Higher Level TODOs?

Brian Kemp brian.kemp at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 15:14:57 UTC 2011

Speaking only as myself:

> (By the way, I appreciate the offer to buy me a Smart
> Phone, but I do not have a contract with a carrier that
> could be transferred onto it.  As far as I understand,
> Trak Phone associates their carrier contract with a
> physical device, and I do not believe they would let
> me transfer the contract onto a device that is not 
> their brand.  Unlike other carriers, they use the
> services of other carriers instead of maintaining
> their own network, which means their phone works more
> often but that other phones would not work with this.)

The phones we're working on, once modified to be able to run Replicant,
will work without a SIM Card or a phone contract.

The only number you'll be able to call is 911, but...still that's useful
in the right circumstances.

Also, depends on the TracPhone you have. If you have a CDMA phone...skip
the next paragraph.

If you have a GSM phone, you *can* physically remove the SIM and put it
in another phone. I didn't say *may*, I said *can* because they
generally don't glue it in there.

IIRC TracPhone has issues with you modifying the phone they sold you to
accept new SIM cards, but not with transferring the SIM. I am not a
TracPhone subscriber.

Check the T&C's of your contract.

> Are we talking about something used by an application
> developer which allows each application to back itself up
> as a side effect of being installed, without needing to
> register the application with Google?  Is having to
> register the application somewhere else acceptable?  
> What if Google acquires the somewhere else?

I do not believe so. CyanogenMod, which Replicant is based off of, has
facilities to test that sort of "application sync provider"
functionality if it turns out that IS what we're doing.

> Are we talking about something used by the telephone
> owner which allows them to back up data from multiple
> applications, whether the application developer has 
> thought of this or not?


> Do we want the backed up data to be stored in the cloud,
> where the telephone owner does not control it,

Not without the phone owner's consent.

> or on a server which the person doing the backups controls?
> Some owners of telephones do not have a server.

Yes - or at least, a choice of servers. We may also want to encrypt the
data somehow so that only the owner can decrypt it. That would have to
be encrypted on the phone, which would be awful for battery life, but
c'est la vie.

> If this were to benefit a telephone owner, 
> I can think of at least 4 situations where backup would be
> wanted:
> 1. My telephone has been stolen or dies and I want to restore 
> all my applications and their data onto a replacement telephone.
> Or, I want to upgrade to a fancier telephone or tablet.
> 2. My Replicant application allows me to delete data and I want 
> to selectively restore some specific piece of application data.
> 3. I am a Replicant developer and I want to store the entire
> state of my telephone, so that I can experiment and break things
> and restore my telephone to its previous state.  The "state"
> here may or may not correspond to all of the files on disk.
> It likely depends on more than application data.

The 'recovery' utility (another copy of the OS that you can boot into)
does this already for most Android/Replicant phones. I think an
over-the-internet one exists called Titanium Backup...however it is NOT
free software.

It's often called a "Nandroid backup" because it backs up the NAND Flash
chip that's basically the phone's hard disk.

This is very convenient - I use this to test new Replicant images.

> 4. I use an application on more than one device, and I want to
> synchronize the data on my Replicant phone and on some other device,
> such as a laptop or tablet.  The laptop or tablet may or may not
> run Replicant.

That may be tougher, but it could be doable.

> Are these the most important places where backup would be used?
> What is the relative priority between them?
> Those of you who use Smart Phones, what is your experience?

I backup w/ Recovery. My friend synchs the contents of my SD card to my
home machine w/ rsync and checks it into git.

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