slatedroid mercury now produces "demo version has expired"

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Joe Born

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Oct 21, 2010, 1:19:47 AM10/21/10
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when I update the latest batch of links, which may be 2.0 firmware to slatedroid mercury RC, I now get an annoying overlay "demo version has expired" a bit of google shows this is happening to others, I'll try to figure out what's going on.


Joe Born

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Oct 21, 2010, 1:59:51 AM10/21/10
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On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 12:19 AM, Joe Born <jb...@neurostechnology.com> wrote:
when I update the latest batch of links, which may be 2.0 firmware to slatedroid mercury RC, I now get an annoying overlay "demo version has expired" a bit of google shows this is happening to others, I'll try to figure out what's going on.

I'm guessing that the reason that this is happening in this case is because the tablets have been upgraded at the factory to 2.0 and then when I install mercury, which was anticipating 1.9.1 there's some incompatibility?

Joe

Yves Pelletier

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Oct 21, 2010, 7:31:10 AM10/21/10
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As I understand reading slatedroid forums, the tablet tried to "phone
home" a company in china to validate if the hardware is legit (by
sending the mac address of the wifi adapter)
If it is, the banner should disappear.

Try to log the tablets on the network for few minutes, and reboot after.
If that's not working, check this thread:

http://www.slatedroid.com/eken-m001-modding/1725-explanation-demo-purpose-only-also-eken-phones-home-4.html

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Yves Pelletier

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Oct 21, 2010, 7:50:16 AM10/21/10
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Humm...trying to update my new tablet (the screen is really a lot
better!), my microSD card got stuck in the slot.
Anyone already experienced that?
Anyone know how to boo without trying to read on the microSD? (to
prevent setup from running again and again)

Jeremy Coleman

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Oct 21, 2010, 9:11:16 AM10/21/10
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Just squeeze the top bezel into the case a little more  where the sdcard is and you should be able to remove it.

Yves Pelletier

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Oct 21, 2010, 9:19:22 AM10/21/10
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Finally got it, the card was stuck toward the 30pin connector.
Have to use a needle to move it. The card have been thrown about 10
foots away when I moved it :)

Joe Born

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Oct 21, 2010, 2:18:18 PM10/21/10
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On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 6:31 AM, Yves Pelletier <pell...@gmail.com> wrote:
As I understand reading slatedroid forums, the tablet tried to "phone
home" a company in china to validate if the hardware is legit (by
sending the mac address of the wifi adapter)
If it is, the banner should disappear.

I've logged on the AP, rebooted and let the unit sit for an hour, banner's still there. 

Try to log the tablets on the network for few minutes, and reboot after.
If that's not working, check this thread:

http://www.slatedroid.com/eken-m001-modding/1725-explanation-demo-purpose-only-also-eken-phones-home-4.html


I'll take a look at this. 

Jeremy Coleman

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Oct 21, 2010, 3:44:18 PM10/21/10
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Do you have this problem with Mercury only or with other firmwares as
well?

On Oct 21, 12:18 pm, Joe Born <jb...@neurostechnology.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 6:31 AM, Yves Pelletier <pelle...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > As I understand reading slatedroid forums, the tablet tried to "phone
> > home" a company in china to validate if the hardware is legit (by
> > sending the mac address of the wifi adapter)
> > If it is, the banner should disappear.
>
> I've logged on the AP, rebooted and let the unit sit for an hour, banner's
> still there.
>
>
>
> > Try to log the tablets on the network for few minutes, and reboot after.
> > If that's not working, check this thread:
>
> >http://www.slatedroid.com/eken-m001-modding/1725-explanation-demo-pur...

bmc

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Oct 22, 2010, 1:49:13 PM10/22/10
to Neuros
> As I understand reading slatedroid forums, the tablet tried to "phone
> home" a company in china to validate if the hardware is legit (by
> sending the mac address of the wifi adapter)
> If it is, the banner should disappear.

Not sure about the rest of you, but I'm not wild about having an
"open" tablet that is phoning home to china or anywhere else.

Can someone comment on which part of the stack this phoning home
occurs in (bootloader, kernel/modules, android frameworks, autostart
app)? Does the message look like it is running on top of the normal
UI, or is this happening at boot and showing up as a lower level,
crudely displayed message that prevents booting further?

This is another reason for any Neuros-supplied firmware to be 100%
rebuild-able from source code. With full control over firmware, you
can excise such spyware. If you do have a few binary-only bits, can
Joe extract guarantees from the providers about what they do (and what
they don't do)?

Anyone poked through a tcpdump sniff of the "phone home" message?

Dusting off the tinfoil hat, what keeps someone nefarious from
uploading an awesome android firmware with a few extra bells and
whistles and bug fixes, but with a keylogger and other unexpected
additions? :(

Roger Calver

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Oct 22, 2010, 1:50:57 PM10/22/10
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

I do remember reading that it can be blocked and IIRC it was on
Projectgus's blog - need to check that part.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (MingW32)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/

iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJMwc8BAAoJEB4af8rSwYUkdQ0IAKM5tjFMs7j751sGuarokrOX
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=BTH1
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Joe Born

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Oct 23, 2010, 11:20:25 AM10/23/10
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On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM, Jeremy Coleman <jeremy.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
Do you have this problem with Mercury only or with other firmwares as
well?

well it doesn't happen with the stock firmware, but mercury RC is the only other one I've tried.

Joe Born

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Oct 23, 2010, 11:38:31 AM10/23/10
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Not sure about the rest of you, but I'm not wild about having an
"open" tablet that is phoning home to china or anywhere else.


I'm not enthusiastic about this at all for a variety of reasons.  I can only imagine the reaction of customers as we explain "yes its phoning home, but not to us, you see we just took this software from..."  that's not a discussion thats liable to end well.

We've begun to ask around the wondermedia supply chain, from wondermedia themselves to distributors and their ODMs.  Have you seen the WM8505 kernel group?  http://groups.google.com/group/vt8500-wm8505-linux-kernel/browse_thread/thread/d54f4172d899eabf

I'm not sure what modifications have been made at the Android level, I'm honestly still at the stage of trying to figure out what goes into the slatedroid firmware.  

I guess they take a mostly standard kernel, add overclocking and thing or two else and then rebuild the kernel?  Then they take the existing Android binaries and using some scripts they remove and add some applications as appropriate?  

The slatedroid flashing process is also something of a mystery to me as it clearly doesn't reflash everything, which I find somewhat confusing, what does it replace, what does it leave in place?

Fernando Cassia

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Oct 23, 2010, 11:47:23 AM10/23/10
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On Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 2:49 PM, bmc <bmcarne...@oddren.com> wrote:
>> As I understand reading slatedroid forums, the tablet tried to "phone
>> home" a company in china to validate if the hardware is legit (by
>> sending the mac address of the wifi adapter)
>> If it is, the banner should disappear.
>
> Not sure about the rest of you, but I'm not wild about having an
> "open" tablet that is phoning home to china or anywhere else.

Not only that, what happens when one day the server in China is
unplugged, and the tablet tries to "phone home" but the server is not
there, and thus users are left with "bricked" devices displaying a nag
screen continuously on screen?.

> Dusting off the tinfoil hat, what keeps someone nefarious from
> uploading an awesome android firmware with a few extra bells and
> whistles and bug fixes, but with a keylogger and other unexpected
> additions? :(

A totally valid concern.

FC

Jeremy Coleman

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Oct 23, 2010, 1:39:45 PM10/23/10
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The kernel group is working towards a complete from scratch kernel for these devices which would be excellent.

The slatedroid firmware (or any others that include overclocking are using a kernel which has been compiled by Angus over at projectgus.com.  The kernel is based on the source released by wondermedia with some patches included to support the overclocking.  I don't think anyone is completely certain about which modifcations have been made at the android level.  There are quite a few wondermedia specific libraries included that we do not have the source for.  Theoretically it is possible to build the complete system from scratch, but I don't know what functionality may be lost by trying to build without the wondermedia libs.  I think the wondermedia libs are primarily needed by some of there proprietary applications (youtube/webflv, peacock video, peacock gallery, etc.). I am trying to figure out how to accomplish a complete build using AOSP (Android Open Source Project), but I am by no means a C/C++ developer so I don't have much exeprience compiling projects or building toolchains.  One thing to understand is that the google applications are proprietary and ARE NOT included in the AOSP.  If we go to a completely open build they are not viable for default inclusion.  It is easy enough for me to provide a separate "google apps installer" that people can use to install all of the required files after the fact.

Here's the article from projectgus.com about the "Phone Home" stuff.  http://projectgus.com/2010/07/eken-m001-phone-home/
It seems the actual phone home is occuring via libui which according to the thread over at slatedroid people have had luck replacing with earlier versions from wondermedia firmwares to fix the problem.  With that being the case if we can compile it from AOSP we should be able to just drop in the replacement to resolve the issue.

I definitely agree that the ideal situation is going to be one where we have a completely open build, but I think it is a ways off, especially if we want to wait for the completely clean from scratch kernel vs using the source from projectgus.

Joe -  You are pretty much on track with your assessment of how the slatedroid firmware is created.  The current one out there is based on the wmt sdk 1.9.1 and then some configuration scripts are modified for swap and wifi.  The kernel is a drop in replacement that you can just replace uzImage.bin with to have it used in the flashing process.  Currently a text file is required to handle the setcpu configuration, but angus is working on building it into the kernel correctly so it won't be required in later builds.  In slatedroid apps are added and removed by modifying the android_fs.tar and data.tar.  As I have mentioned previously I add all of my extra apps by putting them in the pre_root_disk and pre_data_disk directories and allowing them to be copied in by the update.sh script.  I feel that this is a much more open and accessible way to handle it because it allows users to more easily add in there own applications before flashing without requiring them to fuss anround with the tar files.  I am also in the planning stages of developing a script that can be included in the flashing process which would read a configuration file that you can use to tell it which default applications to remove during installation.  This way we include everything for people who want it, but we can easily remove the unwanted apps with minimal hassle.

My host required me to install W3Total Cache for Wordpress to reduce the processor usage due to the amount of hits I had been getting on the firmware downloads and it is causing issues by restricting the larger size downloads.  I am working on either finding a better wordpress download management solution or modifying W3 Total Cache to allow the larger downloads.  Here is a temporary download link for the M002s 2.0 Plus firmware until i get downloads re-enabled on my site.  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1348571/M002S_2.0_Plus.7z  PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS OUTSIDE THE MAILING LIST

As mentioned in the slatedroid thread I did not remove anything from the 2.0 firmware.  I added in files for google apps, root, and swap.  It was built very quickly just to offer a more comprehensive rom built from the 2.0 firmware.  One of the primary goals was to keep the camera working.  The only known issue I have heard about so far is a sync problem where the menu item in settings does not show up and contacts added/modified from google apps online do not always sync down to the device.  Let me know if you get the "demo/phone home" problems with this firmware.  I have not seen any issues with it on my tablet.

Joe Born

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Oct 23, 2010, 8:02:17 PM10/23/10
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Here's the article from projectgus.com about the "Phone Home" stuff.  http://projectgus.com/2010/07/eken-m001-phone-home/
It seems the actual phone home is occuring via libui which according to the thread over at slatedroid people have had luck replacing with earlier versions from wondermedia firmwares to fix the problem.  With that being the case if we can compile it from AOSP we should be able to just drop in the replacement to resolve the issue.

well, the obvious conclusion based on this would be that we're getting that warning because its not an eken tablet.  the firmware looks for a sn and can't find one, right?  It seems we should be going with your firmware (based off 2.0 I guess)

Jeremy Coleman

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Oct 24, 2010, 12:39:37 AM10/24/10
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Possibly although there have been some cases with devices that are supposedly known to be authentic.  I'm not really sure why the issue is not there in the 2.0 firmware, but we will just have to press forward making the best choices as they are available.

--

bmc

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Oct 25, 2010, 7:34:52 PM10/25/10
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> I'm not sure what modifications have been made at the Android level, I'm
> honestly still at the stage of trying to figure out what goes into the
> slatedroid firmware.

From the phone-home thread and other threads, folks have found there
are modifications to libui.so and other userspace libraries that do
some device-specific tasks for the wondermedia SoC that are
traditionally being done in the kernel or kernel modules.

The kernel stuff you should be able to get via GPL-violation
persistence (and indeed some/all of the kernel modification source is
now out there). The userspace libraries are under a more permissive-
to-them license; I don't believe they are required to ever release the
source. Hence all the discussions about mw8505 specs or userspace
sources.

> I guess they take a mostly standard kernel, add overclocking and thing or
> two else and then rebuild the kernel?  Then they take the existing Android
> binaries and using some scripts they remove and add some applications as
> appropriate?

For They=Wondermedia/Via, yes they rebuild the kernel and modules, and
also add their own customization to android libraries before
rebuilding the android libs.

For They=slatedroid and open-source folks: they spend a lot of time
remixing binaries from various vendor releases to try to get what they
want working. With kernel sources (but no android library
modification sources, yet?) things have improved a bit, but it seems
people still use binary only libui.so, etc.

See http://projectgus.com/2010/06/notes-on-porting-android-2-x-to-eken-m001/
for a (dated) description of some of the issues in the different
stacks.

Anyone know if the custom android, wload & uboot sources are released
or scheduled for release for the Neuros tablet?

> The slatedroid flashing process is also something of a mystery to me as it
> clearly doesn't reflash everything, which I find somewhat confusing, what
> does it replace, what does it leave in place?

Each firmware release can choose what it reflashes. Some
(dangerously) reflash wload and uboot, even when they don't need to,
increasing the chances of bricking.

For the 99.9% common case of just reflashing the kernel and android
stack, you won't brick the device even interrupting the reflash: wload
and uboot will still execute the firmware flash from a SD card at next
boot.

For the 2.0 firmware you just posted, it hops through a few binary
only bits (would be great to get the source for "prepare.bin", another
customized uboot build), but eventually falls into update.sh, and
reflashes:

MTD9: Android FS
MTD10: Data FS
MTD11: Cache FS
MTD12: User FS

Joe Born

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Oct 27, 2010, 1:10:15 AM10/27/10
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using the download from http://www.slatedroid.com/eken-m002-firmware-development/8279-%5B-piece-software-flashed-device-expand-its-functionality%5D-m002s-2-0-plus.html which you posted earlier there's no problem, so maybe it was just that I was using the wrong update/firmware.

Joe
--
Joe Born
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