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Deva Seetharam

a few months ago, at TagSense Inc., we were trying to design RFID readers for various standard cellphones. since we are in the rfid business, we didn't have any problem in building the reader. however, interfacing with cellphones was a major issue, not because the technology is difficult. it is because cellphone manufacturers won't expose the interface and api details without exorbitant licensing fees.

i felt oppressed. since then i have been thinking about building my own cell phone so that i can use its hardware and software in whatever way i/we want. can someone say freedom?

while i was talking the talk, Surj, the idea man, walked the walk and conceived the do-it-yourself linux cell phone project. we are attempting to create a complete open source linux cellphone named TuxPhone.

a few questions people ask us:

  1. how can you solve the original problem of creating rfid readers for standard cellphones using TuxPhone?
    we can't. however, we believe this phone is at least an alternative to closed phones.

  2. are you creating a single board solution?
    nope. we are just combining the GM-862 GPRS module and gumstix connex 400.

  3. wouldn't that be bulky?
    yes, definitely. if someone funds the development, we can create a slick and small TuxPhone.

  4. wouldn't you still need the providers' networks?
    yes, absolutely. perhaps, in the not so distant future, probably somone will come up with a pure p2p cellphone network that doesn't depend on any central authority. (i know several complex technical and policy problems must be solved before we can build decentralized cellular networks.)

  5. what is with the name?
    Khadi is a coarse homespun cotton cloth made in India. Mahatma Gandhi started the Khadi movement based on the premise that everyone should have access to food, shelter and clothing in a self-reliant way.
    to know more about Khadi, pls. see the following links:

    • http://www.kvic.org.in/v4/KHADI2.ASP
    • http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/08/15/stories/2002081500260300.htm

    Surj and i believe that we need the same spirit of self-reliance for gadgets and gizmos, especially, cellphones. hence the name. we hope you like it.

    btw, Surj and Gandhi hail from the same Indian state of Gujarat. (Surj's habbit of taking off his shirt in the middle of business meetings has nothing to do with Gandhian philosophy or principles. he is just promiscuous. ;))


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