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Making a Linux Cellphone at Home | Surj

Making a Linux Cellphone at Home

I want a linux cellphone that i can program in any damn language I want. I want to access the call controls and I want to access the data layer. I don't want to pay 3000 dollars or more for a rip off membership for a carrier developer program nor do I want to accept half assed functionality in walled gardens. I'm a developer and hacker and I want my phone to do what I need it to so that I can make applications that I want to use.

If you cant join em, beat em. Time to make a Linux GSM Phone. At home.

Okay. So I have been thinking about this for a while now and now the time has come to get started and also enlist the help of the greater community in getting this project done and also in expanding its realm. I am the first to admit i can take things so far then after that its up to the experts.

I'll outline my experiments stage by stage and also give all my test results as they appear.

So why am i doing this?

I think heavyweight industry fathers like Dan Bricklin and his friends have made good comments why. Also ask anybody who has tried to develop for a phone. Its crap in the extreme. Full disclosure: I used to work for Orange in a dev / product definition role. The handset manufacturers couldnt give a toss.( Bear witness to the crap that Microsoft dumped on them after they parted with 20 Million or similar obscene amount to release the worlds first Microsoft powered cellphone that would be developer friendly. My Arse.. The original SPV was codenamed Canary. Hmmm I wonder why?)

There are a thousand reasons why carriers dont want you to have a programmable phone, some of them for your fiscal safety mostly for their safety.I will make consideration for both, I'm not an anarchist and dont want to endanger anyones livelihood.

I want a phone that is more like a platform for developing on. I want to program in a language like Python or Ruby, I want access to Multithreading and HTTP services so i can store my address book on a server and download. If i felt like it and was allowed to I could download yours. My voicemail could be integrated with my gmail for better archival. A thousand things are possible once you have a platform you can control.

Okay I'll stop the negativity. Nothing to be gained there. Right lets get designing.

Caveat: I am no expert. Merely over enthusiastic and some fabrication skills - i hope there are some heavyweights out there who will wade in to help the rest of us.

So stating the obvious:

A phone has a display(s)

A phone has input device(s)

A phone has a processor

A phone has a radio stack / radio hardware

These are natural subsystems and components.

These things you can buy from suppliers and ergo you can make a phone. Perhaps not very efficient or small, but nonetheless a phone.

I'll explain the first part of my discovery whilst hunting around for parts tomorrow AM, after I have had a good nights sleep.Additionally i'll draw and post a block diagram to show things get glued together. Also I'll take photo's and make them available of my work to date. (solder porn)