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[liberationtech] hardware options for a computer phone, not a mobile phone...

John Case case at SDF.ORG
Sun Sep 30 21:22:39 PDT 2012

On Mon, 1 Oct 2012, liberationtech at wrote:

> On Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 07:51:04PM +0100, michael at wrote 1.5K bytes in 42 lines about:
> : I believe it's possible to install CyanogenMod on it to get a
> : completely free software stack. I don't know whether anyone's tried
> : connecting a USB GSM modem.
> Just splitting hairs here, cyanogenmod installs a free software operating
> system on the hardware. It does not replace the baseband which controls
> the hardware.

Right.  The thinking here is that even though an add-on cell modem is just 
as closed and locked as a built-in cell modem, the fact that it is add-on 
is a fundamentally deeper level of control:

- you can physically disconnect it

- you can ifconfig/plumb/whatever the interface and have better assurance 
that what you are telling it to do is actually happening

- the modem is completely subservient to the computer it is contained in, 
which I don't think is a good assumption with a normal mobile phone ...

Perhas these assumptions are flawed ?

Another nice thing is that since you can choose whatever external modem 
you like, at some point a project like osmocom might reverse engineer a 
particular dongle chipset, etc., and then you could switch to that.

How small does an add-in GSM module come ?  The smallest I have seen is 
compact flash form factor, which is not used thee days... I have seen SD 
card wifi adaptors, but not GSM.  Attaching a USB dongle to the side of a 
phone-sized device seems unwieldy...

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