Motorola seems to be making some progress internally. Today they've announced the availability of opensource.motorola.com, a web site dedicated to free and open source software used and developed in/by Motorola. This is apparently also the portal where they are starting to publicize the source code for their Linux based Smartphones.
While the source code there is not complete in any way [yet], it actually includes the kernel sources for the A1200 phone, too. After a quick read through it, it seems to be very similar to the A780 code (because of a very similar hardware architecture).
Some of the differences are:
- FOTA (Flash on-the-air) Basically a function by which network operators can modify the flash memory of your phone, thereby forcing software updates onto you. Not something completely new in the GSM world, but something that always gives me the creeps as a security professional.
- Power Management Apparently the power management capabilities were extended to provide better battery life time.
- Minor differences in boot loader / kernel handover
- SE Linux Yes, they're actually using SE Linux features on a phone. I haven't yet tried to figure out for what, but usually you would assume that the mobile phone vendors/operators use it to lock their users out of the phone, rather than protecting the users from the evil outside world.