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Return to OpenmokoFramework.

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Key pages on:

(Other distributions)

FSO is one of the many distributions that currently work on the Openmoko phones. You can compare a distribution with an Operating System on normal computers. It gives the phone all the software needed for operating. For more information about the different flavors, see distributions.

FSO is an abbreviation for FreeSmartphone.Org. With FSO, Openmoko is working on a stable system services software back-end. The framework will be used in forthcoming Openmoko distributions -- a demonstration one is available as FSO-image. For more information see and .


  • Question: Is this an Openmoko-only thing?
  • Answer: No. It's going to be available for all kinds of mobile hardware running Linux, i.e. OpenEZX, XanaduX, HTC/iPAQ, ...
  • Question: Is this a part of the current images yet? Is it perhaps the mystic ASU?
  • Answer: No.
  • Question: When can I see this as part of an image?
  • Answer: Not before spring 2009.
  • Question: What's the current status?
  • Answer: See right below or hop over to .
  • Question: How do I work the Zhone (FSO demo app) UI?
  • Answer: FSO UI Tutorial
  • Question: What is the easiest way to build it?
  • Answer:
    wget; make fso-testing-image
    See Building_FSO for more information.



  • Give people the infrastructure to create solid and exciting software products based on the Openmoko platform
  • Support competing UIs while collaborating on developing services
  • Encourage framework users (e.g. application developers) to also contribute to the framework


  • Make it simple
  • Concentrate on core services
  • Be programming language agnostic
  • Be UI toolkit agnostic
  • Try to reuse existing technologies as much as possible, but not at the cost of a bad API

How to achieve that technically

  • Choose dbus as the collaboration line. Below dbus, we can work together. Above dbus, we can differentiate
  • Expose features through dbus APIs implemented by UI-agnostic and language-agnostic services (daemons)
  • Optimize for Openmoko devices, but support multiple architectures and purposes through plugin interfaces and suitable hardware abstraction mechanisms
  • By not being afraid of reinventing the wheel for a wheelbarrow if all the existing wheels are made for sports cars

Mandatory Reading

What this is NOT about

This initiative does not cover low level services such as

  • Bootloader, Kernel, or System Init.

This initiative does not cover high level services such as

  • X-Window-System, Window Manager, UI Toolkits,
  • Application Launchers, Applications, or Fancy UIs.

Architectural Overview


Software Components

We differentiate between low-level and high-level services -- dbus will be used to communicate horizontally and vertically.

Low-Level Services

Device Control

The low level device control service manages peripheral control, i.e. controlling power for individual subsystems such as

  • GSM, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, as well as
  • Backlight brightness and power,
  • Turning LEDs on and off, etc.

It also deals with

  • Charging, suspend/resume,
  • Accelerometers, and buttons.

Last but not least, it sends notifications about the user's activity so that listeners have a chance to

  • Change to powersaving modes, or
  • Lock the device.

We implement the following software for that:


The low level audio service relies on a working ALSA device driver with the dmix software mixing plugin (*). On top of that, there is the GStreamer streaming media framework:

Gstreamer is to be used for all kinds of event sounds where a) multiple audio formats need to be supported and b) a latency of about one second is acceptable. This goes for e.g. ring tones, welcome tones, plug indication.

  • ) Initially, we wanted to use PulseAudio on top of ALSA, howver currently it has serious performance problems on this hardware. [1]


The low level GSM services expect a modem complying to GSM 07.07, GSM 07.05, and assorted GSM specifications, talking an AT-protocol over a serial line. If GSM 07.10 is supported, we use the multiplexing daemon to export virtual serial lines over which -- again -- AT-protocol can be spoken:


The low level Bluetooth services rely on the official Linux Bluetooth subsystem:


The low level GPS services assume a GPS device that talks NMEA over a device node. We implemented an ogpsd daemon speaking an extended Gypsy API:


The low level networking service assumes network interfaces, such as USB, Ethernet, Wifi, etc. We rely on the following software here:

  • Intel Connection Manager
  • PPP

High Level


The Usage subsystem is concerned with coordinating application I/O requirements. Applications are not supposed to turn on or off devices, since they do not have any knowledge about concurrent applications that may be also using the device -- think reference counting for I/O requirements.

With this added layer, we could later think about monitoring subsystems, subsystem usage statistics, or accounting.

See discussion page about PolicyKit.


  • Signalling events via I/O (ringing, blinking, vibrating)
  • Might use fd.o notification API


An intelligent storage database server. This is being carried out as a Google Summer of Code project. See complete description here.


  • Intelligent context API, integrating location as one -- among other -- sources
  • Geoclue?


The phone subsystem can be used to create and manage voices communications. It makes abstraction of the protocol used.


  • Settings database


  • High-level networking queries


Completion Status


  • Device control: 75%
  • Audio: 90%
  • GSM: 95%
  • GPRS: 95%
  • Bluetooth: 80%
  • GPS: 95%
  • Network: 50%

High Level


  • mdbus -- a dbus introspection and interaction utility,
  • cli-framework -- a python dbus command line interface.
  • mickeyterm -- a MUXer-aware minimal terminal emulator.

How to debug

  1. log in via ssh
  2. killall python
  3. edit /etc/frameworkd.conf and add 'log_level = DEBUG' into the frameworkd section.
  4. run frameworkd and pipe the log somewhere or keep it in your terminal buffer (warning, it's HUGE :))
  5. log in via ssh (yes, again)
  6. export DISPLAY=:0.0
  7. run zhone

Attach the logs to the tickets, please.

The role of Python

Where we write new code, we will use Python to implement the dbus services. The reason for that being the rapid prototyping nature of Python and the emphasis on the dbus APIs. Using Python, the turnaround times to experiment with APIs are incredibly faster than for using a compiled language such as C or C++.

Once the APIs have been used by application programmers, we can start profiling and possibly reimplement some of the services with daemons written in Vala, if necessary. We might as well succeed in improving performance by using Pyrex/Cython/Ctypes to keep the benefits of Python.

Team & Roadmap



The milestone releases are combined Openmoko Framework and Zhone releases. Remember: A feature that isn't visible, working, and tested in our framework testing application (Zhone) does not exist. Until Framework 1.0.0 (later this year), we will not use any versioning in components. Afterwards, individual components may see individual releases.

Note: The milestones and tasks moved over to our issue tracker.