" page, which is your home page. Icons in the top row indicate the status of the phone. The bottom row consists of three tabs. The tab with a home on the left lead to the "Today" page you're viewing now. The central tab lead to the "Launch Task" page, which is the main menu used to start applications. The tab with gears on the right lead to the "Running Tasks" page, which is used to deal with currently open windows and applications.

Todaypage reduced false.png
The "Today" page is empty, as shown above, when you first start Openmoko. We explain below how to turn on the "full view", displayed to the right. In the full view, a second row of icons give quick links to commonly-used applications such as the dialer, the adressbook, mailbox and calendar. The main body of the screen displays a clock and other useful information.

See Today/2007.2 for more information about the Today page and customization.

Launch Task Page

Stub: This is a stub. You can help OpenMokoWiki by expanding it.

This page displays a menu of available applications. You may choose a category of applications to display to simplify the screen, or choose to display them all.

Current categories are PIM Suite, Applications, Games, Utilities, and All.

Running Tasks Page

Stub: This is a stub. You can help OpenMokoWiki by expanding it.

This page displays currently-running tasks. Any individual task may be terminated by selecting it and then clicking on the garbage-can icon to close it. All tasks may be terminated by clicking on any one of them and then clicking on the "folder" icon in the upper right (expect this to change in future releases). Any task may be rejoined by selecting it and then selecting the "return" icon at the middle top.

Exiting from and switching to an Application

Any time an application is running, you can simply click the device's power button and the application will exit, returning you to the Today page.

Alternatively, you can cycle through active applications using the AUX button

Clicking the top-left of the screen displays the drop down task menu. This menu lists all active applications and allows to switch directly to any one. Note: If the task menu is not shown, click and hold the Aux button to bring up the Aux menu, and select "Toggle Fullscreen".

Using the terminal

To start a console from "Today" page, click the middle tab at the bottom of the screen to display the "Launch applications" page, then select Terminal in the "Applications" submenu. The multitaps keyboard slides up (and down) from the bottom of the screen automatically when you touch the screen.

Setting date and time

From the terminal, type the following, but replace MM with the month (01-12); DD with the day (01-31); hhmm with the time (0000-2359); YYYY with the year (optional); and .ss with the seconds (optional).

date -s

To make the change persist between reboots, sync the hardware clock with the updated system time.

hwclock --systohc

See Setting_Date_and_Time for more discussion, including synchronizing with an NTP server.

Adjusting the Volume

As of this writing, there is no way to adjust the volume from the screen.

For now, run the terminal application or log in via usb, and run the Neo alsamixer application (to see all the options, including Mic2, you will need to run alsamixer -V all). The mixer is simpler than it looks. Just use the left and right arrow keys to select "headphone" or "PCM" and use the up and down arrow keys to adjust the volume. You can also adjust your microphone volume with the "mic2" adjustment. Press ESC when finished. Then exit the terminal application or log out of the USB login.

You may need to update configuration files in /usr/share/openmoko/scenarios/ to make the microphone setting permanent. Use

alsactl -f path-to-statefile store

to do this.

The default files are as follows (in /usr/share/openmoko/scenarios/):


These correspond to the various Sound Profiles accessible in the Debug Tool under Applications.

To manually restore one of the state files,

alsactl -f path-to-statefile restore

One way to increase the volume of the microphone is to do the following:

  1. ssh into your Freerunner
  2. vi /usr/share/openmoko/scenarios/gsmhandset.state
  3. search for "Mic2"
  4. change to "value 3"

If people report not being able to hear you when you call, then setting the Mic2 value to 2 or 3 should fix that.

Question: I am using headphones but only the right speaker work the left don't work how can I fix this ?

R: This should be set correctly by restoring gsmheadset.state. Pull and replug the headset jack to make sure the correct state-file is restored. To manually control the switch between Speaker and headset: Start alsamixer, scroll along to the right until you find "Amp Spk" and mute it (m), the sound will then come out from both channels of the headphones and not out of the speaker.


Accessing the microSD card

Mounted at /media/card by default.

If you have multiple partitions on the card, the first (/dev/mmcblk0p1) will be mounted at /media/card, the second at /media/mmcblk0p2, the third at /media/mmcblk0p3 etc.

Set up USB-based networking and update

Connect with and log in the Neo FreeRunner

This is discussed in the USB Networking section.

Use the package manager

There are three layers to the software on the FreeRunner:

  • uBoot: Think of u-boot as a combination of the BIOS and Grub on a PC.
  • Kernel: The Linux kernel
  • Root Filesystem: The rest of the system

In order to keep the FreeRunner up-to-date with the latest features and bug-fixes, it is advisable update the software at regular intervals. There are two main methods of doing this: using the package manager opkg (discussed in this section) or flashing the device.

uboot, the kernel and the root filesystem can all be flashed to update them. For uboot, this is the only possibility. The advantage of flashing the kernel, rather than using opkg seems to be speed. The disadvantage of flashing the root file system is that it wipes out all local modifications, including /home. If /home is moved to the SD disk, this is no longer a problem.

Assuming that your FreeRunner can access the internet (see above), the kernel and other packages can be updated with

# opkg update
# opkg upgrade

The first updates the repository information, telling opkg what packages are available. The second upgrades all packages for which a newer version is available. At the moment, some signature files are missing (404 errors), which opkg complains about, but this is cosmetic. The repositories will still update with the missing signature files.

Note that running opkg upgrade on a factory-fresh phone will upgrade dropbear (the ssh software) and various xserver packages, and neither upgrades elegantly while in use. Xserver must be updated over ssh to complete succesfully. Dropbear can be updated over ssh with the proper command:

# nohup opkg upgrade dropbear & 

Or upgrade it directly in the FreeRunner terminal.

# opkg upgrade dropbear

When updating over ssh, the session will be interrupted, but the command should complete successfully(check nohup.out on your device to verify), and you should be able to reconnect within a few seconds.

Then connect to the FreeRunner via ssh and type:

# opkg upgrade

Alternatively you can upgrade the xserver packages via ssh and then upgrade the rest from the FreeRunner's terminal.

If you do your first upgrade in two installments like this, it will go more smoothly.

It will be possible in the future to update uboot with opkg, but this has not yet been implemented

Installing multimedia, web browsing and other applications

There are many applications you can install - check out the Repositories for a list of packages, an example of how to add a repository using scaredy cat as an example can also be found here. A list of pre-installed and available packages with descriptions can be found here - Available Packages.

The calendar can be installed with

opkg install openmoko-dates2

For a Media Player:

opkg install openmoko-mediaplayer2
tar xjf openmoko-mediaplayer-theme.tar.bz2 -C /usr/share/themes/Moko/gtk-2.0
rm openmoko-mediaplayer-theme.tar.bz2

If you want a basic image viewer, have a look at the one from the gpe suite:

opkg install gpe-icons 
opkg install gpe-gallery

To obtain the standard web browser, use:

opkg install openmoko-browser2

An alternative browser, minimo, offers many more features. First download and unpack it on your GNU/Linux host:

tar jvxf minimo.tar.bz2

Copy it over to the FreeRunner:

scp minimo_* root@

Then on the FreeRunner:

opkg install /tmp/minimo_0.02\+cvs20070626-r0_armv4t.ipk

You'll probably also want to change the keyboard including the keyboard toggle applet

Importing contacts

If you can export your contacts to VCard format, either multiple files or single file containing all of them, you may use the script on Import Vcf Contacts page to bring them to Neo.

The next steps

Congratulations for setting up your Neo FreeRunner. There are many more ressources to help free your phone:

Customize the interface: clock, keyboard...

The stock Openmoko2007.2 image flashed onto the Neo FreeRunner is really just the bare bones. For example, you don't have the clock and the quick-launch icons showing. Here's how you can change that:

# dbus-launch gconftool-2 -t boolean -s /desktop/poky/interface/reduced false
# /etc/init.d/xserver-nodm restart

If you rather have a regular clock instead of the digital one, do this instead:

# dbus-launch gconftool-2 -t boolean -s /desktop/poky/interface/reduced false
# dbus-launch gconftool-2 -t boolean -s /desktop/poky/interface/digital_clock false
# /etc/init.d/xserver-nodm restart

More information about today screen customization at Today/2007.2.

With either clock, you may wish to set the correct Date and Timezone.

Also, if you prefer having a full keyboard, using matchbox's qwerty keybord, see these instructions. Then you may also see these, which describe a way to add an applet allowing the showing/hiding of that keyboard.

WLAN, GPRS, Bluetooth and GPS


GPRS: See Manually using GPRS

Bluetooth: See Manually using Bluetooth

Simple guide to get going with GPS:

# opkg install gpsd
# echo "GPS_DEV=\"/dev/ttySAC1\"" > /etc/default/gpsd

and restart gpsd, the gps daemon, with

# /etc/init.d/gpsd restart

To test GPS, you can use agpsui:

# opkg install openmoko-agpsui

For a nice map, try tangoGPS:

# opkg install

More information on GPS page.

There were critical GPS Problems earlier that are largely fixed with newest kernel. To install the updates when they become available, you will probably want to learn about Booting the Neo FreeRunner and Flashing the Neo FreeRunner.

The community

Mailing lists

There are several [Mailing lists]

There is an active community mailing list. You may ask for help on the support mailing list : more details at

If you are more comfortable with a web-based approach, you can also read and post the lists with

An excellent tool for searching all the openmoko mailing lists is

The wiki

If you want to know more about the Neo FreeRunner then you can get more information in the following topics:

To search this wiki with Google, use the following search term:

<search term> site:


The collection of blogs on OpenMoko.

Other documents