freerunner & fc-host-tools-r8

david at david at
Sat Aug 4 12:15:26 UTC 2018

hello all

The possibility of day to day using a really free phone reignited my interest in the neofreerunner. I spent a day looking for firmware options that concentrated on the phone systems over other smart phone functions, but failed to find a single version of shr that did not kernel panic on boot. So I returned to qtmoko v58 which I'm most familiar with.

It's actually a decent working system although I'd be interested to hear of any still available working alternatives that concentrate less on being a multi purpose smartphone.

I also had a play with parts of the last host tools release; I discovered that there is a much simpler way to flash freecalypso to the fully booted up phone than the methods I previously described in various howtos.

There is no need to stop qtmoko running, the crucial thing to getting the loadtool prompt is joggling the values in the download and power_on files; on qtmoko these are in the /sys/bus/platform/devices/gta02-pm-gsm.0/ directory. In normal operation these files contain 0 and 1 respectively. I

The trick is to connect up with the unlock cable and in this order:-
1. put 0 in the power_on file
2. run fc-loadtool -h gta02 /dev/ttyUSB0
3. put 1 in both power_on and download files
at which point you'll get a loadtool prompt. It's doable even without an ssh connection over usb although you may find that makes it a little more convenient.

Finally a query about those host tools - I'm not sure which if any are expected to work with non freecalypso hardware. In particular the User-phone-tools look interesting, but I had no luck there.

David Matthews
david at

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