[Tinkerphones] PinePhone

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue Feb 19 21:38:35 CET 2019

On Tuesday 19. February 2019 20.41.22 Martin Rottensteiner wrote:
> There might be some other phones this list might be interested in:
> The maemo-leste-project tries to make recent mainline kernels available on
> older phones. You might especially like to hear that they made quite huge
> progress with Nokia N900 (TI Omap 3) and Motorola Droid 4 (TI Omap 4). See
> the status of Droid4 here <https://leste.maemo.org/Motorola_Droid_4>.

Yes, that project is doing some good work, and I mentioned their FOSDEM 
presence in a recent thread.

One problem with supporting existing devices is having to deal with hardware 
that hasn't been chosen for its Free Software support. Another is actually 
being able to buy these devices after their normal retail life has effectively 
ended, at least from reputable suppliers.

But it seems that Maemo-Leste aims to run on anything, and I like what they 
are doing.

> I also would like to mention the project of a member of the maemo-community
> who is working on a Android keyboard phone with qualcom chipset. It is
> announced for Q1/2019. It will of course not be as open as other projects
> with new phones mentioned here and has a strong focus on commercial
> success. It should be possible to get hardware details by signing an NDA
> and the boot loader will be open: "We’ll offer loaner devices and driver
> support (under NDA) to core developers. We’ve already approached to some
> Lineage OS developers as a first step and plan to work with Sailfish OS
> developers & other communities. Our hope is to build a handset that runs
> your favourite OS." -> See here
> <https://www.fxtec.com/the-keyboard-smartphone-youve-been-waiting-for-softwa
> re/>. Further details can be seen at https://www.fxtec.com/

I used to browse the Maemo forums and there seemed to be plenty of projects 
that never went anywhere, so I hope that this isn't one of those. I see that 
it is a continuation of the "Livermorium" keyboard extension for Motorola 
phones which, I think, did actually ship.

(I honestly don't remember all the intrigues of the Maemo forums, like which 
Sailfish tablet crowdfunding campaigns were apparent scams, and so on. It all 
seemed to be a very negative and shallow place, but maybe I was reading the 
wrong threads.)

Personally, I am very skeptical about projects that promise lots of things in 
an opaque fashion, and the involvement of NDAs makes me particularly 
skeptical. Others may have different impressions, perhaps because they know 
the people involved and trust them, but I would encourage people to support 
projects that work in the open: there is already too much secrecy in hardware 

If these people actually come through and make a device, I'm sure that those 
making software can then consider whether it is a viable thing to support. But 
if I were in that position myself, I wouldn't commit to supporting anything 
where it seems that the process involved in making it doesn't really value 
other people's involvement or input.

Sorry to be negative about something which could end up being a good thing! 
And thanks for pointing it out, of course.


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