libera/#neo900/ Friday, 2019-04-05

Joerg-Neo900the foundation problem of internet/WWW: til this very day the only proven-to-work method to monetize any service you offer is commercial ads to sell useless crap to visitors00:01
Joerg-Neo900alas this approach works so good it made google the #1 power on this planet, directly followed by facebook00:02
paul_boddieOr to target people on a personal level in order to corrupt democracy.00:03
paul_boddieFacebook makes a lot of money that way.00:03
Joerg-Neo900I don't know if it's a lucky fate or the worst detail in it that beither of both is really interested in accepting and using this power - yet00:04
Joerg-Neo900farcebook might have monetized it by leasing a tiny bit of it to Russia lately00:05
paul_boddieDifficult to know. Currently, such actors are useful idiots for more unpleasant interests.00:05
paul_boddieThinking about RAM provision, I guess it would be easier to get SBCs with 1GB RAM these days for prototyping a Neo900-like project. That BeagleBone variant seemed like an awkward thing to obtain.00:13
Joerg-Neo900sure. The whole idea of staying 100% code compatible to N900 has rapidly dwindled into oblivion and irrelevance. Including the use of an OMAP3 which been the only reason for BB-xM00:15
paul_boddieDo you know if there any off-the-shelf SBCs which are even close to fitting inside a N900 shell?00:16
Joerg-Neo900right now the i.MX8 probably is the only SoC you reasonably might pick for such a project00:16
Joerg-Neo900"SBC" is a very generic term. There are SBC that "fit under a postage stamp" ;-D00:17
paul_boddieWell, SBC in the required performance class, not ATmega. ;-)00:18
paul_boddieAlthough I'm sure someone could do an Arduinophone thing, too.00:18
Joerg-Neo900note that the BB-xM never been meant to "fit *into* a N900 case"00:19
Joerg-Neo900it's the SoC chip it's all about00:19
Joerg-Neo900and not even the OMAP4 would fit into N900 case00:19
paul_boddieNo, I understand that it drives the "solution" externally. Like some kind of donor hardware.00:20
paul_boddieI just wondered if we'd ever get to the point where the size of some generic, capable SBC was not an issue, but I guess especially the thickness is a huge factor.00:24
paul_boddieAnd where the generic board would need mating to another board, this would demolish the size budget.00:24
Joerg-Neo900yes, and also the "area" in a N900 is way more fragmented than you'd think on first guess. There is stuff like kbg, battery connector, camera, SIM holder cutout etc00:26
Joerg-Neo900kbd even00:27
paul_boddieYes, it's always interesting/horrifying to see things poked into different spaces.00:27
* Joerg-Neo900 needs to make some decisions about how to proceed. With the project, own carreer etc. Last remaining support/funding for Neo900 ended, and funding from own pocket is beyond feasibility00:29
paul_boddieIt's difficult, especially with a certain amount of competition for attention at the moment.00:36
paul_boddieIn the "people making phones" department, that is.00:36
Joerg-Neo900yeah sure00:37
paul_boddieThat fxtec thing looks a lot like a N900, for instance. Maybe they'll deliver, maybe not.00:38
paul_boddieIt would be nice to see a community-originating thing like Neo900 succeed, though. That's why I support it.00:38
paul_boddieIt being Neo900, of course. I don't follow random phone campaigns of which we know very little as potential customers.00:39
Joerg-Neo900it's a damn pity how Jolla failed on a very few core features like unbrickability and openness to tinkering with the system00:43
Joerg-Neo900they had all the resources to develop something really great00:44
Joerg-Neo900INCLUDING all the N900 experience00:44
paul_boddieThe Nokia mindset, maybe? That not locking the product down is somehow giving things away.00:46
Joerg-Neo900yeah, I see it like they just tried to create a successor to N9 while they better had focused on creating a successor to N90000:48
paul_boddieWell, I hope that the work that has gone into Neo900 can continue and/or lead to other things. All the documentation alone is more than we will ever have for other devices and projects.00:51
Joerg-Neo900from a OS perspective the Jolla was a N9-improved, made to run on a HAL which itself based on (closed) android of whatever hw platform they want00:52
Joerg-Neo900>>All the documentation alone<< indeed00:52
Joerg-Neo900a template to make any new community driven phone project a success, at least on the documentation level00:54
paul_boddieThe downside is that the audience able to make good use of it is rather small.00:57
paul_boddieOr it needs teams of people with a range of skills, just like with Neo900.00:57
Joerg-Neo900I'm hoping for eventually some company realizing that they could buy in competence from Neo900 to completely cover that aspect00:58
paul_boddieI was moaning at someone recently about how it isn't enough to merely advocate Free Software on phones. There needs to be fundamental structural change in the way devices are developed.00:58
paul_boddieBut like everything now, people want companies to solve all their problems.00:59
paul_boddieI do wonder who the fxtec people are, though.01:00
Joerg-Neo900how about a community of a few 1000s of users signing a petition to Samsung or whomever to build a device to specs they deliver01:00
Joerg-Neo900I think this could actually work if that company could overcome their first panic attack01:02
paul_boddieAnyway, it's getting late. I hope things start to become clearer about all of this. Keep up the good work, as always!01:04
paul_boddieBye for now!01:06
claponthi... Joerg-Neo900: why you wish to "sandbox" the modem? isn't it easier a modem driver to be developed, like for any other device in Linux? continuing this idea, a phone focused Linux based distro (Lineage/etc) with a driver for modem would be enough, is it? also, we should realize it's a phone not a full computer to play games/access the bloat sites/etc.. a phone which can do more usefull things, not a 912:34
clapont5% compression-crunched computer.12:34
dos1clapont: uhm... "modem driver"? :p13:07
enycclapont: certifications for mobile modem is very hard to get ...  and fundaemantl problem is the modem able to access main device memory.13:09
dos1modem has to be "sandboxed" because it's basically an opaque blob full of potentially exploitable code you don't control13:10
enycclapont: so, makes much more sense to segregate an existing usable approved modem and consider it as untrusted as network itself.13:10
dos1and that blob is not "a driver" - it's pretty much an essence of what makes a modem modem. you'd pretty much have to make your own modem to change it, which is itself much bigger task than producing a smartphone13:13
bencohthink of it as a firmware running on the modem cpu13:23
dos1when it comes to actual "drivers", it's usually well-supported already on both kernel and userspace middleware levels, as most modem modules communicate via either AT or QMI13:41
dos1so you only have to deal with vendor quirks ;D13:41
clapontenyc, dos1: sorry, I don't understand... and maybe is something too obvious for you :-)   this is how I think: a hardware device has IO for data/command words... a software written in asm/c/etc can control that device and expose it to the OS through an API (for AT commands/etc)13:50
dos1that software already lives in the modem; you don't even have access to lower level IO13:52
clapontwhy a modem driver has to be "certified"? are the Linux drivers "certified", all of them. for example, take any USB camera, knowing/using the "uvc" protocol.. they just work13:52
dos1in turn, to support AT with modem like PLS8, all you need on the Linux side is a regular USB serial device driver13:53
clapontdos1: maybe here is my missunderstanding.. a modem has wires/antenna and chip to control antenna/data... cannot be these programmed? I am only thinking back to a z80 processor/a51/etc13:54
dos1this is where this whole certification issue comes in13:54
clapontwhy it has to be "certified"? if I have a modem, I make a driver for it (to expose it to USB), I put the code online for everyone to see it with their own eyes.. then what more? anyone who wishes, is using the modem and my code13:56
dos1this is not wifi range where you're free to transmit within some power limits - cellular range is highly regulated and you need certifications and/or other permits in order to transmit13:56
dos1(at least in most of the world - I'm sure you can find some autonomic island where it's legal :D)13:56
clapontaha. right, the cellular ranges are highly regulated by governments...  well, they can get the code on a cd or even printed on paper13:57
dos1so you deal with all this legal mambo jumbo by either being a big company that can deal with that easily, or by buying a complete module that's already certified and exposes some usable interface to you, like AT or QMI13:58
clapontso this is the big deal? this is the "certification" issue? how much would this cost, what is this proces taking?13:58
dos1well, at the beginning you would have to make a modem, as most of those available on the market use cryptographically signed firmwares and verify them when trying to update13:59
dos1(you could also try to find some exploit and "break in" ;))14:00
clapontdos1: understood, thank you for explanation. now I see the problem is easier than I thought. so there is a way to have your drive on modem, just it is about bureaucracy!14:00
dos1basically both bureaucracy and resources14:00
dos1if all you need is a 2G module, resources are already there14:01
clapont"cryptographically signed firmwares" - hmm, isn't this driver we're speaking about - supposed to replace the proprietary "cryptographically signed firmwares" ?14:01
dos1if you want shiny LTE/5G, you probably need a huge investment just to write your own software14:01
dos1clapont: but how? all you get from the module is AT/QMI. you can't do anything lower level without replacing the firmware14:02
clapontwhat about 3g? 3g allows enough speed. I started browsing the internet through a 14400bps so I know to be very very reasonable14:02
dos1you may try looking for some holes or debug interfaces, but that's about it14:02
dos1AFAIK 3G is way more complicated than both 2G and 4G14:02
dos1solutions for 2G already exist, although not very "user oriented" (OsmocomBB)14:04
clapontdos1: so the firmware can be written, just the certification of it is the problem?14:04
dos1clapont: but where will you run your new shiny open firmware?14:05
dos1there were some modules that allowed you to flash your own firmware, and that's what OsmocomBB operates on14:05
dos1mostly 2G stuff14:05
clapontso you suggest the modem itself is the root of the problem?14:06
dos1so the first issue is actually getting your firmware to run14:06
dos1when you tackle that, then you won't be able to do anything with it legally without certification14:06
dos1only when you get that certified (and I'm not exactly sure if anything that allows user modification will actually pass certifications in US and Europe), you can think about selling that officially14:07
dos1(plus, of course, the "issue zero" - those firmwares are complicated and costly to make in the first place)14:08
claponta hardware manufacturer of the modem (the board + wiring + antenna + chip) which will provide the full specs (pin i/o, diagrams etc) can be found? or it is available already?14:08
dos1how many modem makers do we actually have on earth right now? qualcomm, intel... anything else?14:09
dos1I heard some rumours that Apple is working on their own, but they already worked with both Qualcomm and Intel and even been in court being accused of copying their designs xd14:10
clapontdos1: sorry not to be updated.. I knew there were more modem providers.. even the Winmodems were something. but I realize the miniaturization got everything to new levels and only huge companies afford to continue14:10
dos1well, yeah, there used to be more even in GSM space14:11
dos1now even the Cinterion modules that were planned to be used in Neo900 are pretty much wrapped Qualcomm chips14:13
clapontericcson was making 3G modems for laptops.. I have such modem, like 50x30x4mm, miniPCIe14:13
dos1lots of companies make modems in different form factors, but usually there are the same things inside14:14
clapontthe laptops use Intel CPUs (most of); so using an Intel CPU means you trust the Intel.. so.... you can as well trust Intel's modems14:15
dos1although back in the 3G times it could have been a bit more varied than today14:15
clapontI mean... if I suspect everything and everyone.. I may have to trust myself only - and I die this way :-)14:16
dos1even Intel was actually a bit late to the LTE party. I think they haven't had anything working yet when Neo900 was started14:17
clapont(without any working solution/phone I mean)14:17
clapontI think Intel modem is a very good solution. in the end I only wish an reasonable assurance that my phone does what I wont, without stealing my data. the ones who need 1000% secrecy could/should invest in the proper certification/top-down process and eventually making a business out of it14:22
clapont*what I want14:22
Joerg-Neo9003G/LTE firmware is something around 500 manyears of development (been there seen that: ST-Ericsson NovaThor, Thorium, Radium chipsets, I done debugging of the local interface drivers e.g. HSI, I2C. UART)14:26
Joerg-Neo900>>I'm not exactly sure if anything that allows user modification will actually pass certifications...<< nope, you must sign a paper that guarantees that your firmware&chipset combo as evaluated&approved&certified doesn't allow any messing around with IMEI14:28
Joerg-Neo900the CTO signs that paper14:28
Joerg-Neo900>>Cinterion modules that were planned to be used in Neo900 are pretty much wrapped Qualcomm chips<<   s/pretty much//14:30
Joerg-Neo900the point is we DO NOT trust any modem14:32
Joerg-Neo900>> only wish an reasonable assurance that my phone does what I wont, without stealing my data. the ones who need 1000% secrecy could/should invest in the proper certification/top-down process<<  Please read again what I explained above (>>[4 Apr 2019 23:26:59] <Joerg-Neo900> Neo900 approach to backdoors always been: ...<<), your idea of >>proper certification/top-down process<< isn't feasible, it's exactly like producing a Linux distro that is *14:38
Joerg-Neo900guaranteed* to have ZERO bugs/CVEs14:38
Joerg-Neo900clapont: ^^^14:38
Joerg-Neo900DAMN! needs auth15:00
Joerg-Neo900ok, here it is:
Joerg-Neo900<3 FCC ;-D
Joerg-Neo900Hardware Integration Manual:
Joerg-Neo900this looks better though
Joerg-Neo900oh right, I missed to answer the question about cost of certification ( is a final summary of such cert process doen by 3rd party) - it's anywhere in the 5 to 6 figures USD15:33
Joerg-Neo900then you got FCC. You might want to get approval/cert of other authorities as well, for other countries/regions of globe15:34
Joerg-Neo900>>The antenna(s) used for this transmitter must be installed to provide a separation distance of at least 20 cm from all persons<< *cough*15:39
Joerg-Neo900aah well  >>A separate approval is required for portable operating configurations, as defined in 2.1093 of the rules<<15:40
Joerg-Neo900OOOOOHOHO they do same "trick" like Neo900  >>The X210 is a strange machine. A set of Chinese enthusiasts developed a series of motherboards that slot into old Thinkpad chassis, providing significantly more up to date hardware.<<17:44
Joerg-Neo900and a nice detail: >>The other fun thing about it is that none of the firmware flashing protection is enabled, including Intel Boot Guard.<<17:50
clapontJoerg-Neo900: thank you very much for you kind explanations and time.20:55
Joerg-Neo900yw :-)20:56
Joerg-Neo900you got he chat of 4 Apr 2019 21:00 +x ?20:59
Joerg-Neo900in /topic there's a link to chanlogs20:59
Joerg-Neo900could somebody please test if the first URL of logs in /topic throws any errors?21:28
Joerg-Neo900~Neo900-9line is Neo900 uniqueness in 9 lines of text:
infobotJoerg-Neo900: okay21:35
Joerg-Neo900~#Neo900 concept is Neo900 uniqueness in 9 lines of text:
infobotokay, Joerg-Neo90021:36
Joerg-Neo900infobot: no, Neo900-9line is <reply>see #Neo900 concept21:38
infobotJoerg-Neo900: okay21:38
Joerg-Neo900infobot: Neo900-9line21:38
infoboti guess #neo900 concept is Neo900 uniqueness in 9 lines of text:
infobothmm... concept is Neo900 uniqueness in 9 lines of text:
infobotwell, concept is Neo900 uniqueness in one slightly overlength post (thus split into 4 lines, plus 2 'footnotes' added):

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