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Comparison b/w Openmoko and other players in mobile eco-system

February 26, 2009

Openmoko is taking lead and setting trends in the open mobile technology while forcing other players to open their stacks like Nokia with Symbian, Google with Android.

Openmoko comparison with other players

Openmoko comparison with other players

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Open source vs. Closed source development model

February 24, 2009

Let’s have a quick comparison between open source and closed source environments

Open Source vs Close Source

Open Source vs Close Source

Open Mobile Frameworks

January 22, 2009

The year 2008 was considered to be the year of mobile Linux. In that year companies like Openmoko and Google with their mobile framework started the war to build standards ….
Let’s review the mobile platforms and frameworks thrown by a couple of companies in which fragmented the open mobile Eco-system…
The existing Linux mobile platforms are hereunder:-

    Openmoko
    Google Android
    Access
    Azingo
    Maemo
    LiPS
    LiMO
    Qtopia
    OAMP

Openmoko’s Om framework Architecture:

    Developers’s Site
    Commercial Site
Openmoko Framework for Neo1973

Openmoko Framework for Neo1973

openmoko Framework-2007

openmoko Framework-2007

Openmoko Framework-2008

Openmoko Framework-2008

Google Android Framework:
Developers Site
Commercial Site

Google Android Architecture

Google Android Architecture

Access Mobile Architecture:

Aaccess Mobile Architecture

Aaccess Mobile Architecture

LiPS Linux Mobile Architecture:

LiPS - Linux Phone Standards

LiPS - Linux Phone Standards

LiMO Linux Foundation’s Architecture:

liMO Architecture

liMO Architecture

LiMO - Linux Mobile Platform

LiMO - Linux Mobile Platform

LiMO Foundation Architecture

LiMO Foundation Architecture

Azingo Mobile Architecture:
Commercial

Azingo mobile Architecture

Azingo mobile Architecture

Qtopia Architecture:

Qtopia Architecture

Qtopia Architecture

Maemo Architecture:
Developers
Wiki
Application
Nokia Forum

Maemo Architecture

Maemo Architecture

OAMP Framework

OAMP Framework

LiMO cloning Azingo’ Architecture:

LiMO ue Azingo Architecture

LiMO ue Azingo Architecture

JavFX

Javafx architecture

Javafx architecture

la mobile deployment of Android Platform on HTC Qtek 9090 Smartphone

January 1, 2009
tags:

A la mobile demonstrates the first Google Android Platform on HTC Qtek 9090 Smartphone. That’s just the deployment of the android framework with some modifcations like enhanced GUIs Graphical user Interfaces. They are not mobile hardware vendors anyways. http://www.a-la-mobile.com/
It’s just like the openmoko smartphone named Freerunner.

Presentation Agenda – SOMS First Introductory Seminar

December 16, 2008

SOMS Working CirclesSOMS Working Circles

SEECS is stepping proudly into open mobile technology establishing a lab “Open Mobile Lab “ which provides you a golden opportunity to play/unlock the mobile devices which are completely documented. So get yourself equipped before entering into the industry. Don’t miss it because you never get a chance to work on multiple technologies all in a single device and in one lab.

The SOMS – SEECS Open Mobile Squad is going to conduct its very first seminar on smartphones, particularly the ones launched by openmoko (a Taiwan based daughter company of FIC First International Computers, Inc).

Seminar Agenda:

  1. The Evolution of mobile device
  2. OPENMOKO products n technology
  3. Who should involve and how?
  4. Possible projects
  5. SOMS – SEECS Open Mobile Squad

Agenda 1

The evolution of mobile devices

Traditional Telephones > Cell Phones > Smart Phones
Just voice Communication > Multimedia > Desktop Environment

Closed vs. open industry

  1. Operators do not allow VoIP applications to be installed because it’s a competition to their primary business.
  2. Handset come with GPS installed but the mobile operators doesn’t allow to use it the way customer wants.
  3. To update or add something we have to attach the mobile with desktop PC but with the concept of open mobile no one can stop people to do what they want to do with their devices.
  4. New models of the handset may have the same hardware but improved software.However, existing users cannot upgrade their firmware.
  5. A user cannot develop an application for the phone even if he has the time and skills, or the applications the user can develop are limited in features available to them, speed and visual appearance (e.g. J2ME)
  6. Handset will only operate with SIM registered to a particular operator

Proprietary Phones Dilemma
The close phone vendors just sell their hardware firmwares not the mobile hardware y? just to snatch the market as much as they can. It’s business good form them but not for the customers y? because what the open source community is predicting is that: “Customers the NeXt Creators”.

Little Box a Huge SINK
Every technology, concept, idea wants to sink into the mobile

Open Software stack
– A collection of different Programs/Applications/Utilities/Routines/Technologies that work togather to produce some results.
So it comes with every neccesary tool that is used for application development.
Mobile Application development

MobileOS
The mobile Operating system provides a software platform for running mobile applications and programs on mobile devices

Open Hardware stack

  1. Optimization of hardware
  2. Hardware extendibility

Battle for Mobile Application Framework
At the times when companies were fighting with each to set standards for Internet browsers you know how won… h’mmm ya Microsoft among the compitetors “Netscape which is now MOzila FireFox”. Microsoft won because thay have the huge market share and people were addicticed to. But now every1 can see Firefox is a head from Micosoft’s Internet Browsers just because of it’s openess and strong community of FOSS.

Like the same way a new war has been started to make standards for Mobile Application framework and that was started by openmoko in feb 2007. And everyone is now following their footprints…

Involvement of Open industry

  1. Breaking monopolies
  2. Major industry players

Mobile Hacking/Reverse Engineering

  1. Hacking is all about catching Design flaws (-ive )
  2. Hackers are excelent designers
  3. Modifying device policies
  4. Manipulting device’s firmware
  5. Knowing every inch n bit of the hardware

What is hacking?

  1. Software vs. hardware hacking
  2. Hacking is all about catching design flaws
  3. MIT Graduates hacked Xbox 360

Reconfiguring device components firmware

  1. Modifying device drivers operational polices
  2. Remixing your MobileOS
  3. Converting NokiaN70 to NokiaN75

CAD Computer Aided Design Files

The files contains the complete circuit of the systems

  1. Build your device from scratch
  2. Why there is need of open Mobile
  3. Competitive Industry
  4. The next BIG thing

Agenda 2

Openmoko

The Leaders

Mission/Concept

  1. Create great mobile products using the Openmoko stack: Open. Mobile. Free
  2. What does openess means?/Ultimate Openness
  3. Killing iPhone
  4. Kicking out nokia’s Symbian
  5. Before gPhone

Supported Frameworks

  1. GTK SDK (Python Developers)
  2. Qtopia SDK (C++ Programmers)
  3. Android SDK (Java Programmers)
  4. Openmoko SDK (X11 Applications)
  5. Jalimo (Java Programmers)

Operating Systems

  1. Ubuntu:Linux
  2. Windows:Microsoft
  3. MAC:Apple

Products

  1. Neo1973/FreeRunner (Developer’s Lunch box)
  2. Advance neo kit (Hacker’s Lunch box)
  3. Product Capabilities/limitations

Targeted People

  1. Customers the next Creators
  2. Economic incentive

Competitors/Followers

Big Brother

  1. GOOGLE with Android framework (Open Software Stack)
  2. Nokia’s Symbians (Open Symbian Stack)
  3. Young SisterStarup Companies

Agenda 3

How should involve?

  1. Mobile hackers
  2. Embedded systems
  3. Application development
  4. Wireless networking
  5. Future mobile OpenOS
  6. Hardware optimization

Advantages you receive

  1. Robust project development
  2. Hands on experience before industry
  3. Learning
  4. Get license of your product by “Creative Commons”

The space is still empty get something n get acknowledge worldwide

Note:

The venue and timings for the seminar will be announced soon.

The Question Isn’t Where, It’s When…

July 29, 2008

The CTO of a big media company presented me with a challenge recently, which gave new meaning to the word “convergence.” I thought I’d use his story to put into context what Sun announced today at JavaOne (what’s become the world’s largest open source developer conference).

First, his business model: his employer was paid every time an item in their content library (say, a new first run movie) was displayed to a user. Independent of whether the user viewed the content on a satellite network, a cable set top box, via DSL on a home PC, through an in-car navigation system or airline seatback (you get the drift, the network is the movie theater). He wanted to reach as many consumers as possible, wherever and whenever he could.

That said, for every movie he added to his library, he had to encode the file into a dizzying array of file formats. Some 20 or 30 if he wanted to reach all his audiences – across PCs, phones, set tops, game machines, etc. The format proliferation was costing him a fortune in storage, and the complexity and expense of encoding and decoding the various media streams was driving his computing purchases at an incredible clip. 1,000,000’s of subscribers, 10,000’s of titles and 100’s of devices and file formats – the multi-dimensional matrix was exploding, yet, as he pointed out, delivered no real value to his customers. Customers don’t care about movie formats, they care about movies.

Reciprocally, advertisers don’t care, either – they care about reaching consumers, not devices.

And if you wanted to know my three sentence summary of the global battle, the battle to reach consumers that fed this challenge and spawned the focus behind what we’re announcing today at JavaOne, it’s this:

1. Businesses want direct relationships with their consumers – the internet provides access and opportunity.
Whether you’re a media company showing a movie, a car company running an ad, a global telco or a startup presenting a new network service – the internet has become an obvious vehicle to engage consumers. And not just on PC’s – looked at globally, phones matter more in this debate than PC’s. Why? Because most of the world already experiences the internet through a phone. Today. And may never own a traditional PC.

2. Technology companies enable the devices through which enterprises connect with consumers.
These companes come in two basic forms: consumer electronics companies, building phones and set tops and nav systems and PCs – frustrated by the format wars described above; and more valuably (at least to Wall Street), a small number of technology and service companies aggregating consumers in front of those devices.

3. The largest and most powerful technology companies are using their products and services to disintermediate businesses that want direct relationships with consumers.
And therein lies a market opportunity for one of these:

What is it?

It’s a phone running Sun’s new JavaFX Mobile software, a member of the JavaFX product family we announced this morning.

What’s JavaFX? It’s a software product from Sun that allows any consumer electronics manufacturer to accelerate the delivery of Java/Linux based devices, from phones to set tops and dashboards and everything else imaginable. Without fear of format lock-in or disintermediation from a competitor. JavaFX is a product (not simply a technology), built on Java Standard Edition (the Java platform running on your desktop computer), that unites billions of Java SE and Java Micro Edition devices (Java Micro Edition is what runs on most of the world’s mobile handsets).

JavaFX provides a complete and fully open source platform for device manufacturers, content owners and service operators wanting to reach consumers with interactive content – and control their own destiny.

In the eyes of the consumer, devices are converging – where you want to watch a movie, play a game or connect with friends – or where an advertiser seeks to reach you – presents a less interesting question, today, than when. You can watch a movie in your living room, on a big flat panel display. But when you leave for work, you’d prefer to use your mobile to watch the last 15 minutes on the subway. On the way to work, an advertiser might want to reach you on a billboard or taxitop, or insert an ad into the video stream you’re watching. And once at work, you might want to join a fan network or write a review (on your lunch break, of course). Consumers (like advertisers and operators) want the experience to be simple, secure and coherent. And device independent.

Sound familiar? It is – this was the original vision behind the Java platform – Write Once, Run Anywhere. For software. And with the convergence of media and application formats, and the rise of open source software (think about it – Linux and OpenSolaris are the ultimate in user generated content), the market seems ready. We can deliver a complete product, OS and all, that eliminates the risk of fragmentation among network clients, accelerates the availability of Java/Linux devices, fuels the free and open source developer community – and already has the mass and momentum to reach the global consumer.

JavaFX radically lowers the bar to building a Java technology enabled device – and radically lessens the expense and complexity of reaching consumers. Backed by a company with no agenda to disintermediate content owners, and every interest in propelling the open source community (every portion of the content Sun contributes to the JavaFX product and community will be via the GPL license, at the core of Java and GNU/Linux).

But that’s not all we announced. Although the Java platform has been technically effective over the past decade, in opening markets and creating value, it’s been the province of… well, folks who could sling Java code. Highly technical individuals who saw themselves as software developers – not web authors or creative professionals. And that changed, today, too.

JavaFX Script is a simple scripting language designed to bring the benefit of the Java platform to creative professionals and web authors – independent of the device or audience they target. JavaFX Script adds to the list of languages already supported in the Java Virtual Machine, from PHP and Ruby, to Javascript and JavaFX Script – and brings the power, security and extraordinary popularity of the Java platform to those at the forefront of convergence: those defining interactive content for consumers.

You can get more detail here, but the focal point of JavaFX Script isn’t simply to enhance the Java platform – it’s to amplify Java’s role on the consumer internet, unify content and devices, and extend the reach and value of the billions of existing Java runtimes in the marketplace. All of which will be JavaFX Script enabled. The intent is simple: to stake the Java community’s natural claim to lead the debate surrounding rich internet applications at the heart of Web 2.0.

With the rise of JavaFX, JavaFX Script, JavaDB, Glassfish and NetBeans – there should be no doubt where we’re headed with Java. Everywhere.

Or when we’re heading there.

Right now.

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First Look: OpenMoko’s Linux-based open smartphone platform

July 23, 2008

Penguin calls

Last Friday, OpenMoko launched its highly anticipated FreeRunner smartphone, a Linux-based handset that’s completely open in both hardware and software, and is designed to encourage third-party modification and customization. Although the FreeRunner’s software platform is still incomplete, the device has attracted considerable attention from mobile software developers and Linux enthusiasts.

The FreeRunner handset is obviously a powerful tool for prototyping mobile software, but it isn’t clear yet whether it’s also ready for adoption as a personal smartphone. We won’t have a conclusive answer until we get a handset to test, but we decided to take an early look at the OpenMoko software platform to get a glimpse of what it offers at launch.

In many ways, OpenMoko’s platform strategy mirrors the diversity of the Linux desktop software ecosystem. There are a multitude of parallel options with many layers and varying degrees of overlap. This provides end users with an enormous amount of flexibility, but it also creates a lot of complexity. The choices are difficult to navigate, and the lack of a cohesive direction contributes to fragmentation and redundancy. OpenMoko’s potential for success will be heavily predicated on the ability to turn choice and diversity into an asset rather than an impediment.

There are currently three separate software stacks that are available for OpenMoko handsets. The original OpenMoko software environment was built on top of GNOME Mobile and Embedded technologies including the GTK+ toolkit. As the FreeRunner launch date approached and the development priorities began to shift towards a stronger emphasis on mainstream consumer adoption, OpenMoko reevaluated its approach and decided to build a new stack on top of Trolltech’s proven Qtopia mobile environment. The third stack, which will implement the FreeSmartphone.org APIs, is part of a long-term framework initiative that OpenMoko hopes will eventually ameliorate the problems created by fragmentation and redundancy while still offering developers a full range of choices.

Because the FreeRunner is a completely open device, users will be able to choose which platform they want to use. They will also be able to adopt any third-party software platforms that emerge in the future. We have already seen an impressive variety of Linux desktop environments and graphical shells ported to Nokia’s Internet Tablet devices, so it is likely that we will see similar innovation on OpenMoko’s handsets. Indeed, developers of the KDE desktop environment have already started working on experimental OpenMoko ports.
OpenMoko’s GTK-based stack

The GTK-based OpenMoko stack, which is referred to as om2007.2, offers a moderately conventional finger-oriented interface and a variety of standard productivity, Internet, and entertainment applications. It is a reasonably intuitive environment and it adheres to a very high level of visual consistency. There are a lot of similarities between om2007.2 and Nokia’s Maemo platform—both are based on GTK+ and use OpenedHand’s lightweight Matchbox window manager. OpenedHand also developed several other important pieces of the om2007.2 stack, including the personal information management suite, which is called Pimlico.

The om2007.2 web browser uses Apple’s open source WebKit rendering engine. As many readers are already aware, I’m a big fan of the GTK+ WebKit port and I’ve been very impressed with its small footprint and excellent support for standards.

In addition to all of the standard applications one would expect to see on a smartphone, a terminal application that supports entering commands with an on-screen keyboard is also included. Users have full root access to a BusyBox shell with all of the standard scripting tools like sed and awk. The stack also comes with a multitude of games, a media player application, a calculator, a package manager for installing additional software, and other tools.

Booting om2007.2

The home screen

The dialer interface

OpenMoko’s WebKit-based browser

The application launcher

The media player

The terminal utility

To build new applications for om2007.2, developers will need to set up a cross-compilation toolchain on a Linux system. The OpenMoko wiki offers detailed instructions for this process and also describes how to compile and package a program. Developers who want to go further and modify the underlying platform can use the OpenEmbeded infrastructure, which provides an elaborate build engine for generating package sets.

The platform exposes phone capabilities through the gsmd daemon, which sits between the GSM modem and userspace applications. Instructions can be sent to the daemon through standard UNIX sockets. The libgsmd library is an abstraction layer that wraps the instruction protocol with a simple API. There is also a gsmd command shell tool for testing and debugging that gives the user interactive control over the daemon. A wide range of functionality is accessible through the daemon, including the ability to dial and answer calls, toggle the phone’s vibrator, detect signal strength, read and send SMS messages, and retrieve the phone’s battery status.

For rapid prototyping and avoiding the hassle of having to set up a compiler toolchain, developers can use Python to create OpenMoko applications. Python isn’t officially supported, but the interpreter is available from the main repositories and GTK+ bindings are available from third-party repositories. The Python library for interfacing with gsmd isn’t there yet, but there are already several useful Python-based utilities for OpenMoko that send instructions to the daemon by using the command line gsmd control utility. These include the SettingsGUI tool and the SMSTool.
The ASU stack

The om2007.2 platform offers a pretty strong user experience, but some of the limitations of GTK+ and the incompleteness of gsmd compelled the OpenMoko developers to pursue a change of direction. In order to provide more robust phone support for end users, the developers decided to adopt Trolltech’s Qtopia platform, which is used on several mainstream consumer electronics devices including the Sony Mylo. Qtopia provides a complete phone server component that is more stable and reliable than gsmd.

When OpenMoko adopted Qtopia, the developers began working on a new platform that became known as the April Software Update (ASU). The ASU uses the X11 port of Qtopia so that it can still support existing GTK-based applications. The ASU also uses some components of Enlightenment’s E17 desktop environment. It includes a visually sophisticated application launcher interface called Illume that takes full advantage of touchscreen interaction and is designed with the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. Although the artwork and graphics quality in the interface need a lot of work, the interaction paradigm is quite innovative.

Booting the ASU platform

The Illume launcher with its default icon layout

The Illume launcher with its unique slider layout

ASU’s SMS messaging tool

The ASU phone dialer

An ASU clock utility

Adding a contact with the ASU addressbook

A mapping demo for ASU

The biggest downside of the ASU is that software applications designed to integrate with om2007.2 and gsmd won’t fully integrate with the ASU environment. Applications written with GTK+ will run on the ASU, but developers will have to use Qt and C++ for proper integration. The biggest advantage of the ASU is that it offers a much more stable phone server, which means that it will eventually be better suited for a mainstream user audience. Unfortunately, the ASU wasn’t complete or polished enough for distribution with the FreeRunner. Even though the ASU is the current focus of OpenMoko development, the FreeRunner still shipped with the om2007.2 platform.
The FSO stack

The availability of two very different platforms that both require a different toolkit for proper integration will fragment the OpenMoko application ecosystem. Third-party software that leverages the underlying functionality of the phone will have to be written for one or the other. This is one of several problems that OpenMoko hopes to eventually solve with its framework initiative, which implements the FreeSmartphone.org specification. The platform being built around the framework initiative, which is called FSO, will supply a standardized D-Bus API for providing high-level access to the GSM functionality and other phone-related parts of the stack. This will make it possible for applications written in any toolkit, with any programming language that has D-Bus bindings, to fully integrate with the system.

The FSO is still in very early stages of development and isn’t really ready for regular users yet, but developers say that the phone server in the FSO stack is already better than gsmd or the Qtopia phone server. At the present time, the FSO doesn’t really have much going on at the application level, and it uses a simple placeholder framework called Zhone to provide a user interface for testing.
Conclusion

OpenMoko’s ongoing development strategy is to evolve the ASU and FSO in parallel, and eventually replace the Qtopia phone bits with the FSO phone bits when FSO is sufficiently mature. The Illume launcher and other EFL-based software will be more tightly integrated with the phone functionality at that point and the Qtopia parts of the ASU will be scaled back incrementally. Eventually, the PIM functionality and other higher-level components will be retooled to work on FreeSmartphone.org specifications too.

The FreeRunner will come with om2007.2, but users can flash it with a recent build of ASU if they want to try the new stack. New image snapshots are released on a very regular basis, and users can find out what functionality is supported in each image by checking out the associated snapshot review page at the OpenMoko wiki.

Aside from platform integration considerations, there are a number of other issues that will factor into which toolkits third-party developers will decide to use for their OpenMoko applications. Qt will likely be a popular choice since it offers the highest level of portability. In addition to supporting all of the major desktop platforms, Qt also works on a broad selection of mobile platforms.

Nokia, which recently acquired Trolltech, will be making Qt libraries available for third-party applications in future versions of the Internet Tablet’s Maemo platform. It’s also worth noting that Qt 4.4 adds full support for Windows Mobile. We can also likely expect to see Nokia bring Qt support to its new open source Symbian platform at some point within the next year or two.

The Enlightenment libraries also provide a very compelling solution for rapid development of rich touchscreen applications for OpenMoko. We have already seen some wonderfully impressive programs made for Maemo with the E17 Edje and Evas frameworks. The Enlightenment libraries are very lightweight, which makes them especially good for mobile development.

GTK+ is obviously going to be the best choice for om2007.2 applications because it will enable third-party software to visually integrate with the platform. It will also enable developers to port some popular GTK-based Linux desktop applications like Pidgin and XChat.

There are a lot of very significant differences between OpenMoko’s software stacks and Google’s upcoming Android platform. Android takes a more top-down approach and completely eschews native code. Android offers one standardized Java-based API and One True Way to integrate with its platform. Google’s approach vastly simplifies development and neatly avoids fragmentation and portability problems, but it also imposes extreme constraints on flexibility, isolates Android-based phones from the existing Linux software ecosystem, and obscures a lot of the inherent strengths of a Linux-based platform. By comparison, OpenMoko’s software enthusiastically embraces the power and diversity of Linux but does so at a high cost in performance, consistency, reliability, and ease of development.

The OpenMoko platform strategy is clearly still evolving, but it has a lot to offer for developers who want a truly hackable Linux-based mobile phone that elevates freedom and choice. The biggest problem is that none of the three stacks are really fully functional in every respect at this stage of development. There are still gaps in completeness and reliability that will deter end users who want a smartphone that just works.

The difficulty of navigating the platform and toolkit choices could also frustrate some neophyte developers who just want to build software for the device. The tangled pile of mostly outdated and incomplete documentation at the OpenMoko wiki exacerbates the problem. I found a lot of very helpful and friendly people in the OpenMoko IRC channel on Freenode, however, so there is plenty of community support available for enthusiasts who need a helping hand to get started.

An important thing to remember is that the FreeRunner can always be flashed with new versions of the software. Users who are on the fence about whether or not to buy now should keep in mind that the device will become progressively more functional and usable as the ASU stack continues to evolve (you can check the progress at the OpenMoko wiki). Users who absolutely need reliability in a programmable smartphone right now are better off looking for more mature options, but enthusiasts who appreciate the potential of a truly hackable smartphone and are willing to be patient with some of the current inadequacies will probably find the current platform acceptable.
Further reading

* For additional details and pictures of the hardware, check out the Getting started guide at the OpenMoko wiki.

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