Community Updates/2008-12-29

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This is Openmoko community newsletter #8, Community Updates year's end issue. This couple of weeks were packed with lots of action. Openmoko released the 2008.12 distribution upgrade and Koolu released its first Android beta. Both these were very expected and, actually contained no surprise at all, since the development process is completely open. Administration for was transferred to knowledgeable community member Armin Ranjbar (nickname: zoup), and got a complete overhaul. Plus a big bunch of new/updated applications and utilities.



  • Om 2008.12 Update is out! This is the fastest, latest and probably last of the ASU family line of distributions. Officially upgrades 2008.9, optimized with faster boot, volume control during phonecall, and much more. Read the announcement, then go to the download dir.
  • Android. Koolu announced their first beta release. Based on Sean's image, Wendy from Openmoko produced test reports (PDF) concluding that Android Image On Freerunner really looks good, but [...] not ready to be a daily phone yet. Interesting applications waiting to be fixed to work on Freerunner include bluetooth, wifi, GPS, browser...
  • hackable:1 announced (documentation). Led by Marcus Bauer of TangoGPS fame, this project aims to implement the GNOME Mobile stack on top of Debian on FreeRunner. Its installation is specially simple: download the tarball, unpack the files on a 2 GB SD card, put the card in the FreeRunner.
  • Telefoninux 0.01 is out. First alpha release for this Debian-optimized distro.
  • Bytestore points out an augmented 2008.12 image with Russian keyboard, GPRS and other goodies.

New applications

  • Carlo released OpenVibe, the first opensource vibrator :) Pander also offers an open source MIDlet in a JAR to control the vibrator function. We are still waiting for test reports tought.
  • Yann released meooem 0.0.1, a realtime weather notifier opkg page. Setup the displayed city in /etc/meooem.conf.
  • Ilja pushed out version 0.1.0 of om-manager, a Python Freerunner manager: flash, backup, get logs, manage packages, VNC (if x11vnc is installed on the phone).
  • Valéry released Neon, a simple Python/EFL image viewer, designed to be lightweight, fast, and easy to use.
  • Nathan shared his GPRS launcher script and the ipk for Gtkdialog it uses. The script can be used to start the connection, stop the connection, or to simply find out the current GPRS status.
  • Openmoko's next generation telephony, messaging and addressbook application paroli was merged with tichy, the application starter. So opkg install tichy, setup according to Mirko's email, and enjoy.
  • Angus offers a "where are you now" daemon that can SMS back its location upon request.
  • Chris submits for testing the prototype for a fullscreen keyboard.
  • A Dutch keyboard for illume.
  • Daniel MT released Bright Player 0.1, a lightweight, quick and easy random music player for OM2008.X based distributions.
  • Last but not least, Josh shares an IMAP Mail reader and a collection of scripts to manage launching applications, control wifi, power, screen etc. Initially developed on 2007.2, most ported to Debian.

Applications updates

  • OpenMoocow 0.3 released. Changes include: better graphics from by "bsantos", more responsive, kernel 2.6.28 new sysfs paths ready, thinkpad HDAPS merged in.
  • ZOMG!, an opkg frontend, updated. Faster, cacao and jamvm compatible (jamvm still recommended).
  • navit, a drivers' GPS navigation system (trac) is being optimized for the FreeRunner by Christian Anke and others.
  • Damian A. Spriggs started working on a MAME port. The Multimedia Arcade Machine Emulator is a must for all retro-gamers out there. I can't wait to play P*c-M*n and G*l*xi*n again on my subway commute!
  • Angus updated to use the FSO framework. It should automatically detect scenario changes and update the mixers now. Put into /usr bin and chmod +x it. volume_fso.desktop goes into /usr/share/applications.
  • The Zedlock screen locker rewritten and re-released as 0.1 functional prototype.
  • siglaunchd, a daemon which listens to dbus signals and runs applications accordingly, got regular expressions (string patterns) matching, and was ported to C. For example, one can set the aux button to launch the dialer and the other can set a sound when screen is dimmed with as little as no effort.
  • Homezoneapplet 0.2. An applet and daemon to display the O2 (German mobile provider) Homezone icon. Now works on FSO and SHR.
  • omnewrotate 0.5.3. Updated for 2008.12 compatibility.


  • Recognizing that they have never been able to get the projects gforge running well, Openmoko decided to throw the towel and terminate the project. Sean said: "If somebody wants to step up and own this responsibility -- you bet -- we'll pay the bill." Luckily Armin Ranjbar (a.k.a. zoup from FDOM), stepped forward (among others) to lead the newly formed, community-led gforge administration team on the Openmoko server. He is creating an admin mailing list were interested people can join him (link here).
  • relaunched! New look, same API. Now if Openmoko wants to terminate useless projects, how about the "community repository"? Is there any community project to feed opkg from the gforge?
  • The documentation team discussed on how to write the missing Neo's reference handbook.
  • OpenJDK integration into Jalimo was finished, including packaging. Cacao+OpenJDK runs on the FreeRunner. A step towards better Java support in all OpenEmbedded devices.


  • The technical feasibility of fixing the "buzz" at a reasonable price was confirmed by several hardware repair shops. Steve is still working on the program to bring that "big capacitor" rework to users worldwide. The technical draft is still being worked on: how to open the case, how to test, possibility of using alternative capacitor types (although these will be provided for free by OM), possibility of applying other A6 -> A7 hardware upgrades like the GPS/uSD fix at the same time... Do not expect resolution before CES (Jan 8-11). Meanwhile, DIYers will be supported.
  • The level of lust for 3G on GTA03 reached astounding highs on the community mailing list. For a reality check before dreaming further, read Carsten explanations on the costs of a 3G module. For insights about schedules, read Steve's explanations on production in real life.

Tips and tricks

  • No audio on 2008.9 after suspend/resume? If you installed navit, it pulled speech-dispacher as a dependency. Try killing and uninstalling speech-dispatcher. See ticket 1599.
  • Terminal-based applications slow to startup on FDOM? Try opkg remove termcap, processing /etc/termcap each time takes like 10 seconds.
  • Media player so sloooow it's unusable? Try running it with a -15 nice priority value (for users of pythm+mplayer, set it up in /etc/pythm.conf).
  • A cooler theme in 2008.12? Try replacing "asu" with "illume" /etc/enlightenment/default_profile.
  • Enlightenment eating 20% CPU? Disable drop shadows by moving /usr/lib/enlightenment/modules/dropshadow to another location.
  • Enlightenment crashing with the illume theme in 2008.12? Try disabling drop shadows. Otherwise, change the "Engine" in the enlightenment config from SOFTWARE_16 to SOFTWARE (to access the config, disable qtopia under /etc/X11/Xsession.d first, restart X, do the config, then move qtopia back).
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