Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 – Despite the recent departure of a former mobile handset manufacturer giant, several developing teams and their users are actually… happily hacking on. With the longterm goal of a fully Free Software platform for embedded systems, the teams of FSO, SHR, QtMoko, Replicant and AndroidOnFreerunner invite others to join and participate in projects which are not driven left and right by the unpredictable follies of corporate management.
«We have been making a steady progress throughout the years. The major requirement has been a solid, Linux supported hardware, and for that we have been using Openmoko, Palm Pre, N900 and HTC phones – and ambitioned forthcoming projects like Goldelico’s GTA04. All these devices are providing a great development platform for those who seek truly open and independent system for their learning, coding and even professional or commercial use.» — says Dr. Michael Lauer from FSO.
There’s a temporary advantage when big players like FIC (Openmoko), Nokia+Intel (MeeGo) and Google (Android) invest in Free Software Projects. Though if the project contains parts of proprietary code, it depends on the investor. At some point the investor might abandon the project and the community. Then the project is doomed because the community can not fix any bugs in the proprietary code or adapt it to newer/other APIs.
«We believe in another model – proven to be both sustainable and satisfactory – where everybody can contribute their knowledge and learn at the same time, without proprietary code blobs and no closed doors boardroom meetings. This allows us to use existing hardware even when the maker decided to abandon it all together or is not willing to update it anymore. Anybody is able to commit, read, comment on or download the source code.»
The teams invite both users and developers to look at their project pages, the current results, motivations and needs, as well as to join the mailing lists, wikis, forums, IRC rooms or what not, to chat, listen and eventually contribute in order to create the free and open embedded platform for their devices.
The communities of FSO, SHR, QtMoko, Replicant and Android on Freerunner
FSO – freesmartphone.org is a modern and service-based middleware platform, providing an extendable and customizable middleware interface. Written in a modular way it utilizes the power of D-Bus communication for plugin integration. Due to its open nature and liberal license – being mostly a community driven project – FSO is the perfect choice for research, education and also for commercial vendors with special requirements that can benefit from professional support for FSO, including, but not limited to consulting and development.
SHR is a community driven distribution focusing on embedded and mobile systems. Specialized in the integration of many existing free and open source projects as underlying architectural blocks onto existing hardware like Nokia N900, Palm Pre, HTC Dream or Openmoko Neo Freerunner and Neo 1973 phones, SHR’s main focus is a flexible and adoptable system with integrated FSO middleware framework for telephony, networking and other hardware management, including a basic user interface for phone calls, messaging or user settings, with a slow but steady flow of applications designed especially for embedded and mobile systems, offering web browsers, microblogging clients, games and other utilities.
QtMoko is a Debian-based distribution for the Openmoko Neo Freerunner and Neo 1973 cellular phones, with the user interface based on Qt Extended, formerly known as Qtopia. Although it’s telephony subsystem has been largely using the qtopiacomm library, it’s working on moving towards FSO, allowing integration on a greater number of supported devices and access to a wider developer/consumer group.
QtMoko can be used as a daily phone on the Openmoko devices with it’s many applications, great themes and amazing speed.
Replicant is an Android-based distribution for the HTC Dream and the Nexus One that focuses on freedom: its goal is to replace the proprietary components that are usually present on the Android phones. Based on the popular Cyanogen mod, goes further by replacing proprietary low level libraries and higher level applications and is now functional enough to be used in Europe.
ABOUT Android on Freerunner
AoF – Android on Freerunner – is the continuation of the work initiated by Koolu, a community driven port of Android for the Openmoko Neo Freerunner device. AoF produces stable and fully functioning releases for Cupcake and continues to improve the quality of that distribution on the Freerunner. It can be used as a daily phone. Froyo is being ported and is functional, but considered more experimental and less stable compared to Cupcake
The AoF builds come with all advantages of the standard Android OS functionality, look and feel, ease of use and its prepackaged applications.
ABOUT Free Software http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
Free Software is that which is licensed in a way that grants users the right to use, study, change, and modify its design through the availability of its source code.
Contacts and links
- FSO, http://freesmartphone.org/ – coreteam (at) freesmartphone (dot) org
- SHR Project – http://shr-project.org/trac/wiki/Communicate
- QtMoko, #qtmoko on irc.freenode.net http://qtmoko.org/
- Replicant, #replicant on irc.freenode.net, Identi.ca microblog,
- Android on Freerunner, #android-on-freerunner on irc.freenode.net,
- GTA04, http://gta04.org