- Apr 3, 2016
IIRC, you can look up your voucher in your shop account. If you still know how to login, that is.
TI is doing this for a long time. And yes, there is OpenPandora and Pyra support for v5.6-rc1 because we are participating in the OpenPVRSGX project: https://github.com/openpvrsgx-devgroupI do appreciate that both RockChip and AllWinner are at least attempting to get their devices into the mainline Linux Kernel.
One of my annoyances with the Pandora is being stuck on an old kernel (if I want to keep gpu acceleration at least).
For the Pyra, does the team have some way to get binary drivers from TI that are built for later kernels? I'm not asking about open sourcing the drivers, just some way to provide matching binary blobs every once in a while that keep up with the latest Linux kernel LTS release.
Here is a photo of how the tiny hardware switches of the PinePhone look like:I'd say that's on the edge of what most people mean when they say "hardware switch". What they really mean is a "mechanical switch", but nonetheless a software operated hardware switch can theoretically be operated by malicious software.
Yes, the kernel driver was always open source. TI did release them as part of their board support kernels (they even have new releases for the latest car entertainment chips). There was only no maintainance to keep them compiling and running on newer kernels. So we did set up a project to make the drivers compatible to latest mainline kernel. Unforuntately the code is not at all mature or in a shape that Linus would ever accept into into kernel.org.
FWIW, It seems Imagination is hiring a developer for free graphics drivers, and require experience in upstreaming... I'm still eskeptic, but who knows
The thing is just that a similar Linux phone without the cameras simply doesn't exist (yet). Those DIP switches are probably not going to like being toggled every day either, so I'd probably end up leaving just the cameras off until I actually need one of them. With my current phone I use the rear camera about one or twice per month and the front camera has been used once or twice over the entire lifetime of the phone (about 2 years now). On my previous phone I think I only used it once and that phone lasted 4 years.Here is a photo of how the tiny hardware switches of the PinePhone look like:View attachment 35795
In my opinions this is more a marketing tool to differentiate a brick with display from another brick with display.
The practical use is IMHO limited since with such tiny switches you tend to never use them. To operate such a device as a phone, you have to turn them all on for your phone call and then turn off again. Who will be regularily doing this? If they are never turned on, well one could buy a cheaper devices that does not even have the switched off hardware...
The other aspect is that some malicious software may sit there and wait until you turn them voluntarily on and then tap some data. So if it is able to tap any data, the hardware kill switch won't help.
Something else to consider is, since these devices (like the Pyra) are open source software devices, everyone will have a different system installed. And you may even have modified your kernel or user-space.
This makes it quite difficult for spyware to focus a well defined target installation. And with just some thousands of these devices it is also not interesting. Unless you are the target of a spying organization that invests a lot of energy to find you and analyse your specific device.
Regarding the software controlled "kill switches" of the Pyra, we can turn off the Modem power through a gpio controlled power FET. Well some AT command does the same, but just to be sure... You can check if this gpio is active from user-space, i.e. you can monitor if some malicious process is tampering with this gpio. For the microphone it is connected to the Audio ADC in the twl6040 chip. This can be powered off separately, or you can remove the code that handles any microphone from the kernel. For WiFi and Bluetooth we use a TiWi module which also has two power on/off gpios. Well, we do not know if they really turn off power, but I think TI could not sell these modules if the power-off function would be broken. So unless someone manages to replace your self-built kernel image, the software controlled hardware switches will stay off.
And finally about securing the data you transfer over the modem or WiFi which is sometimes discussed a the reason why people ask for power switches. The help is end-to-end encryption. It has been designed for unreliable and not trustworthy networks. And the modem is to be considered as part of the not trustworthy network. Yes, there are attacks to not well written WiFi firmware but Linux developers take care of this in the newest kernel releases. Which is a good reason to update the kernel from time to time.
This is a good point. If there is scope for the Pyra phone to evolve, it would be one wish of mine to have a modular design: plugin camera module, for example. I guess in reality, that wouldn't make economic sense and could end up with a bulkier phone...If they are never turned on, well one could buy a cheaper devices that does not even have the switched off hardware
Funny enough the OMAP5 has a lot of Camera inputs I think 4 depending on usage of the MIPI interface, it's an automotive SoC so intention was for it to run cameras in a head unit, just the Pyra isn't making use of any of them.I wouldn't expect the Pyraphone to be significantly modular against what it gains from the Pyra to begin with (which is a pluggable CPU board and seemingly software controllable switches enabling specific modules). That might be enough for you, and I don't know if it'll have any kind of camera.