Wednesday, November 12, 2008


should not be construed as satisfaction. Okay, well not as Complete satisfaction. My current Qtopia 4.3.2 install has been working fairly well for the past few months (modulo the re-registration bug), but there's still a ways to go before I'm truly ecstatic with the phone. I'm much heartened by Android's release and rapid progress on the GTA02 platform, as well as by Openmoko's new dedication to working on fixing the fundamental functionality first.

But my old 4.3.2 distro is getting a bit long in the tooth, so I'm likely going to try 4.4.1, and maybe FDOM, soon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Corruption details

fso and qtopia are both showing microSD (ext2) corruption:
fso while running a kernel with build date of 'Thu Aug 7 15:57:11 CST 2008'.
qtopia while running one built 'Sun Aug 3 16:16:27 CDT 2008'
Upgraded fso to one with built 'Sat Aug 16 16:34:47 CEST 2008' and I couldn't repro the corruption. Yay! Fixed for now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

microSD data corruption

In trying to get an FSO-daily on my microSD card, I discovered some microSD corruption: I copied a 35MB file over USB via scp straight to the micro SD card... and it was bogus. So I copied it instead to /tmp, which is on a ramdisk - and it worked fine. So to verify, I then tried to copy the file from /tmp to the micro SD card via 'cp'... and it was again bogus. So there's some corruption hiding there. This is with qtopia 4.3.2 rootfs and kernel.

A month of FreeRunning

So I ran Qtopia until I couldn't stand not being able to suspend it, at which point I decided to try the 2008.8 update. I put it on my 'unstable' partition (the microSD card) and it seemed to work okay. I ran with it for a while, always switching back to the (battery-eating) qtopia when I needed more stability.

Then I decided to do an opkg update/upgrade on the 2008.08 and... it merrily assumed that it was the main distro and reflashed the NAND kernel as well as (correctly) upgrading the uImage.bin in the FAT partition on the microSD card. *sigh* At that point I didn't have time to deal with it and 2008.08 seemed fine, so decided to see how it would go.

...and the answer was: unstably. It was nowhere near stable enough for daily use. So as of a couple days ago, I'm back on qtopia (4.3.2) as my main stable feed with FSO(m2+testing feed) as my 'unstable' distro. I did have to tweak the 'Speaker Playback Volume' in /usr/share/openmoko/scenarios/gsmhandset.state up to 127 (from the default of 100) to be able to hear the other end a bit better. Oh, and happily, qtopia now suspends correctly, so battery life is greatly enhanced to say the least!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Qtopia killed my battery!

By the way, if you have a FreeRunner and are running the Qtopia distro, you might be tempted to try and extend your battery life by enabling suspend... don't. It doesn't work correctly and far from saving your battery it will drain it so dead that sitting on the moko charger all night won't charge it.

Which makes me really glad I bought an external battery charger from some random cellphone supply shop I found on the 'net.

Friday, August 1, 2008

jffs2 to .tar.gz

Milestone 2 of FSO came out a few days ago, but inconveniently for those of us who wish to try it out by booting from a microSD card, there's only a jffs2 image file when what we really want is a tarball of the root filesystem. Sadly, the obvious loopback-mount-the-image-and-tar-it-up trick fails with an error:

MTD: Attempt to mount non-MTD device "/dev/loop0"

Here's a brief howto gleaned from the depths of the 'net:
  • modprobe mtdram total_size=131072 erase_size=128
  • modprobe mtdblock
  • dd if=root.jffs2 of=/dev/mtdblock0
  • mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock0 /mnt
The image itself is only 47M, so I reduced the 131072 (128k) above to 65536(64k) and it of course worked fine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

FreeRunner now running

On Friday I received my Openmoko FreeRunner phone. I've been waiting for this phone for literally years - I first heard about the project in December of 2006, and couldn't wait for it to materialize. Well, the Neo1973 came along and I couldn't justify it without wifi, but the FreeRunner corrects that lack, so I got in on a group order and got one.

2007.2 is a bit... confusing. I found the icons mostly non-intuitive and overall it felt very much like trying to extend the desktop metaphor into a UI space that it's not really meant for. The ASU daily build that I'm currently using is much simpler and nicer. I look forward to it maturing and hope to help it in that direction some myself!

As with most things, the technology is, in the long run, less important than the people. In this regard the community around the FreeRunner shines - #openmoko and the mailing lists are both quite helpful, as are the folk I met via the group buy.