[Gta04-owner] Happy New Year + Report

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Tue Jan 1 13:49:11 CET 2019


Dear all,
first of all let me wich everyone a happy new year and say thank you that you are still
subscribed to this list.

There haven't been many news in 2018, but there have been activites behind the scenes
that layed the foundation for plans for 2019 which you might find interesting.

So let me start with the LetuxOS.

LetuxOS is constantly developing, mainly in the kernel which has reached letux-4.20 release.
And we are likely get 4.21-rc1 next week.

A lot of work has been done last year, mainly by Andreas Kemndade, to upstream more
parts of our private feature branches, so that even a mainline kernel does useful things
on the GTA04. Well, it is missing some of the polishing done by our LetuxOS additions,
but generally having the core upstream helps everyone.

The kernel now supports these hardware:
* L2804/GTA04 (A3,A4,A5)
* L3704
* L7004
* BeagleBoard
* BeagleBoard XM
* OpenPandora
* BeagleBone
* PocketBeagle
* Pandaboard
* omap5evm
* Udoo neo
* Pyra

Quite impressive list, but there are plans to expand it even further...

One really new thing is to support the Raspi B3+ where we already have a demo
image. It does not yet use the LetuxOS kernel, but progress has been made towards
finding a working defconfig. So it will come sooner than later.

Just try

	makesd raspi3b+ -r xfce

The rootfs are several flavours of Debian so that we particicpate from upstream.
We now have rootfs images for Wheezy, Jessie and Stretch and the latest Buster.

For systems with boot-loader in NAND try:

	makesd debian -r http://download.goldelico.com/letux-debian-rootfs/20181225-buster-10.sid-armhf-minimal.tbz

For systems needing boot-loader on SD card e.g. Udoo neo:

	makesd udoo-neo -r http://download.goldelico.com/letux-debian-rootfs/20181225-buster-10.sid-armhf-minimal.tbz

For GUI we now have:
* lxde
* xfce
* mate
* illume
* qtmoko
* replicant
* quantumstep

All these things can be easily (well almost) combined through makesd.

And thanks to Mark Müller we start to support Phosh (Purism Phone’s shell). The
interesting thing with LetuxOS will be that it can basically run on all hardware
mentioned above. But there are missing pieces in config, so that work isn't done
and will not end and speed is awfully low (comapred to QtMoko and Replicant)...

Regarding OpenPandora there have been several users trying it:

	https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/threads/letux-os.81518/page-3#post-1446367

The command to make an xfce image is:

	makesd openpandora -r xfce

This is a lot of news from the software side, but what is going on with hardware?

I am currently working in my limited spare time on a project which is called GTA15/PyraPhone.

It is just taking the Pyra hardware design, removing the keyboard and nub and the display
hinge and cable, changing the battery, adding some phone features (earpiece) and Kill-Switches,
but keeping everything else and make a new PCB layout in a smartphone portrait format.

Features will therefore be:
* 5 inch resistive touch display with 720x1280
* µHDMI out
* ca. 2000-6000 mAh battery
* 2 external µSD slots + one internal
* 2G/3G/4G + GPS/GLONASS
* 2 USB2 host ports (full size - one prepared for USB3)
* µUSB3-OTG port
* charger&FTDI console through µUSB2 port
* 3.5mm headset jack with auto-polarity detection and remote keypad option
* WLAN/BT (maybe with a RedPine module because it does not need a BLOB but has to be checked)
* independent hardware Kill-switches for WWAN, WLAN, BT, Microphone, Sensors, and more
* Processor board from Pyra, i.e. currently OMAP5 with 2/4GB RAM, eMMC - but maybe a compatible i.MX8M board can be developed
* expansion connector (compatible to GTA04A5) for hackers to develop extensions

Before you start to think that this project is vapourware like many others with similar goals
but nicer marketing (web pages, public relations, political goals), I have attached some documents.
The first one is a prototype without any electrical function, but shows the concept. The second
is the current draft status of (improved but still not perfect and finished) component placement.

When will it be finished? I have to admit that I don't know. The mechanical demonstrator
was already built in Feb 2017 and only now I have continued to work on the PCB design,
because I have to run this as a hobby project now. Financing such projects in a way that
they get tangible results has become more and more difficult.

Anyways, if you are interested in helping to speed up the GTA15 development, there is a way:

	http://shop.goldelico.com/wiki.php?page=Product&product=9601

And if there is really enough interest in a finished product, we can organise to build some
units - after the design is finished. If you are, please also spread the word that this
project exists.

BR and again a happy new tinkering year,
Nikolaus








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