Ice Cream Sandwich for the Samsung Galaxy S (T-Mobile Vibrant) SGS-T959

Pay attention to the date on this post. I get a surprising amount of hits to past android bitchings and fixes I’ve written on. If the post is more than a month old, consider rooting around in the sources to find an updated procedure.

REQUIRED READING: Rooting Froyo. That also gives you clockwork.

With the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, everyone has been wondering which phones are going to get it. The bottom line is T-Mobile said the 4G Samsung Galaxy S is going to get it, they said it was too slow on the 3G.

This is crap. We all know this is crap. It’s the exact same phone with a different radio chipset. Neither Samsung nor T-Mobile is creative enough to come out with a totally new phone that looks like a totally old phone.

That being said, kernel.org is back up and Ice Cream Sandwich AOSP is out along with the Gingerbread AOSP. Gingerbread, predictably, is hacky crap and we knew that from the HTC releases. AOSP simply confirms it started out as hacky crap and didn’t advance much because of Ice Cream Sandwich.

The guys over at XDA Devs already have the AOSP of Ice Cream Sandwich ported to the SGS-T959. GPS works, radio works, video works, cameras work, but the battery life is abysmal. Its incredibly encouraging to see this much work being done in this short of a time, which means that the original Vibrant clearly didn’t fall far from the mainstream tree. You can follow the thread here. One big caveat – this is active development. Version 7 of the alpha is already out. It’s a real pain in the ass to install. The original post hasn’t been updated despite being the most commented post on XDA devs that I can remember. Handle with care.

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UBISoft Blames Piracy for Not Releasing PC Games

UBISoft has a been the long time steward of the Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon franchises. Recently they announced no new PC games would be produced and generally blamed piracy. PC Gamers (all eight of them) are generally outraged. UBISoft claims the game wouldn’t be a profit center for them. Lets take a peek at what’s going on in the PC world versus the console world.

At the top of the list for why UBISoft’s excuse is bullshit – The entire success of the XBOX is that it runs Direct X. You write a game that uses pure Direct X calls, your game runs on both the PC and the XBOX with zero effort required on your part. That’s really the bottom line right there and the beginning and end of the argument. If you use Direct X, it works both places. There’s more effort required in doing the PS3 port than there is going from XBOX to PC. To Microsoft’s credit, they’ve done a really good job making this work on both sides of the fence. This means two things – UBISoft must really mean it about the piracy and any other arguments are largely accessory to this.

Part B is they’ve released free versions of the games on PC. Why? You’re going to get them for free anyway, according to UBISoft, because you’re all a bunch of pirates on the PC. Nevermind the vast majority of PC OSes are legal (in the US) or firmly in the gray market (corporate licenses). If we can draw a line from legal OSes to legal games and assume they’re roughly the same level of piracy (people who pirate the OS are likely to pirate the games) then roughly 20% of software is pirated.

What’s the argument against this? PC games have to be pirated individually, and I would venture close to 100% of pirated versions of PC apps contain malware, spyware, viruses and god knows what else. Furthermore unless the company is using bone-stock copy protection, someone has to put the effort into breaking the copy protection for that particular version of that particular application. New version comes out? They have to play cat and mouse again.

The XBOX situation is particularly interesting in this regard because for one, it’s easy and universal and only requires a BIOS flash. For two, since microsoft actively patrols it’s network, getting an XBOX online with a flashed drive results in both the XBOX and the user’s account being banned from XBOX live. The result is that to engage in piracy, an XBOX user only has to do one thing which works for all the games and for two, he or she can never play the game online. UBISoft’s games have only recently had any online content and in the case of Ghost Recons previous to their newest titles, online support has been limited to co-op missions and team deathmatch. It didn’t bring anything to the table that games like battlefield and modern warfare didn’t, and in modern warfare’s case it’s a better ghost recon than ghost recon for having the same play styles and even more modes. I just don’t see a future niche for UBISoft unless they start making games people want to play online.

Compare this to the wii, where games are easy to pirate and the online service has no protection at all, and the piracy argument rings pretty hollow. While I think they’re avoiding the PC market where piracy is easier than the XBOX market, I think they’re doing it more because they’re shooting even lower than the consoles. I personally think they’re looking to enter the android/apple space on the tablets. Not only does that dovetail nicely with the play-for-free space (Android being java makes ports easier, but not as easy as Direct X) but it means the advertising revenue can be generated across all sizes of PCs from commodity laptops on up and in the cellphone space. There probably will be a market for more serious titles on the XBOX/PS, but it looks to me like UBI is more interested in the play for free space and was just looking for some excuse to avoid the “gamer” PC game space.

Thank god they didn’t go subscription like World of Warcraft.

Fedora release 16 (Verne) Upgrade Notes

I upgraded to Fedora 16. This laptop started out on FC14 and now is running FC16. I’ve managed to do it without a re-install.

Gnome is steadily improving, in a direction I am not interested in going. The UI continues to be unappealing, the lack of themes and configuration for keybindings (which continually have my hacks reset) makes Gnome worthless trash for a serious Linux user. The theming community produces the most hilarious amounts of bitching with comments similar to “Oh killer theme, how do I downgrade GNOME so I can use it?” Even the hacks don’t carry over. This continues on with GNOME into FC16 and it’s clearly GNOME’s problem.

KDE on the other hand, seems to get broken somewhere between FC16 and FC16’s upgrade to the newer 3.1 kernel. (3.1.0 versus 3.1.1). At least part of this is due to the intel graphics chipset in my laptop taking a huge crap on the kernel upgrade, so X didn’t come up correctly the first few times. The fix follows to be run as root:

  1. init 1
  2. rm -rf /tmp/*
  3. rm -rf /home/knarrj/.kde.*
  4. yum update intel\*
  5. yum reinstall kdebase

Reboot.

Start KDE in safe mode, disable compositing, let it settle. The stupid neopumk or whatever it’s called semantic desktop service will cause the machine to chug. Disable that trash since it can’t be uninstalled and your desktop will be a lot faster.

Post configuration crap – all your network settings will be gone. Your desktop theme will most likely be gone. However, if you got bit by the KDE not working correctly after upgrade bug where KIO kills itself, then your fix is here!