Free Maemo

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:MCE is responsible of handling display control (active/dim/blank), activity monitoring (keys, buttons), keyboard backlight, ambient light sensor (ALS), LEDs and device mode control. In addition, MCE is responsible for providing interface to proximity, accelometer and vibra devices.
:MCE is responsible of handling display control [ youtube] [ idm] (active/dim/blank), activity monitoring (keys, buttons), keyboard backlight, ambient light sensor (ALS), LEDs and device mode control. In addition, MCE is responsible for providing interface to proximity, accelometer and vibra devices.
Powerlaunch aims to provide a free replacement:
Powerlaunch aims to provide a free replacement:

Revision as of 03:12, 15 December 2011

This article is out-of-date, and needs to be updated.
Please see the talk page for discussion.

The purpose of this page is to document efforts to free the Maemo mobile environment as well as document the steps necessary to use the N900 device as a fully free phone.

At the time of writing, the N900 / Maemo 5 ship with a mix of free and nonfree components. Our goal should be to figure out how to use only free components while still maintaining a usable and enjoyable device.

Some discussion is happening at


Components in need of attention

Graph depicting status of free/nonfree components on the N900:

(nonfree components are in red, free components are in black)

(taken from Toplevel Architecture page)

NOTE: This list probably contains some items that are at the time of writing, actually free software. There is an email thread aiming to clarify this, and once those clarifications are made certain items will be removed from the following list of non-free packages.

Sharing plugins / libsharing


Appears to be a free version:


Time management service is a new subsystem to provide a common library for all time-related (not alarms, though) services.


From [1]:

Cityinfo library allows to get some informations about set of cities from all over the world. Each city is connected with one timezone (related to standard linux time zone database) so You can get local time in given city by calling functions from libtime (clockd) library.

Maemo mapper is apparently a free replacement:

startup wizard

Presumably this is the "wizard" that appears when a user first logs in. This would be nice to be made free but is not critical.

factory store / clear user data

This would be nice to be made free but is not critical.

gypsy daemon

This appears to be free to me:

According to cool900:

(2009-11-13: Gypsy daemon in location framework is in free.)

liblocation / location daemon

Some information here:

outdated stuff here:



Address book / "Contacts" application


Sits on top of evolution backend stuff. So might not be too hard to build a UI replacement that conforms to the the same backend?

Media player

This is allegedly nonfree

mission control

This is a strange one because Mission Control is itself free software, which is a Telepathy component:

However they apparently have some nonfree bits:

<wjt> paroneayea: MC itself is LGPL [15:13]
<wjt> paroneayea: Maemo uses osso-mission-control, which is upstream MC plus
some proprietary bits


Apparently recently freed according to:




Not even sure what this is. Supposedly single-signon related?

PulseAudio PEP

From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Multimedia_Domain#PulseAudio_Policy_Enforcement_Point:

PulseAudio plugin to manage volume levels, re-route streams and eventually forcefully shutdown streams.


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Multimedia_Domain#libplayback:

libplayback is a client API that allows an application to declare its playback state. The library uses D-Bus to talk to a central component that manages the states. Media applications can use the API to synchronize their playback state.


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Multimedia_Domain#EAP_and_AEP:

The EAP (Entertainment Audio Platform) package is used for audio post-processing (music DRC and stereo widening).


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Multimedia_Domain#EAP_and_AEP:

AEP (Audio Enhancements Package) is a full duplex speech audio enhancement package including echo cancellation, background noise suppression, DRC, AGC, etc. Both EAP and AEP are implemented as a PulseAudio module.

FMTX middleware

From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Multimedia_Domain#FMTX_Middleware:

FMTX middleware provides a daemon for controlling the FM Transmitter. The daemon listens to commands from clients via dbus system interface. The frequency of the transmitter is controlled via Video4Linux2 interface. [...]

Funambol SyncML

Claims "Funambol is the leading mobile open source project and leading provider of open source mobile cloud sync and push email for billions of phones."

If it's "open source", is it really nonfree then?

Appears to be under the AGPL?


Appears to be linked to the wbxmllib project, which is under the gpl?


From [2]:

The Internet Connectivity daemon, ICd2, is responsible for network connectivity in the device. It is started at system boot time from the init script /etc/init.d/icd2, and stopped with the same script at system shutdown.
Applications requesting network connections do not interact directly with ICd2, but instead use the shared libconic library API. The libconic library is the stable maintained API for network connectivity, which uses internal D-Bus APIs and APIs to communicate with ICd2. These D-Bus APIs are internal and may change without further notice.

libconic appears to be free though

Modem Services & Cellular Modem Software

Proprietary, hard to find documentation?

Presumably should be replaced and made free by OFono:


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Core_Domain#Softupd:

Program for flashing the eMMC contents

  • Unpacks a FIASCO image fed to it
  • Copies the unpacked contents to eMMC


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/Core_Domain#Sysinfod:

Provide interface for accessing device information

Provide a DBUS interface to device specific information (HW id, WLAN MAC, …)


Appears to be free or have a free implementation?

OpenGL ES 2.0

Can't seem to find out details about this package

There appear to be some free software implementation tests here, but not really usable?:

Vincent 3d is a free software implementation?

Hm, looks like the problem may be on the driver end:

And it does not look likely that this is free or that it will be free soon.

Nolo bootloader

NoLo bootloader not only is proprietary and sucky, there's almost no documentation available for it anywhere.

Some questions here:

Could u-boot be a possible replacement?:

Nobody appears to have tried such a thing and there is no documentation on whether or not that will be possible.

In the meanwhile people seem to be using bootmenu as a workaround for this completely unconfigurable bootloader:

However this isn't ideal, either from a practical or a free software perspective. U-boot is probably the best replacement option?



Not clear if this needs a free software replacement. If we can replace the bootloader, probably doesn't.

Is this a free software replacement?:

System UI

Part of the "System Control" whatever.

From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#System_UI:

SystemUI provides services to other components to display UI elements (dialogs, notifications, alarms) that does not have native UI on their own.

Powerlaunch aims to provide a free replacement:


Freed according to: (2009-11-13: DSME is in free).

Part of the "System Control" whatever.

From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#Device_State_Management_Entity_.28DSME.29:

DSME is responsible of device state management , process lifeguard support, watch dogs and thermal management. DSME architecture is based on modular plugin architecture. DSME core provides message handling capabilities to modules. Each module is dynamically loaded library. DSME runs in single process and is single threaded. The D-Bus interface provides services to request reboot, shutdown or powerup (from acting dead mode), indication of shutdown, thermal events and data save.


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#BME:

  • Provides battery monitoring and charging service.
  • Provides battery identification, monitoring, charging and BME API.
  • TSS interface for A/D converter calibration.
  • Emulation libraries for Nokia OS services.


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#Clockd:

Provides centralized place for handling time.


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#Mode_Control_Entity_.28MCE.29:

MCE is responsible of handling display control youtube idm (active/dim/blank), activity monitoring (keys, buttons), keyboard backlight, ambient light sensor (ALS), LEDs and device mode control. In addition, MCE is responsible for providing interface to proximity, accelometer and vibra devices.

Powerlaunch aims to provide a free replacement:

Harmattan/MeeGo version of MCE appears free:


Apparently used for synchronization, according to:


From Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Architecture/System_Software#Profiled:

  • Provides centralized place for handling (user) profiles related data and notifications.





SDK is a shell script that claims to be proprietary software owned by Nokia. So does