[Community] Growing the Community

Bob Ham rah at settrans.net
Mon Jun 17 22:46:01 CEST 2013

On 2013-06-15 10:47, Neil Jerram wrote:

> This analysis sounds persuasive to me.  I guess the next questions,
> then, are (1) which of our possible OSs is closest to that point, and
> (2) for that OS, what are the biggest things still needed to reach that
> point of solidity.  Since you seem to have a clear view here, I'd
> appreciate hearing your assessment.

I must admit I don't have a great deal of experience actually using the
various OSes that are available.  I have a GTA04 with a 1GHz CPU which
isn't supported in contemporary kernels so I don't have a working phone.
I've used QtMoko in trying to get the machine setup so I have some
experience, but not using it as a phone.

However, bearing in mind that caveat, my gut tells me Replicant is
probably closest.

Having used QtMoko I can see it needs heavy work to get it to the level
of a consumer-oriented OS: the UI responsiveness can be unpredictable,
varying between low and very high latency seemingly at random, such that
the UI can uncontrollable at times; the keyboard is less-than-friendly;
and the UI for the phone hardware is very incomplete with much of the
control happening through scripts executed from textual menu entries.
It's very much a hacker's OS at present.  In fact I don't even know if
it's Radek's goal to develop it into a consumer-oriented OS.

SHR seems to have basic problems with the phone software.  As I
understand it, SHR is largely dependent on FSO and its ecosystem but
this ecosystem seems to be dying.  It was felt that a new phone UI was
needed to replace Zhone and Zhone2 because the quality of those programs
was/is not good enough¹.  So the Aurora project was born.  The first
release was in August 2011.  The second release was in December 2011.
There have been no further releases.

In December 2011, it was announced that SHR would be reorganising their
development process with a goal of improving stability and usability for
users².  In March 2012 there was an "rc1" release.  Fifteen days later
there was an "rc2" release.  There have been no further releases.

Replicant is based on Android.  Having seen a large number of Android 
phones, and having personally hacked on a Motorola DEXT with "MOTOBLUR"
and also Cyanogenmod, I know that there will be little work needed to
get the user-facing components of Android-derived OSes into shape.  As
far as I know, the only problems that need addressing for Replicant on
the GTA04 are under the hood, providing appropriate glue for hardware.
There is a list of outstanding tasks here:


In light of the above, I would like to note that I have nothing but the
greatest respect for the QtMoko, FSO and SHR developers and I praise
their efforts.


¹ http://wiki.freesmartphone.org/index.php/Aurora/Announcement
² http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/community/2011-December/065824.html

Bob Ham <rah at settrans.net>

for (;;) { ++pancakes; }

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