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iX Development / iX Project Plans
« on: September 14, 2010, 02:08:44 AM »
Please visit our blog for an update on project iX:

Hello everyone,

James has joined the British Army and left for basic training. He was working really hard on releasing the Pre-Alpha before he left, but didn’t quite make it in time. A lot has changed since our last post. The first being that Chris (Lopi) is now the project leader. Here is what James and I discussed before he left:

iX Project Plan:

This short document outlines the future plans concerning the development of the iX Project.

1: Change OS structure

We will split iX into two directions. The first and foremost direction is as a mobile phone operating system, this involves migrating to GPE Linux as the base OS keeping the portrait orientation and including sound, calls and data usage. Sound, calls and data usage will need hardware support, see step 4. (iX-Mobile?).
The second OS will continue to use Ubuntu Karmic and will instead focus on making a tablet/MID device OS. This would need a lightweight window manager with a good keyboard, performance and usability would be the key issue, it would retain a landscape orientation in vain of the Nokia Internet device such as N800 N810 etc.

2: Theme the two OS’s to appear more “iPhone like”

Although this is second priority it is a fairly simple one and will simply involve creating a theme for GPE and the window manager that Ubuntu will use, the theme could use the default font used in the original theme or could include other more attractive fonts as long as they’re free to distribute. It’s for aesthetics more than anything, the style/colour/quality of “iPhone like” themes will be open for debate but will eventually be chosen by Chris.

Note from James: If I’m not here when this is done my vote’s on a Black and White monochrome theme for visibility and simplicity, I think it’ll blend in nicely with the iPhone bezel.
3: Improve the pre-installed software set

As default GPE comes with the following software:
GPE-Contacts – A contacts manager
GPE-Calendar – The calendar application
GPE-Edit – A simple text editor
GPE-Filemanager – A file manager with MIME type and remote access support
GPE-Gallery – Small and easy to use image viewer
GPE-Games – A small collection of tiny games
GPE-Mini-Browser – A CSS and Javascript compatible compact web browser
GPE-Sketchbook – Create notes and sketches
GPE-Soundbite – A voice memo tool
GPE-ToDo – A task list manager
GPE-Timesheet – Track time spend on tasks
Starling – A GStreamer based audio player
VLC – A media player

This is already a capable and suitable software set but there will be other pieces of software that might need to be included with the OS, this will be open to debate although the final decision still lies in the hands of Chris. GPE uses the ipkg package manager, OpenMoko’s official and community repo’s will work just fine and are already suitable to the iPhone’s architecture.

4: Hardware

This is going to be the most challenging part of developing iX into a usable OS. Here’s a priority list for hardware.

Keymap > Sound > Baseband support > USB > Accelerometer > PM > GPU

Keymap and Sound – These should be fairly easy, keyboard can be examined using xev and remapped by using xmodmap, Sound uses asla I can imagine this requires a properly configured asound.conf mixers and aumix currently detect a sound card.

Baseband support – This is vital for GPE, This will be more than likely the most difficult piece of hardware to set up. A high amount of research will need to be done and collaboration with iDroid will be needed.

USB – Although not vital it would be incredibly useful, USB serial would be handy for debugging and development (pesky ssh drops) usb on the go (Plugging usb drives, wifi adaptors into the device) may be possible in the near future thanks to ricky’s work on the USB drivers. He will need to be consulted.

Accelerometer – Not vital to operation, but would give a more pleasant user experience, research will be needed into xrandr with the fbdev driver and writing a driver for the accelerometer to rotate the screen, data from the accelerometer can be viewed using xinput or cat /dev/input/event0

PM/GPU – This will be far in the future, but will need to be implemented as soon as they’re available.

5: Future projects

iX doesn’t need to stop with two OSs there could/will be other uses for the iPhone using the iPhoneLinux project.

James’s idea: A pen-test distro called Redcoat, programs have been tested but without packet injection it’s useless would need ricky’s USB drivers to attach a USB wifi adaptor and power management so it would last more than 15 minutes. This is now possible as ALoGeNo from #iX has neopwn working on his iDevice.
Chris’s idea: We should put a big focus on security in our distributions. That would enable us to offer what iOS and Android cannot.


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