N900 The Perfect Setup/alternative-1

This is a wiki! So the title of this page represents the personal notion of one or a few editors. It's not "officially supported" info or advice

NOTES to wirr

Theme customizer is marked as broken package, don't use it.

Testing and devel or thumb isn't for end-user

fm-boost is obsolete due to KP and modded fmtx binary

omp tracker-cfg backupmenu etc etc are still in devel

encypted partitions are best in own wiki page and not for beginners


[edit] Introduction

This page serves the purpose of assembling a complete and current howto-guide for the perfect N900 setup. The initial information here is based on my personal experience and the rich trove of experience which is talk.maemo.org. Please keep this page alive by adding your improvements and keeping it up to date as Maemo evolves.

File:warning.png Disclaimer: This page is a work in progress and will probably never be finished. Some of the procedures might prove to be quite risky. There's no guarantee that your phone won't start to eat your cat. You do everything at your own risk.

[edit] Recommended hardware

  • A Nokia N900, obviously
  • SanDisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 / UHS-1 SDHC Card (SU32-G)
  • PolarCell 1520 mAh battery
  • Standalone battery charger
  • USB A-A adapter
  • (Linux box)

[edit] Hardware Specifications

NAND Layout

 dev    size   erasesize  name
 mtd0: 00020000 00020000 "bootloader"
 mtd1: 00060000 00020000 "config"
 mtd2: 00040000 00020000 "log"
 mtd3: 00200000 00020000 "kernel"
 mtd4: 00200000 00020000 "initfs"
 mtd5: 0fb40000 00020000 "rootfs"

eMMC Partition Layout

 dev         size       fs    mountpoint
 mmcblk0p1   27648MiB   vfat  /home/user/MyDocs
 mmcblk0p2    2048MiB   ext2  /home
 mmcblk0p3     768MiB   swap

Detailed specs

N900 battery options

[edit] Hardware modifications

/* TODO: USB pre-broken fix */

[1] [2]

[edit] Initial setup

Everything about Firmware Flashing

Download flasher from the repositories

/* TODO: Use open source flasher */

Download the firmware flasher: Flasher & SDK Downloads

Download the latest official Nokia Firmware Images for your N900: Firmware Image Downloads

 md5sum: 488809ff96a0a05479d692e9f77aeb4f
 md5sum: b9f8690318a3be61767826d15b8c1784

[edit] Flashing the device

The following flashing procedure has proven the most stable to me:

File:warning.pngAlways use a fully charged battery!

  • Turn your device off, disconnect USB
  • (As root) flash the FIASCO firmware image:
 flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_20.2010.36-2_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f
  • When you get "No suitable USB device found" connect your N900 through USB.
  • Wait for the flashing to finish.

File:warning.png Don't reboot

  • Flash original eMMC image:
 flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_20.2010.36-2_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f
  • Wait for the flashing to finish.
  • Reboot the device by _reinserting_ the battery

Upon first login, enter your locale settings (Timezone, local time, etc.).

Run latest official Nokia SSU (upgrades your device firmware to V1.3.1) by launching App manager / Update from the applications menu.

[edit] Getting root access

1001 ways of becoming root

[edit] Additional repositories

As of august 2013 the longstanding issue of expired Nokia keys is still not resolved. To do a proper update of the base installation set your devices date to somewhere in 2011.

  • Add the Extras-Testing repository to the Hildon Application Managers catalog
 name: Maemo extras-testing
 uri: deb http://skeiron.org/repo/repository.maemo.org/extras-testing/ fremantle free non-free
 dist: fremantle
 components: free non-free
  • Add the Extras-Devel repository as well
 name: Maemo extras-development
 uri: http://extras-devel.merlin1991.at/ fremantle free non-free
 dist: fremantle
 components: free non-free
  • Disable OVI repository (conflicts with CSSU)
  • Wait for repository update to finish (Hildon Application Manager is slooow) and install 'rootsh' from the system section.
  • To get remote access over the network (way more comfy) install SSH server by launching XTerminal from the application menu and running:
 sudo gainroot
 apt-get install openssh

You will be asked for your new root password. /*TODO: Change PW hash to enable passwords > 8 chars */

  • Finally launch xterm and run
 ifconfig wlan0
  • Write down the IP address - from now on you can use the SSH client of your choice to connect to your favorite pocket computer - enjoy!

[edit] Upgrade to CSSU-thumb

What's CSSU?

What's thumb2 ISA?

File:info.png cssu-thumb contains a kernel based on kp51r1, therefore you automatically benefit from all kernel-power features (undervolting, overclocking, framebuffer, ...). See Kernel Power Wiki and Kernel Power 51r1 on tmo

[edit] Repositories

Disable extras-testing - it will be replaced by its thump-compiled counterpart from the CSSU repository. Make sure Nokia and Maemo Extras repositories are enabled though.

To avoid thumb-compiled binaries being overwritten by upgrades from non-thumb repositories use the following /etc/apt/preferences file

 Package: *
 Pin: release a=community-thumb
 Pin-Priority: 700             
 Package: *       
 Pin: release a=Extras-devel-light
 Pin-Priority: 500                
 Package: *       
 Pin: release l=Extras
 Pin-Priority: 550    
 Package: *       
 Pin: release l=community-testing
 Pin-Priority: 600

[edit] Remove unneeded software

tmo thread

apt-get remove --purge hildon-theme-beta osso-chess-ui gnuchess osso-graphics-game-chess osso-lmarbles osso-graphics-game-lmarbles osso-sounds-game-chess maemoblocks ap-installer amazon-installer foreca-installer facebook-installer skype-installer dtg-installer tutorial-home-applet osso-tutorial-l10n-engb osso-tutorial-l10n-ptpt osso-tutorial-l10n-frca osso-tutorial-l10n-nlnl osso-tutorial-l10n-cscz osso-tutorial-l10n-itit osso-tutorial-l10n-eses osso-tutorial-l10n-svse osso-tutorial-l10n-frfr osso-tutorial-l10n-dede osso-tutorial-l10n-fifi osso-tutorial-l10n-nono osso-tutorial-l10n-esmx osso-tutorial-l10n-enus osso-tutorial-l10n-ruru osso-tutorial-l10n-mr0 osso-tutorial-l10n-plpl cherry osso-systemui-splashscreen sharing-service-flickr sharing-service-ovi chinese-font google-search-widget tutorial-home-applet osso-mahjong osso-graphics-game-mahjong osso-sounds-game-mahjong ovi-promotion-widget

[edit] Installing CSSU-Thumb

  • Launch community SSU from applications menu.
  • Install the proposed updates.

[edit] Essential software packages

The following is a list of applications which (IMHO) constitute a reasonable base set

apt-get install <pkgname>
Package Name Description Votes
busybox-power Required for encryption (s. below)

Other recommendations include: xournal fm-boost fmradio recaller swappolube flashlight-applet cal-home-widget adflashblock-css

[edit] Install non-optified cryptsetup

 wget http://maemo.merlin1991.at/apt-mirror/extras-devel/pool/fremantle/free/c/cryptsetup/cryptsetup_1.0.4%2bsvn26-3_armel.deb
 dpkg -i cryptsetup_1.0.4%2bsvn26-3_armel.deb
 echo "cryptsetup hold" | dpkg --set-selections

[edit] Install & configure bootloader

 apt-get install u-boot-flasher kernel-cssu-bootimg
 ln -s /etc/bootmenu.d/20-Maemo5-kernel-cssu- /etc/default/bootmenu.item

[edit] USB Host mode

Host mode announcement

  • USB mode can be set through the status menu
  • To connect USB peripherals use a USB A-to-A adapter

[edit] Configure openmediaplayer

OMP Wiki

dpkg -i openmediaplayer_20121220-1+thumb0_armel.deb
  • As root, edit file:

so the line:




This will replace execution of MP binary with OMP one - without physically replacing files, so you can revert back to MP by reverting changes.

  • tracker-cfg

/* TODO */

[edit] Faking Flash Player 12

Flash Player on tmo

apt-get remove --purge adobe-flashplayer
apt-get install hexedit
dpkg -i adobe-flashplayer-10.deb
hexedit /usr/lib/browser/plugins/libflashplayer.so
  • Once in Hexedit, press CTRL+S and type in 31302e31 and press enter, the string you've just found need to be changed to 31322e31
  • Now, press CTRL+S, type "y" and search for 31302c31 and change it to 31322c31
  • Press CTRL+S then "y" again.
  • Close terminal and enjoy new faked v12.1.98.88 flash player

[edit] Tweaks

[edit] Kernel Power Settings

/* TODO: Rewrite this section using smartreflex */

To enable overclocking (more horsepower) and undervolting (less power consumption) run the following commands

kernel-config save stock
kernel-config load ideal
kernel-config default ideal

To revert to stock settings run

kernel-config load stock
kernel-config default stock

[edit] swappolube

Config details

[edit] cssu-features

  • Launch cssu-features from the applications menu
  • On first run choose "Fix config"
  • Launch cssu-features again
  • Configure to your taste

[edit] Theme customizer

  • Set nokia-pure as default font

[edit] Disable Nokia Hands

  • Edit the file
  • Comment out the last line or specify gstreamer compatible movie file

[edit] Backup your device

  • Don't backup unnecessary stuff, so
apt-get clean
  • Reboot with keyboard open
  • Select default kernel
  • In backupmenu press 'b' to start backup
  • Press 'q' to backup both rootfs and optfs
  • Select 'p' twice to store backup on /home/user/MyDocs
  • Wait for backup to finish
  • Connect USB to Linux box
  • Press 'w' to export eMMC as mass storage device
  • On your Linux box check 'dmesg' to identify device names (e.g. /dev/sdX), mount /dev/sdX1, switch to the mount point (e.g. /media/usb) and run
tar -cf /home/user/MyDocs_backup.tar

[edit] Adjust eMMC partitioning

/* TODO: Evaluate better filesystems and possibly alignment */

  • With eMMC still exported as mass storage device using backupmenu point your favorite partition manager to /dev/sdX
  • Adjust partitions to your needs (align to MiB, not cylinders), for example
 dev         size       fs    mountpoint
 mmcblk0p1   24576MiB   vfat  /home/user/MyDocs
 mmcblk0p2    5120MiB   ext2  /home
 mmcblk0p3     835MiB   swap

It's recommended to leave /dev/mmcblk0p1 as vfat for /home/user/MyDocs as it needs less tweaks to maemos mmc-scripts. For other options visit repartitioning the flash

[edit] Disk Encryption

/* TODO: Verify that HW accel is being used */

/* TODO: Use initrd in NAND and encrypt rootfs */

Discussion on tmo

[edit] Preparing userland

File:warning.png Don't reboot your device before having performed all steps described in this chapter or else you'll have to reflash your phone!

  • Make sure cryptsetup and busybox-power packages are installed to rootfs
dpkg -L <pkgname>
scp rcS root@<n900-ip-addr>:/etc/init.d/
scp rcS-late root@<n900-ip-addr>:/etc/event.d/
  • Edit the file

and insert the command modprobe fbcon as the last line in function init_system() (just above the })

  • Get an n900 keymap and convert it (on your Linux box):
loadkeys -b nokia-n900.map > nokia-n900.kmap
  • Copy the keymap to your phone's root directory
scp nokia-n900.kmap root@<n900-ip-addr>:/
  • Create /etc/default/osso-mmc-blacklist.sh and corresponding /etc/default/osso-mmc-blacklist containing devices which should not be mounted to MyDocs - /dev/dm-0 and /dev/dm-1)

Edit the files

/usr/sbin/osso-usb-mass-storage-enable.sh and :/usr/sbin/osso-usb-mass-storage-disable.sh

and add the following lines at the beginning

case $1 in
    set /dev/mmcblk0p1

[edit] Move optfs to encrypted partition

  • On your Linux box extract the :optfs.tar file from the previously created MyDocs backup
 cd /tmp
 tar -xf ~/backups/MyDocs_backup.tar
  • Boot your phone into boot manager and export eMMC to USB. On your linux box run the following commands to create an encrypted ext3 filesystem on mmcblk0p2
cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdX2      # Confirm by typing YES, specify a looong passphrase
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdX2 n900
mkfs.ext3 /dev/mapper/n900
  • Now you can restore your optfs backup to the encrypted partition
mount /dev/mapper/n900 /mnt
cd /mnt
tar -xf /tmp/systemBackups/optfs.tar
umount /mnt
cryptsetup luksClose n900
  • Reboot your phone and enjoy the password prompt!

[edit] SD card usage

[edit] Testing

[edit] Alignment

[edit] Swap on SD card

To avoid concurrent I/O access to swap and optfs (both mmcblk0), move swap to your SD card (mmcblk1)

  • On your SD card create a swap partition /dev/mmcblk1pX of approx. 1.5GiB
  • Edit /etc/event.d/rcS-late and change the line
/sbin/cryptsetup -d /dev/urandom create swapenc /dev/mmcblk0p3


/sbin/cryptsetup -d /dev/urandom create swapenc /dev/mmcblk1pX

[edit] More swap tweaks

/* TODO: Find current best practice for running swap on sd card */

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] VoIP

[edit] Encrypted SIP

  • linphone

[edit] eMail

[edit] GPG support

  • mutt
  • claws
  • patches for modest anyone?

[edit] Camera

  • pcam
  • stock/cssu
  • blessn900
  • fcam
  • hdr
  • lowlight

[edit] Watch 720p movies

HD movie guide

[edit] Synchronization

[edit] dpush

[edit] Certificates

[edit] Client configuration

[edit] Battery calibration

To calibrate a battery, one need to fully charge and then discharge it being plugged in the device. Valid discharge flag (VDQ) is set after a full charge, preserved during suspend to ram, reboot and turn off-on cycle and gets reset after plugging in a charger.

[edit] Unbricking

[edit] Dead battery

A dead battery can be "saved" through using an external battery loader.

[edit] Additional information

[edit] Credits

My thanks go to jebba, titan, pali, NIN101, MentalistTraceur, sixwheeledbeast, DocScrutinizer05, sEKI, kerio, freemangordon, qwazix, ShadowJK and everyone on #maemo