New FreeCalypso Tourmaline firmware

Mychaela Falconia mychaela.falconia at
Sun Oct 18 21:33:09 UTC 2020

Hello FC community,

I have just created a new FreeCalypso firmware source tree named
FC Tourmaline:

FC Tourmaline is our fourth firmware offering after Citrine, Magnetite
and Selenite, and it is intended for phone handset UI development.

As I see it, our current FC firmware for AT-command-controlled modem
functionality does not need any more work beyond ordinary maintenance:
our current Magnetite hybrid and Tourmaline stdmodem firmwares (the
two are mostly equivalent) are perfect for modem functionality, and
our new FC Tango module provides the perfect hardware counterpart to
this FC modem fw.  Instead the area where real work is needed is
untethered phone handset functionality, and FC Tourmaline has been
created to facilitate development work in that direction.

FC Tourmaline can be built in both handset and modem functional
configs; stdmodem and vpm configs can be built for all targets, but
the handset configs of primary interest support only two hw targets
currently: FC Luna and Mot C139.  Furthermore, the UI code we got from
TI and which we are going to develop and polish further exists in two
configurations, bigcolor and smallbw, and only the smallbw config can
be built for C139 - bigcolor requires a 176x220 pixel LCD, which
practically means FreeCalypso hardware, currently Luna.

Our FC Caramel2 boards are coming along (the PCBs are here, and I will
be taking everything to Technotronix on Oct 23, kicking off the
assembly phase), and when these Caramel2 boards become available to
the public, Luna LCD and keypad add-ons will become available too.
Therefore, anyone who wishes to try their hand at FC handset UI fw
development *will* be able to get the necessary hardware.

The current state of Tourmaline UI firmware is still nowhere close to
practically usable, but the changes I made from Magnetite to Tourmaline
are necessary in order to facilitate further work toward a practically
usable phone.  Considering my other life commitments, I don't know if
I will live to see my FreeCalypso phone dream brought to reality -
therefore, I very strongly encourage other interested people to buy
Caramel2+Luna development kits when they become available and to try
their hand at UI fw development, to make this FreeCalypso phone dream
less dependent on just me.  I have already built the foundation, now
please build on top of this foundation rather than letting it die with
me when I kick the bucket.

Over the next few weeks I will be working with Technotronix toward
getting our C2 boards made, and I am also working toward an upcoming
fc-host-tools-r14 release.  We already have a few new developments
since fc-host-tools-r13 that are ready for release, but before I cut
the release tarball, I need to do my due diligence in terms of waiting
an adequate length of time for Linux ftdi_sio maintainer to respond to
my latest (Oct 5) argument in defense of my proposed DUART28C patch:

I currently plan on waiting until Nov 5 before I bug the maintainer
about this patch, and I prefer to delay the release of fc-host-tools-r14
until we have a little more in the way of resolution.  If the patch
gets officially rejected, I will need to document that situation so
that our users will know whom to blame for having to apply the kernel
driver patch locally on their own systems.

Just to be clear, the controversial ftdi_sio driver patch in question
is needed only if you get a Caramel2+DUART28 hardware kit *and* if you
wish to use the entirely optional feature of programmatic boot control.
If you don't need programmatic boot control, i.e., if pressing PWON
and RESET buttons with your fingers is good enough for your usage,
then you can leave the CTL interface unconnected, leave the DUART28
adapter's EEPROM in its default S configuration, and everything will
work with the standard unpatched ftdi_sio driver.  The driver patch is
obviously also NOT needed for working with Mot C1xx phones or any
other non-FreeCalypso hardware.

While the release of fc-host-tools-r14 is on hold waiting for some
resolution on the ftdi_sio patch issue, I may work in a few additional
small utilities that will help facilitate more automated conversion of
Mot C139 phones between Motorola and FreeCalypso firmwares.  Right now
doing a *proper* installation of FC firmware on a C139 phone is a huge
PITA: flashing the fw image by itself is not sufficient, one also
needs to construct a proper FFS for FC-on-C139, and the current manual
process for doing the latter is very involved.  I have an idea for a
new set of tools that will make the process of converting a C139 phone
to FC (with proper FFS) much more automated and fool-proof, and also
automatically generate an fc-loadtool command script for restoring
Motorola's original fw, so users can easily convert in both directions.
Some low-level tools will need to be worked into FC host tools, and
then there will be a higher-level add-on package (called "C139 toolkit"
perhaps) with high-level automation tools intended for end users.

Hasta la Victoria, Siempre,
Mychaela aka The Mother

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