[Tinkerphones] [Firmware] Phone UI

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Thu Sep 8 14:50:24 CEST 2016

I have cross-posted to some developers I know and the shr-devel and the tinkerphones list.

> Am 08.09.2016 um 14:29 schrieb Elena ``of Valhalla'' <valhalla-l at trueelena.org>:
> On 2016-09-07 at 17:18:57 +0200, H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>>> If there are newer versions available, try to get those fixed in debian
>>> sid/unstable so that they migrate to stretch/testing, and then you could
>>> possibly get them into jessie-backports.
>> Well, I am only the messenger who tells that there might be a solution
>> for what potential Pyra users ask for. If it is buggy it is of course
>> something someone should take care of.
> from a quick glance at
> https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=773586
> it doesn't seem as much "buggy" as "does not work at all"
> One thing about Debian developement that maybe not everybody knows:
> since a few years there is a set of scripts that automatically removes
> from testing most packages that have had an open Release Critical (RC)
> bug for more than a few days [1]_ with no activity. This happens quite often,
> and in most cases packages get fixed and re-enter the testing archive a
> few days later. Sometimes this autoremoval happens close to the freeze
> of the next release, so the package won't be availble in stable.
> This package, however, has been removed from testing on 2015-02-03,
> during the jessie (current stable) freeze and hasn't been brought back
> into stretch (current testing) even after a year and a half. This is
> usually a very bad sign of a package that has been abandoned either by
> its maintainer or by its upstream (or both).
> In case you are interested to do the same in some other cases, the way I
> found out about it is by looking at the Debian Package Tracker:
> https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/phoneui-apps
> https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/phoneuid
> (there are also links from the BTS, at the top of the page for each package)
> Going on from that page, I've noticed that there was an action needed
> "Problems while searching for a new upstream version" but it ended up
> being a red herring: I followed the link to the VCS in the left panel
> (which points to the VCS used for *debian package* developement, not
> upstream) and checked the file ``debian/watch``.
> In there, I expected to find the location of upstream releases in a
> format that allows for automatical checks for new versions, but it was
> empty with a note that upstream only uses git, with no releases.
> Since I was already browsing the debian source, I opened the file
> ``debian/copyright`` which has the copyright informations, but also a
> pointer to where the source has been taken from, and that pointed to 
> http://git.shr-project.org/git/?p=phoneui-apps.git
> http://git.shr-project.org/git/?p=phoneuid.git
> Sadly, it seems that the project has been abandoned upstream, with no
> non-trivial commits since 2013.

Yes, looks like.

> (And I'm not surprised at all, since the
> project comes from the OpenMoko community, which doesn't really have
> plenty of working hardware, right now.)

Indeed. Seems to be a hen&egg problem. Not enough working hardware results
in even less developers and no users. Therefore there are no updates. And
because there is no standard PhoneUI, new hardware has to start from scratch...
And in the end the Users have nothing.

>> Maybe the Pyra project can give the developers some new motivation to fix
>> issues.
> Well, I wouldn't assume that this could happen automagically: upstream
> may not know about the Pyra (or they may do, since the open hardware
> world isn't that big, but that doesn't mean they are interested into it)
> Maybe just telling the upstream authors about Pyra may help, but they
> may just not be interested in buying an expensive device just to
> continue developement of something they have lost interest into: in this
> case it will have to be somebody in Pyra's community who either revives
> this project or starts a new one to develop a suite of phone software.

Indeed this is my main idea: get the Pyra community interested to pick
up a project (must not necessarily be PhoneUI if a similar starting point
exists) and bring it back into activity, including upstream.

Another options is QtMoko (which is also Debian based) but does not fit
well into the Debian build system and PhoneUI is more advanced in that it
already is available in one Debian release. QtMoko isn't in any.

So I want to start this process with making the Pyra community aware that
a lot of code (potentially bit-rotting) exists for exactly what is needed
to use the Pyra as a Phone.

The other option would be to wait until someone from the Pyra community
reinvents the wheel from scratch...


> .. [1] The original announce was at 
>       https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2013/09/msg00006.html
>       some details may have been changed in the meanwhile, but the
>       procedure is still active.
> -- 
> Elena ``of Valhalla''
> _______________________________________________
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> Firmware at pyra-handheld.com
> http://pyra-handheld.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/firmware

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