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17 Posts

01-22-2012

Athens, Greece

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-01, 13:40 PM

Dear Graham,

 

I totally understand what you are saying and I know that you have the technical background and knowledge to fully understand these concepts. On the other hand, I have to admit that I cannot fully explain what GPL, boot loaders etc., as I lack the knowledge. I am only speaking as a customer/user who is expecting the things that are supposed to be delivered, in order for the community to obtain the required tools in order to start the development of new, revised ROMs, removing unwanted pieces of software and adding new, useful features (for example USB-OTG support) that can be implemented. As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the current software of A1 does not make justice to the existing hardware; I expect to see much more things from A1 with the appropriate software developments from the community.

 

Thank you for clearing things up for me. I respect the time and effort you dedicated so far in the development of CM7 for A1, despite the fact that you had no access to this critical mass of code and be sure that I will follow your next steps in future developments.

 

Let us all wait and see when are the missing pieces of this puzzle going to be available to the community. 

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273 Posts

12-27-2011

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-01, 14:18 PM

Hi Geoponer, 

 

Thanks for responding. I agree with you that we can definitely push the A1 hardware further than it currently is being used, and I share your excitement for being able to use the source to exploit the hardware more.

 

Just to clarify things, GPL is the GNU General Public Licence [1]. In essence, any developer who takes software that is licensed under the GPL, makes modifications to it, and then distributes compiled versions of this modified code, is also obliged to make their modified sources available to those who receive the modified software. There are some other conditions to the GPL, but this is the relevant one for us in this discussion. 

 

The pieces of software that are in the A1 that are licensed under the GPL version 2 are (amongst others, but these are the ones I'm specifically aware of and interested in)

 

  • The Linux kernel (I believe this is well-known :-) )
  • The X-Loader [2]. This is a simple first stage bootloader that is small and simple enough to be loaded by the processor's internal ROM. It sets up the processor and a couple of other bits of hardware, and then loads the next stage bootloader, which is;
  • The U-Boot bootloader [2]. This is a more complete bootloader. It does a bit more setting up of the hardware, displays the Lenovo logo (the static one without the lens flare), and then loads the Linux kernel and a Ramdisk that contains some initial binaries and settings that the kernel runs in order to start bringing up the rest of the system.

Having access to the Linux kernel will (assuming there's no technical reason the hardware doesn't support it) allow us to provide USB-OTG support, touchscreen support for unofficial Ice Cream Sandwich builds, amongst other things. 

 

Having the sources to X-loader and U-Boot will mainly allow us to make changes that make development easier - the benefit to the community will most likely be some changes we can make that make it easier to test different kernel builds on the device. It'll also allow us to change the first Lenovo splash screen if we want to (Obviously a top priority! :-P) 

 

With the release of these three items, we really will have everything we need to be able to do anything (software-wise) that we want with the device, within the bounds of the hardware possibilities. The majority of the Android source code is open-source but licensed under the Apache Software Licence [3], which means that Lenovo do not have to provide us with their modified sources. Although there's no legal reason for Lenovo to give us the source for the ASL-licensed code, there's no technical need either - we can get the sources that we need from the Android Open Source Project [4], or, as I have been doing, the Cyanogenmod repositories [5].

 

Like you, I'm very much looking forward to the release of these GPL components, which hopefully won't be too long from now.

 

 

Refs:

[1] I tried to find a concise summary of the GPL, but failed. In ascending order of readability, these are reliable (but lengthy) resources:

 

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html - the GPL Licence version 2 text.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html - The GPL version 2 FAQ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License - Wikipedia GPL entry (looks reasonable to me, obviously anyone can edit it!).

 

[2] http://omappedia.org/wiki/Bootloader_Project - A description of the boot process on OMAP devices, of the the A1 is one of. It describes X-loader and U-Boot, and how the boot process works in detail. 

 

[3] http://source.android.com/source/licenses.html - A brief description of why AOSP uses the Apache Software Licence.

 

[4] http://source.android.com/ - The Android Open Source Project.

 

[5] https://github.com/CyanogenMod - The Cyanogenmod repositories.

 

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41 Posts

11-14-2011

USA

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  • Message 93 of 172

Release the Source Code for the Kernel

2012-03-02, 22:06 PM

Dear Lenovo:

 

Do everyone, especially your customers, a huge favor by releasing the source code to the kernel for the A1 and K1 tablets so that the development community at xda-developers can complete a masterful revision of the fundamental Android software. You'll sell far more tablets and we'll be much happier instead of complaining here endlessly about all the stuff that doesn't work, that should have worked and you still don't have working.

 

I am an early adopter. Some of the issues are truly ridiculous and could have been solved. These people will do it for you at no cost. Don't be stupid. Don't worry about your egos. Nobody cares. You're not going to make a dime extra in your own private marketplace, drummed up by executives in an ivory tower in every major corporation. We know it's not happening. Don't be tempted. Make that revenue in hardware since once word gets out, people will buy up the remaining inventory just to root it. You know it. We know. Just do it! :)

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322 Posts

12-27-2011

Philippines

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Re: Release the Source Code for the Kernel

2012-03-03, 2:58 AM
Lol. I am now really pessimistic about this releasing the source code comittment. It took asus only two weeks to release the ics code branch for tf. But it takes lenovo to release the honeycomb code branch almost 8 months, which in my understanding no one able to compile it because of obscurities. There is a clear line of just releasing just to say you released something. And releasing something that can be actually useful and can be used by the persons interested.
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167 Posts

11-26-2011

Bay Area

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-03, 22:20 PM
+1 please release a working bootable image for the A and K1's. I was so pleased to hear of Lenovo's intention to release working source code for these devices only to be disappointed as the project rounded 3rd base.

I am fine with a restoreable image which does not include the modified source. Knowing that I would have to send my device in for service just because its software became corrupt is awful. Knowing I would have to pay for this service if I were outside of warranty is sickening. I am able to back up and restore every device I own... except my tablet. Still looking forward to a positive outcome here.
Thanks,
Ricochet
The K1_Was Just A Broken Promise Lenovo
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273 Posts

12-27-2011

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-04, 0:39 AM

Ricochet_K1,

 

I think there's some confusion here. The source code is not a working bootable image. It's the human-readable code from which some bootable images (of the bootloader and Linux kernel) can be produced.

 

Having the source code wouldn't allow you to make or restore backups of the tablet. For the A1, there's a fully functioning Clockworkmod recovery that supports making and restoring backups. I think Khanning has done some work towards porting Clockworkmod recovery to the K1, but I'm not sure what stage it is at, as I only have an A1. 

 

Our interest in the source code is orthogonal to the desire to make backups of our tablets. I believe that most of us are keen on Lenovo making the GPL sources available because it's mandated by the licence agreement, and because it will allow us to add certain features to the tablets that are not part of the stock software.

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167 Posts

11-26-2011

Bay Area

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-04, 8:16 AM
Hi gmarkall,
I'm no expert, but would appreciate having the source code, working bootloaders and at the very least the means of building an image which could be used to recover my device in the event of a software failure. I am all for open source development and understand lenovo is required to release the modified source as part of the GPL. The open source community will take it and run. This means enhancements and possibly new features. If the developers out there can't build a bootable image we are still far from what I am hoping for.
Thanks,
Ricochet
The K1_Was Just A Broken Promise Lenovo
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57 Posts

12-31-2011

USA

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  • Message 98 of 172

Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-05, 17:24 PM

Mark and Lenovo,

 

Per gmarkall's suggestion I am posting the step by step the proceedure I have taken to try and use the kernel source Lenovo has provided.

 

I am attempting to compile the kernel on Ubuntu 11.10 64-bit, using GCC 4.4, and the arm-eabi-4.4.3 (ive tried 4.4.1, and 4.3.1 also) prebuilt toolchain included with ICS AOSP source code. 

 

1. Download the zip package that Lenovo provided here: http://download.lenovo.com/lenovo/content/sm/IdeaPadTablet-K1.zip

2. Unzip the package and open my terminal in the 'IdeaPad_Tablet_K1_kernel' directory

3. Run 'make mrproper' to clean the build directory. (I have tried skipping this step)

4. Copy the config [1] file from the stock build K1_A301_14_14_120109_US

5. Run 'make menuconfig'. I have attached the config.log from the make menuconfig command below [2]

6. Load the stock .config [1] file

7. Save

8. Run 'make'. I have attached the build.log from the make command below [3]

 

The compile completes fine. I flash the newly compiled zImage, the same way I use to succesfully flash the stock zImage. During boot after the initial Lenovo logo the screen goes black and the front facing camera LED turns on. The device remains frozen this way until I hold the power button to shut down.

 

[1] .config - http://pastebin.com/7DGHpsiV

[2] config.log - http://pastebin.com/rCabS2YQ

[3] build.log - http://pastebin.com/cTP0sNh3

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273 Posts

12-27-2011

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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  • Message 99 of 172

Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-06, 9:38 AM

Ricochet_K1,

 

In the event of a software failure on the A1, you can boot the stock bootloader and kernel from an SD card, and get it to load Clockworkmod recovery. This allows you to reflash the system no matter what has been corrupted (assuming the corruption is purely a software problem and not a hardware one). This isn't documented anywhere (yet), but I will get round to documenting it one day.

 

I don't know a great deal about the K1 as I don't own one, but I believe the recovery procedure for this is to boot in APX mode and flash the stock system images. 

 

I agree with you that Lenovo is required to release the source of the GPL components under the terms of the licence. We will take it and run with it, and add enhancements and new features. 

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17 Posts

01-22-2012

Athens, Greece

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Re: Android Source Code

2012-03-06, 12:58 PM

What worries me is that it has been a week since Mark had some updates about this issue and we have nothing since then. I understand that it might not be a top-priority for the Lenovo team, but it has to be delivered in some time, since it is a long-raised issue.

 

Please provide us with the source code!

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