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The Story of SOMS

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ju$t Compiling …

Freshman’s wish:

It’s my 3rd semester, mid feb 2008 when I realized that programming attracts my mind and developmemnt  is my future. Why because in the whole histroy of my acedemic life programming are the only courses i scoored A’s. As i was a day scholar and i’ve to travell a distance of almost 55km from my home to uni. I considered that time a complete weastage. So, started thinking of creating a device that can run any computer language and allow me to compile my code on the move. I discussed with my friends but they considered that idea a bullshit becuse according to them its better to buy lapop. But i was very determind in my approach of approaching and tackling things. A brainstormed a device and write a requirements sheet for that device… displayed below. I was ready to discuss this with Hod electronics and started collecting components for that when i found a magzine name Linux Journal in Sir Amir Shafi’s lab with a cover story of OpenMoko project…

An interview in linux Journal:

linux journal december 2007

linux journal december 2007

Smart Googling:

A simple nudge to DG SEECS: Jun 10, 2008

From: M Qasim Ali Khawaja []
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 12:57 PM
To: Dr. Arshad Ali
Subject: FYP We want an appoinment

“….. Ok as far the building application for the mobile world is concerned there are lot more methods available right now [J2me, dotNet mobile apps, nokia SDK, Google android framework] but no mobile hardware company allows you to look into there mobile device. Then I started seeking around the open source world and here I end up with the elegant Taiwan Company OPENMOKO launched in July last year. They initiated a completely new concept of Open mobile hardware which runs on a mobile Linux-based open source phones.The company [basically a startup] received critical acclaim from the
Free and Open Source (FOSS) developer community. There mantra is “Free your phone” world’s first totally open mobile phone The device is a mystery box think off any think and that’s there
Main components
500MHz processor
3D graphics
GSM tri-band
WiF 802.11b/g
MicroSD-Card LCD Module (LCM)
USB Host
USB Device
Wolfson Codec
I2C Devices
Motion sensors for gesture-based activity and allot

The best thing about they is they are offering open hardware mobile development kit where developers can play around the hardware as well and get themselves equipped by having a hands on experience. That’s the golden opportunity for a guy like me who has a love for the mobile devices.

The company already launched a product called neo1973 along with the advance neo development kit; in its development phase where they offer developers to build the hardware along with the software. The concept is that you are free to build your device for any means the same device could be your personal manager or could be any medial devices (I guess the device is just like FPGAs). It all depends how you manipulate it. Now as the hardware/software is open the final end-user product would be assembled by the programs build by the developers who are distributed all around the world like students or professional developers. And we want to be part of that community.

They are offering the kit at the discount rates to the universities. As the product is in its development phase they manufacture in small number so as far as product order is concerned the sooner the better, because the original Neo 1973 sold out completely within three days of its launch. Developers and universities across the world are participating in it, but none from Pakistan. I’m little bit crazy in saying that I want SEECS to raise the flag as a Pakistani representative….

I want to discuss this with you [as I’ve gathered a reasonable amount of information regarding the Kilt’s hardware, how they are working in, How can we be part of there development community, and all] if you can give some appointment for that….
We’ll be thankful to you and your support.”

Faculty responses :

Dr. Junaid Qadir

Although, I haven’t previously worked in this area, but the idea of an ‘open’ phone sounds good to me and I’m open to the idea of exploring this further.

Dr. Nasir Mahmood HoD EE

Dear Qasim Ali,
I have gone through your concept. I can guide you in this regard. I am  involved in reconfigurable computing comcepts. The radio like this will be  good example of developing embedded systems using open source software.

Please discuss with me how it can be used in your final year project.

Reply to Dr. Nasir

“Respected Sir,

First of all thanks for showing your keen interest in this area as well as helping us to achieve the goal.

Let me add something which makes things clear:
Two aspects are associated with this tech
1- Open Software stack
2- Open Hardware stack (Our interest)

The open software is not new as LINUX is the basis for that; where someone writes a code and allows others to download the code and modify it according to their needs.


Before 2007 there was nothing such concept of open hardware stack (as we now that all the mobile hardware manufacturers have the monopoly in this industry) So developers can only write the High level applications. But have no idea about the underlying working principle. So nobody could think of playing around the hardware. The “openmoko” company comes with concept of world’s first open source phone.

To customize the device or radically remix it Rebuild the entire house! To transform a phone into a medical device or point of sale device

The hardware used is completely documented and CAD files are open. So giving us the opportunity to modify the hardware build new device and get license for that.

>>opening CAD files<<

The companies CEO responds in a query regarding open hardware “This must be the first time in history that a company has opened its intellectual property to this extent. Openmoko’s revolutionary posting of the CAD files gives a whole new generation of Industrial Design; students
incredible insight into how it’s done as well as an opportunity to contribute with new concepts.”

>>Modify the hardware and get licensed<<
“Openmoko provides one more key to anyone who wants to unlock the mobile phone. With these drawings, developers and designers will be able to create their own open phone from the inside out,” said Lawrence Lessig, Founder and CEO of Creative Commons “And, with ready access to benchtop CNC machines and 3D printers, people will build these designs, even in
single quantities.”

>>Hardware Scalability<<

“Since the openness of OpenMoko extends beyond the software (e.g. the availability of expansion pads on the PCB) we want to show people how they can extend the hardware as well. In addition, the fact that the USB port is both device and host means that external USB devices can easily be
hooked up. I think this will be an invaluable way to prototype new hardware.”
The device we are struggling to get it is a complete kit (contains everything the mobile device hacker wants to get down and dirty with the first freed phone) to hack there hardware.

The device is so versatile in the sense that it contains a range of technologies in one box.

>>Meeting with interested faculty panel<<

In yesterday’s meeting with the Sir Dr. Arshad Ali along with a group of faculty (who showed there interest in this) we end up on a point that

“The device/kit is excellent as far as learning and getting hands on experience is concerned”
“To get the device we’ve to collect a group of 15 students who are enthusiastic in this field (which would be the next big thing).”
“Giving awareness to the other students that how FYPs could be done on this device”


Why we are discussing this to Sir Dr. Arshad ali and with the faculty is As the technology is new (consists of range of communication devices) and there is more room for FYPs in this industry.
New players in the industry like
GPE Phone
The Hiker Project


We yet not decided our FYP because first of all we need to get our hands dirty on this device. This will helps to see the capabilities, limitations and constraints of the device by experimenting.

We’ve also proposed two project regarding

“Voip service viva wifi”
“Attaching Solar panels with Device”
“Monitoring Devices”
“Embedding RFID, WiMAX chips”

But these are all tentative…

Thanks With hope we’ll recieve more help and support from your side”

Successful pitching: 5PM on Friday

A panel of faculty members  were there at the time  I was pitching about OpenMoko openness in the conference room. The members were listed hereunder:-

  1. Sir Ammar Karim
  2. Sir Mujtaba Haider
  3. Sir Kamran Zaidi
  4. Dr. junail Qadir
  5. Dr. Adeel Baig

Presentation agenda was something listed below:

1- Brief intro about the company Openmoko
2- The Products introduced
The on board components
The accessories with the kit
i- Neo1973
ii- FreeRunner
iii- Debug Board
3- The concept
4- Open Hardware and Software stack
a- Hacking Hardware(Modifiable using debug board)
i- Interfacing other hardware components like GPS
ii- Low Level System Development [Kernel, Uboot, gsmd, agpsd]

b- Software Applications(Manipulating the core apps and Third party
i- Programming Languages/Tools [Python,toolchain,QEMU]
ii- Emulation [Xephyr]
5- Pricing
6- The capabilities of the Device
7- Type of Projects
8- How can we be part of the development community
9- Resource Community
10- Images Sequence of the product [hardware connections]

After my pitching DG asked the faculty for their opinion.

Faculty panel review

Faculty panel review

Rating: 2/5 not a good sign … E’mm DG then turned to us … for our views on faculty’s views

I had replied

As far as Sir Sir Kamran Zaidi’s argument is concerned, He is underestimating the Openmoko’s open hardware architecture. That is the company has actually displayed their phones schematics diagrams and cicuit connections by publically sharing them over the internet. Anyone can download that figures, the pins/ports are available on the PCB board where we can attach anything (Hardware hacking).  Check yourself!

Schematics: [ ]

CAD files: [ ]

Isn’t that amazing now you can build your own devices… open source hardware!

Dr. Adeel biag and Sir Mujtaba were very right that we can code FPGA such that it act as a phone but that phone will only provide telephony service like calls. Then we’ve to attach a speaker and a microphone with FPGA along with we’ve to integrate GSM modem and …. what are we talking here is a smart phone with built in GSM modem, wifi, bluetooh, accelerometers, GPS and touch sreen and a lot other stuff. The point is not build that phone again but to use them and code them according to our needs. We are pitching the functionality of the device…


Subject: Re: FYP We want an appoinment
From: “M Qasim Ali Khawaja” <>
Date: Sun, June 15, 2008 3:46 pm
To: “Junaid Qadir”
Cc: “Dr. Arshad Ali”

Respected Sir,

We just want to say thnaks to you for your interest in this technology,
showing up on last friday’s meeting.
Let me just inform you that we are going to create a group (SEECS Open
Mobile Group) of all those students who are enthusiastic in this. To
collect all these guy we’ve decided to conduct a seminar on this
technology just to give awareness to our other collegues.

Students gets excited only if they get any value out of it (moile Hacking
is itself a field where me and my friend is interested). there main
objective to join would be to get their FYPs done on that device/kit.
That’s why we’ve added a section in the seminar’s agenda in which we’ll
try to show the students how different FYPs could be done on that. We
gonna show a list of different projects proposed by the faculty.

In the meeting after our presentation you were talking about some of the
projects( offereed by PTCL i guess ) that could be done on the device. If
you can list some description about them, so we can add them to our
seminar with your refernce. I would also like to see you in person
regarding the projects and the capablities of the Open mobile Kit. So if
you can give us some time.

In the end, your support and guide would be highly valuable for the
creation for the group and shipping that kit to seecs.

OPenmoko NeoPhone Device technical Specifications

Speed —————————-
>> 500MHz processor
>> 2D/3D Acceleration

>> 256MB NANDFlash
>> 128 SDRAM
>> microSD-Card upto 4Gb

>> GSM tri-band 900/1800/1900Mhz

Hardware Heiglights—————
>> WiFi 802.11b/g
>> GPS
>> Bluetooth 2.0
>> Motion Sensors for gesture-based activity and alot
>> RFID (?)
>> Wimax (?)

Display ————————–
>> LCD Module (LCM)
>> Touch Screen

>> 2.8” VGA (480*640) TFT Screen

>> Vibrator

Input Output ——————–
>> USB 1.1 Bus powered host mode
>> USB Device
>> Wolfson Codec
>> I2C Devices
>> 2.5mm audio jack

Subject: Friday’s meeting with DG on Open mobile
From: “M Qasim Ali Khawaja” <>
Date: Sun, June 15, 2008 4:52 pm
To: Mujtaba Haider

Respected Sir,

“We just want to say thnaks to you for showing your interest in this
technology, and showing up on last friday’s meeting…

If you can pop in some project, so we can add them to our seminar with
your refernce. I would also like to see you in person regarding the
projects and the capablities of the Open mobile Kit. So if you can give us
some time.

[As far as my memory works, In the last semester when i showed my interest
in RFID to sir Aamir hayyat; you be the one who breifed me the description
about the RFID project (reverse engineering the RFID reader device)] So is
there any possibility that we can attach RFID chip(by UART serial
communication) to the device which we present on the meeting?”

Internet presence:

Disseminating information on

General Queries

Openmoko Local Group

SOMS birth: Thu, June 19, 2008

Subject: SEECS Open Mobile Squad
From: “M Qasim Ali Khawaja” <>
Date: Thu, June 19, 2008 11:52 pm
To: “students list” <students@…>

“Respected All,

Background of the creation of the group:

I and my friend (Asad Rehman) have a passion for mobile devices and applications. Few months back we were hunting for some cool device which could be unlocked so we can look into the hardware. In mid march, i came across a company name “Openmoko – FIC” which offers open mobile. After looking into the specs of the device we come to the point where we decided that that would be the best device around which a lot of FYPs could be
made. So we put forward the request to Dr. Arshad Ali. He arranged a meeting to know about the device and our and faculties thought. So we gave small presentation in front of the DG along with the faculty panel. In the end following; things get decided

1- That device would prove to be the best test bench for learning different technologies all in one.
2- Giving awareness to other students by disseminating information about the device capabilities.
3- Diverse nature FYPs could be build around this device
4- Getting hands on experience before entering into the industry
5- Learning open source technologies
6- Understanding embedded hardware

As the device is open in all aspects, the activities of the group would not be controlled by anyone. Everyone works for his/her own learning and experience (Soon we’ll hear geeks talking about “Yar i hack the usb port last night while playing around the device…”). The events will happen according to the wishes of the participants. We don’t want to make it like a traditional group. We learn, teach and implement while on the go. Just join and share your thoughts and suggestions regarding upcoming summer activities for the group.

Open mobile lab:

In the end of the meeting Dr. Arshad Ali give this suggestion to create a group of students who are enthusiastic about this. In the long run may some course would be taught and open mobile lab would be created. But it all depends on the participation/involvent of the students.

SEECS Open Mobile Squad:

It is just to inform you all that we are going to create a group named SEECS Open Mobile Squad with the official permission of Dr. Arshad Ali. The group will work on the new technology fall under the category of open source mobile hardware. The products would be used by the brand named “neo1973 and FreeRunner” [See Flyer Openmoko Hacker’s n Developers Box.doc] the world’s first open mobile (both in terms of Software/hardware stack) launched by a Taiwanese company “openmoko” that was a radical revolution in the mobile device space breaking the monopolies of the copyrighted players Nokia, Motorola, LG, Sony Ericson and specially iPhone which restricts the customers to look into the hardware. Openmoko says “If you don’t OPEN it you don’t OWN it”. [See Flyer SOMS Slogans.doc]

Openmoko is a daughter company of Taiwan electronics giant FIC (First international Computer Inc.). Openmoko is the commercial and community driven effort with a mission to create open mobile products that empower developers and consumers to personalize their devices, much like a computer, in any way they see fit. Openmoko is dedicated to helping innovators bring freedom and flexibility to consumer electronics and vertical market devices. Dedicated to providing a totally FOSS mobile computing platform for development of mobile consumer electronics communication devices
1- Developers could begin writing device drivers, custom GUIs and some cool apps for the phone
2- Is not locked to a specific network
3- It’s ready to be loaded with any number of open-source software applications
4- All the hardware is documented, and the software is open source
5- With this phone you can adapt the software to your exact requirements
6- Make changes in the components policy to perform what you want

The Device comes up with an advance Kit (HackerLunchBox) which consists of every necessary tool that is used to hack the hardware and software both (that’s the most astonishing thing at least for those who love to play around the mobile devices)[See hacker’s lunch box.doc]. Another good aspect of this device is; it consists almost every device on board that could be used in any hardware based communication project. So that’s an excellent device to done diverse nature FYPs on it, with robustness and without getting into traps of integrations and compilation. Otherwise where we buy each component separately like GPS, Wi-Fi cards, and then we’ve to program a microcontroller and etc… Though we still have to program but now every thing is on board and we’ve the complete control on it.[ See Flyer Openmoko specs.doc]

Group is open for all. A seminar is going to conduct in the near future for the sake of the disseminating information about the capabilities of the devices and the future planning of the group.

So if you have
1- Any passion to get your hands dirty on this elegant device and in fact multiple technologies
2- Interested to hack the mobile hardware
3- Developing mobile application
4- The most important building your FYPs around that device.

Just get yourself register. This is the golden opportunity for you to be part of this group. We are in contact with the faculty who are going to pop in multiple projects which could be implemented on this kit as FYPs. [See Flyer SOMS Workflow.doc]

Otherwise if you’ve already selected your FYP that involves the above listed techs, still your are welcomed or if you are a junior and have interest in this area don’t hesitate just registered because it’s open for all. That’s an on going learning process. We’ll learn, teach and implement in a group. This field is just like an open sea; once you dive you’ll definitely catch something worth out of it. [See Flyer SEECS Open Mobile Group main.doc]

Kits are going to be shipped with in next month. All those who will get themselves registered/involved in this group would get the chance to play around the device/Kit. Those respond sooner the better. Quantity of the kits depends upon the number of the interested, passionate and enthusiastic students.

In the end; there’s lot more to share about with you guys … but i’m waiting for your registration request… (Registration link below) “SEECS is stepping proud fully into open mobile technology establishing a group which provides you a golden opportunity to play/unlock the mobile device which is completely documented. Smart phone is the next big thing.

Don’t miss it because you’ll never get a chance to work on multiple technologies all in a single device.”

Facebbook Fans’ Page Wed, June 25, 2008

SOMS 3pahse development plan:

Phase 0 (Before Final Exams)
Opening Registration
Disseminating Info about Products/Kits
Defining rules/regulations/policies/strategies
Formal Group Creation
Project Collections
Introductory Seminar
Creating SOMS Website
Grouping of similar interest geeks

Phase 1 (During Summer vocations)
Shipping Kits
Product’s Demonstration
Understanding Open Software n hardware stack
Tools for Mobile hacking and Application development
Learning/Sharing/teaching/seminars/guest lectures
Documenting knowledge for future students
Working on different exercises
Inserting faculty proposed projects/self defined projects/Openmoko projects

Phase 2
Project’s implementation
Submitting applications to the Openmoko’s Project portal
Participating in international competitions
Underlying group foundation completed
Registration of new students in the group

Registration Statistics:
BICSE(49) BEE(13) BIT(5) MSIT(1) RA(1)

Order placed at openmoko.Inc Store

order placed @ openmoko store

order placed @ openmoko store

SOMS First Introductory Seminar:21th July

soms-first-intro-seminar-flayer In short the presentation agenda was:

Mobile Huge Sink
Battle for setting mobile platform standards
Closed Vs. Open Phone
Mobile app the next biG thing
Agenda 2: O.P.E.N.M.O.K.O

Why Openmoko?
Business model
Proprietary Phones Dilemma
Open Software Stack
Supported Frameworks
Native OS
Open Hardware Stack

Mobile Hacking
Getting FYP done
Embedded Systems
Application Development
Future MobileOS
Understanding Mobile Hardware
Hands on experience
Agenda 4: P.R.O.J.E.C.T.S

Mobile end applications
Adding middleware in the framework
Hardware interfacing
Introducing other devices
Agenda 5: S.O.M.S

SOMS power of Circles

SOMS Working Circles

SOMS 3 Phase development plan

3Phase development plan

Tutorial on Qtopia App Development

Tutorial on Qtopia App Development
Time: 04:00-05:30 p.m.
Venue: Seminar Hall St#8
Date: 05 Aug, 2008 Tuesday

After introducing Open mobile technology. SOMS conducted its first programming session on
developing mobile application development. The framework choosen for Open mobile was Qtopia, owned by Trolltech and considered to be the most favorite GUI toolkit in the mobile space.

Why Qtopia because it supports cross platform development “Code Once. Deploy Anywhere” in simple build application in Windows native OS and run on Unix or Mac; as the API syntax is same. Secondly it’s similar to C++ object oriented style.

What this session was about?
Wel discussed the Qtopia’s framework and the toolkit. The major focus was on programming side “Syntax and Semantics”.

In short the presentation agenda is:

Geeks collection:

The  inital geeks response was from the houseof BICSE. I’m really thankful to students of BICSE-5 who had attended all the intial seminars and lectures i’ve conducted to spread the word about Openmoko and the open mobile technology.

Iftikhar Ahmed, Wahib, Omer, Salman, Khuram, Fahid, Robert, iQra, Sibghat, Usama and others

Open mobile lab:

That was the  luck holy Friday when SOMSians got a corner in the Communication lab. After little negotiation with respected DG a seperate name has been assigned to the lab that is “SEECS Open mobile squad research lab” loaded on c-216. Initially only 1 dedicated system has been allocated for the group but soon four more systems will be there for SOMSians to rock.

SOMS logo creation:

The credit goes to SOMS gFx manager Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed who has spent a lot of quality time with great esthetics to build the logo. His visualization is great. The final logo is a perfect reflection SOMS missions. All SOMSians really appreciate Iftikhar’s efforts in this regards.

SOMS initial thoughts

SOMS initial thoughts

SOMS - logo getting mature

SOMS - logo getting mature

First offical seminar:

“Introducing Open mobile Technology”

SOMS is going to conduct its very first offical seminar on 3rd march 2009. The tag line is “Free Your Phone”. The purpose of this seminar is to introduce the open mobile technology to the members of SEECS inorder to collect all those guys who really want to purse their careers in this field.

The main agenda is listed hereunder:-



Post Review of the Seminar

SOMS has successfully conducted its very first seminar on “Introducing Open Mobile Technology” on last Tuesday in seminar hall at 2pm. The purpose is to spread the awareness  about the new emerging field of open mobiles and the current shift in the mobile eco-system towards open source technologies.

The seminar aimed at promoting open mobile technology by sharing; what’s happening in the mobile world? Why vendors are shifting towards open source mobile technology? What is the future of mobile phones? The seminar
also shared the Openmoko’s technology and their concept of building world’s open source mobile phone. Openmoko mobile phone is breaking the monopolies of wireless world, similarly as Linux did with the Microsoft.

Guest from Industry:

Atif Mumtaz, the founder of Cogilent Solutions [] and CEO of Personforce [] and BrightSpyre [] had been invited
as a guest on the event. He is a successful serial entrepreneur. In 2004, he received the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” Award for his services through Shell
Corporation. His company is also working on mobile application development, and he himself is big fan of Linux and Palm OS. He really appreciated the idea of establishing Open Mobile lab [] as in his point of view this
will provide students an excellent opportunity to learn mobile and wireless techs all on a single device.

Industry collaboration:

Moreover while exchanging experience and discussion, we’ve successfully convinced him to collaborate on a project (disclosed later). He also agreed to mentor SOMS members.


He introduced the squad with CEO of TinTash [], Murad Akhtar who will also provide his kind guidance. Murad Akhter has
over seven years of experience in product management and software development in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry. Prior to Tintash, he worked at Apple
Computer on flagship products such as the company’s first line of 64-bit systems as well as its transition from PowerPC chips to Intel’s multi-core processors. He later worked on jukebox and VOIP applications for the Ultra-Mobile PC platform at Microsoft before starting Tintash in


As far as attendees are concerned 35+ students along with three faculty members Dr. Junaid, Dr Adeel and Dr Amir Shafi have attended the seminar. A couple of students also showed their interest to join the
group. Now there are 15 members and the membership is still open.

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