Two examples of abandoned hardware
Posted Apr 12, 2007 19:25 UTC (Thu) by daniels
In reply to: Two examples of abandoned hardware
Parent article: Two examples of abandoned hardware
Well, everything is solvable but telling me this is a myth and there is no problem because everything is in kernel is simply not true.
Currently, the main things you cannot get working with open source components are the wireless LAN and battery charging. There are very few binary blobs at a low level (i.e. not the UI): nolo, dsme, bme, and umac (essentially WLAN firmware).
Replacing DSME is not a one-liner. But it is easy, verging on trivial: there are very few parts which aren't already known (e.g. blanking the screen with omapfb; a lot of these parts will almost certainly move into open source components such as the X server in the future anyway), so you could run a fully-functional tablet without DSME. But no-one has attempted before. The flasher has been reverse engineered, but no-one from the community has ever even tried to replace DSME, so declaring that it's impossible strikes me as kind of dumb.
In my experience, general demands ('hey, the wireless should be open source', 'tell us what DSME does') don't get much currency. But specific technical questions (looking particularly at the details of the N800's display architecture on maemo-developers: look for the threads with myself and Siarhei) are more likely to get detailed answers than you'd think. So, if there's truly a huge developer demand for a fully open-source system: why has no-one ever attempted to replace DSME with an open component?
Maybe the answer lies in perceived developer demand not being quite as strong as some assert ...
(Disclaimer: I'm paid by Nokia to work on the internet tablets. I looked at DSME's source just today to verify what I've just said. However, this is not Nokia's official position, et al.)
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