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Comment Re:Nice, but... (Score 4, Interesting) 77

It's often ___immeasureably__ useful to get some (any) kind of console output when porting Linux to an existing device running e.g. windows mobile 5 or 6. Take a look at HaRET. Porting is often harder than most would imagine, as some manufacturers actively use hardware obfuscation methods to prevent hacktivists from getting console access.

Try to imagine how long it would take to use LEDs or haptic feedback to iteratively check all conditions required to bring up Linux on a board without a serial port. The first thing you would probably do is try to use a hardware subsystem that was known to work and fashion a serial port out of it. This is the same concept but graphical.

Great work!

Comment F*CK... (Score 1) 245


Seriously - if a company no longer supports a product that still has a fairly large market, a lot of (particularly north-american) people will just throw the product in the garbage. Look at the billions of __WORKING__ cellular phones that end up in landfills. If users were given the freedom to improve the firmware on these aging products and make them relevent and useful again, we could give those devices away for free to people in the world who need them, or resell them.

It's better than waiting 1 million years for something to decompose in a landfill.

Comment Re:Stallman is out of touch (Score 1) 792

For regulatory documents, try a search on FCC regulations for radio-interference generating devices. For processors with an integrated baseband radio, you can't (normally) find documentation.

That is, not unless 1) you plan on manufacturing units in the 10s of thousands, 2) you sign an NDA and have some background checks done, or 3) happen to 'find' the docs on certain russian / chinese websites.

Comment Re:Stallman is out of touch (Score 2) 792

What about the radio firmware?


Most people have absolutely no idea that an entirely proprietary RTOS runs the baseband processor of their mobile phones, and that this RTOS has direct hardware access to all of the peripheral IO devices and sensors (GPS, microphone, data modem, etc). In many cases, the RTOS firmware is encrypted. In almost all cases it is more or less impossible for "the average consumer" to reprogram the baseband processor.

It does not matter whether you run an unlocked Android phone with whoever knows how many Cyanogen mods. I highly doubt that Cyanogen has deciphered, disassembled, reprogrammed, reassembled, and reencrypted any baseband firmware images at all.

All baseband firmware is proprietary as regulated by most governments. Well... except for OsmoconBB :)

Comment Wiretapping (Score 1) 792

This is essentially the same thing as wiretapping, which has been a legally regulated capability for telco's for decades. Keep in mind, that wiretapping also 'transmitted' location information, but since the location information was known a priori by the sender and receiver (of the tap), then it could be omitted from the communication channel (zero information gain).

When internet usage boomed, governments also regulated that ISPs must have the capability to 'tap' your internet connection (also from home), which is why ISPs are now regulated to log everything that users do for several months.

Cellular wiretapping is essentially a combination of voice, location, and data monitoring. The location information is encoded by which cell towers acknowledge your IMEI (and GPS receiver coordinates). Nothing has changed in the least about who has control over the infrastructure (except here). Users of Free Software on communication devices can at least have SOME control over the backdoors - i.e. who can turn on your GPS receiver remotely or force a firmware upgrade over the air. Unfortunately, most of the important software that has anything to do with communication is still proprietary, and locked (encrypted?) in the baseband processor stack on most mobile phones and wireless communication devices. For older GSM mobile phones, some users have the option to swap out the baseband processor stack and run OsmoconBB.

Until cellular voice / data / location information can be sufficiently anonymised there is really little difference about which technology Big Brother uses to monitor you. Keep in mind that you (the sender / receiver) can often be tied back to a specific IMEI number or MAC address (and even communication pattern).

ifconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> iwconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> imconfig imei AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D ?

Comment Re:It's a bit more complex than this article... (Score 1) 159

And the reason why x86 is so power hungry? It's because it's on big bits of silicon. And why's it on big bits of silicon? Because it support hyper-threading, out-of-order executon, has hardware virtualisation extensions, has extensive branch prediction, and tonnes of on chip cache.

And then there is of course the lack of 1.3 GHz memory bus speed. Yeah... that might also be a biggie, although ARM might win due to interconnect distance alone if a licensee ever decided to get in the high-speed memory game. Package-on-package, baby.

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