State of FreeCalypso

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State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Hello community,

This periodic post is a summary of the goals of the FreeCalypso family
of projects and the high-level status toward their achievement.

Goals
=====

The overall end goals of the project are, in no particular order:

1. Produce a standalone realization of Openmoko's modem.  I have had
   occasion to work with various GSM modems and phones acting as modems
   (presenting an AT command interface) since A.D. 2000, and the modem
   in the Freerunner is by far the nicest I've ever touched.  TI's
   implementation of the GSM specs is the richest in terms of
   functionality (contrast with the lack of CSD support in most 3G+
   USB "stick" modems), and thanks to the Leonardo semi-src find, we
   now have full visibility into its inner workings.

   But it's a shame that this awesome GSM+GPRS modem is currently
   tucked away in the guts of the Freerunner, inaccessible to anyone
   besides the tiny handful of active FR owners/users - and even when
   one does have a Freerunner, it is not possible to take the FR's AP
   subsystem out of the picture and use the modem directly from an
   external host; one has to go through the AP instead, severely
   limiting the ability to use this modem outside of the FR.

   Hence I would like to build a modem just like Om's, but brought out
   on a board by itself, with external connections for power and the
   two UARTs.  And throw in a quadband RFFE and a higher capacity
   flash+pSRAM chip while at it.

2. Produce a practically usable phone that runs practically free
   firmware, i.e., fw whose source every user is empowered to study
   and improve or otherwise modify.  Note the emphasis on practical
   usability.  I hear from FR owners that the practical usability of
   the FR as a phone is rather poor, and because there is absolutely
   nothing wrong with the modem (hw or fw), the defects in usability
   must be the result of some flaw(s) in the AP subsystem - a
   subsystem which from my PoV is nothing but unwanted complexity.
   And I would never be able to use my FR as a personal phone because
   it would require running something like QtMoko, and that stuff is
   far too complex for my old peasant mind.  Free software which is
   far too complex for me to understand and work with comfortably is
   little different from proprietary sw from the purely practical
   standpoint - it's a impenetrable black box in practical terms.

   Therefore, the only way for me to have a practically usable phone
   that runs practically free firmware is to produce a non-smart phone,
   a plain phone with no AP subsystem.  The long-term solution is to
   build my own handset hardware, but in the short term it would be OK
   to use not-quite-fitting but already existing hardware like Pirelli
   and Motorola phones.

3. Produce a FreeCalypso modem module that could be used in the place
   of off-the-shelf proprietary ones by free smartphone projects like
   Neo900.  I would like to buy a couple of Neo900 units for two of my
   family members, but cannot do so for as long as the product includes
   a modem module from an immoral vendor who withholds source code and
   documentation and imposes restricted boot barriers to alternative
   firmware implementations.

   To the person who emailed me off-list and asked if I could design
   my FreeCalypso modem in the form factor matching Gemalto's so it
   could be a drop-in replacement: yes, I still like that idea very
   much and would like to do it, but I'm unsure whether I can manage
   such a task by myself, so we may need to work on it together.  I
   also think that it would be easier if I prove my basic design first
   on a non-form-factor-constrained board, and then go through the
   form factor gymnastics as a second step.

So the above 3 are the overall goals of the FreeCalypso family of
projects.  Out of those, goal 2 (practically usable non-smart phone
running free fw) has been my main focus because it is the one that
would improve my own quality of life: I am sick and tired of dealing
with Pirelli's proprietary fw (I use a Pirelli DP-L10 as my personal
daily phone, running its original proprietary fw as nothing better
exists yet - better as in more free *and* practically usable), and I
really, really, really want to replace it with my own free firmware.

Firmware subproject
===================

The firmware subproject of FreeCalypso is leading up toward an
intermediate goal which is not listed among the end goals above:
producing a firmware version that can run on the GTA01/02 modem and
function no worse than the Windows-built ones (either official mokoN
or my own leo2moko), but builds from full source (no blobs) with gcc
instead of TI's proprietary compiler, under Unix/Linux instead of
Windows/Wine.  This task involves an absolutely arduous amount of work
because:

* There is no corresponding source for the GSM L1 and G23M protocol
  stack components which came as binary libs in the TCS211 version,
  hence these major pieces of the firmware (the main ones, really)
  have to be lifted from a different version.  We do have another
  version in full source form thankfully, but there is some non-
  trivial porting work to make it build and function in the desired
  configuration, matching TCS211.  On the positive side, this
  alternate source is a little newer than the binary libs version:
  20090327 instead of 20070608.  (The ACI component in the
  mostly-binary-libs version from 2007 came as source though, so we
  can compare the two ACI source versions and see how the software
  evolved - and I do see a few updates.)

* In order to build with gcc under Unix/Linux instead of TI's
  proprietary tools under Windows/Wine, the entire build system has to
  be rebuilt from scratch (excuse the pun), component by component,
  module by module, one C file at a time.

This task is so massive that it has occupied me on and off (unpaid
volunteer time is naturally limited) for a year and a half now, since
the fall of 2013 when I obtained the last missing piece needed to
start the project.  And this task is not even an end goal of the
overall project in itself: in terms of functionality, the latest
moko12 (aka leo2moko-r1) firmware from 2013-10 is already as good as
it will ever get, and while it would certainly be nice to have a
"freedom upgrade", the number of FR users is now so vanishingly small
and the practical usability of the FR as a whole (outside the modem)
is so low that spending years of effort just to produce a "freedom
upgrade" for one or two FR users is not very justifiable.

However, replacing the Windows-built firmware in the FR's modem with
the just-described fully free version is an important intermediate
step toward other goals of the project:

1. When we produce a standalone modem equivalent to Om's, a modem
   available to non-FR users and directly usable with a laptop or any
   other external host, it would be much nicer if this modem could run
   truly free fw as in full source compiled with free tools, rather
   than fw built under Wine from mostly binary libs.

2. For my practically free non-smart phone, whether I build my own hw
   or repurpose Motorola's or Pirelli's, having firmware built with
   gcc under Unix/Linux is a prerequisite.  Well, OK, the actual fw
   requirements are (1) to have the GSM protocol stack core in the
   desired configuration and (2) an easy ability to make large
   additions and modifications to the support code outside of the GSM
   PS core - but trying to satisfy these two requirements while
   staying within TI's nasty Windows-based environment would be such
   an incredible pita that I would rather get a full-source, gcc-built
   version running on the FR's modem first.  And besides, we will most
   certainly want our "dumbphone" firmware to be built from full source
   with gcc eventually anyway, so we might as well bite the bullet and
   do that work upfront.

The current status is that I now got almost all major chunks of "meat"
comprising TI's modem firmware suite reintegrated onto the FreeCalypso
firmware skeleton, and I am *almost* able to build a firmware image
with the GSM protocol stack and AT command interpreter included.  Right
now the (hopefully) last remaining stumbling block is the audio
subsystem.  The audio subsystem in the firmware of a GSM modem
subservient to an external host *ought* to be rather trivial: just
turn the vocoder on and off as needed (on during calls, off at all
other times), and route the call audio to the analog voice channel
(Iota) or the digital one (MCSI) as required.  But unfortunately for
the FC firmware bring-up effort, TI's implementation is not so simple.

TI's firmware architecture includes a rich and complex audio subsystem
that can play various beeps and ringtones, record and play back voice
memos and even recognize voice commands - all on the Calypso.  Most of
these functions are naturally needed for handsets in which the Calypso
drives the entirety of the phone (although even there some of the
features are optional frills), but it appears that TI's fw architecture
is designed to include all or most of that stuff whether it's needed
or not.

Believe it or not, all currently existing FR modem firmwares (both
mokoN and leo2moko) do include *all* of that Calypso audio subsystem:
the L1 audio code, the RiViera audio service, the audio functions
wrapper in Condat's "drivers" library and the audio-twiddling parts of
ACI - all of it.  Of course in an application like the FR's modem most
of that code is just dead weight that will never be used, but it's
there.  I was hoping that I could build a firmware version with this
entire subsystem excluded, but it now seems that such a trimming would
be no easy task.  It appears that the ACI layer always calls some audio
functions, and if the audio subsystem isn't there, the link fails with
undefined references (also known as unresolved externals).  At this
point I could proceed in two ways:

1. Dive deep into the ACI and try to understand why it needs to call
   audio functions, what purpose these calls serve and how they can be
   removed.

2. Bite the bullet, take a detour from the full GSM stack build,
   reintegrate the audio subsystem (perhaps it can even be tested
   standalone without the GSM protocol stack being there), and then
   come back to the GSM stack build with the audio subsystem included.

I am currently undecided as to which way I should go, but I'm leaning
toward option 2.  After all, running full-source, gcc-built firmware
on FR's modem is not an end goal of my project in itself, instead it's
an intermediate goal toward building firmware for non-smart phones;
the latter will most certainly need the audio subsystem, so I might as
well do that work now.

Hardware subproject
===================

The hardware articles I would like to build in the FC project are:

1. A standalone modem for use with laptops etc;
2. A Free Dumb Phone;
3. A module that could be used by free smartphone projects like Neo900.

Out of these three, (1) is clearly the simplest - or more precisely,
the simplest thing to build would be a preliminary version of (1) with
jacks for hooking up a lab bench power supply emulating a battery,
rather than USB power as I envision for the "final product" version of
gadget 1.  (Figuring out the optimal way to run the modem from USB 5V
power will require some extra research and thought.)

So while the article of most use to me personally would be (2), logic
says that it would be easier to build just a bare minimum board first,
consisting of just the core chipset, a hook-up for lab bench power, a
SIM socket, an antenna connector and headers for the UARTs, JTAG and
MCSI, rather than going directly to building all that *plus* an LCD, a
keypad, full set of analog audio circuits required in a handset, a
battery charging circuit etc.  Hence the first piece of Calypso hw I
seek to build is that bare minimum board.

Wishlist item: encryption
=========================

One feature that would be really, really nice to implement is end-to-
end encrypted voice calls, going over CSD when this service is
available, or as a lower quality fallback, over GPRS/IP when CSD is
not available.  I would really like to have this feature for my
family's own use (it would be awesome to be able to talk to my S.O.
without FBI/NSA/etc listening), and it would certainly help my Free
Dumb Phone sell. :)  But I am currently uncertain as to how and when I
might be able to implement this highly desirable feature.

If the underlying transport is CSD (which still works on T-Mobile USA,
or at least it did the last time I checked), then there is a slight
chance that it *might* be possible to implement end-to-end voice
encryption as a pure software feature without any extra hardware.  The
trick would be to insert the encryption function into the Calypso's
DSP pipeline.  The DSP part of the Calypso has most of its code in
mask ROM, but there is also a limited ability to extend or modify this
DSP code with downloadable patches.  These patches cannot replace the
entirety of the DSP's mask ROM code as the RAM into which these
patches go is smaller than the ROM with the main code, but there is
some ability to add new functionality not envisioned when the chip was
made with its mask ROM code.  I wonder if it might be possible to
sandwich end-to-end encryption in between the DSP's standard functions
of radio burst demodulation below (along with the pointless A5/1
encryption that protects nothing but is required by the network) and
the standard GSM voice codecs above.

However, implementing end-to-end voice encryption over CSD in this
manner would be very difficult, and may be impossible after all:

1. A *very* extensive reverse engineering of the (totally undocumented
   binary) DSP code would be required, unless I can find an ex-TI
   employee with a survived copy of the source for that DSP code, as
   well as a COFF file corresponding to what went into the silicon.

2. It is very uncertain whether or not the Calypso DSP will have
   enough horsepower to perform this end-to-end encryption in addition
   to the radio burst demodulation and GSM voice codec functions that
   would be required of it at the same time.

A different way to implement the end-to-end encryption feature that
would require building extra hardware into the phone but would be more
reliable in terms of not depending on anything in the Calypso DSP land
(and could also work with GPRS/IP in addition to CSD) would be to add
an extra chip (an FPGA would be the most powerful and flexible solution,
but probably too power-hungry, so a low-power DSP would probably be
more practical) to do the end-to-end voice encryption feature.  Keep
the power to this chip completely off except when an encrypted call is
in progress.  Connect this extra chip to the Calypso on one side (MCSI
or an extra UART), and cut into the voice ADC/DAC channel between
Calypso and Iota on the other side.  The firmware on the Calypso would
feed encrypted payloads to the extra chip without spending any Calypso
CPU cycles on encryption/decryption, the extra chip would do the
encryption/decryption and our chosen voice codec (may or may not be
the same as standard GSM, as it will be inside our end-to-end encrypted
pipe), and the decrypted voice samples would travel between our extra
chip and the ADC/DAC in the Iota ABB without any part of the Calypso
ever seeing them.  It would be a little messy and ugly in hardware
terms, but it would get the job done.

I imagine that quite a few people will value this feature highly enough
to tolerate a bit of extra hardware and some ugliness in the design -
so I anticipate that I *will* get to do this hack eventually.  The
question is when - the complexity involved is certainly not something
I feel like building into my first design...

What will I work on next?
=========================

Unfortunately there is only one of me, so I can only work on one task
at a time.  Sweet dreams like end-to-end voice encryption are still
too far in the future for now, so there really are only two practical
choices as to what I could work on next:

1. The next steps in the firmware subproject: reintegrate TI's audio
   code, and then come back to building a full fw image with the GSM
   protocol stack and AT command interpreter.

2. The first FC hardware design: a bare-minimum board corresponding to
   Om's GTA01/02 modem.

Ultimately it all comes down to economics: if you wish to influence
the direction of my work, you can do so by funding it.  The amount
that's been raised at the Indiegogo campaign so far will certainly
help relieve my and Shannon's current severe hardship a little bit,
but it is not enough to significantly influence the direction of the
project.  Therefore, unless the funding steps up significantly, I plan
on spending the next couple of months working on the firmware
subproject of FreeCalypso - simply because it's a little easier for me
to work on in my present circumstances.

VLR,
SF

Links:

FreeCalypso sw/fw subproject source repository:
https://bitbucket.org/falconian/freecalypso-sw

Crowdfunding campaign:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/free-software-cellular-baseband

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Neil Jerram-4
A non-technical comment that you can take or leave - but it is my genuine response to your writings...

I'm impressed by‎ your dedication and detail, and I partly enjoy reading your updates; but I find it hard to forget the unacceptably violent threats that you've made in the past (on this list) towards particular people. 

I wonder if you might now consider retracting and apologising for those, and undertake not to repeat similar in future?

Viva la humanidad!

      Neil 


  Original Message  
From: Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Sent: Saturday, 18 April 2015 07:29
To: [hidden email]
Reply To: List for Openmoko community discussion
Subject: State of FreeCalypso

Hello community,

This periodic post is a summary of the goals of the FreeCalypso family
of projects and the high-level status toward their achievement.

Goals
=====

The overall end goals of the project are, in no particular order:

1. Produce a standalone realization of Openmoko's modem. I have had
occasion to work with various GSM modems and phones acting as modems
(presenting an AT command interface) since A.D. 2000, and the modem
in the Freerunner is by far the nicest I've ever touched. TI's
implementation of the GSM specs is the richest in terms of
functionality (contrast with the lack of CSD support in most 3G+
USB "stick" modems), and thanks to the Leonardo semi-src find, we
now have full visibility into its inner workings.

But it's a shame that this awesome GSM+GPRS modem is currently
tucked away in the guts of the Freerunner, inaccessible to anyone
besides the tiny handful of active FR owners/users - and even when
one does have a Freerunner, it is not possible to take the FR's AP
subsystem out of the picture and use the modem directly from an
external host; one has to go through the AP instead, severely
limiting the ability to use this modem outside of the FR.

Hence I would like to build a modem just like Om's, but brought out
on a board by itself, with external connections for power and the
two UARTs. And throw in a quadband RFFE and a higher capacity
flash+pSRAM chip while at it.

2. Produce a practically usable phone that runs practically free
firmware, i.e., fw whose source every user is empowered to study
and improve or otherwise modify. Note the emphasis on practical
usability. I hear from FR owners that the practical usability of
the FR as a phone is rather poor, and because there is absolutely
nothing wrong with the modem (hw or fw), the defects in usability
must be the result of some flaw(s) in the AP subsystem - a
subsystem which from my PoV is nothing but unwanted complexity.
And I would never be able to use my FR as a personal phone because
it would require running something like QtMoko, and that stuff is
far too complex for my old peasant mind. Free software which is
far too complex for me to understand and work with comfortably is
little different from proprietary sw from the purely practical
standpoint - it's a impenetrable black box in practical terms.

Therefore, the only way for me to have a practically usable phone
that runs practically free firmware is to produce a non-smart phone,
a plain phone with no AP subsystem. The long-term solution is to
build my own handset hardware, but in the short term it would be OK
to use not-quite-fitting but already existing hardware like Pirelli
and Motorola phones.

3. Produce a FreeCalypso modem module that could be used in the place
of off-the-shelf proprietary ones by free smartphone projects like
Neo900. I would like to buy a couple of Neo900 units for two of my
family members, but cannot do so for as long as the product includes
a modem module from an immoral vendor who withholds source code and
documentation and imposes restricted boot barriers to alternative
firmware implementations.

To the person who emailed me off-list and asked if I could design
my FreeCalypso modem in the form factor matching Gemalto's so it
could be a drop-in replacement: yes, I still like that idea very
much and would like to do it, but I'm unsure whether I can manage
such a task by myself, so we may need to work on it together. I
also think that it would be easier if I prove my basic design first
on a non-form-factor-constrained board, and then go through the
form factor gymnastics as a second step.

So the above 3 are the overall goals of the FreeCalypso family of
projects. Out of those, goal 2 (practically usable non-smart phone
running free fw) has been my main focus because it is the one that
would improve my own quality of life: I am sick and tired of dealing
with Pirelli's proprietary fw (I use a Pirelli DP-L10 as my personal
daily phone, running its original proprietary fw as nothing better
exists yet - better as in more free *and* practically usable), and I
really, really, really want to replace it with my own free firmware.

Firmware subproject
===================

The firmware subproject of FreeCalypso is leading up toward an
intermediate goal which is not listed among the end goals above:
producing a firmware version that can run on the GTA01/02 modem and
function no worse than the Windows-built ones (either official mokoN
or my own leo2moko), but builds from full source (no blobs) with gcc
instead of TI's proprietary compiler, under Unix/Linux instead of
Windows/Wine. This task involves an absolutely arduous amount of work
because:

* There is no corresponding source for the GSM L1 and G23M protocol
stack components which came as binary libs in the TCS211 version,
hence these major pieces of the firmware (the main ones, really)
have to be lifted from a different version. We do have another
version in full source form thankfully, but there is some non-
trivial porting work to make it build and function in the desired
configuration, matching TCS211. On the positive side, this
alternate source is a little newer than the binary libs version:
20090327 instead of 20070608. (The ACI component in the
mostly-binary-libs version from 2007 came as source though, so we
can compare the two ACI source versions and see how the software
evolved - and I do see a few updates.)

* In order to build with gcc under Unix/Linux instead of TI's
proprietary tools under Windows/Wine, the entire build system has to
be rebuilt from scratch (excuse the pun), component by component,
module by module, one C file at a time.

This task is so massive that it has occupied me on and off (unpaid
volunteer time is naturally limited) for a year and a half now, since
the fall of 2013 when I obtained the last missing piece needed to
start the project. And this task is not even an end goal of the
overall project in itself: in terms of functionality, the latest
moko12 (aka leo2moko-r1) firmware from 2013-10 is already as good as
it will ever get, and while it would certainly be nice to have a
"freedom upgrade", the number of FR users is now so vanishingly small
and the practical usability of the FR as a whole (outside the modem)
is so low that spending years of effort just to produce a "freedom
upgrade" for one or two FR users is not very justifiable.

However, replacing the Windows-built firmware in the FR's modem with
the just-described fully free version is an important intermediate
step toward other goals of the project:

1. When we produce a standalone modem equivalent to Om's, a modem
available to non-FR users and directly usable with a laptop or any
other external host, it would be much nicer if this modem could run
truly free fw as in full source compiled with free tools, rather
than fw built under Wine from mostly binary libs.

2. For my practically free non-smart phone, whether I build my own hw
or repurpose Motorola's or Pirelli's, having firmware built with
gcc under Unix/Linux is a prerequisite. Well, OK, the actual fw
requirements are (1) to have the GSM protocol stack core in the
desired configuration and (2) an easy ability to make large
additions and modifications to the support code outside of the GSM
PS core - but trying to satisfy these two requirements while
staying within TI's nasty Windows-based environment would be such
an incredible pita that I would rather get a full-source, gcc-built
version running on the FR's modem first. And besides, we will most
certainly want our "dumbphone" firmware to be built from full source
with gcc eventually anyway, so we might as well bite the bullet and
do that work upfront.

The current status is that I now got almost all major chunks of "meat"
comprising TI's modem firmware suite reintegrated onto the FreeCalypso
firmware skeleton, and I am *almost* able to build a firmware image
with the GSM protocol stack and AT command interpreter included. Right
now the (hopefully) last remaining stumbling block is the audio
subsystem. The audio subsystem in the firmware of a GSM modem
subservient to an external host *ought* to be rather trivial: just
turn the vocoder on and off as needed (on during calls, off at all
other times), and route the call audio to the analog voice channel
(Iota) or the digital one (MCSI) as required. But unfortunately for
the FC firmware bring-up effort, TI's implementation is not so simple.

TI's firmware architecture includes a rich and complex audio subsystem
that can play various beeps and ringtones, record and play back voice
memos and even recognize voice commands - all on the Calypso. Most of
these functions are naturally needed for handsets in which the Calypso
drives the entirety of the phone (although even there some of the
features are optional frills), but it appears that TI's fw architecture
is designed to include all or most of that stuff whether it's needed
or not.

Believe it or not, all currently existing FR modem firmwares (both
mokoN and leo2moko) do include *all* of that Calypso audio subsystem:
the L1 audio code, the RiViera audio service, the audio functions
wrapper in Condat's "drivers" library and the audio-twiddling parts of
ACI - all of it. Of course in an application like the FR's modem most
of that code is just dead weight that will never be used, but it's
there. I was hoping that I could build a firmware version with this
entire subsystem excluded, but it now seems that such a trimming would
be no easy task. It appears that the ACI layer always calls some audio
functions, and if the audio subsystem isn't there, the link fails with
undefined references (also known as unresolved externals). At this
point I could proceed in two ways:

1. Dive deep into the ACI and try to understand why it needs to call
audio functions, what purpose these calls serve and how they can be
removed.

2. Bite the bullet, take a detour from the full GSM stack build,
reintegrate the audio subsystem (perhaps it can even be tested
standalone without the GSM protocol stack being there), and then
come back to the GSM stack build with the audio subsystem included.

I am currently undecided as to which way I should go, but I'm leaning
toward option 2. After all, running full-source, gcc-built firmware
on FR's modem is not an end goal of my project in itself, instead it's
an intermediate goal toward building firmware for non-smart phones;
the latter will most certainly need the audio subsystem, so I might as
well do that work now.

Hardware subproject
===================

The hardware articles I would like to build in the FC project are:

1. A standalone modem for use with laptops etc;
2. A Free Dumb Phone;
3. A module that could be used by free smartphone projects like Neo900.

Out of these three, (1) is clearly the simplest - or more precisely,
the simplest thing to build would be a preliminary version of (1) with
jacks for hooking up a lab bench power supply emulating a battery,
rather than USB power as I envision for the "final product" version of
gadget 1. (Figuring out the optimal way to run the modem from USB 5V
power will require some extra research and thought.)

So while the article of most use to me personally would be (2), logic
says that it would be easier to build just a bare minimum board first,
consisting of just the core chipset, a hook-up for lab bench power, a
SIM socket, an antenna connector and headers for the UARTs, JTAG and
MCSI, rather than going directly to building all that *plus* an LCD, a
keypad, full set of analog audio circuits required in a handset, a
battery charging circuit etc. Hence the first piece of Calypso hw I
seek to build is that bare minimum board.

Wishlist item: encryption
=========================

One feature that would be really, really nice to implement is end-to-
end encrypted voice calls, going over CSD when this service is
available, or as a lower quality fallback, over GPRS/IP when CSD is
not available. I would really like to have this feature for my
family's own use (it would be awesome to be able to talk to my S.O.
without FBI/NSA/etc listening), and it would certainly help my Free
Dumb Phone sell. :) But I am currently uncertain as to how and when I
might be able to implement this highly desirable feature.

If the underlying transport is CSD (which still works on T-Mobile USA,
or at least it did the last time I checked), then there is a slight
chance that it *might* be possible to implement end-to-end voice
encryption as a pure software feature without any extra hardware. The
trick would be to insert the encryption function into the Calypso's
DSP pipeline. The DSP part of the Calypso has most of its code in
mask ROM, but there is also a limited ability to extend or modify this
DSP code with downloadable patches. These patches cannot replace the
entirety of the DSP's mask ROM code as the RAM into which these
patches go is smaller than the ROM with the main code, but there is
some ability to add new functionality not envisioned when the chip was
made with its mask ROM code. I wonder if it might be possible to
sandwich end-to-end encryption in between the DSP's standard functions
of radio burst demodulation below (along with the pointless A5/1
encryption that protects nothing but is required by the network) and
the standard GSM voice codecs above.

However, implementing end-to-end voice encryption over CSD in this
manner would be very difficult, and may be impossible after all:

1. A *very* extensive reverse engineering of the (totally undocumented
binary) DSP code would be required, unless I can find an ex-TI
employee with a survived copy of the source for that DSP code, as
well as a COFF file corresponding to what went into the silicon.

2. It is very uncertain whether or not the Calypso DSP will have
enough horsepower to perform this end-to-end encryption in addition
to the radio burst demodulation and GSM voice codec functions that
would be required of it at the same time.

A different way to implement the end-to-end encryption feature that
would require building extra hardware into the phone but would be more
reliable in terms of not depending on anything in the Calypso DSP land
(and could also work with GPRS/IP in addition to CSD) would be to add
an extra chip (an FPGA would be the most powerful and flexible solution,
but probably too power-hungry, so a low-power DSP would probably be
more practical) to do the end-to-end voice encryption feature. Keep
the power to this chip completely off except when an encrypted call is
in progress. Connect this extra chip to the Calypso on one side (MCSI
or an extra UART), and cut into the voice ADC/DAC channel between
Calypso and Iota on the other side. The firmware on the Calypso would
feed encrypted payloads to the extra chip without spending any Calypso
CPU cycles on encryption/decryption, the extra chip would do the
encryption/decryption and our chosen voice codec (may or may not be
the same as standard GSM, as it will be inside our end-to-end encrypted
pipe), and the decrypted voice samples would travel between our extra
chip and the ADC/DAC in the Iota ABB without any part of the Calypso
ever seeing them. It would be a little messy and ugly in hardware
terms, but it would get the job done.

I imagine that quite a few people will value this feature highly enough
to tolerate a bit of extra hardware and some ugliness in the design -
so I anticipate that I *will* get to do this hack eventually. The
question is when - the complexity involved is certainly not something
I feel like building into my first design...

What will I work on next?
=========================

Unfortunately there is only one of me, so I can only work on one task
at a time. Sweet dreams like end-to-end voice encryption are still
too far in the future for now, so there really are only two practical
choices as to what I could work on next:

1. The next steps in the firmware subproject: reintegrate TI's audio
code, and then come back to building a full fw image with the GSM
protocol stack and AT command interpreter.

2. The first FC hardware design: a bare-minimum board corresponding to
Om's GTA01/02 modem.

Ultimately it all comes down to economics: if you wish to influence
the direction of my work, you can do so by funding it. The amount
that's been raised at the Indiegogo campaign so far will certainly
help relieve my and Shannon's current severe hardship a little bit,
but it is not enough to significantly influence the direction of the
project. Therefore, unless the funding steps up significantly, I plan
on spending the next couple of months working on the firmware
subproject of FreeCalypso - simply because it's a little easier for me
to work on in my present circumstances.

VLR,
SF

Links:

FreeCalypso sw/fw subproject source repository:
https://bitbucket.org/falconian/freecalypso-sw

Crowdfunding campaign:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/free-software-cellular-baseband

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

mail
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
>I'm impressed by‎ your dedication and detail, and I partly enjoy reading your updates

+1 but s/partly/entirely [although I also didn't enjoy reading threats :-)]

Lets not forget - just one man working doggedly on the only project that offers any possibility of a cell phone running firmware that offers the four freedoms.

In recognition of the fact that this project is going beyond the leo2moko firmware port and the freerunner itself, I've updated the links to the howtos I wrote for the existing firmware and tools that Michael has released:-

http://matthews.pm/freecalypso.html

(formerly http://matthews.pm/leo2moko.html)

There should not be any broken links, but if you do see any, please let me know.

Finally, please do donate generously - to Michael, not myself ^_~

--
David Matthews
[hidden email]

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
[hidden email] wrote:

> but I find it hard to forget the unacceptably violent threats that you've
> made in the past (on this list) towards particular people.

The people you are referring to tormented me in the most heinous
manner for a full 2 years (from the fall of 2011 till about the same
time in 2013), and the threats you are referring to were not so much
threats as tentative contingency plans.

*All* of the work that I've done on the FreeCalypso project so far has
been possible *only* because the playing field was finally leveled in
the fall of 2013 with the publishing of a source equivalent to the one
that was wrongfully denied to unprivileged persons like me in the
prior years: now everyone in the world, including nobodies like me,
has access to exactly the same set of starting point materials.

I would never had been able to work on a project like FreeCalypso -
neither technically nor emotionally - while there were persons in the
so-called "community" taunting me with "we have this source which
would make a night-and-day difference for your project, but we'll
never let you have it" - therefore, making plans of a life-for-a-life
exchange (giving up my own life after torturing and killing them) was
my only available option under those circumstances.

> I wonder if you might now consider retracting and apologising for those,

Retracting: sure, now that the playing field has been leveled and
everyone including me has access to the same set of starting point
materials, there is no longer any need for me to kidnap, torture or
kill anyone.

Apologising: hell no!  I do not owe any apology to a bunch of sadists
who got some kind of sexual gratification out of watching my life
wither away (for a full 2 years!) without access to the one and only
piece of pirate ware (TCS211 semi-src given by TI to a whole bunch of
phone and modem manufacturers in 2007) which I needed in order to have
a purposeful, meaningful and productive life.  And I *do* have that
purposeful, meaningful and productive life now, thanks to the Russian
comrade who helped me obtain (and publish to the rest of the world) a
copy of that TCS211 semi-src - but I don't owe any apologies to anyone.

> and undertake not to repeat similar in future?

Sure: the playing field is now level, I have all of the starting point
materials I need, and the rest of the world has them too through my
FTP site and physical DVD-R distributions, so there is no more need to
resort to life-sacrifice means.

VLR,
SF

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Joerg Reisenweber
On Sat 18 April 2015 17:41:02 Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:
> I would never had been able to work on a project like FreeCalypso -
> neither technically nor emotionally - while there were persons in the
> so-called "community" taunting me with "we have this source which
> would make a night-and-day difference for your project, but we'll
> never let you have it" - therefore, making plans of a life-for-a-life
> exchange (giving up my own life after torturing and killing them) was
> my only available option under those circumstances.

without any words. Guess about our motivation to cooperate with somebody as
mad as this

futile effort to educate persons with such mental issues.
s/educate/cure/

ETX
/j
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Re: State of FreeCalypso

mail
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
>
>futile effort to educate persons with such mental issues.
>s/educate/cure/

yeah crazy - the four freedoms on a cell phone - only a nut case would dream that one up

--
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[hidden email]

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Joerg Reisenweber
On Sat 18 April 2015 20:22:31 [hidden email] wrote:
> yeah crazy - the four freedoms on a cell phone - only a nut case would dream
> that one up
you're completely missing the point.
this guy threatening OM and me personally to kill me when I don't grant him
access to sources which even OM had unclear permissions in (since received
form FIC and not directly from TI, initially) and for sure would be liable
when disclosing them to a nut case psycho who thinks it's his natural right to
have access to them and to threaten *us* (OpenMoko) instead of maybe TI with
assault and murder when we don't grant him access. OM was *very* liberal with
granting access to virtually *everything* to *everybody* who showed a *little
bit* of common sense about avoiding possible damage to OpenMoko when getting
access to that material whatever it been. We explicitly decided that any such
common sense is NOT to be found in *this particular person* who rather
threatens to kill us than considering how to cooperate in a reasonable manner
that maximizes benefit and limits possible damage on both sides.

And evidently nothing has changed, the line of argumentation is all the same
since years.

so: futile effort. File closed.


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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Joerg Reisenweber
In reply to this post by Neil Jerram-4
On Sat 18 April 2015 09:41:03 [hidden email] wrote:
> I wonder if you might now consider retracting and apologising for those, and
> undertake not to repeat similar in future?

Thanks for brining it up, Neil. Alas, you see, it's in vain. Despite all the
good will from our side. This guy was probably born in a cinema during a Rambo
movie. ;-) Maybe he *needs* that attitude that only he and his AK-47 can
change the world, and everybody except himself is on the wrong side of that
AK-47. Some people need that sort of challenge to push up the importance and
perceived burden of their own struggle.
In Germany we have the saying "Viel Feind, viel Ehr". Worst case - and with
according mental problems - you consider your allies your worst enemies just
to keep that attitude. And you know Leroy Jethro Gibbs: "never apologize!" ;)

/j
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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
joerg Reisenweber <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thanks for brining it up, Neil. Alas, you see, it's in vain. Despite al=
> l the=20
> good will from our side. [...]

I don't hold any grudges against you.  I don't consider you an enemy.
I don't have any ill will toward you or any of your former coworkers
who badly hurt me.  I got what I needed, and at least from my side,
all past is forgiven.

But I don't believe that I owe any apologies to anyone.  I am not
asking you to publicly apologize for the 2 years of mental TORTURE you
put me through - so why are people asking me to apologize for my
reaction to that torture?

> have access to them and to threaten *us* (OpenMoko) instead of maybe TI=
> with=20
> assault and murder when we don't grant him access.

"Maybe TI"?  What makes you think that there *even one person* in the
present-day TI who even knows/remembers that they were once in that
business, let alone has a copy of any sources from those days?

As far as I know, all TI offices where that work was done were closed
and all associated employees were laid off.  I consider it very likely
that present-day TI as a company *does not have a copy* of any of
these sources, except for whatever they may have downloaded from my
FTP site or the like.

At the time of the painful 2 y long episode in question, I believed
(and had every good reason to believe) that you were holding the
world's last remaining copy.

I think it's time we put that past behind us and move on with our
lives and with whatever productive work we can do.

VLR,
SF

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Joerg Reisenweber
On Sat 18 April 2015 21:32:21 Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:
> I am not
> asking you to publicly apologize for the 2 years of mental TORTURE you
> put me through - so why are people asking me to apologize for my
> reaction to that torture?

Listen buddy!
NOBODY TORTURED YOU, except you yourself did that maybe. OM not even
approached you, we simply ignored you as far as any possible. When that's
torturing then what is it YOU are doing to me - right now?
What would ypou say when now *I* would claim you're torturing me by not
granting me that apardon for your inappropriate behavior? Would you appreciate
me threatening you, your family and coworkers, to get that pardon from you?
And you have to admit that *you* started this particular thread by addressing
me with your extorting efforts. NOT I did anything that would now result in me
awaiting a public apology for the former (and recent) public threatening (not
to mention the lying and badmouthing and...)

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Joshua Judson Rosen
In reply to this post by mail
On 04/18/2015 08:30 AM, [hidden email] wrote:
>> I'm impressed by‎ your dedication and detail, and I partly enjoy reading your updates
>
> +1 but s/partly/entirely [although I also didn't enjoy reading threats :-)]
>
> Lets not forget - just one man working doggedly on the only project that offers any possibility of a cell phone running firmware that offers the four freedoms.

OsmocomBB?


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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Bob Ham-2
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
On Sat, 2015-04-18 at 21:32 +0000, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:
> I am not
> asking you to publicly apologize for the 2 years of mental TORTURE you
> put me through

They didn't put you through torture, you put yourself through it.  You
continue to do that now, in different ways.

The person who you most need to apologise to is yourself.  I wish you
healing and wellness.

Bob


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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Joshua Judson Rosen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> OsmocomBB?

Unfortunately they seem to have absolutely no interest in producing a
phone (or firmware for a phone) which an end user could carry in her
purse.  Their software absolutely requires the phone to be tethered to
a PC at all times (instead of running the GSM protocol stack on the
baseband processor where it is supposed to run, they run it on the PC
instead), and if the phone gets unplugged for even a moment, it
immediately loses its ability to receive incoming calls and SMS.

Furthermore, the state of OsmocomBB today (for normal GSM usage, NOT
hacking) is exactly the same today as it was in late 2010 or early 2011:
zero progress made in 4 years.  It is very unfortunate indeed: the
people behind OsmocomBB know GSM far better than I do, and I am fairly
sure that they are very capable of making their GPLed GSM stack work
on a phone in a practically usable manner if they wanted to.  But
apparently they have no interest in such a project, and I don't have
any supernatural powers to make them work on something they are not
interested in.

Therefore, I am doing the only thing that *is* within my power and
which *will* result in a practically usable phone running source-
enabled firmware: working on my own alternative non-OsmocomBB
implementation, called FreeCalypso.

Bob Ham <[hidden email]> wrote:

> They didn't put you through torture, you put yourself through it.  You
> continue to do that now, in different ways.

Just out of curiosity, how do you think I am "torturing" myself now?

> The person who you most need to apologise to is yourself.

For what?  For wanting to have a phone that doesn't suck?  For wanting
to have a phone such that if something doesn't work because of a bug
in the firmware, I can fix it myself instead of throwing it out and
getting a new one in a vain hope that it will work better?  I don't
see any wrongdoing in having such a desire or in working toward its
satisfaction - hence I don't see what I should be apologizing to
myself for.

> I wish you healing and wellness.

Those will happen automatically as soon as I have a phone in my purse
that runs my own firmware.  I am actively working toward the latter,
and don't need anything from you.

VLR,
SF

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

mail
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
>> Lets not forget - just one man working doggedly on the only project that offers any possibility of a cell phone running firmware that offers the four freedoms.
>
>OsmocomBB?
>

No

A fine project I have no doubt, but it's not aimed at producing firmware for an end-user phone.

I believe it's fair to say it's a hacking/investigative tool, but I'm happy to be corrected by anyone that actually uses or works on it. I appreciated the information on the unlock cable that they provide:-

http://bb.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/Hardware/SerialCable

--
David Matthews
[hidden email]

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Bob Ham-2
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
On Tue, 2015-04-21 at 15:38 +0000, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:

> > I wish you healing and wellness.
>
> Those will happen automatically as soon as I have a phone in my purse
> that runs my own firmware.

Why is your wellness dependant on a phone?


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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Bob Ham <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Why is your wellness dependant on a phone?

Because I use one to stay in touch with the people who matter in my
life, and I need this essential communication device to be free from
closed black-box firmware.

It is also a well-known fact that most free software developers derive
great personal satisfaction from doing something that benefits a
larger community, and my projects are no different in this regard.  I
consider it a very worthy use of my life to work on building a
freedom-enabling and freedom-respecting personal communication device
which many people will greatly appreciate having in their hands,
pockets and purses - even if you specifically are not one of those
people.

VLR,
SF

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Bob Ham-2
On Tue, 2015-04-21 at 17:11 +0000, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:
> Bob Ham <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Why is your wellness dependant on a phone?
>
> Because I use one to stay in touch with the people who matter in my
> life

What would be the consequences if you didn't have a mobile phone to do
that?


> It is also a well-known fact that most free software developers derive
> great personal satisfaction from doing something that benefits a
> larger community

True.  However, there's a very big difference between deriving
satisfaction from doing worthwhile work and being pathologically
dependant on it.  I don't know any other free software developers who
threaten to murder those who get in the way of their work.  It looks
like for you, the work isn't done just for satisfaction, it looks like a
need.


On Sat, 2015-04-18 at 17:41 +0000, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:
> I do not owe any apology to a bunch of sadists
> who got some kind of sexual gratification out of watching my life
> wither away (for a full 2 years!)

How did your life wither away?  What happened?


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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Bob Ham <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Because I use one to stay in touch with the people who matter in my
> > life
>
> What would be the consequences if you didn't have a mobile phone to do
> that?

I do have a mobile phone for communicating with my family and friends
etc, and have had one continuously since 2003.  However, all of these
phones I've been using run firmware for which I have no source (and
given their age and the ephemeral nature of proprietary sw, I consider
it highly likely that no one else in the entire world has it either,
i.e., it's lost, gone to the great bit bucket in the sky), and this
lack of firmware source code prevents me from being able to fix
functional bugs or modify the UI design to my own personal taste.

I consider this status quo to be a very poor state of affairs, and
because I just happen to have the right knowledge and skills (and
since the fall of 2013, the necessary starting materials) to improve
the situation, I choose to work on the latter.

> True.  However, there's a very big difference between deriving
> satisfaction from doing worthwhile work and being pathologically
> dependant on it.  I don't know any other free software developers who
> threaten to murder those who get in the way of their work.  It looks
> like for you, the work isn't done just for satisfaction, it looks like a
> need.

The need I had at that time has been satisfied, hence there is nothing
relevant to the present in need of discussion here.  Nothing to see
here, move along.

VLR,
SF

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Paul Wise-2
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
On Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 5:28 AM, Spacefalcon the Outlaw wrote:

> I do have a mobile phone for communicating with my family and friends

In 2017, AT&T will be shutting down their GSM network in the USA in
favour of 3G/4G. Macau is planning to shut down their GSM services in
June 2015. I would hazard a guess that GSM will be shut down worldwide
at some point, probably sooner in the USA. So eventually GTA02 and
Calypo will be less useful for communication as they would need an
external device or some method of device-to-device communication like
the Serval Mesh. What is your plan for the transition away from GSM?

http://mashable.com/2012/08/04/att-2g-wireless/
http://www.dsrt.gov.mo/por/News/special/PressRelease2gArrangementAndInvestigationRpt.html

--
bye,
pabs

http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/User:PaulWise

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Re: State of FreeCalypso

Spacefalcon the Outlaw
In reply to this post by Spacefalcon the Outlaw
Paul Wise <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In 2017, AT&T will be shutting down their GSM network in the USA in
> favour of 3G/4G.

If AT&T likes losing customers, it's their choice.  I use T-Mobile
(satisfied customer since 2003 with just one short break before I
entered the libre phone scene in 2011), and I saw somewhere that
although they are reducing GSM/2G capacity, they will leave a tiny
sliver around.  A tiny sliver is all I need.

> Macau is planning to shut down their GSM services in
> June 2015.

Yeah, I saw that news a while back and crossed Macau off the list of
places I would ever want to live or do business in.

> I would hazard a guess that GSM will be shut down worldwide
> at some point, probably sooner in the USA. So eventually GTA02 and
> Calypo will be less useful for communication as they would need an
> external device or some method of device-to-device communication like
> the Serval Mesh. What is your plan for the transition away from GSM?

The plan is simple: if GSM service in my current neck of the woods
gets shut down, move to some tiny island banana republic where getting
a "spectrum license" to operate my own GSM cell just for my family's
own use would be as simple and inexpensive as befriending/bribing the
local drug czar who is the de facto owner of the island.

VLR,
SF

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