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Cellphones Debian Handhelds Hardware Hacking Build Linux

Debian Running On the T-Mobile G1 127

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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  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:2, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:19PM (#25754527) Journal

    It's not Google's device. It's T-Mobile's device.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:22PM (#25754553)

    There isn't, it's BS, and none of the blogs seem to get is. So far as we can tell, google only fixed the root exploit

    The root exploit is unrelated to the ability to flash the ROM. The question then is, will there be attempts made to stop user flashing of updates to the device...

    I do not think there will be, it's just that Android fixes should not be confused with openness of the device itself.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

    by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:22PM (#25754555) Journal
    Not quite so. FTFA: "This does not replace Android. This also gives you access to the full plethora of programs available in Debian and let's you continue using your phone as it was intended to be: as an Android device with all the capabilities thereof."
  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:55PM (#25754919)
    Show me where I can download schematics to generate gerber files to actually print the pcbs for openmoko. All the large scale "open hardware" projects are actually just open down to the point where people looking for information they need in the software stop being interested (generally a pdf of the schematic). A hardware engineer needs schematic and board layout files to actually replicate the device, they don't provide these. Even if they did, they require costly (>$1000) closed source programs to edit and generate the files you'd sent to a pcb manufacturer. Hardware won't truly be open until all these things are available.
  • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Toll_Free ( 1295136 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:38PM (#25755997)


    Every major phone company and vendor would argue with you.

    The only way it's your device is if you pay FULL retail for it, and get the unlock code, or if you purchase it fully unlocked (legally) at the time of purchase.

    Otherwise, you own the plastic. The actual bits of code (I HATE that MS buzzword) is owned by Google, and the network you operate it on is owned by the telco.

    Shame, as I would LOVE to agree with you, but the fact of the matter is, I doubt very much most of us actually paid RETAIL cost for our phones, therefore, we DON'T own them at ALL until the phone contract is up.

    If you don't like that fact, then just pay full retail. Then, don't accept any updates, etc.

    And I think that if we DO pay full retail, or after the 2 years (typical) contract period, we SHOULD get unlocked phones that we can choose the updates (to the OS, not to the phone itself operating system (the electronics)) to install or not to install to.

    The actual radio OS isn't anything to be played with, and should be locked.


  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:44PM (#25756061)

    The root exploit is unrelated to the ability to flash the ROM.

    From what I've heard, you need root access or the T-Mobile private key to flash the ROM.

    The question then is, will there be attempts made to stop user flashing of updates to the device...

    Err, yes, the head of the Android team at Google has actually confirmed that only the manufacturer or the cell network provider have the cryptographic keys required to flash the G1 (via OTA updates or otherwise).

    I do not think there will be, it's just that Android fixes should not be confused with openness of the device itself.

    When root access to the G1 is denied by default, and exploits that allow root access are quickly patched, how would you interpret this? The fact is that you do not get root access to the G1 by default, and as of this moment, there is no known way to get root access, or to flash your own kernel, on a RC30 G1.

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

    by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:53PM (#25756145)

    And that's the problem.

    You pay for the "device".

    Google OWNS the operating system.

    Duetch Telecom OWNS the device.

    You only pay for it to rent it while you use it, and then pay a monthly fee for network access on top of that.

    And this is open, how?


    Umm... it's open because the entire OS is released under the Apache or GLPv3 (depending on which part of the OS) licenses. I'm not well versed in which licenses are or are not "really" open, but i am under the impression that both of those are supposed to be. Android is based on version 2.6 of the linux kernel, and the framework on top of that was written by google, and the source code was released under Apache and heavily documented.

    That's way more open than any other successful phone out there.

    And I don't know if you're exaggerating or if it's different in your country, but in the U.S. you OWN your cell phone. And i fail to see how paying a monthly fee to access a network has anything to do with whether or not the phone is open - no one is going to let you use their multi-billion dollar network for free, and i'm fine with that.

    Why is everyone so bent on hating android, even with no facts to back up what they say? Google fixes a security bug and everyone flips out, but the countless times google and the t-mobile CEO have said they will keep the device open? No one seems to remember or care.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @02:49AM (#25757929)

    Once you bring in carriers into the mix, "open" goes out the window because it gives people the ability to step around your nickel and diming.

    Yes, but T-Mobile is better than most other US Carriers in this regard. They use GSM phones so just about any phone that takes GSM should work on their network. They don't play games like Verizon does with bluetooth connectivity and ringtones and they gave me the unlock code for my phone three (3) months into the contract. My only real complaints are that their coverage is not as good as Verizon and the prices on their data services are a bit higher, but with all of the restrictions that other US Carriers place on their "unlimited" data plans you have to wonder whether there really is a difference in price relative to what you get.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @08:01AM (#25759037)

    "Same thing as the iPhone. You're either in the sandbox or you jailbreak."

    No, not same as the iPhone at all. On the iPhone you have to jailbreak if you want to run non-approved apps, even in the sandbox.

    OTOH, it is a bit crap, but at least with android we have the source. I have it running on my freerunner now

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @10:14AM (#25759847)

    "Google G1 / Android / HTC / TMobile have been telling us this is going to be an open platform."

    It is, to some extent. The source is open and you can install whatever you like.

    "Someone already "broke" the phone (which isn't a problem on an open platform)"

    Yeah, google broke it. For some reason (poor QA) they left a terminal running under the GUI, at root, and getting all the keystrokes.

    "Someone is already working on getting unsigned code working? I thought it was an open platform?"

    There are two parts to this. you don't need java apps signed. BUT there's no officially sanctioned API for non-java apps. Maybe someone's working on that.

    "Manu / Hacker arms race? Why? Isn't this an open platform?"

    Nope, the hole (mentioned above) was a stupid QA problem, someone left debug mode on :)

    "IOW, Good job, Google. You've turned into everything you detested."

    Nah, you've just misread the situation.

  • by cl0s ( 1322587 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @11:16AM (#25760439)

    You can download Android apps directly from the web to the phone and install, push them to the phone from your computer using the android tool kit or download them from Android Market. In the market you can even find a J2ME installer that lets you install JAR files off the web.

    I have an ssh client and terminal emulator that I downloaded directly from the Market, plus a few other apps for rss, meebo for AIM (so it doesn't use up text messages), games, Compare Everywhere for scanning bar-codes and finding deals, and more all from the Market. There is even half working VNC viewer that I found online []. They've got an iTunes remote that works nice, but I need one for Rhythmbox or Elisa on Ubuntu. With the "openness" that Android does provide, you can get really creative and innovative though.

    That's not to say you can't push it even further by jail-breaking and installing Debian ARM or some other GNU/Linux OS. This little thing could be a low powered router with a few extra features and much more jail-broken. I'm trying to get a rig going where I can just have it be the media player for my car, I mean it's even got streaming Internet radio (imeem & last fm so far). I'm all for openness, I was contemplating getting the OpenMoko before this, but I really don't have much to complain about with Android so far. Hopefully T-mobile doesn't fuck it up.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev