The center of most modern development is Open-Source.
Open-Source is a huge selling point, allowing the user to potentially be on equal or greater knowledge-footing than product support. Open-Source allows the end user to read and write the same software that comes on the device. Open-Source also gives us the tools we need to modify our devices.
Lets take a look back at the beginnings of Open-Source, back in the 70′s. When Richard Stallman’s (Founder of GNU) printer jammed, it gave no warning. The printer was a networked printer, and it took an hour to print. When a user would print, they would check back in an hour only to find out the printer was jammed to start with.
But at that point, we were completely stymied, because the software that ran that printer was not free software. It had come with the printer, and it was just a binary. We couldn’t have the source code; Xerox wouldn’t let us have the source code. So, despite our skill as programmers–after all, we had written our own timesharing system–we were completely helpless to add this feature to the printer software.
Frustration up the whazzoo. But the thing that made it worse was knowing that we could have fixed it, but somebody else, for his own selfishness, was blocking us, obstructing us from improving the software. So, of course, we felt some resentment.
Richard Stallman eventually went on to form the GNU. The GNU is a operating system and foundation which stands for Software Freedom. They protect the software tools we use on a daily basis. This set of tools along with Linus Torvalds’ Linux Kernel is what forms what most people think of as ‘Linux’.
Back in the 70′s and 80′s, when Stallman was working on printers, most electronics were easy to work with (by today’s standards). Any technologist or technician could build or repair any piece of equipment because discrete components (transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors) were prevalent. Many opted to build their own computers on large breadboards. Occasionally non-descrete components like the 555 timer were used, and these components had complete documentation available.
Through the years, many Open-Hardware standards evolved and left a legacy. The VHS tape recorder, the RCA cable, the IBM-Compatible (now known as PC), The SD Card, etc. Each of these standards has left a legacy of trust behind it. Not a single bad thing can be said about these formats during their time because they were or are the standard. This should be the goal of every hardware engineer. These are not the “the best, well designed” hardware. They were so much more. They are “industry standards” because the information was available to anyone who wanted it.
Recently a movement has been started known as Open-Source hardware. Until now, we did not have a name for it other than “industry standard”. From this movement amazing things have become realities, most notibly: Reprap, a 3D printer that can clone itself, and Arduino, a general purpose Micro-Controller that can interface with the real-world.
But the Open-Hardware movement is in it’s infancy. The Reprap and Arduino are the faces put on it. This movement will continue to expand to the point that manufacturers realize value in allowing their customers to design their hardware.
For now, manufacturers that are proud of their hardware provide shematics and datasheets—or at a bare minimum, a service manual. They allow their customers to explore their designs and make improvements to them. When a problem is encountered, a customer may use this information to make corrections (i.e. JTAG, UnBrickable Mod, Charging adapters, etc.) to the original equipment.
In order to keep costs down, we have made the decision; cut corners. We are not proud of the engineering of our product and it is intended to be disposable. We do not expect, nor do we appreciate contributions to our efforts. Furthermore you, the consumer, should remember your place and continue giving us money while we continue ignoring you.
Unfortunately companies like Apple, HTC, Sony, and Motorola embrace this type of philosophy. This is not true of Samsung. Which is most likely the reason Samsung devices are regarded as some of the best and the choice of Google for the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus.
There is a point being reached in the mobile industry. Mobile devices are becoming so powerful that within 18 months they will begin replacing our desktop computers. Hardware like the ASUS PadPhone and Motorola Atrix are at the forefront. Software like Motorola’s Webtop and Canonical’s Ubuntu for Android are driving the movement.
It’s obvious that the Open-Source Ubuntu for Android will win over the proprietary Motorola Webtop. With the exception of the OMAP Processor, there is no fully open-source hardware providing the standards. Because of this, small manufacturers are able to spring up to greatness very quickly by announcing a new product for a cheap price. There are no large companies forming the “Industry Standard” for a mobile desktop.
Mark my words… There will be a race to provide the mobile desktop replacement, and Open-Hardware will be the key to success.
March 20, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
Those of you who use a Linux-based OS will probably be aware that V3.3 of the Linux Kernel was released a few days ago. Although the majority of the changes are not what we would generally discuss here on the Portal, there is one thing that is relevant to our interests, and that is the fact that for the first time since 2010 the Linux Kernel once again includes code from the Android project.
According to the official release notes for V3.3:
For a long time, code from the Android project has not been merged back to the Linux repositories due to disagreement between developers from both projects. Fortunately, after several years the differences are being ironed out. Various Android subsystems and features have already been merged, and more will follow in the future. This will make things easier for everybody, including the Android dev community, or Linux distributions that want to support Android programs.
This is obviously good news for the Android community, and goes some way towards bridging the gap between the Android project and the mainline. A much more detailed look at how and why this change came about can be found here. In summary though, as mentioned in the release notes, it will undoubtedly help those who wish to make use of Android applications in a Linux environment, and should also be very beneficial to vendors wishing to provide Android compatible hardware, which can only be a good thing right?
January 29, 2012 By: Former Writer
Running computer operating systems on a phone is always an interesting experience. For most phones, booting into Linux is hard enough and Windows isn’t even an option. The HTC EVO 3D is not one of those phones.
XDA Senior Member mnomaanw has posted a method that will get Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP and Linux running on the HTC EVO 3D in a relatively easy process that can be done pretty quickly. Basically, all a user needs to do is download the required software, modify a file or two and run the apk. Wait for it to boot and you’re ready to go.
Controls are pretty easy to understand and make excellent use of the hardware as well as the home and menu buttons. The instructions are as follows:
- It emulate touchpad on touchscreen and left/right mouse buttons on volume
- You can also click touch screen to generate mouse left button click.(this does not work everytime)
- Back = BackSpace, Menu = Enter, left-upper corner click generates TAB
- left-lower corner click popups keyboard
For those who want to give their EVO 3D some Windows or Linux love, they can find all the downloads and instructions in the thread here but make sure to take the proper precautions, such as backing up your device.
January 27, 2012 By: Former Writer
Tools kits that are installed on computers can be a little screwy. While some are better than others, almost all come with some form of set back, be it the computer operating system restriction or the kitchen not being compatible with all phones.
That’s the problem XDA Senior Member DieHappy is trying to fix. Knives and Forks Android Tools For Everyone is a tool kit that is compatible across Windows, OSX and Linux and is slowly becoming compatible with more and more phones with the goal of supporting all of them.
The project is far from complete, but it is an active work in progress. DieHappy says:
This first release is rather limited in features. All you can use it for right now is installing ADB and drivers for your device.
The next step for this project will be rooting, then rom customizing, but I am open to your feedback and suggestions.
So there is far more support coming for this spunky application and some changes being added can be considered pretty exciting for people who like to tinker and develop.
If you’d like to check out this application to give it a try or just keep tabs on its development, you can find installation instructions for all 3 major operating systems, download links, and a complete change log in the original thread.
January 14, 2012 By: Former Writer
Everyone that wants to be involved with development has got to start somewhere, and for users who own an Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4g Touch, there’s a place for you.
XDA Member shanenielson1234 has written a thorough set of instructions for the aspiring developer who wants to learn how to compile a kernel. This has been attempted before by others, but they include things like a script that does all the work for you which leaves the aspiring developers no room to learn and no room to modify.
This method is more complete and requires the users performing the tutorial to go through each step themselves in order to get a feel for how it is really done. It opens the doors for those who want to improve on that process by writing their own script or allows modification of files within the kernel, which is something a compile script just won’t let you do.
For the complete tutorial, download links to essential kernel compiling files, and discussion with users who have begun or completed this tutorial, you can find everything you need in the original thread. Before you begin, though, be sure you’re running Ubuntu (or some distro of Linux) or at least have it operational in a Virtual Box. Also, as part of the tutorial, you’ll be flashing your kernel to your phone after you make it and flashing kernels is always a little dangerous. So be sure you do the usual flashing preparation, such as creating a Nandroid backup, before you begin.
At last glance, people who took advantage of the super awesome clearance sale of the HP Touchpad have the option of keeping WebOS on their tablets or throwing some CyanogenMod goodness on there.
Now, Touchpad owners have yet another option for their increasingly versatile tablets and that option is Arch Linux ARM. XDA Member crimsonredmk has released an alpha release of the popular operation system that’s HP Touchpad compatible. Being an alpha release, of course, means that there’s a few bugs and kinks that still need to be worked out, including:
So if you can live without a few things for the time being and this looks like something you would like to try out, you can find a full changelog, installation instructions, additional details and screenshots in the original thread found here. Also, as crimsonredmk says:
Read the README and make sure you understand what works and what does not.
So be sure to read all the documentation before attempting so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Not too shabby for a device that’s been discontinued multiple times. Sadly, they don’t sell these anymore so if this is the development you’ve been waiting on to buy one, you’re now stuck surfing eBay or Craigslist.
December 23, 2011 By: Former Writer
XDA Recognized Developer AdamOutler has updated the popular Linux Tool, Unbreakable Resurrector. This will take the newest brick woes of Nexus S users and make them a thing of the past. The only catch? You gotta have Linux, and preferably Ubuntu. Thankfully, the ever helpful AdamOutler has provided links to everything you need in the original thread .
The process seems simple enough, so there isn’t a learning curve or a worry about it being noob friendly. That should be a sigh of relief for those who aren’t ROM flashing aficionados or, like myself, are among those who spend way too much time on XDA.
For more info, check out that link to the original thread. If you’ve been a victim of the rare, but dreaded, bricked Nexus S and have used this tool, feel free to chime in and let us know how it worked for you!
The Vogue has been a device gifted with more lives than a cat. Not only it is the bed for some of the best Android ports available for WM, but as of recently, it can also load some Linux distros. In this case, XDA member gTan64 has been successfully running Debian in his Vogue for some time and decided to share the instructions to do this. Unfortunately, this is not a simple click and run kind of procedure, and you need to make sure that you have some knowledge of Linux prior to going into this. However, the guide is very well laid out and the thread is located in a section supported by many devs who are very proficient in this area. As with any of these ports, there are bugs expected so be prepared.
I’ve been running Debian natively from my SD card for a while, so I decided I’d share the [relatively easy] instructions. First, though, here’s the status of the hardware support..
If you’re willing to wait indefinitely for those things to be fixed (or if you don’t care), all you need is a Debian chroot on an EXT2-formatted SD card and my special NBH. The NAND should also work*, but Debian probably wouldn’t fit on it. These instructions should also work for Ubuntu, Gentoo, FSO/OpenMoko, Angstrom, ARMedSlack, Fedora, or what have you – the only requirements are ARMv6 or lower and a semi-standard root filesystem layout (i.e. /sbin/init).
You can find more information and the full guide on the original thread.
The ‘Rhobuntu’ project, which works on porting the popular Ubuntu Linux distro to devices including the Touch Pro 1 and 2, the Diamond and similar devices, has recently been re-energised with a bunch of updates. The most important part of these updates is the Ubuntu update to version 9.04, making the project almost up-to-date with the latest stable release for full-sized machines.
In addition, the update makes establishing a WiFi connection much less hassle-free, while also reducing some of the bloatware found on earlier builds. Setting up a 3G internet connection is now also easier than ever, and the system as a whole is substantially faster.
Functionality varies between devices, and users of phones other than the Rhodium should find the Rhobuntu thread specific to their device in their own respective forums. Continue on to the original thread for the Rhodium for more information on this update.
Much like with the XDANDROID project, which works on porting Android to much-loved Windows Mobile devices such as the Raphael, Blackstone, Rhodium and Diamond, various members of the forum have been working together to port the complete Ubuntu Linux distro to a range of handsets.
This originated with fatsal‘s port to Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X1, but support and development has grown substantially and the operating system is now working (with varying degrees of functionality) on several other devices.
The port operates very similarly to that of Android. Users must put the relevant system files into the root of their SD card, and run haret.exe to boot into Linux. WiFi support should be fixed for all devices, but the touchscreen must be used like a trackpad to move the cursor. Obviously, calls and texts cannot be made through Ubuntu as it is designed as a complete PC OS, not a mobile OS.
For your own device, please see the respective thread, read the given instructions very carefully (as they differ between devices) and remember to download the appropriate zImage:
Rhodium users should also read the Wiki entry on Ubuntu for Rhodium
Don’t worry if your device isn’t currently featured: the project is still growing and it is very likely to span to other devices in the coming weeks.