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Motivational Talk: Open Mobiles and Google Android

June 2, 2009

Host: SEECS Open Mobile Squad

Type: Education Workshop

Date: Friday, 5th June 2009

Time: 2:30pm -4:45pm

Location: Seminar Hall, SEECS

SOMS SEECS Open Mobile Squad is hosting an event, which is more sort of motivational talk on the emerging field of Open Mobiles. The aim of the talk is to let you guys aware of the recent shift in the whole mobile eco-system from closed world system to open and free loyalty systems. It also discussed the emergence, significance and future of open source mobile platforms. Let me tell you other than mobile handset vendors (Nokia with maemo) most of the PC vendors are also jumping in this field like Intel with Moblin. Three guys from the industry will be conducting that event and all of them have the sound knowledge and experience in the respective field. Moreover one of them has created a first Android application, published in Google Martketplace as far as Pakistan is concerned. You can read their profiles below.

Below is the agenda of the event.



fb event:

Hope to see you there 🙂
The guys will throw “T-shirts” with Open Mobile info on them for selected persons
This event is open for all, any student and faculty can attend.

For further details:

Phone: 923455935526

Speaker Profiles:

1- Mr. Rehan Mushtaq (Key Speaker)
He is an offshore IT Consultant and Project Manager for Impulsive Group, Pacific Capital Group, and Creative Power USA since 2005. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Artificial Intelligence with University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom. Rehan had graduated from University of Central Punjab (formally Punjab Institute of Computer Science) in 2000.

He is also active researcher in Artificial Life, Autonomous Robotics, Cellular Automata, Genetic Algorithm, Agent Based Technologies, and Artificial Neural Networks. He also produced couple of research papers on artificial life.

Prior to starting IT consultancy he has been serving as an assistant professor in Computer Science Department Agriculture University, and Informatics institute of computer science.

2- Mr. Faheem Ijaz (Application Demo)
He is a lead mobile application developer working for Impulsive Group, and Creative Power USA since 2006. Faheem is pioneer in Pakistan to develop first android application, which is published at Google Android Marketplace.

Faheem has done BBIT from The University of Curtin, Sydney, Australia. He initially started as Java developer and later switched to C# .NET. He started working on mobile applications in 2008. He is currently involved in research and developing ideas i.e. how to use cellular technology for social interaction.

3- Mr. Muhammad Bilal (General Talk)
He has been in IT Consultancy and Business development since 2000. During this era he has been serving local and multinational brands in UAE and Pakistan. He held Bachelor Degree in Computer Sciences and his core expertise are in Networks. Now he is working on innovative business ideas and international business relations for last 3 years.


SOMS lecture series ++ Linux for Newbies

April 7, 2009

SOMS is going to start its lecture series (SLS) by introducing Linux to it members and to all those who are linux-for-newbiesinterested in Linux. So all those who want to get involved into learning Open Mobile Technology its time to register with us. As LINUX is considered as a TICKET to the land of FOSS community (Free and Open Source Softwares) we are arranging SOMS SLS first lecture on “Introducing Linux to Newbies“. The aim of the lecture is to familiar SOMSians with the Open source development by show casing; FOSS ever favorite Linux distro that is UBUNTU. As the OpenMoko Linux is the similar variant of Ubuntu distribution, we think it’s better to get yourself familiarize with Linux before digging into OpenMoko internals. We’ve invited guest speaker Ahmad Jawad, Cheif Technical Officer of our supporting partner Cogilent Solutions. He’s a Linux consultant and Certified in Information System Security Professional (CISSP). He’ll highlight Linux internals along with a side by side demo.

Speaker: Jawad Ahmad CTO Cogilent Solutions
Supporting partner: Cogilent Solutions (

Lecture Outline:
The lecture will be all about Linux distribution UBUNTU. The speaker will cover the following areas as listed hereunder:-
1- Comparison with Windows and Mac
interms of user experience, freedom of writing application/softwares, accessibility and other factors that differentiate linux from other operating systems
2- Architecture
The building blocks of Linux like Kernel, X windowing system, bootloader and other utilities

3- Ready, Get, Set…
Tip/Tricks and approaches to learn linux

4- Navigating in Linux
how to get around inside Linux is the first step towards Linux mastery

5- File system

6- GUI X windowing system
Graphical user interface of Lnux, X window manger, GNOME, KDE

7- Basic commands
8- Shell scripting

9- Programming

10- Installing packages from source code and configuration
apt-get, and ./configure, make, make install triangle

11- Networking
Setting up a network, ppp (connection over the phone), remote access to your computer, ftp and html server, e-mail, how my computer can get hacked ..

12- Distributions and lot more…

He’ll also talk about the future of Linux and Open source softwares and how the industry is switching gears from close worlds to open source world (FOSS community).

Get register @:
First 10 student how will registered for the event will recieve a Ubuntu CD at the end of the seminar.

The lecture is mandatory for SOMSians but the the event is open for all any student and faculty member can attend.

Openmoko Mobile Freedom

March 28, 2009

There exist a lot of devices considering Linux phones but they missed the point of Linux; to be open. Openmoko forced the mobile industry to switch gears to open source with a truly open phone, the OpenMoko. It stands for Open Mobile Kommunikation. “Kommunikation” is German and means “communication”.

What is Openmoko platform?

OpenMoko is actually supposed to be the world’s first integrated Open Source Mobile Communications Platform and it was announced by OpenMoko’s Product Manager Sean Moss-Pultz at Informa’s “Open Source in Mobile” conference in Amsterdam on 7 November, 2006. The project covers two main areas; hardware devices design and engineering software development. The mission of the project is to “free your phone” by allowing users to add and modify the software to their needs. Moreover, the platform also allows adding new hardware components. In short it offers full access to the phone capabilities.

As reported by Inquirer

This is the first phone in a long time to get us really interested in what it is, what it isn’t, and the philosophy behind it. The philosophy is the thing that makes Linux great, and not in the sense of window-dressing or half-hearted openness, it is really open. It runs the latest kernel, 2.6.24 and you can get software from a repository with apt-get.

The OpenMoko is meant to be a fully mobile Linux machine that happens to look like a phone. The point is simple, where others have a Linux kernel with a locked proprietary stack on top of it, this one is open, top to bottom. You can use your own tools on it, compile your own kernel. and bang on the bare metal if you are into that sort of thing. Everything barring a few small drivers is GPL’ed.

Openmoko devices have no vendor lock except for the radio and GPS components as we can’t change the drivers but they are fully documented too. The GSM modem allowed to test similar set of AT commands. If you like the software they include, great, use it, tweak it and have fun. If not, write your own as hackers have develoeped a number of OpenMoko distribution.

Available Hardware

Openmoko hardware aspires to the term open source hardware as the company unveiled block diagrams of the hardware, the connections between the chips, JTAG interface, etc as well as CAD data of the product.[1][2][3]

OpenMoko released two different devices so far as listed hereunder:-

  1. A preliminary developer preview, the Neo 1973 Codename GTA01(Released July 2007)
  2. The current stable device, the Neo FreeRunner Codename GTA02 (Released July 2008)

3D image

Hardware Specifications

The hardware itself is a Samsung 500MHz ARM9 with a high resolution touch screen 2.84” 480×640 pixels VGA. There are only two buttons on the phone, the rest is handled by the touch screen, Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11 b/g WiFi, 2 * 3D accelerometers and USB for connectivity and charging. It comes with 128MB of DRAM and 256 MB integrated flash memory (expandable with microSD). It comes with a 12mw battery with three hours of talk time. It also has a GPS, TI quad band GSM, GPRS. The only thing lacking is camera and that is planned for the next gen hardware.

Software Framework

Harald (a core developer of OpenMoko) explains OpenMoko’s software architecture as:

OpenMoko really is about Free Software from the bottom to the top of the software stack (no binary-only kernel modules, no binary-only GSM communication libraries, no proprietary libraries, no pre-installed proprietary userspace applications). So this aspect of freedom is the main product design principle.

OpenMoko Linux uses Linux as its OS kernel and employs X11 and GTK as its window systems. thus source code is available for studying, modifying, recompiling or re-distributing. For a complete list of software components

Intended audience

The Openmoko project is still a “work in progress”

  • Linux users
  • Software developers
  • And ultimately, general consumers (the project is not there yet)

Why to go for Openmoko platform?

This phone could very well be a hacker’s paradise. There is a full package manager, so if you want a web server, go get Apache. If you want mapping software for the GPS, you type apt-get and off you go. Games? Sure. Services? Sure.

As an end user, the appeal is obvious, and I don’t just mean a quad band GPS phone with tons of accessories and a GPS for $350. It is open and not locked down; you can make it your own and get what you want. Instead of the carriers dictating, they can offer, and if they are the best, they will get your money. If not, you can choose another repository and off you go.

Completely open software stack based on Linux
Only hardware components with open API are part of the devices
The complete specs and the CAD files for of the devices were released under a CC license
The hardware engineering process is openly discussed in the project’s mailing lists and wiki pages
The community is largely involved in the software development and good communication was established over different online collaboration tools

Platform of choice for:

• FOSS embedded development
• Supports virtually any available software technology from the “Linux world”
• Advanced hardware capabilities
• Embedded system integration
• Available hardware specifications enable easy modifications
• OM is not a phone, it’s a portable Linux computer that just happen to have phoning capabilities

Openoko and Pakistan

NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science SEECS is the proud owner of OpenMoko kits. SEECS is the first institute who has shipped these phone. They have create a research group titled “SEECS Open Mobile Squad” – SOMS and an Open mobile lab to carry out innovation and creativity in this emerging field. Cogilent solutions is the supporting part of SOMS.

website | fpage | blog |email

Mobile Freedom Day

March 10, 2009

Now onwards fans of Open mobile will celeberate a special day “Mobile Freedom Day” on every 25th June the day Openmoko launched world’s first Open source mobile phones.


Mobile Freedom Day

One of the Megatrends in mobile eco-system is going for open Source. Bigbrothers/BigGuns like Nokia, Motorolla and others are looking towards open source mobile phones and the industry is  in switching state.


Open vs. Close mobile eco-system

March 8, 2009

The real open mobile technology, the one coined by OpenMoko.Inc is more oriented towards developers rather that consumers. The first and the only phone with Open source hardware. Comparing it with stylish iPhone (which looks cool and sexier than any phone on the surface of earth) which provides high level of customization only for consumers… so for layman but limited customization for developers … meaning nothing for geeks. On the other hand, Openmoko provides unlimited customization right from the bottom of the stack up to application level.  So the consumer got the idea of the every bit n inch of his phone. Though the hardware specs are the same on both the platform but this freedom that openmoko provides forces me o say “Openmoko is an iPhone killer”

“End user freedom is our passion. Apple is about giving you an incredibly polished experience—exactly how they want you to have it. The end user really has no freedom. They cannot change the device if they dont like the way Apple choose to make things. OpenMoko is the anti-iPhone.“

OpenMoko as a movement to create an open platform that empowers customers to personalize their phone—much like a computer—in any way they see fit.

Right now the problem in software is that every region and zone, people have their own culture and a big companies can’t fulfill all situations all by themselves. Opening  the stack mean pushing the personalization limits far away then anybody’s’ imagination.

Developers can port any idea,technology and share the fruits with the entire FOSS community.

On the other hands, If you wanna port any package on to your phone you can do this and end up saying “I wish they had done it” no control

An other aspect that differentiate openmoko from other players is that are providing system tools those tools like toolchains that they use in Openmoko Inc for building system services. That is the reason, just after its release Trolltech’s Qtopia, Debian, Ubuntu Linux and even Google’s Android has been successfully ported on openmoko. iPhone won’t let you to do so, not even Plam pre not even Nokia symbian and others. Nokia will release Symbian Open source in 2010. once release I’m sure that will also be ported to openmoko. So virtually any MobileOS having its’ root based on linux, can run on openmoko.


Now let’s discuss the 2 nation theory as depicted in the above figure.

In the proprietary world of mobiles everything thing is locked by every stakeholder chip maker, mobile vendors, mobile operators and OS developers. To use the phone you have to buy the license later if you build any application you have to get the license even for personal use. isn’t that funny :). Every no and then the vendors release their mobile phone with a little modification or change in software and you buy there phone and then they repeat that again to follow their business model release and we’ve no other option other than buying dumb terminals again and again. In simple we are buying a phone but not a permission to use the firmware inside which is locked.

“iPhone is just a golden cage with excellent capabilities locked inside. On the other side Openmoko, though not stylish right now but a lot of excellent features reside in their devices with a capability to virtually do anything”

Development using Openmoko framework vs. Palm pre WebOS

February 26, 2009

OK. If the year 2008 is considering as the year of mobile linux how come Palm left behind. Palm was considered to be the best OS as far as PDAs are concerned. The PalmOS was at its ultimate gloary, way back in the past when this giant was disturbed my DesktopOS giant Microsft. Now Palm is back Palm Pre aburst which is also a symbol of perfect innovation. Palm Pre is a linux based smartphone (similar like openmoko and android as far as underlying kernel is concerned) which will be shipped with a new OS called WebOS, based on web technologies. Compare Palm’s new WebOS with openmoko framework.


WebOS of Plam Pre vs. Openmoko Framework

Re-thinking Application Environment

February 26, 2009

I thought to figure this out that openmoko framework is not an ordinary application environment like .net Compact frmaework, Apple’s iPhone SDK or Symbain. The ultimate openness of Openmoko framework provides an opportunity to manipulte the core services and allow developers to write their on core service that can easily be intergrated with the existing one. Have look at the division of application frameworks below.

The application environments can be divided into following categories listed

  1. Internal application environment
  2. External application environment

The classification is based on the following variables:-

  • Level of functionality exposed to an application
  • Who can access the functionality (Certified apps only?)
  • Depth of integration (Can you replace core apps like dialer and contacts)
  • When an application can be installed
  1. At the point of manufacture
  2. Before the point of sale
  3. After the point of sale
  • Who can install the application?

Esternal Application Environment EAE

Traditionally once the firmware or the OS is embedded into the device ROM,
vendors not allowed to changed that but if they allow application development
and hardware customization afterwards that will be considered as external
application development.

  • External developers
  • Designers
  • Scripters
Examples of external app environments

Examples of External app environments


List of external application environmnts

List of external application environmnts

Internal Application Environment IAE
Application environments that allows application development and hardware
customization before and (during the device life time too) the software is
embedded into the device ROM.

  • Handset manufacturers
  • Network operators
  • Handset distributors
Examples of Internal app environments

Examples of Internal app environments


List of internal application environment

List of internal application environment

Level of Customization
In the next diagram I attempt to classify the above application environments in
terms of the extent of customisation which they permit and the time at which
they can be applied.
The x-axes show, the time of customisation is directly related to the barriers to
The y-axis shows that there are four broad types of customisation that can be
applied via application environments:

  1. Change of themes and skins across the handset (e.g. Carbide UI theme
  2. Development and deployment of downloadable applications (using e.g.
    S60, UIQ, Windows Mobile, BREW)
  3. Replacement of a core application (e.g. replacing the idle screen or
    contacts app)
  4. Core applications re-design (redesigning the entire user interface from

    App environment mapping according to their customization leve

    App environment mapping according to their customization level