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Openmoko GSM/GPS firmwares (was Re: Leverage in licensing discussions)

Hi there!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Debian FSO Team [1].

On Fri, 07 Nov 2008 13:35:16 +0100, David Bremner wrote:
> At Fri, 7 Nov 2008 00:27:13 +0100, Michelle Konzack wrote:
>> And as I have already written, I do not know HOW OpenMoko will solv
>> this problem, but FreeRunner/OpenMoko or PurpleMagic are not allowd
>> to run in Europe with Open Source GSM-Firmware.  And of course,
>> PurpleMagic has never respond to my three E-Mails and one
>> Letter. (they are in France)
> I spent 5 minutes reading the OpenMoko wiki and mailing lists, and it
> seems to me that they do not have open source firmware for the GSM
> modem.

This is true [2], but it is completely unrelated to the issue discussed
in this thread, which is about *external*, better, userland firmwares.

The Openmoko GSM does not need to load any userland firmware at all.
Instead, you can control it through *standard* AT commands [3][4][5].
Thus, the Openmoko GSM chipset is exactly like any other modem chipset:
you can use them with *standard* tools.  The correct procedure to flash
a new GSM firmware is also officially available [6][7], but it is highly

The GPS chipset is another story:

- the one used in the Neo 1973 (the first and developer-only model [8])
  needs a binary-only userland driver [9][10].  Efforts are already in
  place to produce an open source one [11][12].

- OTOH, the Neo FreeRunner (the more-friendly end-user model [13]) uses
  a completely different GPS chipset [14], which outputs *standard* NMEA
  data [15] and can be accessed through /dev/ttySAC1 [16].

As usual, please correct me if I am wrong.

FYI, Debian installs and works flawlessly on the Neo FreeRunner, ATM
with software not-yet available in Debian.  The only reasons for this is
that some dependencies needed are not yet in main and that we want to
fix every major problem before uploading to main [17].  Note that all
the packages the Debian FSO Team distributes [18] are GPG-signed by DD
keys already present in the debian-keyring.

I, for myself, consider the discussion on the Openmoko GSM/GPS chipsets
closed, thus take this as the only post on the matter from me ;-)

Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca

[1] http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DebianFSO
[2] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Open_GSM_Radio
[3] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/TI_Calypso_D751992AZHH
[4] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Hardware:AT_Commands
[5] http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/community/2007-January/002708.html
[6] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/GSM/Flashing
[7] http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/openmoko-devel/2008-April/002605.html
[8] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/GTA01
[9] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Neo_1973_GPS
[10] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Gllin
[11] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Hammerhead/Protocol
[12] http://projects.linuxtogo.org/projects/sphyrna
[13] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/GTA02
[14] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/U-blox_ANTARIS_4_ATR0635
[15] http://www.nmea.org/pub/0183/index.html
[16] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Neo_FreeRunner_GPS#Low_level_access
[17] http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/pkg-fso-maint/2008-October/000114.html
[18] http://pkg-fso.alioth.debian.org/

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