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monkeygirl
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:08 pm    Post subject: Does anyone know if Gentoo will be supporting this phone? Reply with quote

https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/

It says that it will run using PureOS, but states "Runs PureOS by default, can run most GNU+Linux distributions"

It looks like they're going to make their goal and I've pre-ordered a phone, but I'm not a fan of Debian distros and would prefer to have a Gentoo phone.

Because they are just fund raising right now, I'm not sure if Gentoo (or any other distros) are even considering this, but would a Gentoo phone be something that the Gentoo team would support? Please advise. Thanks!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly, it's vaporware right now.

The support ultimately depends on whether the "phone" software is also OSS, including the driver stack.

A lot of attempts of OSS phones have come and gone, I'm not sure what makes this different...
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers. I didn't realise there was a history of these beyond the Ubuntu phone that crashed and burnt.

Has Gentoo ever supported phoneware? If not, then I'm guessing I'm SoL even if this project is realised. : (

I will probably end up using ArchLinux, but I haven't used that distro before--I've heard it was GentooLite. Is this true?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the major problem is that the people making these phones don't really have an upgrade plan. They just get the phone out, run out of money, and the next ifone comes out with feature X and now people drop these old phones. Or they don't get off the ground before the ifone comes out with feature Y.

A lot of people come to expect using goofull play or itunedout to get applications too in terms of applications for a form factor like this. Plus the issue that most Linux applications were simply not made for touch, almost requiring a keyboard. (Gnome 3 seems like it's trying to be touch friendly, which implies that it really doesn't want to be non-systemd friendly.)

I don't know if there are any true OSS phone applications that can communicate with the GSM chip to make a call. Plus likely there are no standards so it's like a one-off thing and the Gentoo devs won't stick into the main Portage tree because of that.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A better question to ask is "does this phone support Linux?" — are the hardware vendors involved (ARM, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Imgtec, nVidia etc.) actively antagonistic toward open source? 99/100 times the answer is yes to the latter, which means no to the former. You'll be lucky if you get a massive code dump thrown over the wall which only works with one specific, ancient kernel. Usually you just get blobs.

Never buy hardware like this based on a promise, wait to see if they broke the promise first.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ant.p - I don't think there is a question of Linux support, as it's advertised to already support multiple Debian-derived distros. Also, I found out about the project from the KDE homepage as they are working on the mobile desktop for this phone. Without being ironic: 'seems legit'

My original question is related to their claim that any OS can run on the phone, most of the time when hardware company's say this--it translates to drivers and software pre-packaged in yum and apt-get repositories. I would prefer Gentoo to any other OS, but I reckon from the replies there won't be even a chance of having a Gentoo phone. (Edit: I'm still looking forward to the phone itself... the idea of an Android/iOS-less phone is exciting)

Thanks for your replies. I'm spinning up the Arch distro to see what it's like.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkeygirl wrote:
drivers and software pre-packaged in yum and apt-get repositories. I would prefer Gentoo to any other OS, but I reckon from the replies there won't be even a chance of having a Gentoo phone. (Edit: I'm still looking forward to the phone itself... the idea of an Android/iOS-less phone is exciting)

Thanks for your replies. I'm spinning up the Arch distro to see what it's like.
If you would prefer Gentoo to any other OS, why spin up Arch? Just curious.

As for the phone, if RPMs or Debian packages have necessary blobs, then Gentoo can install those, so blobs packaged in those formats aren't an automatic block.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because the phone says it supports the Arch OS and to the best of my knowledge, Arch is not Debian-based. I heard it was like GentooLite? I just want to test it out on a VM and see what I can do with it. It's all binary, but it has a lot of configuration options.

Quote:
GNU distributions the Librem 5 can run
PureOS
Debian GNU/Linux
Ubuntu
Fedora
Suse
Arch Linux | ARM
SubgraphOS


No idea what SubgraphOS is. I don't want Debian anything (the default OS is Debian-ish) and I'd rather not use a RedHat-based OS (although that would still be a better choice). The closer to Gentoo the better--hence looking into Arch. Have you used it before?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see why it can't run Gentoo if any other OSS OS could run, it's just a matter of getting the (currently nonexistent) drivers ported over and have someone willing to maintain it - if it's uglynasty (like binary blobs, possibly mandated by the SOC manufacturer "because" of FCC rules or otherwise - damn the chip designers trying to use the FCC as a reason to not publish source, and instead design the hardware such that they don't need to conflict with FCC rules) then the chances become less likely. This is the biggest unknown and we won't know until real hardware gets shipping...
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkeygirl wrote:
Because the phone says it supports the Arch OS and to the best of my knowledge, Arch is not Debian-based. I heard it was like GentooLite? I just want to test it out on a VM and see what I can do with it. It's all binary, but it has a lot of configuration options.
Oh, OK. I didn't realize you were using it in preparation for the release of the phone.

I have no idea why Gentoo isn't an option, unless ARM support is an issue.

monkeygirl wrote:
The closer to Gentoo the better--hence looking into Arch. Have you used it before?
I haven't used it, so I can't comment on why some might refer to it as GentooLite, unless that is a reference to Arch being a binary distro.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious as to the logistics of this... Will it have a bootable microSD card or some such like a RPi?
The idea of trying to install a stage3 and then compile my way up on a tiny phone screen on a device with a small CPU and not much RAM sounds quite painful to me... Does it have a USB socket for a keyboard??

Maybe you'd need some sort of cross-compiler setup...
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Binhost.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Does anyone know if Gentoo will be supporting this phone?"

Wrong question. The question should be... Will this phone be linux friendly. As long as the drivers exist, as long as there is means to access the mass-storage then its a case of someone creating a stage3 or going for a stage1 with a suitable toolchain
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkeygirl,

The CPU in the Raspberry Pi was devised for a low end smartphone. It runs gentoo.
The Pi 3 even runs 64 bit Gentoo.

There are two ways people run Gentoo on their phones. As a chroot/prefix, where Gentoo does not do any of the phone management.
That stays with the original phone software.

Then there is where the phone boots into Gentoo and gentoo does everything. That's hard.
It depends on the hardware device drivers being available in a form that you can use them.
Unfortunately, they are often hamstrung by NDAs and tied to old kernels as they are only available as binary blobs.

There is also the regulatory issue around control of the transmitters. Not just the 4G or whatever, the bluetooth, wifi and NFC.
Certification is often tied to drivers. If you are going to use different drivers, the certification may be invalidated.
You do not want to get involved in that.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello friends,

monkeygirl wrote:
Has Gentoo ever supported phoneware? If not, then I'm guessing I'm SoL even if this project is realised. : (
It very strongly depends on the parts they select. If they are being careful, it is possible that all of the hardware may be in the main kernel tree. If they are not so careful, as various reviews of Purism (and many other "libre" hardware vendors) I have read seem to indicate, then the blobs may be tied to Android and serious reverse engineering would need to be taken to run GNU/Linux.

Using only a little optimism, I would expect the phone to be open enough to support Gentoo. When you receive your device feel free to make another post on the forums and users will be able to help you set up a working system. The main hurdle is that you will need some UI to interact with your phone, and Gentoo does not provide that by itself. Sadly it may take quite a bit of time for more Open Hardware phones to come into existence, as that is what is necessary for what you want to be easy. The Librem-5 looks like a good start.

Despite the Librem-5's possible shortcomings, it does look like a very attractive device. I have been looking for a device to experiment with phone UI/UX for some time now. It pains me I can not budget for one and that I would not have the time to use it if I could. Most nights I pray to the Lord that I may get to use Open Hardware in my lifetime. If not, I suppose I will have a chance to do so in Heaven.


eccerr0r wrote:
I think the major problem is that the people making these phones don't really have an upgrade plan. They just get the phone out, run out of money, and the next ifone comes out with feature X and now people drop these old phones. Or they don't get off the ground before the ifone comes out with feature Y.
Ant P. wrote:
A better question to ask is "does this phone support Linux?" — are the hardware vendors involved (ARM, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Imgtec, nVidia etc.) actively antagonistic toward open source? 99/100 times the answer is yes to the latter, which means no to the former. You'll be lucky if you get a massive code dump thrown over the wall which only works with one specific, ancient kernel. Usually you just get blobs.
This is my experience with a few devices I have owned which were marketed as development platforms. The vendor support was terrible because there is no money to be made from supporting such devices. The market quickly moves on and the vast majority of customers are interested in the newest parts, not ones which run open source software.

In my case however I can correlate the two Exynos-based development boards' release with better hardware support for devices which used the respective parts, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. This implies that for some carefully curated selection of hardware it is possible to prepare a working system. Most of the work I have done in this area indicates to me that it is easiest to design a system or phone to support GNU/Linux from the ground up.


NeddySeagoon wrote:
There is also the regulatory issue around control of the transmitters. Not just the 4G or whatever, the bluetooth, wifi and NFC.
Certification is often tied to drivers. If you are going to use different drivers, the certification may be invalidated.
You do not want to get involved in that.
I am not actually aware of this ever having been tested. If one has never researched law, or, more importantly, the behavior of lawyers, it might come as a surprise that the same is generally focused on never going to court. To this end a lot of behavior is undertaken proactively to avoid litigation. This scares me, as I detailed on the mailing list when it was proposed that SRC_URIs be scrubbed based on copyright concerns (start here). The end result is often the erosion of rights.

In this case, the hardware has been certified. In one case I know of, cellular modems, the code is also certified, but that is more an issue of encryption than correct RF operation. In all cases except the one given I know of no law that states that the code must remain static or that the code is linked to correct operation. If a user modifies the device to operate illegally, then the user is at fault.

It is already legal precedent that I can make devices which are illegal to operate, but may not sell them. However I can sell those same devices disassembled or targeting a nonconsumer demographic and remove from myself any legal liabilities related to FCC compliance. I can sell devices that have mutable firmware. I believe the FCC was trying to require that all wireless devices be locked using something similar to secure boot, but it may have failed - it may be proposed again, so if you are reading this please send them a letter about your opinion.


Regardless, if you are simply using a device - regardless of how the driver is supplied - you would not violate the more draconian interpretation of the FCC rules, which does not have any basis in the law as it is written and currently interpreted.


Respectfully,
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks you guys for all your replies.

Quote:

There are two ways people run Gentoo on their phones. As a chroot/prefix, where Gentoo does not do any of the phone management.
That stays with the original phone software.


This is what I think they are saying will be possible and this would be the only avenue wherein I'd be willing to make system level changes to a phone. I have no idea about 4G technology and judging from the recent trends in wireless communication and telephony, by the time I learnt anything about it, it would be obsolete. I reckon I'll just have to wait and see whether I get a phone and if I do, how easily it is to swap out supported OSes. After that, maybe I can try my hand at Gentoo.

If the crowdfunding succeeds but the project goes nowhere, then I'll chalk off the costs as cheap DIY crash course in mobile hardware and hack at it when I'm bored.

Again, thanks a bunch you guys; your posts had me querying DDG all night the other night and researching other types of OSS phones.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
There is also the regulatory issue around control of the transmitters. Not just the 4G or whatever, the bluetooth, wifi and NFC.
Certification is often tied to drivers. If you are going to use different drivers, the certification may be invalidated.
You do not want to get involved in that.
They claim a separate CPU for "baseband" support, which may wall off all of the regulatory issues. It actually looks like pretty promising vaporware.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkeygirl,

Read my link. Gentoo already has the prefix/chroot working on a number of phones.
You don't need a new one,

R0b0t1,

That Certification was paraphrasing the kernel wiki. It had a section on certification.
Most drivers allow you to change Tx power and available channels, so that they can work globally.
e.g in most of the world, the 2.4G channel 14 is not available.
In Japan, only channel 14 is used.

Changing these parameters deliberately, or choosing another region, is an you say, a user problem.
Doing it accidentally, when you configure your kernel is a much bigger issue.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
monkeygirl,

Read my link. Gentoo already has the prefix/chroot working on a number of phones.
You don't need a new one,
I do not mean to be pessimistic, but most of the work done only seems to work on flagship phones. Moreover a prefix on a phone is not good for much. There is lots of machinery that Android adds that needs to be removed to make use of the system in a general purpose manner possible.

NeddySeagoon wrote:
R0b0t1,

That Certification was paraphrasing the kernel wiki. It had a section on certification.
Most drivers allow you to change Tx power and available channels, so that they can work globally.
e.g in most of the world, the 2.4G channel 14 is not available.
In Japan, only channel 14 is used.
Where is this located? I am not sure what is being said. The documentation could be wrong.

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Changing these parameters deliberately, or choosing another region, is an you say, a user problem.
Doing it accidentally, when you configure your kernel is a much bigger issue.
Firstly, I am not sure how this would be possible to do by accident, but I suppose I can concede it might be possible. However even if this did happened, and someone actually noticed (extremely important), the FCC would figure out what happened and tell you to stop and even help you set up your equipment properly. (In theory - HAMs sometimes have issues where they go straight to seizing equipment after a very uninformative cease and desist.)

Lastly I think it is important to note that sometimes integrated circuits themselves can be certified. If they are certified, then all of their operation was certified - it does not matter what code is used, the analog portions of the device implement a compliant transmitter (save for the occasions when illegal frequencies could be selected - but, again, it is on the end user to avoid breaking the law). For some reason many people see fit to certify products which contain these integrated circuits, even when the manufacturer specifies e.g. antennas that their product was certified against. One is buying certified components and operating them in a manner permitted by law. There is not any more to be done.

Consequently even in a device like a router, I am not clear on how changes to the kernel could affect FCC certification status.

Based on some interpretations of telecommunications law, namely the same one that leads to code being part of certified operation, I would have to bring an empty box with wires attached to it to the FCC for certification before I could sell it. Does this seem reasonable?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R0b0t1,

That's exactly the discussion wireless.kernel.org, which seem to me blank for me, however, the wayback machine has the page. Again, from the wayback machine, this page is worth reading.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FCC rules wants whatever box you SELL to not be USER changeable outside the parameters that you brought in to do testing upon.
This puts the burden on the seller to ensure that the end user cannot use the equipment to interfere with other legal use of the airwaves.

The FCC will not bar the seller from selling stuff that the end user can take a solder iron and change things as there are a lot of grandfathered exceptions out there - namely analog transmitting equipment. But they do care if you can change the code with a few keyboard presses or mouse clicks and no additional equipment to change it out of the configuration they tested. This is the difference; but yes, someone has to complain. The unfortunate problem is if someone starts using a band or power that's outside of FCC regulations, and then someone later tries to use that band that was legally permitted by the FCC and find it doesn't work, that person might go and blame the manufacturer that they sold them defective equipment when it was actually the equipment tweaker that was causing the issue. Complete mess.

The airwaves is a limited resource even if it seems unlimited to yourself. Without the FCC we'd have a tragedy of the commons situation and our cell phones would require huge batteries to overpower any other competing "noise" (both true interference and other peoples' legitimate use) out there instead of carefully sharing the bandwidth saving power and sharing among more people, fattening the pockets of the cell phone mega-company wallets.

Can't win. Can't win.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
The FCC rules wants whatever box you SELL to not be USER changeable outside the parameters that you brought in to do testing upon.
This puts the burden on the seller to ensure that the end user cannot use the equipment to interfere with other legal use of the airwaves.

The FCC will not bar the seller from selling stuff that the end user can take a solder iron and change things as there are a lot of grandfathered exceptions out there - namely analog transmitting equipment. But they do care if you can change the code with a few keyboard presses or mouse clicks and no additional equipment to change it out of the configuration they tested. This is the difference; but yes, someone has to complain. The unfortunate problem is if someone starts using a band or power that's outside of FCC regulations, and then someone later tries to use that band that was legally permitted by the FCC and find it doesn't work, that person might go and blame the manufacturer that they sold them defective equipment when it was actually the equipment tweaker that was causing the issue. Complete mess.
You've repeated what a lot of people think but failed to justify why it is true. Part of me wants to leave this post at that and not validate the rest of your post with a response, because it seems like you completely ignored what I had to say. However, the legal opinions you are espousing are unfounded and dangerous. It is sad that so many people agree with them.

The problem is that what you have said is true contradicts itself. There are no "grandfathered in exceptions" - those cases are simply a straightforward interpretation of previous rulings on liability. The two cases you gave are only separate if you can define some criteria that separates them. Applying your logic consistently, if I sell an empty box and someone later puts a transmitter in it then I am liable for any violations they incur operating that equipment. I have taken something which does not function in an illegal manner and have made it function in an illegal manner. If you think this is "wrong," then you need to be able to explain why.

There is another side to my complaint, which is that the FCC claims I need to certify an empty box before it is sold.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for going way off topic...

Your empty box argument does not hold, you need to put something in to make it interfere with other people. Plus whatever the box is, as a unit, needs to always pass emissions tests. Truly empty boxes have nothing to interfere and thus you can get away with it by default. But in the general case if you put electronics in it - you do realize that even computers without radios still need to pass FCC rules? Even a printer, digital scale, or even an AM/FM radio? You can't sell a computer to businesses that don't pass class A and residences class B RF interference. Anything that possibly *could* interfere are subject to FCC rules.

(BTW, the LO in an AM/FM radio could interfere with other radios and hence subject to the rules too. Anything electrical have possibility of causing interference from mere sparks from motor commutators.)

The old analog transmitter issue "loophole" I mention is because it's actually "easy" to make it go off target. It's not really a "loophole" but rather something that are also covered by the laws minus the ease of hacking them. Take an old CB or walkie talkie, though granted for the most part you still need the solder iron, it's not hard to make it go off frequency or over power because they're made with discrete components (nevermind people building external RF power amplifiers which clearly need to be certified separately and would clearly be denied by the FCC.)

However on digital hardware, it's quite a bit easier to do these things if they're BUILT into the digital hardware and you only need a few keystrokes and/or mouse clicks and access them.

Is there a reason you specifically left out the tragedy of the commons issue? This is the key point why they're there to begin with. No other reason. People will NOT behave, just witness all the people transmitting over power because they can't be heard up until the point it will become simply ridiculous, the airwaves would simply become a mess, people would create devices to purposefully deny use of the airwaves when they try to be "behave" with frequencies in order to get the most number of people sharing the bandwidth. It's sad.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should we discuss software defined radios here?
Its only a matter of time until market pressures move things in this direction.

Its getting easier, not harder, to change transmitter operating parameters in software.
I think that's a trend that will continue too.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how they manage to change "transmitter parameters" in software.
Analog devices use resonance to fish out the signal from noise, but the resonance frequency is a parameter of a physical circuit, and can only be tuned (usually by changing capacity of the resonance circuit) within some small range, so "attaching your sound card to a transmitter" doesn't make it a "software defined" - the transmitter is an actual hardware with literally hardwired properties, and your software only provides the data stream.
Does anyone have links to papers describing the principles of digital radio transmission? It already gets interesting here, with phase shift codding. I'm curious how they boost signal/noise ratio on the receiving end, but couldn't really find anything on this matter (it was some time ago, but still...).
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