OpenMoko 2008.9

I’ve now had some time to look more closely into my OpenMoko Neo. The first thing I did was upgrade the device to the new Firmware 2008.9

The needed dfu-util is a Debian lenny package, on my lenny-laptop just one apt-get away. The upgrade steps are well documented on the “Flashing the Neo” page.

I’ve also upgraded the bootloader because I wanted to try to install Debian (on the SD card) and the instructions say to upgrade the bootloader.

After booting into the new version I discovered that the “Settings” icon did nothing. The device would auto-suspend after about 30 seconds when not in use via the touch-screen. Fortunately I had experimented earlier how to get a SSH-connection to the device — I wouldn’t have found out in 30 seconds: The device would suspend and kill a running SSH-session.

The openmoko device comes up as network interface usb0 on the machine you connect the USB to. The IP is, you should configure your usb0 network interface to something like

I’m using the Debian package ipmasq on my laptop, so NAT to my internal network for the openmoko was working immediately, I could ping machines on my internal network.

So I held the touch-screen with the left-hand thumb and configured the network: The device comes up with an empty /etc/resolv.conf, you should insert a nameserver line with the IP of a reachable nameserver.

After having a running network (remember I’m still preventing the device from suspending and killing my ssh session with one finger on the display) I installed the package illume-config which adds a little toolbox-icon to the window-manager. With this I was able to finally disable the suspend via the config. After that I did an opkg upgrade of the device and the “Settings” program magically started working.

The first experiment with a phone-call failed, because the called party could not hear me. I had to install alsamixer and turn on the microphone and capture devices. Now calling and being called works fine.

I haven’t experimented too much until now — one of the major roadblocks is a broken input method. The on-screen keyboard is not really suitable for entering commands into an xterm. One of the next steps will be to install Debian on the device.