OpenMoko: An iPhone Alternative for Developers? - Page 2

: An iPhone Alternative for Developers?">

"We give you everything for free—exactly the same tools that we use internally," he said. "We want you to change this device. Personalize away, to your hearts content."

Moss-Pultz said the entire OpenMoko system and application software are built using FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). On the system side, OpenMoko uses software "such as the Linux kernel, the GNU C library, the X Window System, and the GTK+ tool kit, to name only a few. OpenMoko is Mobile FOSS," he said.

Moreover, new technology requires new code, Moss-Pultz said.

"As we implement extensions, such as device drivers, or create something entirely new, such as the OpenMoko GUI framework and our collection of smart-phone applications, the code is available though SVN (Subversion version control system), or, even better, has already been merged into the upstream sources," he said.

All the software is bundled into the OpenMoko distribution, which is based on OpenEmbedded, a meta-distribution containing more than 1,500 packages, Moss-Pultz said. The well-known FOSS-based infrastructure and standards-based development tools enable developers to quickly make the Neo do exactly what they want, he said. Whether this means making a small personalization, porting an existing application, or even writing a new application from scratch, users are in total control, he said.

"This is the way things should be," Moss-Pultz said. "And since OpenMoko is Mobile FOSS, developers can share the fruits of their work with the rest of the community. For the mobile world, this is an entirely new concept."

He said the core OpenMoko team is a small one in a very big company.

"But OpenMoko has become far bigger than just a small group of people trying to build an open platform for the phone," Moss-Pultz said. "Those of us who believe so deeply in the freedoms of open technologies have built a bridge. And this bridge can seriously change the way companies view product development and how people view their phones."

In a June 27 letter to the community, Moss-Pultz said that OpenMoko is now a company inside the FIC Group. And starting July 9, the companys Web site will begin taking orders for the Neo phones.

Meanwhile, OpenMoko has spawned a host of subprojects, including one named "Coach," which Moss-Pultz said he likes. According to the OpenMoko projects site, Coach "is a running/biking training program. It can tell you how far you go, how many calories you burn, how fast you go, and even inform you if you are at your goal pace."

There is even a "wish list" entry for a project to create an alcohol analyzer, like a Breathalyzer for the OpenMoko phone.

"At this point, there are far more ideas going around than code," Moss-Pultz said. "But this is really to be expected at the stage were at now. If you look at our projects site,, youll see that a lot of people have started working on their ideas. This is even more amazing if you consider that we havent even sold a single phone yet."


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