[maemo-users] Is OS2006 still supported?

From: Frantisek Dufka dufkaf at seznam.cz
Date: Fri Apr 18 16:46:14 EEST 2008
Quim Gil wrote:
> Igor Stoppa wrote:
>> On Fri, 2008-04-18 at 13:52 +0300, ext Quim Gil wrote:
>>> What is really the problem: the binaries or the license to distribute
>>> them? Or both?

Both. Licence to redistribute parts of the firmware (binary executables 
with closed source) is the first blocker. I guess we currently cannot 
unpack firmware image, rebuild some open pieces, put it back and release 
such firmware image freely, can we? Would be very useful if we were 
allowed to do it. Without this users need to flash clean Nokia firmware 
and then do relatively complex patching on their own to install some 
community version.

Second blocker are the binaries itself. We are talking about (in the 
order of importance as I see it)

- umac.ko binary kernel driver

this one is dependent on kernel version and even specific kernel 
configuration, see
Basically we are stuck with old kernel forever if we want to use wi-fi 

- pieces in initfs

redistribution rights would help but sadly they seem to depend on kernel 
version too. This it true at least for dsme. Last time I tried, dsme 
from OS2006 image crashed with 2.6.18 kernel and rebooted device early 
on boot. The first OS2007 hacker edition tried newer kernel and had some 
dsme build that worked with 2.6.18 but this image is no longer available 
(I asked few times to put it back with no result)

-pieces in rootfs

This only applies for system based on OS200x/Maemo i.e. some sort of 
Hacker Edition. For details see the table
Package  	License  	Modification  	Patches
in http://maemo.org/community/wiki/Os2007On770/ and watch for 
modifications with Licence column 'Closed'
or go over http://maemo.org/community/wiki/os2007hackereditionarchives
It is clear community cannot maintain Maemo based system for 770 without 
internal knowledge.

As already said this does not apply to other distributions (Poky, 
Debian, Mamona) but we are still stuck with ancient kernel, one example 
- Android now needs 2.6.23 so no luck with 770 :-)

>>> Do these binaries impede the community getting what they want? What do
>>> they want, by the way?

Move freely to newer linux kernels and have all closed hardware still 
working, Wi-fi is pretty important for Internet Tablet :-)

> Do you mean that the community can't do a thing unless this
> functionality is covered by open source packages instead of binaries?

many things can be still done but the motivation is low, it is not much 
fun to invest time in system which is stuck in the past forever

> What would happen if the community could reuse these binaries in images
> build and redistributed by themselves?

IMO this is really worth of solving. Go for it if you can.

> Also, is it feasible to think in open source alternatives developed by
> the community?

Yes eventually, if people feel they are not stuck with closed hardware 
with no future.

> Pointing the real stones in the way would help
> concentrating the attention on what matters.

Basically I think there are two issues

1. allowing redistribution of binaries from firmware (i.e. making 
firmware customizations)

2. making possible to move to newer linux kernels by either opening 
sources of wi-fi driver and stuff in initfs or finding someone with 
enough rights and knowledge to maintain it for us as needed

BTW This issue was already discussed many times, some pointers with 
additional details (we can discuss them again if needed):
http://lwn.net/Articles/229838/ and discussion below article starting 
here http://lwn.net/Articles/230162/


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