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<clapont> Joerg-Neo900: the specs are higher and higher to me, is something bad that I miss? all I'm interested in a modern phone is -given that I install LneageOS/variants- not to have hidden backdoors/trojans - like the LoJack firmware found in a large category of laptops' BIOSes (for Computrace it seems.. or not only?)
<clapont> afaik, the Nexus 6 is the latest Motorola in US.. given the Huawei events on US/CA, I stay away of Huaway.. or Xiomi.. but still, I wish a modern phone
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<sixwheeledbeast> Devices only need to be powerful enough to run the software they need. Times when less is more?
<Joerg-Neo900> the problem is that any device meant to use the internet needs to be able to cope with what comes in to your device from this internet. I'll try to construct an example: when my email provider (not offering any other interface than webmailer. OK, let's just assume this to be the case) comes up tomorrow with news like >>we overhauled our web portal, all new, more shiny and much smarter<< but you find that this new webpage needs 10 times the
<Joerg-Neo900> memory and also newest javascript features and your phone neither has that much memory nor is it compatible with those new JS functions... You're between a rock and a hard place.
<Joerg-Neo900> Of course this webmailer example is made up and silly (is it?), but actually for example the maemo microB browser can't deal with most of the websites you find in web, anymore, since they are just too bloated for this browser to render them on this system with this amount of free RAM and CPU power
<Joerg-Neo900> Neo900 approach to backdoors always been: For user to be sure there are no backdoors there, we use a completely FOSS "master" OS: Linux (or, if you like, any other "ROM" you trust and that is free for development of drivers), loaded, started by (and replacing instead of running under) an open bootloader that doesn't lend itself to Tivo-ization (locked bootloader) neither to any virtualization that runs your "master" OS as a sort of "VM" under
<Joerg-Neo900> an invisible almighty hypervisor (the bootloader code/process). This leaves the "invisible second OS" on your phone: the firmware *inside* modem. For that we - unlike virtually all other projects with similar goals - do NOT rely / hope for any full audit of that firmware, since that never will fly in the end. Instead we consider the modem a backdoored rogue blackbox, to start with, and we rather sandbox and tightly monitor it comprehensively
<Joerg-Neo900> and completely, so in one hand it can't do any harm to "us" and on the other hand we *notice* whenever it tries to do any such rogue activity. The latter is what makes Neo900 absolutely unique and way more practically useful than any simplistic hardware switches that not sandbox but bury the blackbox when engaged so you can't use the modem function, and when you need a modem you need to throw the switch and open up all the backdoors to your
<Joerg-Neo900> system that the modem might have
<Joerg-Neo900> the full modem firmware audit is an illusion and the hardware switch is a delusion ;-)
<Joerg-Neo900> first can never be done and the latter will never do what you hope it would
<Joerg-Neo900> .
<Joerg-Neo900> hmm, I probably should put this tedious monologue ^^^ of mine to the Neo900 preamble ;-D
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<paul_boddie> Web platform bloat is a really damaging thing that drives obsolescence. It's getting to the point where not even 1GB RAM is enough for some overdesigned "enter your name" Web sites.
<Joerg-Neo900> yep
<paul_boddie> I guess Google and Mozilla have the attitude that you just throw your hardware in the trash and buy new and shiny. Screw the planet, in other words.
<Joerg-Neo900> it's driven by the "you need to exploit the 4 seconds of attention the average visitor is able to sustain" approach
<paul_boddie> And you're being watched for all of those four seconds.
<Joerg-Neo900> yep
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<Joerg-Neo900> the 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 visitors
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<Joerg-Neo900> alas this approach works so good it made google the #1 power on this planet, directly followed by facebook
<paul_boddie> Or to target people on a personal level in order to corrupt democracy.
<paul_boddie> Facebook makes a lot of money that way.
<Joerg-Neo900> I 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 - yet
<Joerg-Neo900> neither*
<Joerg-Neo900> farcebook might have monetized it by leasing a tiny bit of it to Russia lately
<paul_boddie> Difficult to know. Currently, such actors are useful idiots for more unpleasant interests.
<paul_boddie> Thinking 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.
<Joerg-Neo900> sure. 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-xM
<paul_boddie> Do you know if there any off-the-shelf SBCs which are even close to fitting inside a N900 shell?
<Joerg-Neo900> right now the i.MX8 probably is the only SoC you reasonably might pick for such a project
<Joerg-Neo900> "SBC" is a very generic term. There are SBC that "fit under a postage stamp" ;-D
<paul_boddie> Well, SBC in the required performance class, not ATmega. ;-)
<paul_boddie> Although I'm sure someone could do an Arduinophone thing, too.
<Joerg-Neo900> note that the BB-xM never been meant to "fit *into* a N900 case"
<Joerg-Neo900> it's the SoC chip it's all about
<Joerg-Neo900> and not even the OMAP4 would fit into N900 case
<paul_boddie> No, I understand that it drives the "solution" externally. Like some kind of donor hardware.
<paul_boddie> I 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.
<paul_boddie> And where the generic board would need mating to another board, this would demolish the size budget.
<Joerg-Neo900> yes, 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 etc
<Joerg-Neo900> kbd even
<paul_boddie> Yes, it's always interesting/horrifying to see things poked into different spaces.
* 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 feasibility
<varu> :(
<paul_boddie> It's difficult, especially with a certain amount of competition for attention at the moment.
<paul_boddie> In the "people making phones" department, that is.
<Joerg-Neo900> yeah sure
<paul_boddie> That fxtec thing looks a lot like a N900, for instance. Maybe they'll deliver, maybe not.
<paul_boddie> It would be nice to see a community-originating thing like Neo900 succeed, though. That's why I support it.
<paul_boddie> It being Neo900, of course. I don't follow random phone campaigns of which we know very little as potential customers.
<Joerg-Neo900> it's a damn pity how Jolla failed on a very few core features like unbrickability and openness to tinkering with the system
<Joerg-Neo900> they had all the resources to develop something really great
<Joerg-Neo900> INCLUDING all the N900 experience
<paul_boddie> The Nokia mindset, maybe? That not locking the product down is somehow giving things away.
<Joerg-Neo900> yeah, I see it like they just tried to create a successor to N9 while they better had focused on creating a successor to N900
<paul_boddie> Well, 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.
<Joerg-Neo900> from 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 want
<Joerg-Neo900> >>All the documentation alone<< indeed
<Joerg-Neo900> a template to make any new community driven phone project a success, at least on the documentation level
<paul_boddie> The downside is that the audience able to make good use of it is rather small.
<paul_boddie> Or it needs teams of people with a range of skills, just like with Neo900.
<Joerg-Neo900> yes
<Joerg-Neo900> I'm hoping for eventually some company realizing that they could buy in competence from Neo900 to completely cover that aspect
<paul_boddie> I 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.
<Joerg-Neo900> :nod:
<paul_boddie> But like everything now, people want companies to solve all their problems.
<paul_boddie> I do wonder who the fxtec people are, though.
<Joerg-Neo900> how about a community of a few 1000s of users signing a petition to Samsung or whomever to build a device to specs they deliver
<Joerg-Neo900> I think this could actually work if that company could overcome their first panic attack
<paul_boddie> Anyway, it's getting late. I hope things start to become clearer about all of this. Keep up the good work, as always!
<paul_boddie> Bye for now!
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