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Tiny Steps Towards Liberating Bootloaders and Modem Firmware of MediaTek Phones (postmarketos.org)
147 points by ollieparanoid 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments



I bought an MTK phone several years ago, when the MT6589 was the one to have, solely because the full datasheet for that SoC had been leaked and it had a bootloader that was "unlocked by design". SPFlashTool and the BROM pretty much makes them unbrickable. The culture around modding these relatively unbranded, cheap, and featureful devices is interesting --- and the sharing of ostensibly "confidential"[1] leaked datasheets/source/etc. is almost encouraged, unlike a certain fruit company. ;-)

It's a curious contrast to companies like Qualcomm, who will release source code openly but keep their documentation very secret. I guess that's why I'm not too bothered by MTK not releasing source code or complying with GPL --- the source only says how, but they've already leaked the why which I find far more useful for modding, or like this project, eventually fully open-source replacement.

[1] Chinese companies in general have a more collectivist approach to IP. I've heard that the main reason they mark those documents confidential/NDA'd, and yet don't seriously pursue leakers, is that it gains them sales (and "street cred" among the modding scene...) but they can still go after those who use that information to compete against them. There's a good overview at https://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=4297


Qualcomm only releases source code because the GPL requires them to. If it wasn’t for that, there would be absolutely nothing.


> The downside to [the MIT] license is that it also allows the vendor to create a fork of the bootloader without giving the customers the changed source code, and unfortunately it is common practice for vendors to make use of this right.

One of the many advantages of the GPL over licenses such as MIT.


Full title (HN has a limit of 80 characters):

> postmarketOS Low-Level: Tiny Steps Towards Liberating Bootloaders and Cellular Modem Firmware of MediaTek Phones


I wonder this can be used to port a normal Linux userspace to android tv's (which all seem to use mediatek)


A lot of Android TVs run MStar (acquired by MediaTek) chipsets.

I've successfully (with some hacks) ported AOSP to one of these devices in the past.

Kernel source, and some associated flashing information can be found here: https://github.com/Benjamin-Dobell/kogan-tv-gpl


is there a donation page? how can I support this work?


No donations for the overall project, though some contributors may ask for some here: https://wiki.postmarketos.org/wiki/Donate

The best way to support the project, without contributing code/documentation/etc, is to spread the word!


What about hardware donations, or a "device wanted" section of the wiki?

e.g. for those with superseded bootable phones gathering dust in a box of old 'junk'.


Yes, I have a Xperia E1 (https://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_e1-5966.php) that I would like to donate.


Chipset Qualcomm MSM8210 Snapdragon 200

I don't think they're looking for Qualcomms.


Something like this existed when the wiki was on github, but I don't think it has been recreated. I'll mention this in the IRC channel and see what other folks think.





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