Running Linux on E-TEN glofiish M800

Ever since my blog post about certain E-TEN glofiish devices in late August, it might have been obvious that I've been up to something.

In fact, I didn't have much time, as usual. Finally, after something like about two full days of work, I can present some preliminary results:

root@glofiish-m800:/proc# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
Processor       : ARM920T rev 0 (v4l)
BogoMIPS        : 176.53


Hardware        : Glofiish M800
Revision        : 0000
Serial          : 0000000000000000

You can also find a preliminary wiki page about the current status of hardware reverse engineering in the OpenEZX wiki. It doesn't really related to EZX or OpenEZX at all, but it somehow is related to the same thing: Bringing kernel+rootfs based 100% on open source to phones without vendor support. It also doesn't really fit into the Openmoko wiki, since as you can assume, this is by no means a project of Openmoko, Inc.

So far, it was pretty easy. I was taking the 'stable' branch of the Openmoko kernel git tree, adding minimal platform support to it (to get framebuffer, microSD and USB device working), and using haret to boot into a fso-terminal-image located on a microSD card.

Of course the really hard work now starts, getting all the hardware properly supported, especially the communication with the GSM Modem, as well as the power management related bits. Nonetheless, a foundation is laid, and I expect it to be not too hard to continue from here.

So maybe, if I can find sufficient time, we will see FSO on a 3G phone at some not-too-distant point in the future.

Now some of you might be asking: Why am I not working on improving the code for the Openmoko, Inc. handsets GTA01 and GTA02? Isn't it bad to support a non-open hardware manufacturer, plus pay the Windows Mobile license tax on a device, ...? After all, Openmoko, Inc. current business model is centered around the sales of their own hardware to support for the software development!

I don't think that this is much of a competition to Openmoko. Obviously, everyone wants truly open hardware, such as what Openmoko, Inc. is trying to do. Nonetheless, people (especially geeks/nerds/hackers) want devices with 3.5G or at least 3G, they want devices with real keyboards, higher capacity batteries, better mechanical design, camera, etc. This is just something that Openmoko Inc. has not been able to provide so far. There's probably not many people on this planet who feel as sad about this fact as I do.