Motorola unveils new SCPL phone, switches OS to Linux and Java

At a financial analysts’ meeting late on Tuesday Motorola’s head of mobile devices Ron Garriques unveiled their new SCPL phone which according to him will redefine even basic phone performance. Now that’s nice but more noteworthy is the fact that Motorola will abandon their old OS on their feature phones in favor of a Linux and Java based solution. My personal experience with a Motorola phone was all but enjoyable. I don’t recall the exact model but it was the black tri-band business phone. Coming from the Nokia world with its excellent menu structure and navigation it was pure torture trying to get around the menu of this Motorola phone. Even something as simple as writing and sending an SMS message required going through several menus. And don’t expect to be able to save a number someone sent you in an SMS message because that was not possible. So I can only hope that Motorola’s switch to Linux and Java will result in a complete overhaul of their menu structure and navigation. I mean, how difficult can it be to get some Nokia phones in the lab to see why everybody seems to like the way they work. On a positive note, I think Motorola deserves considerable bling points for making such a bold switch and designing such a cool phone. If Motorola’s new Linux based phones can sync with the popular mail applications from the Linux world then I will definitely put the RAZR or SCLP on my shortlist. Nokia totally dropped the ball with the 6230 because you could not use bluetooth to sync it to Evolution or any other mail application on a Linux box. As a result I lost the 6230 and bought a Sony Ericsson K750i which is a very nice phone that does work with Linux. Customers, easy come, easy go. I see an opportunity for Motorola…

Howto: ndiswrapper, NetworkManager and WPA2 on Fedora Core 5

An interesting article on linux.com gave me the last bit of info to get WiFi (or is it Wi-Fi?) with WPA2 working between my Acer Ferrari 4005 laptop and Speedtouch 716 ADSL modem. I run kernel 2.6.16-1.2080_FC5 and the Gnome desktop. I have not verified if this works with the latest 2.6.17-1.2157_FC5 kernel (update: seems to work reasonably ok with the latest FC5 kernel).

Here are the ingredients:

Ndiswrapper
Install ndiswrapper and configure it. The version I have is 1.18. I’m assuming you have the livna yum repo installed. If not get it from rpm.livna.org and install ndiswrapper with a simple “yum install ndiswrapper kmod-ndiswrapper”. Next get Acer’s 64bit WinXP WiFi driver here. Unpack the driver somewhere and import the driver into ndiswrapper with:

ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf

Add the following lines to /etc/modprobe.conf:

alias eth1 ndiswrapper
options ndiswrapper if_name=eth1

I use “eth1” as my WiFi interface. If you use another change accordingly. In case you run a recent FC5 kernel you also need to blacklist the bcm43xx module to prevent it from interfering with the ndiswrapper module. Add the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist:

blacklist bcm43xx

You can now manually load the ndiswrapper and check /var/log/messages if all went well. The messages I get in /var/log/messages are:

Jul 18 15:27:08 laptop kernel: eth1: ndiswrapper ethernet device 00:14:c4:92:34:6a using driver bcmwl5, 14A2:3246.2.conf
Jul 18 15:27:08 laptop kernel: eth1: encryption modes supported: WEP; TKIP with WPA, WPA2, WPA2PSK; AES/CCMP with WPA, WPA2, WPA2PSK

Wpa_supplicant
Install wpa_supplicant with:

yum install wpa_supplicant wpa_supplicant-gui

The version I have is 0.4.8 from updates-testing. It should become available as a regular update for FC5. If it’s not (yet) get it from updates-testing with:

yum –enable=updates-testing install NetworkManager

Once installed create or modify /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf and make it look like this (so delete anything that’s different):

ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
ctrl_interface_group=wheel
update_config=1

network={
ssid=”name_of_your_access_point”
psk=”yourverysecretpassword”
proto=RSN
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
pairwise=CCMP
}

Network services
Verify that NetworkManager, NetworkManager-gnome and NetworkManager-glib are installed. If they are not then install them with:

yum install NetworkManager

Make sure that the “network” service is disabled. Instead the “wpa_supplicant”, “NetworkManager” and “NetworkManagerDispatcher” services need to be run when you boot your box. You can easily turn off the “network” service and turn on the “wpa_supplicant”, “NetworkManager” and “NetworkManagerDispatcher” by executing from a terminal the command:

ntsysv –level 5

Configure the eth1 network device
Start system-config-network and add a new wireless device by clicking on “New” then click on “Wireless connection”. Click on the ndiswrapper entry followed by “Forward”. On the next page make sure “Mode” shows “Managed”. On the line with “Network name (SSID)” click on “specified” and enter the name of your Access Point. This name should be the same as you specified in the wpa_supplicant.conf file. Leave the rest as is and click “Forward”. On the next page select DHCP or enter a static IP address and click “Forward”. On the final page check the settings and if all is ok click on “Apply”. Save the setup by clicking on “File” -> “Save” or just press Ctrl+S.

Testing your setup
Make sure the ndiswrapper module is loaded, manually stop the network service with:

/sbin/service network stop

Next make sure that the LAN cable is removed from the laptop (if you have any attached). Then start wpa_supplicant, NetworkManager and NetworkManagerDispatcher with:

/sbin/service wpa_supplicant start
/sbin/service NetworkManager start
/sbin/service NetworkManagerDispatcher start

If all goes well you should now see a successful authentication using WPA2 and the assigment of an IP address to the laptop via DHCP. Enjoy!

Win98 & WinME are dead. Upgrade to Linux?

Microsoft has announced here the end of support for Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows XP Service Pack 1. According to several articles on the Net, like this one from Zdnet, this will boost Desktop Linux. It remains to be seen if consumers will flock to WinXP or will decide to try Linux. For those that have finally had enough of the trojans, malware, virii and security leaks in Microsoft products there are a number of great free Linux distributions like Red Hat’s Fedora Core, Novell’s OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. Try them out and if you need help, just ask in the abundance of mailing lists, forums or your local Linux User Group (LUG).