[Community] Next generation OpenPhoenux devices

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Mon Mar 18 16:56:19 CET 2013


Am 18.03.2013 um 15:30 schrieb Nick:

> On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 02:12:48PM +0100, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> Am 18.03.2013 um 12:56 schrieb Sven Dyroff:
>>> What about the closed firmware within the modem? 
>> 
>> Yes, it is closed. But why do you expect that it can be open(ed)?. Yes, it would be nice for the curious, but let's remain realistic.
> 
> The OpenBSC project appears to be making good progress on this, so I
> don't think it's wholly unrealistic. After all, the vast majority of
> phone vendors consider free drivers for graphics as "unrealistic";
> this community is in the business of changing these expectations.

> 
> There are several clear advantages to having open code for the
> modem:
> - Bugs in the modem can be actually fixed (or at least are more
>  likely to be able to be fixed). It's my understanding that the
>  problems I had with GSM reliability on the GTA02 was due to the
>  modem being buggy, though admittedly I don't know if this is
>  something that could have been fixed at the firmware level.
> - Awesome things like p2p mesh phone networks can be experimented
>  with; it allows a greater level of the "doing things the designers
>  never anticipated" sort of hacking.
> - Security that you aren't being spied on more than is required by
>  GSM. Your assurances and explanations of the GPS part of the modem
>  being disabled are good and make sense, but more generally it's
>  nice to be able to see exactly what's going on, and check for
>  vulnerabilities - it's a pretty sensitive area of the design,
>  after all.

Yes, I agree that it would be nice to have this.

But I have no idea how to achieve it ever. Because it is about changing
the minds of big companies like Qualcomm or Imagination to open their
systems.

Well, we can do reverse engineering (but who is really working on it?).

Or we could collect money to develop our own open hardware (software
defined radio) and firmware. But we really need a lot of money (in the
$$$ Mio range to fight patent issues etc.).

Or we could convince the world population to buy only systems with open
firmware. Only then these companies would see a (financial) benefit in
opening their firmware.

Is any of these approaches realistic for a small community like ours?

-- hns


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