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Contradictory data on Replicant status.

Added by Anonymous almost 6 years ago

Hello.
I'm reading replicant wiki, and there is starnge info.
Take for example Samsung Galaxy S3: http://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/GalaxyS3I9300

On this page, there is written, that telephony is "Working": http://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/ReplicantStatus
There is also category "Missing without non-free firmwares" on other sections.

But on personal page of S3 there is written "Modem, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC firmwares are non-free". So it should mean, that telephony is also "Missing without non-free firmwares", right?

If so, why is there "Working" label?


Replies (8)

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Linus Drumbler almost 6 years ago

By "modem firmware", we refer to the software within the modem.

Network communication on mobile devices is very different from desktop devices. Mobile devices have a "modem", which controls all network communications. This modem is a computer to itself, with a CPU, RAM, etcetera. The software inside it is always non-free—there's no free and open-source modem in existence. We have no idea what's going on inside it. That's what the Galaxy S3 dedicated page is saying.

The modem needs certain proprietary files for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. We don't ship those files with Replicant, because we aim to create a system without proprietary software. But telephony, mobile data, and messages are different, and can be supported with the free software RIL (radio interface layer) we've written.

In short: telephony is labeled "working" because it works with free software. We don't need to add anything proprietary to the system to support it. You can make a phone call from your Galaxy S3, I assure you. But Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC require proprietary firmwares for support, so they aren't included.

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Anonymous almost 6 years ago

Thanks for your reply.
As I now understand, it is similar situation to BIOS of desktop computers, which is already shipped with non-free firmware, even if we use fully free OS.
I think it is worth adding your answer somewhere to Replicant status page, to make it clarified. It is not obvious for those, who are not deep in the topic.
Why does modem ships with built-in GSM firmware, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC doesn't?
It is important to let people now, that even if we have fully free OS, we still have proprietary components in it.

How do you evaluate probability of some manufacturer to create free open hardware gsm modem? What blocks that problem? Did someone think of making something like OpenRISC project for GSM module?

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Paul Kocialkowski almost 6 years ago

It is important to let people now, that even if we have fully free OS, we still have proprietary components in it.

The page is called ReplicantStatus not devices status, so it makes sense to put the informations that are relevant to Replicant there. It is also appropriate to list the other proprietary components, aside of Replicant, on the devices pages, as it is done currently. I see nothing contradictory there.

Why does modem ships with built-in GSM firmware, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC doesn't?

They usually use loaded firmwares to make it possible to update them, to resolve bugs and such.

How do you evaluate probability of some manufacturer to create free open hardware gsm modem? What blocks that problem? Did someone think of making something like OpenRISC project for GSM module?

There is the OsmocomBB project which is a free software baseband replacement that currently supports only quite old phones. There are many issues with creating modem hardware from scratch, amongst which major blocks such as certification and patents. For instance, only Qualcomm does LTE modems, so that figures…

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Anonymous almost 6 years ago

Then maybe this info can be added as link to page on technical info section? http://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki#Technical-infos-on-the-devices
I can add such page, but my English is not so good, and I don't have editor privileges.

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Paul Kocialkowski almost 6 years ago

That's already the case, there are links to the dedicated devices page for each device.

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Anonymous almost 6 years ago

No, I meant some page like "Free software status on mobile phones", that explains, where free and non-free bits are living in mobile phones usually.
Device pages doesn't explain what I asked you in this topic, that is why i am asking :)

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Paul Kocialkowski almost 6 years ago

I suppose it makes sense to have that info available on each device table, like a more extended version of the current freedom/security issues. Or perhaps a single page would be best, but that seems a bit irrelevant given that it's not tied to Replicant, but to each device in particular.

However, what could be done to improve the situation is to make it clearer that installing Replicant won't make the phone (magically) run only free software. I have in mind creating a page on the website that generally describes the freedom and security issues found in the supported devices. Having a link to it on the wiki's home page seems like a good idea.

RE: Contradictory data on Replicant status. - Added by Anonymous almost 6 years ago

Your second proposal makes sense.

The case is that people comes to replicant to find free software for their mobile phones. Replicant status tells, that you can use your mobile with Replicant. So if you don't understand design of mobile phones, you won't understand, if use of Replicant means that you are on free software only or not. So that requires explanation.

Of course, that is not tied to Replicant. It is tied to mobile phones design. But Replicant is place where people search for mobile freedom. So Replicant should explain, what level of freedom you get by using it.

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