[conspire] (forw) Re: [ILUG] Android gone Free

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Oct 28 13:09:17 PDT 2008

Interesting note about the G1:  As expected, those evil fsckers at
T-Mobile have made it be a functionally DRMed, jailed appliance.
And so have Nokia with their Symbian smartphones.  

TiVoisation of open-source operating systems, anyone?  RMS is shown
right yet again.

----- Forwarded message from "John P. Looney" <valen at tuatha.org> -----

Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 19:47:22 +0000
From: "John P. Looney" <valen at tuatha.org>
To: David Dolphin <David.Dolphin at skynet.ie>
Cc: Irish Linux Users Group <ilug at linux.ie>
Reply-To: john.looney at gmail.com
Subject: Re: [ILUG] Android gone Free

On Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 7:35 PM, David Dolphin <David.Dolphin at skynet.ie>wrote:

> A Forwarded response from a Symbian employee:
> On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 08:44, John P. Looney <valen at tuatha.org> wrote:
> > Anyone know if their $1500 licence for Symbian gives you radio drivers
> > that you can port to other platforms ?
> Whose? nokia's? I seriously doubt it. Even those of us with full nokia
> access can't get at that source. However, they'll be opening up source
> next year I think, so that stuff will probably be made
> available. There is another problem anyhow, which is quite
> bigger. Released nokia hardware will only take signed roms. You dont
> have the key. We dont have the key. only nokia have the key and it's
> probably locked in a tiny dark little room in Oulu.

 Oh. Nasty, but understandable. T-Mobile have done similar with their G1;
you can't flash the firmware at all, it's a fixed-firmware, with
over-the-air updates (like the iPhone). I expect that someone will be
selling android-ready phones in the near future which can have a firmware
flashed onto it.

> You'd probably have better look with Uiq based phones, but really
> putting it on propietry hardware is going to be an uphill battle for
> anyone. Getting an OS running on a phone is hard. Companies are very
> secretive about how they do it, and they dont want people have such
> low level access to the radio etc. It's like in the old days when
> computers had modems in them, if malware got on it could cost a
> fortune. Imagine that, but with mobile tariffs.

 You don't need low-level access to do that sort of crazy stuff on a
smartphone; when you install an app on android, it asks what you want to
grant to the app. The list is like "internet access, access to contacts
book, ability to make/intercept calls, location fine grained (gps), location
approximate (GSM cell based)" etc. So any app you can download from the
Market could cost you serious money.

 Though there are two types of radio driver source. One is the stuff that is
open sourced for the G1. This is the bit that talks to the baseband chip,
wifi, bluetooth etc. The second is for the software running on the baseband
chip itself; this is closed-source by law in most places, as no normal
country will licence a device that any user can use to jam mobile signals
etc. by just reprogramming power levels etc. If people could hack it, even
illegally, I'm sure the device would lose its licence to sell in that

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----- End forwarded message -----

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