View source for Community Updates/2009-01-12

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Return to Community Updates/2009-01-12.

Personal tools

Sean's new year interview.


New applications

  • LED clock When an Openmoko is sitting unused at night, turn it into an alarm clock with large 7-segment digits on a black background in landscape mode.
  • GPRSsettings is a GUI script designed to change apn, login, dialnumber.
  • Samuel's script for a toggle wifi icon.
  • ylock 0.1 Python screen lock and low battery monits.
  • AppManager 1.0.1 Zenity package manager.
  • Mirko announced that pre-alpha Paroli was now packaged in testing. Development moved to their own domain: paroli-project hosts trac, git, blog and documentation.
  • Kurt's Gwaterpas allows to use the Freerunner as a leveling tool.
  • There are now 75 packages at Novelties include osmupdater (updates OSM maps directory), sortdesk (sorts the desk), MokoCard (flashcards learning aid), sms-sentry (query the unit's location by SMS, handy if it was just stolen), pyring (a key ring), EFpLayer (mplayer GUI), playstankontakarta (an icon displaying remaining credit with POLISH PLAY pre-paid phone provider), various illume keyboards and more.

Ports and updates

  • Lots of Navit activity. Distributions are kindly suggested to package the sample map separately from the main binary to conserve space.
  • The opkg package manager development moved from OM svn to Google code. The recommended stable version is r172, there is a significant data structures+algorithm refactorization going on.
  • Version 2.4 of orrery is now available. It has a new schematic Solar System View page, showing the position of the planets and our moon in their orbits, a new moon calendar, and a less ugly icon.
  • The ZOMG! package manager is now available on, and now allows to add/remove/edit repositories (i.e. feeds).
  • Angus updated to work with FSO. With this script, the FreeRunner works as a bluetooth GPS.
  • Marco shared his success in compiling the latest E17 svn on 2008.12. There was trouble on SHR with the Elementary widget set, tough.


  • Sean's new year interview
  • Rakshat Hooja's company IDA Systems will be at Mumbai's TechFest. There are gifts waiting for the first 10 FreeRunner owners to show up at their booth!
  • The Future of location services thread started as an attempt to clarify the GPS drivers tangle, and then turned to using GSM celltowers and wifi access points location information. Dima signalled that there are several free databases of GSM tower locations, and that his gta02 Perl script to query OpenCellID for the approximate tower location, and then initialize the AGPS with this data works great. There is a database of Wifi access points at
  • Two new mailing lists were announced. One to discuss testing of all Openmoko Products. The other to discuss administration. While we are at it, here are the number of subscriptions as of 07/01/2009 according to Werner: hardware 670, kernel 692, support 1016, devel 1262, community 2323, announce 11258.
  • The Department CSIE of National Chung Cheng University launched dozens of projects this week.

Hardware and drivers

  • Werner announced he made an debug board that fits inside the case. Schematics contributed as a community member, not as an Openmoko employee.
  • Filter AUX key bouncing patches.
  • There is a thread about the touchscreen driver on the devel list, how it should be split between kernelspace and userspace, and how to contribute it upstream to the Linux kernel. I find the mix of high-level technical arguments with social and emotional considerations fascinating.
  • It is a pleasure to say that the Community localized the Illume keyboard to at least nine different languages. This does not only involves layout and icon, but also building up a dictionary (the keyboard emits key symbols when in "terminal" mode, but uses predictive dictionary lookups when in "strings" mode.) The frontier: asian languages input.
  • The Freeunner is also a target platform for many innovative new input methods.
  • Carl proposed a simple in-car mount: stick a piece of velcro on the dashboard, strap the FreeRunner onto it through the hole, flipping the display with xrandr -o 2. Add a standard USB car charger, you are all set.
  • GSM firmware updater and hardware buzzfix program: not released yet, still working on it.
  • Video driver code was ported from kdrive to xorg architecture, Graeme is now in debugging mode. Andreas, Chris and Tom are also working on it.
  • Miguel's video showcases that the Arduino, a popular open-source electronic prototyping platform, complements well the FreeRunner when it comes to reading sensors and controlling actuators.
  • Qi supports the zImage kernel format.

Tips and tricks

  • Booting 2008.12 from a microsd fails with "Only GTA01 hardware supported by ASoc driver" ? Option "ro" on the kernel commandline is fatal for startup of 2008.12. Check your U-Boot env if you're using that for "ro", or try adding rw to /boot/append-GTA02 if you are on SD Card and Qi.
  • tangogps 0.9.2 and 0.9.3 have an issue converting between coordinate formats in the western or southern hemispheres. If you use the DD.dd format it should display the correct value.
  • Current FSO should support both the 2.6.24 and 2.6.28 kernels. The patch to use old FSO with new kernel is here.
  • Howto get the wrench and QWERTY buttons in 2008.12 with the ASU theme.
  • A Melbourne Person offers a noise reduction+echo suppression patch and binary for QtE 4.4.2.