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A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets


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RE: A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 3 years ago

Maybe Qualcomm tablets wouldn't be so bad after all (since they don't have a modem) but I'm guessing many blobs and firmwares would still be involved, alongside with the bootloader(s) still being non-free and most likely signed. We do have free graphics acceleration with freedreno but that's not good enough to make Qualcomm a good target.

RE: A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets - Added by E3V3A XDA about 3 years ago

Maybe Qualcomm tablets wouldn't be so bad after all (since they don't have a modem)

Not sure what you mean there. They surely do have a modem, integrated in all the
"MSM" series SoCs, and stand-alone in the "MDM" series, like MDM9215, MDM9625 etc.
The only processors models that do not contain a modem on SoC are prefixed "APQ".

Why QC devices are bad:
1) They are extremely complicated
2) QC lawyer trolls are very aggressive and stupid, which is a very dangerous combination.
3) Are too much restrictive, often with locked bootloaders and signed boot chains.
4) The modem processor cores are called Hexagon, and are not ARM based, thus with very limited tools/support.
5) Their modem code base, alone, is enormous. (XMM: ~10 MB, and QC: >60 MB)

Why QC devices are good:
1) There are tons of leaked documentation, sources, and tools
2) There are tons of people hacking on these things everyday
3) They are very popular devices, present pretty much everywhere today.
4) There have been a lot of RE work already done with modem protocol (DM,QMI, Sahara etc) libraries like libqmi used in Network Manager
5) They have fairly open access to development platforms like Gobi2/3000, Adreno etc etc.
6) QC have an internal department that offers device customization needed for government spying, which means that we need to keep a close eye on everything they do and release.

RE: A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 3 years ago

They surely do have a modem

You're mostly right, there are a few models that are Wi-Fi-only, which are the ones I was referring too (but I didn't mention it clearly). To my understanding, Wi-Fi-only tablets using Qualcomm SoCs do exist.

1) They are extremely complicated

That's not really an argument so say they're bad: SoCs are complicated anyway and I don't see why it would be a bad thing. If something is complicated and free, it makes a good exercise to understand how it works. Complexity is also often required for systems that contain that many components.

4) The modem processor cores are called Hexagon, and are not ARM based, thus with very limited tools/support.
5) Their modem code base, alone, is enormous. (XMM: ~10 MB, and QC: >60 MB)

I don't see the point here either. Who cares if it's ARM or something else as long as it's free software? (Obviously here, it's not free software, and that's the real problem).
What's with the code base being enormous? The Linux kernel is enormous as well, but that's a rather good thing!

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be systematically against your position, but I would appreciate some help understanding why you prefer to mention these points, which seem like insignificant details for freedom.

RE: A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets - Added by E3V3A XDA about 3 years ago

As the thread title refers to "developing" so does my good/bad points.
That has nothing to do with my personal opinion about the HW in itself,
which I find mostly excellent. These are other points for people who
are interested in developing for Replicant and the challenge introduced
for fully porting Qualcomm functionality to it. I did not mean to say
that it would be more difficult to develop for QC, but that it would be
very different. In fact I think on the contrary, that it is probably easier
to port the modem functionality on QCs.

RE: A reason to to NOT develop on QualComm based Tablets - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 3 years ago

My point is that we should not put the emphasis on how convenient development for the device is, but rather on how good these devices could be for privacy and freedom, which is what Replicant is all about!

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