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A Truly Open Linux Phone 164

skelator2821 writes to tell us about the debut of the OpenMoko, a Linux phone with GPS that is open from top to bottom. The device is set to debut to developers this month for $350, according to the article, but there is no detail on how to get your hands on one, and no link to the manufacturer (FIC). From the article: "This is the first phone in a long time to get us really interested in what it is, what it isn't, and the philosophy behind it. The philosophy is the thing that makes Linux great... it is really open. It runs the latest kernel, 2.6.18 as of a few weeks ago, and you can get software from a repository with apt-get."
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A Truly Open Linux Phone

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  • WTF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sabit666 ( 457634 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @09:47PM (#16761893)
    When is this ITSATRAP shit going to end?
  • by btarval ( 874919 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:05AM (#16763055)
    Well, you're just not familiar with what's going on in the Open Source Phone world.

    First of all, the Carriers have little choice here. Fully functional Reference kits are available in the under $1000 range. For GSM, you can get them for about $200-300. These are the kits that companies who build cell-phones use to jumpstart their designs. So what's a Carrier going to do? Outlaw these? And kill development for cell-phones? I don't think so.

    The most they might do is to tighten down on the registration. But that involves overhead and hassle. Unless these kits prove to be an issue, it's not going to happen; at least not with the GSM market. And not worldwide.

    You are also wrong about the "time wasters" who supply low volume and low profit phones. What the Carriers want (at least some of them) is to sell the airtime. Some of these Carriers really don't care where it goes, as long as they get paid for it.

    There's a whole resale market here which underscores the point. You want to to become your own cell-phone company? You can, if you have the money. And if you don't think *those* resellers are hungry, you're kidding yourself.

    I admit that as far as the standard view about "time wasters" goes (for the big companies) you are correct. And it's explicitly been this attitude which has severely hindered innovation in the cell-phone market. There are a plethora of uses for small markets. Some of the hungrier carriers fully realize this, and are supportive of anything which will make them money.

    Finally, the lockdown on GSM transceivers is a bit silly. The interface is extremely simple; it's a variation of the old Hayes Modem interface. I kid you not. "ATDT....". There's even an Open Source Project for this. Here's the link:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/libgsmc [sourceforge.net]

    Finally, there's even a group dedicated to a fully Open Source phone. Namely, the Silicon Valley Homebrew Mobile Phone Club. They are having a meeting tomorrow night in San Francisco. Here's a link to their mailing list archives:

    http://telefono.revejo.org/pipermail/svhmpc_telefo no.revejo.org/ [revejo.org]

    Check out the list, and the information on various associated websites. There's really a groundswell building in this area. And those Carriers which close things off are going to miss an opportunity that their competitors are actively interested in.

  • by StarKruzr ( 74642 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:05AM (#16764779) Journal
    It can do ANYTHING, because it runs Linux. It's GSM so it can send and receive text messages like anything else. It can do web browsing, IRC, VOIP, whatever else you want, because it runs Linux.

    What else are you looking for? What can your "cheap candy bar Nokia" do that this can't?

    The reason this will be outlawed by cell phone carriers is precisely because it can do anything... because it runs Linux. Anything that loosens their ironclad control over handsets is verboten.
  • by roseblood ( 631824 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:13AM (#16764809)
    And I wonder how you can get into service providers' systems without a SIM card?

    Software emulation of hardware.
  • Awesome! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @07:14AM (#16765427)
    Imagine encrypted SMS ?
    Or encrypted voice conversations?

    Imagine mapping/pinpointing locations and using the GPS to show your place, and have a map with bookmarked locations, to find a certain store on a certain street so you don't have to walk around lost not knowing where is what.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"