View Full Version : OT: GPL cellphones

03-03-2004, 01:13 PM
I have owned many cellphones over the years and have found that many are lacking a good software interface.

my current phone has the dumbest menu system ever invented, to send a new test message I have to hit 5 keys, but they have a special menu for "shout cuts" that will reduce that to 7 keys :-)

my last phone had a good system of getting to the text messaging menu in one key stroke, but it had very sad selection of ring tones and a even worse system to put in your own ring tones.

the phone I had before that didn't let my do little letters in a text message......

my point is that most phone hardware is quite good but the software sucks.

do you think that a cellphone company could be talked in to doing a GPL system for the software on there phone.

they do a nice handset with a basic set up of software, they give you a CD-rom with DOCs and development tools, and a plug to upload the new software that you and the GPL world have written.

they set up API's for all the basic phone functions so the end programmer can't get in to hacking the phone system, if you want to make a call the you pass the number to be called to the API and the BIOS code of the phone will do all the ugly stuff to the phone network.

the phone company can write a contract that says they get to keep/copy any code that we write for the phone.

we get to develop the best cellphone interface the world has ever seen.

don't like the way your phone menus work? go to the web and down that cool new OS for you phone.

what do you all think??

03-03-2004, 01:19 PM
It's already happening. See:

Smartphones are currently offering Symbian, PalmOS, Windows and Linux but unfortunately it's not possible (as far as I'm aware) to switch between operating systems on one particuar piece of hardware.

03-03-2004, 01:26 PM
they do say linux based but they dont say "write your own"

also that looks like a $2500 phone...

I was thinking of a phone more like a regular $200 nokia :-)

Graham L
03-03-2004, 02:27 PM
A $200 on costs that because it's a mass produced commodity item. That means that every one is an exact clone. That means they can have a meaningful guarantee.

How many people in the world are competent to generate a usable effficient, reliable piece of software that will fit in the limited memory?

The features you get are what the "marketing" drones say the public want (or can be persuaded to want). The architecture is determined by what is cheapest when the design decisions are made. There is no need to keep even the same CPU in the next model. There's a stoing incentive for the manufacturers to have accelerated obsolescence. :D

That does not give the stable hardware base you need to have a "developing" software.

03-03-2004, 06:44 PM
In theory, you could do it on a $200 Nokia by writing your own code, and flashing the firmware.

However, in practise, it wouldn't be worth doing because you'd have to understand the 'language' of that particular handset and writing the code would be an absolute pain in the backside.