Discussion:
Newbie: Converting a brick to a phone
(too old to reply)
Roland Whitehead
2008-12-08 16:23:03 UTC
Permalink
I, like a great many others I suspect, have a NeoFreerunner doing its
best impression of a brick on the shelf because I just don't have the
time to get it to the point where it works as a phone before I start
doing what I got it for - developing additional software. Monitoring
these lists and the wiki periodically produces an impetus for dusting
it off and giving it another go (like this past week-end's claim that
WSOD was gone) before reality sinks home and either the Neo white
screens or my trusty Mac grey screens.

Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a
brick to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off,
will ring, answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when
on a call. After that, the user should be left to get on with it but
I've completely failed to get to that stage despite trying 4 different
distributions. I'm really talking basic here - if you have a machine
that works for you, what Bootloader, Kernel and RootFS are you using
and where did you get them from? What were the core applications that
you loaded to make it work, where did you get them from and which
versions? What were the modifications that you made to various
settings files. If you have a working machine, could you blat it and
rebuild it to get to the same position as you are in now? If so, would
you document your process and share it with us? I don't really care
which distribution at the moment - I just want one that could claim to
work that I can then start developing with. I've got my Python books
out ready...

I have searched high and low through the wiki and list archives for
over a month with no joy. If I've missed something blindingly obvious
then perhaps you'd point me in the right direction. I guess the issue
is that I'm neither a hardware hacker nor a kernel hacker but an
application hacker - I'm certainly not an "end user" in the normal
mobile phone sense but I still can't get anywhere.

The temptation is just to say "oh well, I'll just leave it and go and
play with Android or get an iPhone" but that is not what I got onto
this for...


Roland
--
QURU Ltd, London
Damien Thébault
2008-12-08 17:38:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Whitehead
Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a brick
to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off, will ring,
answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when on a call. After
that, the user should be left to get on with it but I've completely failed
to get to that stage despite trying 4 different distributions. I'm really
talking basic here - if you have a machine that works for you, what
Bootloader, Kernel and RootFS are you using and where did you get them from?
What were the core applications that you loaded to make it work, where did
you get them from and which versions? What were the modifications that you
made to various settings files. If you have a working machine, could you
blat it and rebuild it to get to the same position as you are in now? If so,
would you document your process and share it with us? I don't really care
which distribution at the moment - I just want one that could claim to work
that I can then start developing with. I've got my Python books out ready...
I installed QtExtended, previously 4.3, it was the best distribution
back then, and now 4.4 (and I think it's still the best):
The image links are available here:
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Distributions#Images
I took the images from Hypnotize
(see http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/community/2008-November/035245.html )

qtextended-4.4.2-gta02-rootfs-release-working-with_voip+jabber+gtalk+SystemRingTones.jffs2
from
http://other.lastnetwork.net/OpenMoko/

Then the stable kernel from mwester's
http://moko.mwester.net/dl.html#kernels
(maybe it changed)

And... well... that's all.

I used it last weekend because the battery of my old phone was empty.

The good things:
* SMSes are working
* Calls to voicemail are working, like a real phone (didn't try a
real call with someone), keep in mind that you can hang up with the
power button if you leave the dialer
* The phone wakes up when sleeping (when a call comes or a SMS comes)
* I really like the new handwriting input module, once you know how
to use it in a different
language than english:
- draw a triangle (lower left -> lower right -> up -> lower left),
choose the lower-left choice to disable word recognition.
- draw some letters, if it doesn't recognize it, try the next one
with the good gesture (lower-left -> upper right -> lower left) or
choose from the list (double clockwise circle)(this is most useful for
letters with accents)
- insert special characters (double counter-clockwise circle)
Some characters (like "t" or "x" are a little hard to draw, but skill
improves over time, I'm now even capable of drawing an "i" instead of
"l" when I want to)

The bad things:
* I get SMSes more than one time in the inbox, and there's problems
with SMSes in the trash
* Sometimes it's acting weirdly and I have to restart QtExtended
(it's faster than just rebooting), and sometimes the phone think it's
charging when it's not even plugged in (so it doesn't sleep...)
* There's the buzz issue with the wired headset

The "I don't like" things:
* I don't really like the "kinetic" scrolling
* Using a word file in my language would allow me to use the
handwriting more successfully
* I think that my SD card (the one that came with the phone) is
broken, the phone can't recognize it, my laptop can't either, and if
it's plugged in, the SIM doesn't work

The "more than just a phone" things:
* I don't really like the music player
* The GPS doesn't work
* I was not able to configure GPRS and MMS

I'm back to my old phone now, but for me it's definitively improving,
I'm waiting for 4.4.3/4.4.4.

Regards,
--
Damien Thebault
Markus Wachenheim
2008-12-08 18:28:32 UTC
Permalink
Hello Roland, you already have a good and detailed answer from Damien
which makes very much sense. Depending on what you exactly want I anyway
have some alternatives for you:

SHR Works perfectly with me. Is not as "fancy" as QTextended but just my
personal feeling is that is is more stable in the core functions:
- making and receiving calls and SMS I had absolutely no issues (but I
guess that differs a lot on what phone provider you use - Vodafone
Germany with me), as mentioned the application is very simple so you use
the SIM memory for contacts and SMS and you can only delete 1 SMS at a
time etc.
wifi connection to WPA2 protected WLAN works fine together with using
the DNS of my router without any extra settings
Suspend works but I think the battery still does not keep for too long
(1 day???) but I never really took note of that so I might be completely
wrong about battery life

so you might just want to try this out and see if that suits your needs,
more information here: http://shr.bearstech.com/trac/wiki/Get%20Started

On my GTA02 v5 I am using this uImage:
http://shr.bearstech.com/shr-testing/images/neo1973/uImage-2.6.24+r10
+gitr6e2a723ef54ee2e739c34786981b2c508db803c1-r10-om-gta02.bin
and this rootfs:
http://shr.bearstech.com/shr-testing/images/neo1973/shr-image-om-gta02.jffs2


And in addition I run Debian on my SD card which really gives you a lot
of options and runs stable with the FSO phone stack that it comes with.
You can expect exactly the same phone functionality as on SHR. But
Debian is for the fun and possibilities and loads of programs - if you
don't need that and don't want to bother configuring Debian to your
liking you don't have to read on!


Good instructions I used to install Debian on my SD card (you need an
SD card, recommended min 1GB!) as the distribution is very large are in
the Debian wiki: http://wiki.debian.org/DebianOnFreeRunner
In addition to those instructions I had to change one setting to prevent the GSM from constantly going on and off: I had to change the /etc/frameworkd.conf file under the ogsmd section to ti_calypso_deep_sleep = never (and only if you want to play around you can have a look at the tweaks at http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Debian#Time like how to set the time)

Hope this helps you enjoying you phone freedom as I am and does not make that confusing amount of choice agein

Markus
Post by Damien Thébault
Post by Roland Whitehead
Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a brick
to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off, will ring,
answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when on a call. After
that, the user should be left to get on with it but I've completely failed
to get to that stage despite trying 4 different distributions. I'm really
talking basic here - if you have a machine that works for you, what
Bootloader, Kernel and RootFS are you using and where did you get them from?
What were the core applications that you loaded to make it work, where did
you get them from and which versions? What were the modifications that you
made to various settings files. If you have a working machine, could you
blat it and rebuild it to get to the same position as you are in now? If so,
would you document your process and share it with us? I don't really care
which distribution at the moment - I just want one that could claim to work
that I can then start developing with. I've got my Python books out ready...
I installed QtExtended, previously 4.3, it was the best distribution
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Distributions#Images
I took the images from Hypnotize
(see http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/community/2008-November/035245.html )
qtextended-4.4.2-gta02-rootfs-release-working-with_voip+jabber+gtalk+SystemRingTones.jffs2
from
http://other.lastnetwork.net/OpenMoko/
Then the stable kernel from mwester's
http://moko.mwester.net/dl.html#kernels
(maybe it changed)
And... well... that's all.
I used it last weekend because the battery of my old phone was empty.
* SMSes are working
* Calls to voicemail are working, like a real phone (didn't try a
real call with someone), keep in mind that you can hang up with the
power button if you leave the dialer
* The phone wakes up when sleeping (when a call comes or a SMS comes)
* I really like the new handwriting input module, once you know how
to use it in a different
- draw a triangle (lower left -> lower right -> up -> lower left),
choose the lower-left choice to disable word recognition.
- draw some letters, if it doesn't recognize it, try the next one
with the good gesture (lower-left -> upper right -> lower left) or
choose from the list (double clockwise circle)(this is most useful for
letters with accents)
- insert special characters (double counter-clockwise circle)
Some characters (like "t" or "x" are a little hard to draw, but skill
improves over time, I'm now even capable of drawing an "i" instead of
"l" when I want to)
* I get SMSes more than one time in the inbox, and there's problems
with SMSes in the trash
* Sometimes it's acting weirdly and I have to restart QtExtended
(it's faster than just rebooting), and sometimes the phone think it's
charging when it's not even plugged in (so it doesn't sleep...)
* There's the buzz issue with the wired headset
* I don't really like the "kinetic" scrolling
* Using a word file in my language would allow me to use the
handwriting more successfully
* I think that my SD card (the one that came with the phone) is
broken, the phone can't recognize it, my laptop can't either, and if
it's plugged in, the SIM doesn't work
* I don't really like the music player
* The GPS doesn't work
* I was not able to configure GPRS and MMS
I'm back to my old phone now, but for me it's definitively improving,
I'm waiting for 4.4.3/4.4.4.
Regards,
KaZeR
2008-12-09 08:51:29 UTC
Permalink
-----Message d'origine-----
Markus Wachenheim
SHR Works perfectly with me.
I tested SHR yesterday. It gives a very good impression : the gui is very
slick (especially when you like E) but i had no sound at all.. Am i the only
one? No ringtone, no sound when tring to call my voice mail, no alarm..
r***@roguewrt.org
2008-12-10 01:11:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by KaZeR
I tested SHR yesterday. It gives a very good impression : the gui is very
slick (especially when you like E) but i had no sound at all.. Am i the only
one? No ringtone, no sound when tring to call my voice mail, no alarm..
I've been out of the loop for a while but check your kernel sound
modules are loading (lsmod|grep snd). This has been a prob on more than
one distribution. You may have to issue a moddep or you may not actually
have the required modules.

Sarton
KaZeR
2008-12-10 08:41:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by r***@roguewrt.org
I've been out of the loop for a while but check your kernel
sound modules are loading (lsmod|grep snd). This has been a
prob on more than one distribution. You may have to issue a
moddep or you may not actually have the required modules.
Thank you. In fact i flashed OM-testing to test a package, then flashed back
SHR, and sound went back (i might have forgotten to update my kernel, or
maybe it's the SHR daily build + kernel from yesterday that fixed it).
Anyhow, i now have sound, and i have to say that SHR is quite nice. I also
installed omnewrotate (thank you Rui for this nice piece of software), and
had it to autostart with X, plus a few minor apps and it works nicely so far
(haven't tested outgoing sound for echo, but i had an incoming call and echo
was still there).

Micha? Brzozowski
2008-12-08 22:42:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Damien Thébault
* I get SMSes more than one time in the inbox, and there's problems
with SMSes in the trash
Yeah, what's the problem with duplicate messages? I've seen it both in
om2008 and in qtextended. Some kind of database problem? If not this,
qtextended would be almost usable (if only it had a terminal emulator
:-))...


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Drogowa Mapa Polski GPS w Twoim telefonie!
Pobierz >> http://link.interia.pl/f1fc9
Chris Samuel
2008-12-09 07:49:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Micha? Brzozowski
Yeah, what's the problem with duplicate messages
It appears to happen on mine if I have a stuck message in my Trash (i.e. one I
can't delete) and there are others in my Inbox or Trash.

It does appear to be a database error, certainly when I try and delete the
stuck message it logs the following errors:

Dec 9 18:47:27 om-gta02 user.notice Qtopia: Messaging : ( 3651 ) Failed to execute query; error:"constraint failed Unable to fetch
row"; statement:"INSERT INTO deletedmessages (id,parentaccountid,serveruid,frommailbox) VALUES (?,?,?,?)"
Dec 9 18:47:27 om-gta02 user.notice Qtopia: Failed to execute query; error:"constraint failed Unable to fetch row";
statement:"INSERT INTO deletedmessages (id,parentaccountid,serveruid,frommailbox) VALUES (?,?,?,?)"
Dec 9 18:47:27 om-gta02 user.notice Qtopia: Messaging : Could not execute query "deleteMessages insert removal records query"
Dec 9 18:47:27 om-gta02 user.notice Qtopia: Messaging : 3651 Unable to removeMessages - code: 19

Very odd!
--
Chris Samuel : http://www.csamuel.org/ : Melbourne, VIC

This email may come with a PGP signature as a file. Do not panic.
For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenPGP
Franky Van Liedekerke
2008-12-09 08:26:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Samuel
Post by Micha? Brzozowski
Yeah, what's the problem with duplicate messages
It appears to happen on mine if I have a stuck message in my Trash (i.e. one I
can't delete) and there are others in my Inbox or Trash.
<snip>

whatever the reason, it has been known since a couple of hours after the
release, but more than a month later: no fix yet. It makes sms's rather
useless: after 1 day of usage, I had 30 double sms's ...

Franky
Chris Samuel
2008-12-09 10:06:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Franky Van Liedekerke
whatever the reason, it has been known since a couple of hours after the
release, but more than a month later: no fix yet. It makes sms's rather
useless: after 1 day of usage, I had 30 double sms's ...
I only get the issue if I have undeleted SMS's left on the phone.

Given I'm not a big phone user that's not hard to handle but I can imagine if
you're doing lots of texting then you'd be in strife. :-(
--
Chris Samuel : http://www.csamuel.org/ : Melbourne, VIC

This email may come with a PGP signature as a file. Do not panic.
For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenPGP
Franky Van Liedekerke
2008-12-09 10:23:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Samuel
Post by Franky Van Liedekerke
whatever the reason, it has been known since a couple of hours after the
release, but more than a month later: no fix yet. It makes sms's rather
useless: after 1 day of usage, I had 30 double sms's ...
I only get the issue if I have undeleted SMS's left on the phone.
Given I'm not a big phone user that's not hard to handle but I can imagine if
you're doing lots of texting then you'd be in strife. :-(
Well, I don't text that much, but every sms gets doubled every time, so 2
becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, etc ... and deleting the sms every time AND cleaning
the trash is a bit too much hassle imho.

For me, shr is the distro to go. The next image will have basic pim, phone
log, etc ... and the alarm works ok (wakes up the phone from suspend). The
upside for qtextended is a reasonable finger-friendly interface and it is
snappy as well. But the snappy-ness becomes less of an advantage, because I
feel the latest shr images respond quickly as well.

Franky
Chris Samuel
2008-12-09 07:51:27 UTC
Permalink
 * The GPS doesn't work
Odd, it does on mine (QT 4.4.2), just need to give it enough time to get a
lock though.
--
Chris Samuel : http://www.csamuel.org/ : Melbourne, VIC

This email may come with a PGP signature as a file. Do not panic.
For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenPGP
KaZeR
2008-12-09 08:46:09 UTC
Permalink
Hi everyone.
Post by Damien Thébault
* Calls to voicemail are working, like a real phone (didn't
try a real call with someone), keep in mind that you can hang
up with the power button if you leave the dialer
Thanks for this tip, i often hit 'back' instead of 'End' so i go back to the
home menu with the phone call still active..
Post by Damien Thébault
* The phone wakes up when sleeping (when a call comes or a SMS comes)
* I really like the new handwriting input module, once you
- draw a triangle (lower left -> lower right -> up -> lower
left), choose the lower-left choice to disable word recognition.
- draw some letters, if it doesn't recognize it, try the
next one with the good gesture (lower-left -> upper right ->
lower left) or choose from the list (double clockwise
circle)(this is most useful for letters with accents)
- insert special characters (double counter-clockwise
circle) Some characters (like "t" or "x" are a little hard to
draw, but skill improves over time, I'm now even capable of
drawing an "i" instead of "l" when I want to)
I learned the gesture from the settings/handwriting menu, because there was
a few letters that i couldn't guess how to draw.
I have to say that it's really efficient once you get used to it.
Post by Damien Thébault
* I get SMSes more than one time in the inbox, and there's
problems with SMSes in the trash
* Sometimes it's acting weirdly and I have to restart
QtExtended (it's faster than just rebooting), and sometimes
the phone think it's charging when it's not even plugged in
(so it doesn't sleep...)
This charging status bug is probably the biggest showstopper currently : if
you poweroff your phone or restart it, it won't be able to go into sleep
mode until you have plugged it once.. And your battery will die quite fast.
Post by Damien Thébault
* I don't really like the "kinetic" scrolling
The idea behind is very neat (it's more natural) but it's a bit too slow to
be actually useable
Post by Damien Thébault
* Using a word file in my language would allow me to use the handwriting
more successfully
Given your name, i suspect that you are french. Have a look here :

http://openmoko-fr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=181

For non-french readers,

http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Keyboard_Debate#Installing_the_words.dawg_file
Post by Damien Thébault
* I think that my SD card (the one that came with the phone)
is broken, the phone can't recognize it, my laptop can't
either, and if it's plugged in, the SIM doesn't work
* I don't really like the music player
* The GPS doesn't work
* I was not able to configure GPRS and MMS
I was able to configure gprs, and opkg update throught it.
Quick steps : configure from the settings/internet gui.
Then you need to correct the link /etc/resolv.conf, which points to
/etc/ppp/resolv.conf (erroneus).
Change it to -> /var/ppp/resolv.conf (grep in /etc/ppp to find the script
which makes the link) and you should be fine).
I also had to change the phone number in the ppp config file (you can't
change it from the gui).
Last tip, if your phone provider doesn't need a login/password, put '*' in
each field.

About mms : i had a talk with Lorn, and in fact there is currently no wap
browser. So, no mms.
Post by Damien Thébault
I'm back to my old phone now, but for me it's definitively
improving, I'm waiting for 4.4.3/4.4.4.
+1
Andreas "Cyberfrag" Fischer
2008-12-08 19:59:13 UTC
Permalink
Hi Roland,

Since I was the one claiming that WSOD was gone, I'm gonna answer that.
As you should know if you skimmed through the list, there seem to be
several different hardware revisions of the Freerunner, all of which
have subtle differences with regard to hardware. For example some people
seem to never have gotten a WSOD, while for me (up to this weekend) it
was a 9 out of 10 chance that my phone would give me the WSOD on a
suspend/resume cycle. Also, I understand that other issues like the echo
are partly influenced by environmental issues (like what provider you
are using).

Am I able to tell you how to get a fully functional phone? No. It
depends on your specific scenario. However, I can tell you how I got to
the point where I am now - at a level where I (as a user who is not
dependent on his mobile phone) can more or less reasonably use my phone
without it being a brick.

The process I followed was (as far as I remember - this took me ~3
months after all): Flash OM2008.9 (along with provided kernel and
bootloader), install illume-config and illume-config-illume, update to
testing branch, deactivate auto-screen blank/suspend, update to newest
kernel. I'm not sure, whether I modified the alsa state file after
flashing OM2008.9, but since echo is not gone yet this should not make a
difference.
To shorten the process, you'd probably be at the same state if you just
flash the newest testing images.

This gives me at least:
- - Working calls, incoming and outgoing. Other party hears noticeable
echo of his/her own voice. Call quality on my side is good, though.
- - Working SMS, sending and receiving
- - Working GPS (used it several times for navigation already - very
useful in Venice for example)
- - Working suspend - no WSOD, phone wakes up on incoming calls.
- - (Probably) working WLAN (finds APs just fine, I think I connected once
to my own AP, but I'm using USB networking usually)
- - Unreliable accelerometers - they seem to crash sometimes. Didn't check
for some time, though - this may have changed.

Unconfirmed (because I don't use it at the moment):
- - Bluetooth
- - USB Host mode
- - GPRS
- - Headset
- - Provider service numbers (reportedly, these seem to cause problems)

Remaining nuisances:
- - I've been told that the echo on a call is very irritating for the
other party.
- - I want Raster's keyboard back :)

Apart from the echo, this is already way more than what my (very old)
Nokia phone could do. And with WSOD gone, 24h of battery time should be
easy to reach. I'd suppose that even 48h might be possible without problems.

Hope that gives you an overview of the situation.

Regards,
Andreas
Post by Roland Whitehead
I, like a great many others I suspect, have a NeoFreerunner doing its
best impression of a brick on the shelf because I just don't have the
time to get it to the point where it works as a phone before I start
doing what I got it for - developing additional software. Monitoring
these lists and the wiki periodically produces an impetus for dusting it
off and giving it another go (like this past week-end's claim that WSOD
was gone) before reality sinks home and either the Neo white screens or
my trusty Mac grey screens.
Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a
brick to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off,
will ring, answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when on
a call. After that, the user should be left to get on with it but I've
completely failed to get to that stage despite trying 4 different
distributions. I'm really talking basic here - if you have a machine
that works for you, what Bootloader, Kernel and RootFS are you using and
where did you get them from? What were the core applications that you
loaded to make it work, where did you get them from and which versions?
What were the modifications that you made to various settings files. If
you have a working machine, could you blat it and rebuild it to get to
the same position as you are in now? If so, would you document your
process and share it with us? I don't really care which distribution at
the moment - I just want one that could claim to work that I can then
start developing with. I've got my Python books out ready...
I have searched high and low through the wiki and list archives for over
a month with no joy. If I've missed something blindingly obvious then
perhaps you'd point me in the right direction. I guess the issue is that
I'm neither a hardware hacker nor a kernel hacker but an application
hacker - I'm certainly not an "end user" in the normal mobile phone
sense but I still can't get anywhere.
The temptation is just to say "oh well, I'll just leave it and go and
play with Android or get an iPhone" but that is not what I got onto this
for...
Roland
------------------------------------------------------------------------
_______________________________________________
Openmoko community mailing list
http://lists.openmoko.org/mailman/listinfo/community
Tom Yates
2008-12-09 07:35:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Whitehead
Yes there are many different distributions out there but what is very
clearly missing are simple, obvious instructions on how to go from a
brick to a working device - just a machine that will turn on and off,
will ring, answer and make calls, not hang and not have buzzing when on
a call.
modulo the buzzing, which i never had and cannot therefore say how to get
rid of, my OM running 2008.09 does all that. it's my day-to-day business
and personal phone.

full instructions, including the version of images i'm booting from and
what i've done to fix each of the problems, are at
http://www.teaparty.net/technotes/openmoko-2.html .
Post by Roland Whitehead
If you have a working machine, could you blat it and rebuild it to get
to the same position as you are in now?
yes, i've done so twice, that's what the instructions are for. but
hopefully they'll be of some use to you, too!
--
Tom Yates - http://www.teaparty.net
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