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Cellphones Debian Handhelds Hardware Hacking Linux

Debian Running On the T-Mobile G1 127

Posted by timothy
from the teaching-the-android-to-fetch-and-sit dept.
chrb writes "Following hot on the heels of the G1 root exploit, Jay Freeman now has Debian ARM running on the G1. The RC30 update has fixed the root hole, but with utilities and images already available to replace the flash image with your own signed code, it looks like the manufacturer-hacker arms race is on."
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Debian Running On the T-Mobile G1

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  • I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maestro371 (762740) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:08PM (#25754419)

    I thought the whole point of the G1 was that it was an open platform. Why on earth is there a "manufacturer-hacker arms race"?

  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:21PM (#25754547) Journal

    It depends on your definition of "platform," I believe.

    Android is open software platform in that you can do whatever you want within Android. But that doesn't make the G1 an open hardware platform, where you could install a different operating system.

    OpenMoko is an open hardware platform.

    Now, personally, I see no reason why T-Mobile would care whether you're running Android or Debian. Google might care because they want you running those nice Android apps which interface with Google because that's how they're paying for Android development. But I'm not sure that they have any kind of agreement which would require the makers of the G1 to make sure that the phones are tamper-proof.

  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jelizondo (183861) * <jerry DOT elizondo AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:24PM (#25754571)

    One needs to be aware of where the money is made. The actual phone manufacturer makes money by selling a locked version to a telecom, the telecom makes money by selling the phone and the phone service to retail clients.

    If you get a free phone with a low monthly service charge and then you hack it, you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent.

    Thus the telecom needs the phone to be locked to make (more) money and the manufacturer has to lock the phone in order to please the telecom, who is, after all, its client.

    Yes, there will be an arms race because its about controlling the money making process.

  • Re:Damn Shame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:36PM (#25754681) Homepage Journal

    You shouldn't judge the world-wide telecom market by the US "standard". T-Mobile is a german company, and part of the old government-owned telecommunications monopoly, so no need for bribery there. However, the german telecom market is very different from the US one, and there are no local monopolies. T-Com is still the largest player, but they other telcos don't have monopolies and most likely didn't make bribes.

  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:45PM (#25754797)

    One needs to be aware of where the money is made. The actual phone manufacturer makes money by selling a locked version to a telecom, the telecom makes money by selling the phone and the phone service to retail clients.

    If you get a free phone with a low monthly service charge and then you hack it, you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent.

    Thus the telecom needs the phone to be locked to make (more) money and the manufacturer has to lock the phone in order to please the telecom, who is, after all, its client.

    Yes, there will be an arms race because its about controlling the money making process.

    The CEO of T-Mobile straight up said they will allow VOIP apps, and will do nothing to stop them. That's the entire point of android being open, but everyone keeps assuming it will be more and more locked down.

    In that same interview the CEO also said they won't stop unlockers. Why would they anyway? You agreed to a contract and they can charge you an ETF if you leave, so if you want to unlock it and use it on business, there is no reason not to let you.

    The _ENTIRE_ point of android is that it is open, and i wholeheartedly believe that google will stick to that.
    -Taylor

  • Re:Damn Shame (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:56PM (#25754931) Homepage Journal

    We go around this issue on a pretty regular basis on /. and it isn't changing.

    If you buy a phone and a contract, and you know the terms and conditions, please don't think I'm interested in your 'it oughta be...' complaints. If you didn't read/grok the deal, sorry. This is why I do not consider Verizon when I look at carriers. And why I resist AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile is the least offensive of the bunch IMHO. Heck, My BlackBerry will run Google Maps, even if it does leak memory worse than a sieve.

    I'm ready to buy a G1, just for the sheer novely of it, and I'll deal with having to buy/download apps from the store unless/until it is jailbroken. I might, might run Debian on it for a lark, but I don't run Debian on my mail server... I might wait for Ubuntu...:-)

    Then again, I could easily live with an OpenMoko, except it's uglier than a stump fence. And expensive^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H unsubsidized, and 850/900, or so the U.S. distributor websites say, which doesn't seem right. And there is no 850 T-Mobile in Arizona. Looks like it's G1 for me.

    I bet the tri-mode Neo will work here fine...

  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jrumney (197329) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @08:54PM (#25755601) Homepage
    The phone companies themselves don't understand their own economics. I was turned down for a free upgrade a few years ago, because I was "not a good customer, you don't make enough calls". On asking how much I'd need to make to qualify, the level was still less than the number of bundled minutes that I was already paying for, so the phone company would be making no more money out of me, at an extra cost to them.
  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:53PM (#25756149)

    it's still possible to make your phone open... But you can still jailbreak it just like anything else.

    Not anymore, at least not with such a simple root exploit. I guess we'll have to wait for another exploit to come along... wouldn't it be nice to be given root access to hardware that you own? And if a java sandbox were really all we needed, then why are so many people trying to get (and keep) root access on the G1?

  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spisska (796395) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:41PM (#25756605)

    The point of android is to provide a new platform to compete with winmo,[...]

    Windows mobile is not the target. That platform got an early start and is still at the back of the pack in terms of capability and adoption.

    The competition is Symbian, RIM, and Apple.

    And hopefully what Google is doing with Android will make the platform less and less relevant, and make the content and capabilities really shine.

    All the same, I'm hanging on to my Nokia candy-bar at least until the second generation of Android, or until my venerable machine dies. Judging from its battle scars, that may be a while.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Friday November 14, 2008 @09:43AM (#25759613)

    OK, I'd say not yet.

    Compared to any of the openmoko distributions (There are lots) it looks like it's going to be the best option.
    2007.2 is discontinued and wasn't great anyway
    2008.08/09/XX is a royal pain in the butt - it takes ages to boot, periodically doesn't wake up from sleep, has abysmal battery life, has some real design flaws and the developers seem to be working on bells and whistles rather than basic platform stuff. The sound quality is bad and I always got terrible echo. answering a call is a problem because the "answer" button is unresponsive and if you hit it twice then it stores up the event and applies it to the "hang up" button that appears in the same place.
    FDOM is just 2008.XX with a bunch of patches, fixes and more apps by default.
    FSO is experimental.
    Debian is a fun toy but runs the same interface as FSO, which is really basic and still as unresponsive as the rest.

    Android - it's pretty, the hardware is responsive, call sound quality is great and echo is gone, most of the hardware works. Current problems are - no resume from suspend, therefore battery life is about 6 hours because it's always on, there's no way to answer a call because there aren't enough hardware buttons on the freerunner and nobody's put on-screen answer button in place, and you can't type anything because there's no on-screen keyboard. You can't implement one easily at present either.

    Early next year (first quarter) Google are supposed to be fixing the on screen keyboard thing, and hopefully the rest will be sorted before long. I know that other than the community effort there is a company called Koolu doing an android-freerunner port.

    Basically, I nearly sold my freerunner before android came along as I have little faith in the openmoko platform getting anywhere anytime soon. If I were you I'd wait until early next year, when I hope to have a usable device. For now it's a toy and I had to buy a cheap Pay As You Go phone for day to day use.

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