PinePhone review - apparently devs are working on completely opening everything - blob-free mobile

5 Antworten [Letzter Beitrag]
andyprough
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Beigetreten: 02/12/2015

Very interesting review of the PinePhone development model about a week ago from Drew DeVault: https://drewdevault.com/2019/12/18/PinePhone-review.html

I did not realize it, but apparently devs from KDE, postmarketOS, and other projects are working on a completely blob-free mobile experience with the PinePhone, including blob-free wifi and cell communication. This will be very very interesting to watch and see how far they get.

jxself
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Beigetreten: 09/13/2010

It's not clear to me how you conclude that they're reverse engineering anything like the proprietary software blobs (modem and phone.)

I think he means "all of this with zero blobs" as in "all of this with zero blobs in user space."

For example: The use of oFono just means they have an API to use: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OFono
It does not mean that the proprietary software running in the modem is being worked on in any way. Indeed, anyone can "open /dev/ttyUSB1 and talk to the modem" and this doesn't require replacing the software in the modem.

As I check the linked kernel source code the request_firmware calls are still in place and so the proprietary WiFi firmware is still used. So I see nothing special about this beyond someone getting excited over free user space code, which we already have.

The problems in the cell phone world aren't user space code (regardless of how many times people try to re-invent them) but the lower levels. It seems very few people want to work at those dark depths and instead are excited to re-invent free user space code.

andyprough
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Beigetreten: 02/12/2015

> I think he means "all of this with zero blobs" as in "all of this with zero blobs in user space."

Ok, I figured I might be reading it wrong, thanks for correcting me. This is always the problem in reading people who write in terms of open source, as it means whatever they want it to mean.

chaosmonk

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Beigetreten: 07/07/2017

> blob-free wifi

Every source I have seen says that the PinePhone will require non-free
firmware for the WiFi card. According to the Replicant wiki[1] it uses
a RTL8723CS which requires a blob. Unless there has been a change since
then, blob-free WiFi seems unlikely.

> and cell communication

And this is impossible. A cell phone must run non-free software on the
modem. This is inherent to the design of the cell network.[2] Modem
isolation and a kill switch is a mitigation. The only solution is to
stop relying on the cell network to communicate.

[1] https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Pinephone#fn3

[2] http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Open_GSM_modem

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Beigetreten: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> Every source I have seen says that the PinePhone will require non-free
> firmware for the WiFi card. According to the Replicant wiki[1] it uses
> a RTL8723CS which requires a blob. Unless there has been a change since
> then, blob-free WiFi seems unlikely.
>
> [1] https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Pinephone#fn3

Are there no Respects Your Freedom-compatible alternatives to this?

How are the Respects Your Freedom-certified USB WiFi adapters (such as
https://ryf.fsf.org/products/TPE-G54USB2) able to work on desktops and
laptops without blobs?

https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-g-usb-adapter says
"Not dependent on NDISWrapper, binary blobs, or proprietary drivers-firmware".

Magic Banana

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Beigetreten: 07/24/2010

Those USB adapters have standard type-A plugs. Phones do not have the related ports. It is probably possible to use an additional adapter, from micro to standard port. Having that much equipment augmenting the phone is probably not appealing to most users.