RMS / FSF / OsmocomBB / Free Software GSM phone

Harald Welte laforge at gnumonks.org
Mon May 2 15:26:01 UTC 2011


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Hi!

Some months ago, Richard Stallman (rms) has contacted me regarding
my work with OsmocomBB.  As it is not a big surprise to us, he is
really interested in the project.  After all, it would be the first
mobile phone that he himself would be able to use, given that there
is no proprietary software on the baseband anymore.   And of course
it would enable loads of other freedom-loving users to finally have
an alternative to the proprietary telephony world.

Here in Morocco, I've had some further discussion on the topic face to
face with him, and he is sort of unhappy with the fact that nobody is
working on making an actual self-contained phone (no matter how simple
or limited in features) that can be used by a regular user as 'just a
phone'.

I explained to him that our motivation is mostly a different one
(research, security, GSM-attached PBX, etc.) and thus there is no
intrinsic motivation to work towards a more user-friendly version.
Furthermore, we are system level hackers with an interest in
communications, not particularly people who like to work on a UI
or usability.

So we agreed to make a public call for volunteers to wokr on that aspect
of the phone.  I understand this will likely cause some effort on our
side (fencing off poeple who don't have the neccessary skills,
integrating such code, finally deciding on a RTOS to use, etc.).

However, I more or less see it as my (and our?) duty to realize the
potential of our protocol stack and baseband firmware.  Next to all
our own self-motivated personal interestes, there is a bigger cause
that we can help along: Free Software based telephony.  So the least
we can do is to try to find somebody who can work on that part, and
help developer[s] to interact with our code.

It's the question of whether we are just hacking away on our personal
little pet, or if we try to achieve something bigger.

I've already drafted a version of the 'job description' and with some
luck the FSF will soon publish it, reaching out beyond our existing
small Osmocom community.

e will try to draft a similar job description related to MS-side GPRS
support (L1, RLC/MAC, ..).  That would be yet another area where we
would appreciate some contribution, and which eventually be important
beyond our existing voice telephony capabilities.

Regards,
	Harald
- -- 
- - Harald Welte <laforge at gnumonks.org>           http://laforge.gnumonks.org/
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