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184 posts

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# 249019 19-Apr-2019 23:08
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Hey GZers,

 

I'm having a little trouble with Vodafone and getting the sources for the Vodafone Smart N9 Lite (VFD-620), and optionally a system development image that provides root access (since the device has been locked down so as to deny you access to the basic logs you need to figure out why the device is rebooting randomly for no apparent reason).

 

TL;DR: No-one at Vodafone knows anything about the branded devices they sell, and refuse to raise a ticket without a Vodafone account

 

---

 

Cue me calling Vodafone to get some information on raising a ticket about this. Nope, we can't do that, sorry. Try live chat. 

 

So now I'm on live chat, and I've been told no, I need to call Vodafone and get a ticket raised by the "Advanced tech team". Okay, let's try that again.

 

Called Vodafone and... no advanced tech team. Hm. Well, not one to give up, back to live chat it is. 

 

Now I'm back chatting with an agent and they arrange a callback for the next 24-48 hours. That's long gone. <sigh>.

 

---

 

I'm hoping someone here can help get someone at Vodafone to provide at the bare minimum the sources they're required to under the GPL v2, Section 3, those being the kernel, kernel config, build config, and device driver sources so I'm able to build a ROM and push it to the device to debug. For convenience I've attached section 3 below.

 

---

 

TL;DR: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-standalone.html#section3

 

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

 

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or, b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or, c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

 

The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

 

If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code.





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


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BDFL - Memuneh
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  # 2221333 19-Apr-2019 23:17
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I will assume but have to ask you have tried a factory reset and using the device with no apps other than the built-in to discard the possibility of something causing it (or to pinpoint a correlation)?

 

How old is the device? Would it be under warranty or even CGA?







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  # 2221335 19-Apr-2019 23:44
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freitasm:

 

I will assume but have to ask you have tried a factory reset and using the device with no apps other than the built-in to discard the possibility of something causing it (or to pinpoint a correlation)?

 

How old is the device? Would it be under warranty or even CGA?

 

 

Factory reset 5 times now, it's at the point I'm ready to compile a ROM for it to debug myself -- at least then I have what I need. I'm doing it for a friend who's kid owns the device. I've been unsuccessful in pulling the panic logs because /data needs root permissions. The only clue is you can get the device to swap out and then it seems to KP and instant reboot multiple times (it's done this 10 times so far). It's juts outside of it's warranty period by about 3 months, and getting it replaced under the CGA isn't really what I'm looking for -- it's sparked my curiosity and now I need an answer as to what's causing it. 





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


 
 
 
 


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  # 2221365 20-Apr-2019 08:25
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I don't know why Vodafone even say "someone will call you back", be it on live chat or on the phone. I get the feeling they never intend to call and hope that the customer will just forget about their issue and go away.




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  # 2221398 20-Apr-2019 10:03
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quickymart:

 

I don't know why Vodafone even say "someone will call you back", be it on live chat or on the phone. I get the feeling they never intend to call and hope that the customer will just forget about their issue and go away.

 

 

It does rather annoy me. I wish Vodafone wouldn't try to lead you in circles between their IVR and their live chat when trying to get a ticket filed for an issue (like for example actually doing what is required under the GPL) but I digress. There isn't anyone here that could be tagged to get this sorted is there?





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


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  # 2221400 20-Apr-2019 10:11
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TheoM , good on you for trying to recompile and debug it yourself, that's really admirable, but have you considered it could be the hardware at fault?

 

 

I've noticed that especially in the last few years a lot of modern chinese electronics is badly manufactured, and sometimes it's just down to a badly wavesoldered lead on a component be it surface mount or through-hole, which has what is known as a "dry joint" or is crystalline and dull in appearance. IC chips do fail sometimes still, as do capacitors especially smaller ones. There won't be any log of that in your hardware, apart from the minor possibility of something from the power regulating section if it is a 'smart design' which is not likely in consumer hardware.



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  # 2221401 20-Apr-2019 10:18
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dc2daylight: TheoM , good on you for trying to recompile and debug it yourself, that's really admirable, but have you considered it could be the hardware at fault? I've noticed that especially in the last few years a lot of modern chinese electronics is badly manufactured, and sometimes it's just down to a badly wavesoldered lead on a component be it surface mount or through-hole, which has what is known as a "dry joint" or is crystalline and dull in appearance. IC chips do fail sometimes still, as do capacitors especially smaller ones. There won't be any log of that in your hardware, apart from the minor possibility of something from the power regulating section if it is a 'smart design' which is not likely in consumer hardware.

 

I can't prove or disprove it's the hardware until I've got root. Once i do we play the waiting game until it happens again. If it's software there will be a panic log, or at the very least a dmesg log saying it rebooted unexpectedly. If no logs are present then there's something wrong with the phone and I'll restore it to stock and have HN replace it under the CGA. I just need definitive proof first.

 

The weird thing is this happens only on this one child's phone. He has a twin that has an identical phone that has no issues. Same software, same apps, same restrictions. Still, I want to figure out why.





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


BDFL - Memuneh
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  # 2221402 20-Apr-2019 10:19
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Yes, that's why I asked about warranty and CGA. If it's just out of warranty, claim a repair or new one under the CGA and reduce your loss - doing what you want will most likely lead to a "You invalidated your warranty!" and a bunch of irrational claims.

 

Now if you want to learn more about it and don't mind not having a phone after that, I hope you find the information you need.





 
 
 
 




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  # 2221404 20-Apr-2019 10:24
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freitasm:

 

Yes, that's why I asked about warranty and CGA. If it's just out of warranty, claim a repair or new one under the CGA and reduce your loss - doing what you want will most likely lead to a "You invalidated your warranty!" and a bunch of irrational claims.

 

Now if you want to learn more about it and don't mind not having a phone after that, I hope you find the information you need.

 

 

I very much don't mind. I've already bought the kid a replacement device, so that part's easy





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


mdf

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  # 2221415 20-Apr-2019 11:07
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IMHO, it's great that someone has the time, expertise and inclination to hold people to their open source obligations.

I suspect however that Vodafone NZ won't be able to do much in this regard. I can't find anything to confirm this one way or the other, but I am guessing VFNZ is just a retailer of the devices and so won't be subject to the GPL (same as VFNZ isn't obliged to make source available for the Samsung phones they retail).

I would guess that either Vodafone plc or another Vodafone subsidiary is the manufacturer of the phone (in the link below it seems to be a German sub) and the GPL applies to that entity, not a NZ retailer (albeit one sharing the same name). If you had the box, there might be a clue in the fine print.

This link refers to router code, but I suspect similar considerations will apply. https://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Archive/GPL-License-and-BIOS-for-Router/td-p/2555263

You will probably need to speak to someone in a legal role, rather than technical or support. I've been super impressed at @jasonparis 's responsiveness hereabouts. He might be able to steer you in the right direction.

Good luck; I'm keen to hear how you get on.


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Vodafone NZ

  # 2221418 20-Apr-2019 11:21
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Hey Theo,

Sorry for the technical and customer service hoops that we are asking you to jump through. Flick me an email at Jason.paris@vodafone.com and I’ll try and get the details that you need - but in the interim I’ll also send a new N9 out to you for your troubles. I’m on Easter break at the moment so won’t get the phone on its way until Tuesday.

Cheers

JP




Jason Paris




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  # 2221424 20-Apr-2019 11:48
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mdf: IMHO, it's great that someone has the time, expertise and inclination to hold people to their open source obligations.

 

[...]

 

Good luck; I'm keen to hear how you get on.

 

I'm not one to readily give up, and following the GPL is important no matter how big you get. Vodafone is no different, and I'm happy to get sources for devices if people need or want them. The Vodafone branded devices could be amazing if we had the sources available to compile a custom kernel or even a full ROM that strips away features we don't need and things we do (like custom OOM killers, custom governers, better power management, etc). That's why OEM unlocking is available in the dev settings, right?

 

JasonParis: Hey Theo,

Sorry for the technical and customer service hoops that we are asking you to jump through. Flick me an email at Jason.paris@vodafone.com and I’ll try and get the details that you need - but in the interim I’ll also send a new N9 out to you for your troubles. I’m on Easter break at the moment so won’t get the phone on its way until Tuesday.

Cheers

JP

 

This is an amazing result. I'll get that email sent off right away. Thank you very much @JasonParis, the Geekzone community is lucky to have you.





Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me!

 


 

https://theom.co.nz | https://theom.nz | https://mirrorlist.mirrors.theom.nz | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™


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