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Surj | Sometimes you have to unsubscribe

Vote for an independant forum for DIY phones

I've had so much interest in this project that it has made sense to Deva and I that we need an independant site something like the DIY Audio site. Basically a free for all forum. You can log in and post here as well but people seem reluctant to. Also its not fair to people to have the site hosted on my domain.

The Gizmodo guys and the O'Reilly people have offered space for the site - Gizmodo being ludicrously busy havent got back yet but if either does I'll move it there for sure.

Also people have emailed me with different approaches as well - I will dig through and post here for the meantime when i get a few free moments. Most of them look at using Zaurus / IPaq' etc and other SBC Linux devices - all equally valid.

General Update

Hi All,

Wanted to apologise for the lack of postings. I have been riding through a storm of personal and work related issues that have been usurping my time completely in the past few months.

Deva is making progress with the design but encountered some difficulties in soldering the connector for the Sony LCD display - we have begged/ borrowed got some new kit in to help do that, but he has decided that the first nut to crack will be the Gumstix to GM862 link and the softare to make the two dance with a lesser LCD. I'll leave it to him to post an update on the progress there. The LCD is important to the final design and will be present. As soon as that module is working we will post details of that.

If you can do it, my hats off to you

It would be cool to design your own cell phone. But I hope you guys have thought it through. Hackers are generally know software. Not hardware. Are you guys designing everything from scratch ? Do you know how to build the RF components of a cell phone ? Do you have a PHD or worked with a hardware developer before? Building a cell phone is one thing, but building one that works is totally different. I would think it would be easier to reverse engineer a current phone. May not be as much fun, but at least you're starting off with something that works.

But with enough effort and smarts, I'm sure anything is possible. Forget about the screens and the OS for now. None of that is important to even make a simple phone call. I don't know the original intent for this project. You want to design cool applications like VoIP applications that would be compatible with Skype and such ? There are thousands of people working in the wireless industry. They've thought about this stuff before. Reason why it hasn't come out yet ? #1 reason is because the technology isn't here yet. GSM is very crappy. Data rates are very low, and network latency is even worse. Even the best stuff out right now like EVDO Rev0 isn't good enough. #2 reason is that people don't need this stuff. And if they wanted it, they couldn't afford it. Anyone can make a super phone, but nobody will pay $2K for one. Doesn't make business sense. Reason for not having a super cool O/S like Linux on a phone is because Linux is not designed for cell phones. Cell phones are simple devices which are getting more complicated as time goes by. OSes have to be optimized for the instructions it requires. One of the major problems with cell phones today is battery life. You simply cannot have a super phone because it will literally work for an hour or two at most. Now, if you don't care how big your phone is, I'm sure you can make one from the parts of your laptop. The first cell phone required a backpack afterall. Much of the development of phones are based in unix systems in the development stages. But once they figured all that out, they will move onto a more pratical system. I think it would be more fruitful to reverse engineer a phone. Figure out how to call hardware functions and create a new layer to interact with this. I'm prefer CDMA, so I won't comment on GSM :)

gummy and sticky kernel

Deva Seetharam

i run debian sarge on a dual processor (coppermine) machine. on this machine, i have setup the linux toolchain for gumstix development.

as the next step, i wanted to access the gumstix from this machine over usbnet. here is the chronicle of my failed attempts:

the most recent (as of 11/20/2005) version of debian kernel is 2.6.8. however, the gumstix usbnet requires kernels 2.6.10 and newer.

obviously, i needed to install a new custom kernel. when i was younger, i used to be thrilled about building new kernels and see shiny new kernels coming up. nowadays, i dread the tedium of building new kernels. i hypnotised myself into building one.