I recently posted a project proposal on the Nairobi GNU/Linux Users Group mailing list. The idea is that I’d like to promote understanding of embedded Linux/Android devices, collaborative development processes/tools, and hacker culture in young Kenyan developers. It’s called Project Mjanja (“hustler” in Swahili).
To paraphrase my post on the mailing list, the gist of the proposal was:
- we buy Huawei U8185 phones (Safaricom has a great deal on them)
- we explore Linux kernel compilation
- we explore Android porting processes, like ClockworkMod Recovery, CyanogenMod, etc
- we document along the way (code, blogs, forums), so future aspiring hackers have something to go on
Ironically, I set about this very same goal exactly one year ago, but it was based on the Huawei U8150, a vastly inferior device. Compared to the U8150, the U8185 is looking pretty good:
- ARMv7 instruction set, whereas the U8150 is ARMv6. This means we have additional CPU instructions to play with, like NEON (tasks like MP3/ GSM AMR decoding, single-precision floating point math, etc handled in CPU hardware, rather than software).
- Adreno 200 GPU, whereas the U8150 rendered everything in software. This means Ice Cream Sandwich (and beyond) should be much more attainable/bearable.
- 800 MHz processor, whereas the U8150 is 528 MHz.
- 45 nm die size, whereas the U8150 is 65 nm. Smaller die size means less heat, which means better battery life, etc.
- Gingerbread, whereas the U8150 is Froyo.
I learned a lot developing on the U8150, but I did it largely alone. Now that we have a maturing group of users (Nairobi LUG!) who love open-source software, community, and spirit, I think the time is right to attack this as a group.
Stay tuned for more…
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