[Community] Status OpenPhoneux / GTA04

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Thu May 31 17:36:28 CEST 2012


Hi all,
end of the month - time to take some breath of air and
write a status update of the OpenPhoenux/GTA04 project.


1. Group Tour
is still in production (with problems). About 30% of the boards
have been produced but had failures. About 1/3 of those had
been without problems or have been fixed now. These units
have already been shipped last week (based on a first order
first served sequence).

The other boards are in rework. The production company
now thinks they have managed how to raise production yield.
But due to illness and school holidays in Bavaria, they
have not yet continued to work.

So please expect that it will become End of June for delivery...

As soon as these group tour devices have finally been shipped,
we can start planning the next version/release. But then with
keeping a better eye on the production yield and speed.

To avoid misunderstandings: the electronical design is
working very well, as the devices show that have already
been shipped. It is a pure production problem with the solder
joints of the chips on the PCB. No electrical or electronical
problems without a workaround.

It is like running a completely debugged software on
defective memory... Or having a 200mph sports car that
you can't use because some of the screws are loose.
But for each unit there are different ones so you have
to check them all.


2. Presentation at LinuxTag
Lukas and myself gave a well recognized presentation
for an audience of approx. 70 listeners.

And we had that "project meeting point", which is a booth
shared by several projects. We had very interesting
discussions there.

Presentation slides: 

http://download.goldelico.com/default/Presentations/20120526%20LinuxTag%202012%20-%20Openmoko%20is%20dead%20-%20long%20live%20Openphoenux.pdf


3. free 3D Graphics driver
one topic came up during LinuxTag: free 3D graphics
drivers. As you may know, the DM3730 has a integrated
PowerVR SGX530 GPU which is currently not even used.

There exist drivers and non-free binaries for user space
and firmware available through the BeagleBoard.org project
and TI. So it is not used just because nobody did look deeply
enough into the installation procedures.

Unfortunately these are "non-free" software. While for the
MALI GPU, there is a very active project to reverse engineer
and write a free driver. This got quite a lot of attention during
FOSDEM and LinuxTag.

For the PowerVR there was also a project proposal last
year and it was even made a high priority project by FSF.

So I tried to find out the current status.

Well, FSF forgot to kick off the project (they said they will
now take care of it). And there is no more progress than

http://libreplanet.org/wiki/Group:PowerVR_drivers
http://lkcl.net/powervr/sgx/ (list of reverse engineered PowerVR SGX USSE Opcodes)
http://elinux.org/Create_Open_Source_PowerVR_GPU_driver

And I got in contact with a handful of people interested
in this.

Since I would find it good to give us more freedom of choice
for 3D drivers, I offered to use the gta04-owner mailing list for
discussions. And maybe some of you are also interested
to contribute to this.


4. Nomenclature OpenPhoneux/GTA04

There may be some confusion what "GTA04" and "OpenPhoneux"
are and what makes them different.

We define:
* GTA*: the next generation motherboard(s), i.e. electronics
* OpenPhonux: the future "independent mobile handheld" project
   aiming at complete devices (i.e. GTA04 + case + components)

Currently, we run the domains www.gta04.org and
www.openphoenux.org. The Openphoenux.org home
page will be made more prominent and content rich soon.

This is done to become independent from the OpenMoko
brand and the www.openmoko.org domain whose future
and fate is completely uncertain.


5. OpenPhoenux Community

For the reasons mentioned above, we invite everybody to
subscribe to

http://lists.openphoenux.org/mailman/listinfo/community

which we hope will become the new community for those
interested in free and open and independent smartphone
platforms.

For some time there will of course be overlap, duplication
and friction... But this new list belongs to a project that
is active.

After a while we may be able to close the gta04-owner list
and switch over to openphoenux community.


6. GTA04 installation parties

One more idea was triggered by the LinuxTag discussions:

Who of you would be interested in organizing a GTA04
installation party in your region?

Some member of the GTA04 core team could try to come
and help installing the device, the display, the camera
and also give some introduction presentations for software
installations.


Happy flying with the OpenPhoneux,
Nikolaus




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