Talpadk’s Blog

July 31, 2010

Bleading edge the freesmartphone killer?

Filed under: Embedded — talpadk @ 12:24 pm
A Winchester knife

Photo courtesy Photos8.com

Ok, maybe not the killer but then at least the delayer.
But it did get your attention right?

As usual I am struggling just to get the phone working as a receiver of SMS messages.
Trying to figure out where gsm0710muxd writes it log files by default I fetched the source.

I know it is sort of deprecated but I’m trying to get my Debian based install up and running.
And the Debian dependency graph lists it as a dependency of fso-frameworkd…

gsm0710muxd states: THIS_IS_DEPRECATED_USE_LIBGSM0710MUX
And of course there is also
fso-abyss.git the “GSM 07.10 Multiplexer (NG)” (which is deprecated in favour of cornucopia)

To sum it up we have 4 different implementations of a GSM multiplexer… no wonder I am a bit confused which to use.

But why not just “apt-get install cornucopia” and leave the past behind?
Well I would but unfortunately it seems that the bleeding edge phone software needs a bleeding edge “valac 0.9.3-3”
which even the vala developers consider a development release which prevents it from entering the Debian unstable distro.

Being a fan of C and C++ (if you can spare the “disks” space for the std. library)
I sure would have preferred if the more proven and stable platform  C were used than this new kid on the block valac
which I did not even know existed prior to its usage on the Neo/Freerunner.
It sure would make it easier to port it to other distros than SHR.

And then there is SHR and the whole home-grown Illume 1and 2 issue, focus bugs, all new bugs in V2 (I have not tried it as the mailing list scared me away).
Being slightly conservative with regard to this whole new software ting. What is wrong with say matchbox as far as I know it mostly just works.
Okay it is not thumb friendly per standard, but a little themeing seemed to do the trick for Nokia and the 770/800/810.
And GTK seems to do the trick for my desktop PCs, and it seems slightly more stable that the fancy Enlightenment tool kit.
At least I can not remember having any problems giving focus to a text input field.

But is  SHR not the  most advances phone distro?
It is, however it lacks the diversity of available packages of Debian, and I find the the build system beaks way to easily for my taste.

Why do I believe that all this may be harmful?

  • If there are lots of things that do not work you are more tempted to not use the FSO phone this includes UI misfeatures.
    I once used it as my primary phone but have reverted back to an ancient Nokia 6100.
  • Using new tools makes it harder to gain support from the community as less people know them.
  • Lots of rewrites causes bad documentation, as no one has the time to write it.
    It also makes it harder for the occasional hacker to get anything done as everything is new at each rewrite.
    It also puts an increased strain on other distro maintainers as they have to keep up, not only with the new services but also the new dependencies.

Last but not least:
Remember the ones writing the code is always right.
If you don not agree with them do not write blog entries, write code.

To: Michael ‘Mickey’ Lauer, the SHR and Pkg-FSO team
Keep up the good work, I can not imagine how you get any real life activities done as well as coding this much.



  1. Thanks for this blog post, I actually can feel your pain and it hurts me as well, although not as much since I’m using OpenEmbedded to build all my software. The real problem is that I don’t have the energy to do debian packages. I’m busy enough with writing the actual code for FSO and taking care about the packaging in OpenEmbedded. It would be of tremendous help, if someone experienced in debian packaging would cooperate with me, so we can improve the docs and get all those packages into Debian. I’d really love to see that.

    Comment by Mickey — July 31, 2010 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  2. In case you were wondering it is logging using the syslog deamon.
    I just happened not to have any syslogd running…

    Comment by talpadk — July 31, 2010 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

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