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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:00 am 
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This is a open source OS that I would think should be able to be booted to a archos but Im no programmer. I just hope and pray someone takes up this idea and puts this UI on a archos!

http://code.google.com/android/index.html


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:12 am 
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if i'm right, i think the sdk is open source, but not android by itself. so u need to emulate all low level functions...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:37 am 
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It makes no difference whether it's open source or not, unless either

a. Somebody finds a way to hack the new machines down to the bootloader level, or
b. Archos decides to support it officially.

To be honest, I'm not holding my breath waiting for either of these.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:33 am 
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I think Android OS will be 100% open source as soon as it reaches version 1.0, which could be tomorrow.

From there, Archos engineers I think can look at the code, and hopefully Archos will add support for Android applications to the Archos OS without having to provide a port of all the Archos applications to whole new Android OS.

I think a good idea would be for Archos to add an [Applications] tab on the main menu screen:

[Play]
[TV]
[Internet]
[Media Club]
[Applications]
[Add-ons]

Then they could put [Widgets], [PDF], [File Sharing] under the [Applications] tab:

[Applications] -
- [Android]
- [Widgets]
- [PDF (e-Reader)]
- [File Sharing]

Then I think they should just put the [Settings] and the [Help] tabs on bottom right side of the screen, with possibility in the Settings to chose to hide the Help tab from the main menu page to make more space.

If Archos can do this within the next 2-3 months, I think that would be great. I really don't think Archos has any interest in blocking third party applications development, they just need to have a stable ans safe development platform which keeps Archos DRM and Archos own proprietary applications safe from hacking, all the while letting third party developpers add applications to the platform. Android has the unique advantage of providing a mix of very powerful applications platform (even though it's limited to Java for now), Android when well implemented can provide deep access to powerful features of the device like Media player, storage, connectivity even possibly GPS (if the Archos 5G supports antenna triangulation type built-in GPS).


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:48 am 
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Charbax wrote:
I really don't think Archos has any interest in blocking third party applications development, they just need to have a stable ans safe development platform which keeps Archos DRM and Archos own proprietary applications safe from hacking, all the while letting third party developpers add applications to the platform. Android has the unique advantage of providing a mix of very powerful applications platform (even though it's limited to Java for now),...


Well, no -- I don't think Archos wants to prevent 3rd-party applications; the problem is the `they just need...' part of the sentence. And there might be a certain amount of paranoia on behalf of the non-technical people who control the funding of development. To such people it's not obvious why, for example, one kind of application platform might prevent a security risk and another might not. I still maintain that there's just not enough money in it for Archos to justify the extra work it would take to provide this platform.

BTW, I don't see why Java is a `limitation'. Modern JVMs are pretty good -- if there is a limitation it will be in the way the hardware vendors choose to restrict it, not in the Java implementation itself. Or so it seems to me.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:00 am 
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The CEO of Archos is the person leading the actual hardware and software engineering teams himself, he is very much involved in the technical side of things. So I think he would have perfect overview of the eventual security risks of implementing one type of open applications platform over the other..

As for obvious commercial opportunity for Archos to implement support at least for a certain selection of Android applications, or for a certain type of Android applications (for example disable support for of Android applications that use the dialer, the camera, bluetooth and GPS functions unless accessories, or add-ons are plugged in or purchased), Archos would be able to enjoy huge commercial benefit that comes with tying its product with the Google brand which is one of the top worldwide brands and all the free publicity that would come with that. Even without having to sign any marketing deals with Google, using Android in itself would do the trick. And nobody has to ask the permission to anyone.

In fact, I believe Archos has the opportunity to position its product as the best Android product out there, the best implementation of the Android open applications standard. Sure enough it's not going to be replacing a phone, unless it gets the VOIP plugin/accessory added to it, but Android is not going to be limited to phones either.

I think this will most likely happen if:

1. Archos firmware engineers quickly bring the firmware into stable mode.

2. Archos sells lots of Archos 5 and Archos 5G in the first couple of months.

3. Android applications platform proves itself easy enough to add as a simple icon in the Archos OS, and that all security issues are easily covered.

On point 3 for example, let's consider the current firmware file is 51 megabytes in size. How much more in terms of filesize for the firmware would you think adding support for Android applications would add to that firmware file. Or could Archos somehow add just small functions to the main firmware file that would load another sort of cryptographically signed image file every time the user clicks on the Android icon, and that this second image file would kind of emulate the Android OS to run those Android applications. To make it usable, loading the "Android applications environment" within Archos OS would need to take less then 5 seconds or so, I wonder if that makes sense, and if that would enable also going back and forward from Archos OS to the Android applications, and if that could make things work, also to be able to run certain Android applications in the background.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:57 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
On point 3 for example, let's consider the current firmware file is 51 megabytes in size. How much more in terms of filesize for the firmware would you think adding support for Android applications would add to that firmware file. Or could Archos somehow add just small functions to the main firmware file that would load another sort of cryptographically signed image file every time the user clicks on the Android icon, and that this second image file would kind of emulate the Android OS to run those Android applications.


If it's just a case of supporting 3rd-party apps written for Android, and not the UI and services, then all that would really have to be implemented is the JVM and supporting libraries. I suppose you'd have to implement at least some rudiments of the UI, or at least map them onto the existing Archos UI, or onto Qt or something, but I can't see that being a huge job. Embedded JVMs usually need 5-10Mb, but I haven't looked specifically at the Android one.

The problem is that if Archos wanted to do this, and they didn't implement the _whole_ Android Java API, then you'd still end up in a situation where some apps work and some don't (rather like the situation we currently have with Flash :) ) Take the situation with files, for example. The JVM implementation could take a request from an app to open a file "/x" (for example) and make it relative to some private directory. With careful programming that would prevent an Android app roaming about the filesystem looking for hacks. But it would still break apps that expect to be able to read and write the underlying filesystem -- and many will, I'm sure.

The problem is that Android was never intended to be deployed and closed, proprietary devices. There's really no support for this sort of thing within the Android APIs. See this statement from the official Android FAQ:

``As an open platform, Android allows users to load software from any developer onto a device. As with a home PC, the user must be aware of who is providing the software they are downloading and must decide whether they want to grant the application the capabilities it requests. This decision can be informed by the user's judgment of the software developer's trustworthiness, and where the software came from.''

In other words, the Android model allows for _any_ software to be deployed, and it's up the _user_ (not the platform) to decide what that software can and can't do. There isn't really any provision for the platform to make those decisions on a global basis.

As I've said before, Archos could, if it wanted, provide an Android implementation that ran alongside the stock Archos environment, but completely distinct from it. It could do this using some sort of multiple-boot arrangement, or by running Android inside a virtual machine. But these are difficult things to do, requiring time and money. If they just want to implement the Android application-facing API, then that means integrating it into the existing Archos environment, and that means facing up the security problems which you get running an `open' API on a `closed' platform.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:31 pm 
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I talked with a Sprint Android product manager, I am quite sure he said they are going to control which applications people are going to be allowed to use. For example Sprint might want to limit use of applications that would compete with Sprint's own services. Though I think Google's strategy, is by having different carriers provide more open implementation of Android then the other, that would create demand by the customers for more open and more powerful implementations of the Android devices.

Another way carriers can control applications is to limit applications bandwidth usage. For example the Amazon Mp3 music download service for the new T-Mobile G1 Android phone, is going to be limited to WiFi use cause T-Mobile is scared people will use too much HSDPA bandwidth for that. So by controlling the firmware of the phone, I think that T-Mobile can block certain applications from being installed if they think it would use too much bandwidth on their network. Perhaps the installation process of an Android application launches an authentification process through a secure controlled repository server. I think this is one of the things Google has been working with carriers and manufacturers for in the last few months.

But here I guess the more appropriate filtering mechanism is to think that there are going to be many different types of Android devices, so just basically by hardware specifications, some applications are going to be possible to be installed and others can be filtered away.

Quote:
If the Open Handset Alliance is giving it all away for free, how will the platform be differentiated?
Because the Apache license does not have a copyleft clause, industry players can add proprietary functionality to their products based on Android without needing to contribute anything back to the platform. As the entire platform is open, companies can remove functionality if they choose. Applications are not set in stone, and differentiation is always possible. For example, if you want to include Hotmail instead of Gmail, it will not be an issue.


So I would expect that without too much work Archos could maintain a repository of compatible applications, and depending on the licence used by the Application provider, Archos could perhaps even spend some time providing an SDK for people to convert the most popular applications that might not work by default.

That is, I would guess, only if Archos could get a secure Android JVM that would support that then.. 5-10mb sounds fine, I don't know what may be the limit for an Archos 5G firmware file, if it needs to fit within a 64mb or a 128mb fast access rom memory or something. And that all the applications could simply be in an /android/ folder.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:31 am 
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Charbax wrote:
I talked with a Sprint Android product manager, I am quite sure he said they are going to control which applications people are going to be allowed to use. For example Sprint might want to limit use of applications that would compete with Sprint's own services. Though I think Google's strategy, is by having different carriers provide more open implementation of Android then the other, that would create demand by the customers for more open and more powerful implementations of the Android devices.


Well, yes, it's easy enough to control access to applications, particular on a handset where the only route onto the device is over the carrier's network. I am aware that Sprint are already doing this with Java apps, because I worked on some of the software they use to do it with :) Many mobile carriers are taking the same attitude.

But that doesn't really fit in the with Android philosophy, as I see it. It's supposed to be an open platform, and if carriers are going to have to vet applications then you're going to end up with the same sort of dross that we have in the J2ME world. There are about a million different versions of Tetris -- because that doesn't much access to the internals of the unit -- and very little that is actually useful.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:45 pm 
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The use of Open Source usually includes restrictions which mandate if the user modifies the code in any way the modified code must be open source as well. Of course, usually, if the mods include a call to proprietary code only the call must be open source.

Two questions gurus:

1. I haven't seen Google's Android OS license, if you have what is the link?
2. How does Google's Android OS License jive with Archos proprietary policies?

Thanks,
Allen

_________________
-An old geek 8)
5IT|A70S|A101


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:04 pm 
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Android uses the Apache licence. Companies can use it as they want and even make proprietary things out of it. It is not GPL3, it is not GNU..

For example each of T-Mobile, Sprint and others are going to customize the OS firmware and probably that they have some ways to control still what people do with it on their network. Thus you can probably not change the underlying Android OS on the T-Mobile G1, you can only install applications on it.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:58 am 
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I'm a bit confused, is it possible to even install a full new OS on an Archos device(let's say the 5)? Besides that hack that allows for Qtopia on the 605


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:21 am 
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IdiotProof wrote:
I'm a bit confused, is it possible to even install a full new OS on an Archos device(let's say the 5)? Besides that hack that allows for Qtopia on the 605


yes, it is possible to roll your own os(currently only for 605WiFi), the instructions/software will be available as soon as they are ready.

cautions:
the hack will only work on firmwares 1.7.13 or older (605WiFi),
as you'll need to hack the bootloader, if you dont follow their instructions carefully you could end up with a bricked (dead) archos!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:19 pm 
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I know that I read somewhere that there might be a hack for newer firmwares. Can someone please dispel this myth and say that it is never going to work on newer firmwares. This way I can stop checking this site everyday in hope that one day I can hack my 605.

Love what you guys have done with the 605, and keep up the good work. =D> But for me I think it might be the end of the line. :(

Unless there's some one out there who can give me a glimmer of hope...please, pretty please! :)

-Dennis


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:55 am 
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dennis1a4 wrote:
I know that I read somewhere that there might be a hack for newer firmwares. Can someone please dispel this myth and say that it is never going to work on newer firmwares. This way I can stop checking this site everyday in hope that one day I can hack my 605.

Love what you guys have done with the 605, and keep up the good work. =D> But for me I think it might be the end of the line. :(

Unless there's some one out there who can give me a glimmer of hope...please, pretty please! :)

-Dennis


i'm not sure if the newer firmwares have been hacked, and i dont know if they ever will (unless someone cracks the hash encryption and modifies the hidden partition)

if i were you i'll check once a month to see if there is a break-through.


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