OsmocomBB Wiki update/upgrade

George Carpenter osmocarpenter at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 11:04:16 UTC 2012


Hello. This is my first message to the mailing list and I would like to
introduce myself.

My name is George Tsnikosmaoglou (OsmoCarpenteR) and I live in Greece.  I
am watching this project for some years now, but due to heavy work load,
unfortunately I cannot dedicate a lot of time to contribute to this
project. I must give my congratulations to the people that have dedicated
their time and show their passion and intelligence through this project.

 Even though I am watching this project for a lot of time, I consider
myself a newbie, but I want to actively participate to the project and
contribute to this effort as much as I can.

I am already trying to inform as many people as possible, but as you know,
you need a lot of effort to explain and convince one person at a time to
devote some time to this project. I have met a lot of people that have
either technical, or theoretical or both knowledge about GSM and general
electronics. These people come with a high educational background, but due
to the current working environment, they do not have time to spare to a
free Software  Open Source GSM Baseband software implementation as
OsmocomBB is. The bottom line is that they are interested, but they stop
after a while because the first steps are always difficult. So here are my
proposals.

It would be nice to have a complete and easy to read wiki. I know that this
project is created and maintained by people who have devoted a lot of time
to this project, but the current status of wiki does not allow a newbie to
gather all the information that are needed to start easy and get in the
project as fast as possible. I remember my first attempts to load the
firmware to the mobile phone and I remember this was somewhat difficult.
Thanks to some help from the IRC people that hang out and some manuals that
float on the net (see srlabs gsmmap and gprs sniffing tutorial),  I managed
to get started. And never underestimate the frustration and the temper when
you keep trying and trying to load your first firmware, or the excitement
and awe when you see these sweet words (OsmocomBB) on the screen of the
mobile phone. Personally, when I finally managed to load and run my first
application (ccch_scan), something was created in my mind that this project
really stands for something innovative and genius. But for most of my
friends, this did not happen. Many of them stopped because they found this
whole procedure frustrating and nerve breaking, so they either stopped or
they left this aside.

Also I see that although I am trying to devote sometime, there are always
some expected problems. These problems are usually solved if you read the
mailing list or ask help from IRC, but in many cases this takes a lot of
effort and after some hours and painkillers, you cannot figure out  how to
solve a problem. Just to mention the latest FULL LRAM compile problem that
exists since the start of the year. Yesterday I was trying all day to find
a solution, but there were a lot of candidate solutions and patches, but
none was solving the actual problem. This would have saved me a lot of time
if this was mentioned in the wiki and if someone had devoted some time to
print 2 lines of comment or directions on how to solve or explain to many
people that it is not solved.

Because I see that no one from the persons that have real skills and
knowledge of this project spares some time to update and evolve the
OsmocomBB wiki, I propose to create some “booty”, so we get a proper wiki
for this project and the person or persons that will create this will be
“rewarded” for their time and effort. I know that knowledge has no price,
but I propose to create a “booty” bank with either money or/and services
or/and equipment. Anything that any individual can contribute.

I think this will boost the quality of this project and will be something
interesting for some newbie to get involved.

Some things that I found that this project needs is a newbie/getting
started wiki. Detailed and with information and explanation as you were
talking to a 5 year old child. This should include detailed information on
what equipment and first things to do before you even start your first
attempt to load any code to the phone and then how to load the first
firmware and load the first application. I really liked the srlabs
instructions about gprs and gsmmap. It was a good way to start and it was a
step by step manual and easy to understand.

A full list of existing applications. This will include detailed
explanation of each application and it’s capabilities. Also how to load
them, all the application parameters and what you can do with them.

A hints/tips list. This will be some useful information about the OsmocomBB
project. What to do and not to do. For example if the loader shows always
the FMTOOL message and what o do in similar situations. To take extra
caution to the physical contact of the cable, etc. Issues that are
encountered and are standard to the project.

A current issues/proposed solutions to current problems. I cannot find a
more proper example as the current FULL LRAM compile problem that we
currently have. There can be a small description of the problem and
candidate solutions till the problem is fully solved. This will spare a lot
of time to persons that encounter problems and save a lot of traffic in the
IRC and mailing list. It will also be a database of knowledge for genius
solutions or efforts to solve an issue.

A todo list. This refers to the masters of this project. That is because
they usually show the direction of the project. They who have deep
knowledge of this project can show where this project is heading for. So a
todo list to get there will be nice. You never know, even a newbie may
solve an issue that is it totally new to the project, just to evolve the
whole project. Right now I do not find any reference or it is very
difficult to know (even the masters of OsmocomBB) where this project is
heading to.

A full GSM documentation. This will include detailed documents and
references on each and every aspect of GSM technology. I am talking for an
encyclopedia of everything that is referred in GSM technology.  I think
this is very important to have all the information that is needed all in
one place and updated on any occasion. This is very important for someone
who really want to get involved in the project. This can also include 3G
and future communication technologies. I am talking for the bible of
communications. Of course one step at a time. I know that all the
information that we need is out there on the net, but all the information
gathered in one place and shorted by an expert would be the ultimate tool.

Of course everything that I mentioned does not have any meaning or purpose
if the wiki is not updated frequently.

Sorry for the big message.

Thank you.
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