Share your knowledge at the LQ Wiki.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Laptop and Netbook
User Name
Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


  Search this Thread
Old 05-24-2008, 08:02 PM   #1
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Sacramento, California
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 10
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
What's the best mobile phone for a Linux/OS agenda?

So - not talking about the Nokia hand-helds, which don't server as phones - and primarily interested in the best phones _and_ companies that support a Linux/OS agenda. I find that mobile devices are a very important area for OS development/ exploration - but unfortunately this area is stifled by hardware vendor/ software/ carrier relationships.

At first I thought Motorola was the way to go, and purchased a Ming a1200 about a year ago. It had some firmware problems and I never got around to putting a shell on it - but I was happy to have the option.

The big site for motorola-linux phones is - but it seems more like a phone hacker/hot-rod community, rather than an idealistic OS front. That's what I'm more interested in. To get a lot of the apps to work on the Motorola phones using the guides, it seems you need to get the MotorolaTools software - which I believe is just a Windows or Mac binary.

OpenMoko looks very promising - but you can't find any OpenMoko neo1973s anywhere. The latest OpenMoko device - the FreeRunner - is supposed to start shipping next month. Still - they're talking about a >$400 price-point, which is about $200 over what I will afford myself.

So I'm kind of stuck because I think mobile/phone hardware is a very important area for Linux and OS, but there don't seem to be any good or affordable options.

Would love to hear any other opinions on which phones are best for a Linux/OS agenda. Thanks.
Old 05-25-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Directly above centre of the earth, UK
Distribution: SuSE, plus some hopping
Posts: 4,070

Rep: Reputation: 897Reputation: 897Reputation: 897Reputation: 897Reputation: 897Reputation: 897Reputation: 897
Originally Posted by yekibud View Post
...primarily interested in the best phones _and_ companies that support a Linux/OS agenda...
I think you'll have to be clearer about 'support a linux/OS agenda'. if you want a phone that can interface with, for example, your Linux box, that is one thing. On the other hand, if you want to run Linux (or other Open Source software) on the phone, that is something else completely.

As you say, the freerunners are expensive, difficult to get and currently not really suitable for end users. You can make a bet that this last part will change, but right now I'm not aware of anything else that cures all of those problems. Sure, there is stuff this promised Real Soon Now that are rumoured to be soon available that will be better/smaller/cheaper/more capable/shinier, but really that's not much good until you can get them. Sure, there are Asian market phones that have Linux as an underlying OS (and its not clear whether, even if you had one of those, it would do anything that you would want).

And anyway, don't think that just because you've got Linux, you would be able to play with everything. I know you can with a PC, but if you look at OpenMoko (OpenSnot! Way to go!) they've been quite careful to ensure that there is some stuff that you can't get at. OTOH, it would be quite attractive to have a phone that upgrades like a linux box rather than the the 'throw away and buy new' cycle of the typical 'phone.
Old 05-25-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Sacramento, California
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 10
Posts: 37

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
By 'Linux/OS agenda', I mean not just phones that you can synch your calendars with on a Linux desktop/laptop - but phones that run on Linux and are best suited and most open to OS development. I want to be able to look at a feature on my phone that I don't like, figure it out, and change it. Let's say there isn't a press-and-hold speed dial feature - I want to be able to figure out how the key-pad presses are detected and add some logic to the appropriate events to suit my needs. And so on.

I understand there may not be an option right now that is totally open or allows you to do much more than customize skins or add some third party apps, but I still would like to know which phones and companies are heading in the right direction. I used to think it was Motorola, but I'm unsure. says:
The OpenEZX project tries to gather information about the Linux-based Motorola EZX phone platform
. Some people have called this just a reverse engineering attempt. So I'm wondering, is this the best we can do for OS development right now? Or is it a vain hacking attempt and OS development resources should be shifted toward other projects like OpenMoko or Android? Or, in the short term, should one settle with a Nokia phone - maybe not based on Linux, but at least it interfaces well and Nokia is the only company that put real OS/Linux portable devices on the market and may be more friendly to real OS/Linux phones in the future?

Last edited by yekibud; 05-25-2008 at 12:49 PM.
Old 05-31-2008, 01:03 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 256

Rep: Reputation: 32
I heard a rumor that the next generation Nokia Internet Tablet will include cellphone capability.

Also, this project may interest you:
Old 05-31-2008, 01:34 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Sacramento, California
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 10
Posts: 37

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for the link, jgombos. Looks like they got GPE running on the Motorola A780 and a few other mobile phones - but I doubt that means they actually got the phone functionality working. I'll report back if I find out any success here.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Loaded Ubuntu 7.04. Mobile phone connected with cable via usb. Phone is seen, Hec Linux - Newbie 1 02-09-2008 04:46 AM
Linux mobile phone slothpuck Linux - General 1 06-30-2007 02:11 AM
Charlotte Church's mobile phone Oops! Topless photo jumps through mobile phones in UK furfurdemon666 General 3 05-03-2005 08:03 AM
Linux and Mobile Phone fransemail Linux - Software 0 06-20-2004 08:50 AM
Linux on your mobile phone! breakerfall Linux - General 3 07-04-2003 12:45 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Laptop and Netbook

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:08 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration