Lack of maintenance for osmo-bts-trx

Harald Welte laforge at
Mon Apr 4 15:10:58 UTC 2016

Dear all,

I am growing incredibly frustrated at the fact that osmo-bts-trx is
effectively unmaintained, despite the fact that there are plenty of
users as well as even commercial users / companies (particularly

I'm not pointing Fairwaves out because I am associated with sysmocom.
I'm pointing them out as for me as Osmocom project founder and
co-maintainer, I sincerely think something is wrong here. And
particuarly commercial vendors of BTSs using the Osmocom stack should
at the very absolute minimum ensure proper maintenance of their own
hardware support in the respective Osmocom projects.  They should
equally consider contributing to maintenance and developemnt of the
'core' code of those projects, too, in order to fairly share the burden
of that effort.

I explicitly asked for proper maintenance of osmo-bts-trx first in
August 2014 in this post:

Back in 2014 and the first half of 2015 I spent a lot of time in
forward-porting and cleaning up the the (fairwaves-commissioned?) l1sap
changes, as well as the associated osmo-bts-trx port.  Back then, there
were several patches in related (several) branches that I could not
merge. See my mail (and follow-up mails) from

Ever since the merge in August 2015, as far as I recall, I never saw a
single message from any osmo-bts-trx user whether
a) the L1SAP merge back then works for them
b) it introduced any regressions

The same happened after the phy_link/phy_interface merge.

While some people think I sometimes write good code, I fail to believe
that all those intrusive changes didn't break anything for OsmoTRX
users.  Still, no feedback and no fall-out was reported.

Like any larger project, particularly one with different hardware
support, we need somebody with essential interest in that hardware to
maintain the respective back-end. Think of device driver maintainers in
the Linux kernel as an example.

For osmo-bts-sysmo, it is clear that sysmocom has such a vital interest,
and that it is the primary hardware on whcih Holger and I are working
on.  For osmo-bts-octphy, Octasic funds related maintenance work to be
done at sysmocom.

We need a sub-maintainer for osmo-bts-trx, one who
1) consistently follows the developments in master and checks for
2) fixes osmo-bts-trx specific bugs like the fact that GPRS measurment
   values are not passed to the PCU, breaking rate/link adaption for
   this platform
3) tests interoperability with OsmoTRX and other OpenBTS transceivers
   out three
4) ensures that important osmo-bts-trx related patches/branches end up
   in master, ensuring that master is what people use.  Telling users to
   use a branch different than master is *wrong* for anything but the
   most bleeding edge / experiemental code which is to be merged ASAP.

I thus strongly suggest that the users and proponents of osmo-bts-trx
get together and see how they can ensure the proper maintenance of this
port.  Thanks for your consideration.

- Harald Welte <laforge at> 
"Privacy in residential applications is a desirable marketing option."
                                                  (ETSI EN 300 175-7 Ch. A6)

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