[linux-elitists] FAT is the new GIF?

Marc MERLIN marc@merlins.org
Fri Feb 27 06:52:23 PST 2009

On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 09:11:27AM +0000, Carl van Tonder wrote:
> > For that matter, were you trying to say that efforts like debian on G1s or
> > jesusfreak's custom android derived images will not be possible in 5 years?
> With netbooks pushing laptops down in size and cost, and up in terms of
> net connectivity, and phones like the G1 (or my N95) pushing up the
> expectations of what phones can do, there is likely to be a convergence
> at some point --- my dearest hope is that what drops out is closer to


> laptops than phones, for just the reason Dave mentions. Phones are sold
> almost exclusively by companies that, whatever other good design
> decisions they may make, manage to come out with the most brain-dead
> ways of restricting what you can do with your piece of plastic.

I think the problem is whether you buy a subsidized phone from a carrier or
a real phone from a phone maker.
That's the difference betwen a nokia E61 (with wifi) and a E62 (for AT&T and
without wifi), or a Tmobile G1 and an unlocked/flashable ADP1

> And for the record, the "Debian on the G1" video most saw was a chroot
> with some echo statements pretending to be a boot process. Cute, but not
> very demonstrative of available freedom.

Actually, I thought it was actually that: a demonstration. As you say, it's
not very practical though, but the improved system images from jesusfreak
are a perfect demonstration of that.

On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:58:24PM +0000, Dave Crossland wrote:
> > There is obviously a problem with the radio side which is hard to make free
> > and open source,
> Hasn't OpenMoko shown how that can be handled in a way that respects
> freedom (separate ROM System-ona-Chip for radio computation, directed
> via protocol) and

Yes, that's what I was thinking about too, along with the ADP1

> > For that matter, were you trying to say that efforts like debian on G1s or
> > jesusfreak's custom android derived images will not be possible in 5 years?
> ...the first Android handset was Tivoized, and with apparent Big-G

The tmobile one, yes. Quite frankly I expect all handsets provided by
carrier and subsidized to be Tivoized.
If I were somehow to get a laptop for half the price by my citywide wifi
provider, I would expect them to clamp it down so that I can't just use it
with anyone else's wifi and have gotten a laptop for half the price for

I personally expect and hope to see two classes of handsets: the locked down
tivoized ones subsidized by providers, and the open, flashable ones that you
can buy from the maker, at full retail price.

But if you expect the one you got for free or a 3rd of its price to be open,
flashable, and usable with a competiting carrier without jailbreak, that's a
bit much to hope for :)

Going back to the Tivo, people who whine about the fact that it's not as
hackable as it could be, there are really 2 problems:
1) the original tivo was $200 for a computer that cost at least that. You
   can't expect to get hackable hardware for less than it costs.
2) the recording studio's mandates on recording and protections. That's
   unfortunately an entirely different matter :(

> "It???s certainly sad that for now the iPhone pwnage exploits really do
> give you root on your device, while Android???s official SDK offer no
> such thing ??? making the Apple???s theoretically closed phone more
> practically open than Google???s theoretically open game-changer."
> - http://www.oblomovka.com/wp/2008/10/23/the-t-mobile-g1-nice-phone-not-so-open/
So yes, the Tmobile G1 is not meant to be open. The ADP1 is.
I'm sure there will be more phones in either category.

>  'Google may discover a product that violates the developer
> distribution agreement... in such an instance, Google retains the
> right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its
> sole discretion.'
>  - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/16/android_kill_switch/

That's a really tough ones: when you get applications from the apple or
google markets/stores, it would really suck if either company let malware
I'm sure they each have their own ways to trying to prevent that, but I
can't blame either for wanting to have a way to quickly remove a malicious
Now, it's a problem of whether you trust either to do the right thing and
I'll leave that up to you :)

"A mouse is a device used to point at the xterm you want to type in" - A.S.R.
Microsoft is to operating systems & security ....
                                      .... what McDonalds is to gourmet cooking
Home page: http://marc.merlins.org/  

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