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By changing the distribution you basicly get a completely new phone with a very different user interface. Depending on your needs, it is well worth a change.

  1. Get dfu-util. First you need to download and install a utility called dfu-util, it is available for all operating systems such as Windows, Linux and OS X.
  2. Download two files. Get the image files (kernel and filesystem) of the distribution you are interested in.
  3. Boot the phone and press a key. Connect it to your computer with the usb cable. Press the upper left button while powering on the phone. After two-three seconds the boot menu appears.
  4. Run dfu-util. The dfu-util will find your phone and start to transfer the specified file. Run it again on the other file.
  5. Reboot phone. 

You will find the detailed instructions here - http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Flashing_the_Neo_Freerunner

You will find the downloadable file images on these links - http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Download

Below is a short decriptions of the the distributions with user comments (from last week, 2008-51)


"The user interface is very nice, but it lacks an answer button so it can not be used as my primary phone right now."


"I user Debian because it is a mature distribution. It has a wealth of applications and lots of support.I mainly use the FreeRunner as phone (FSO), a gps unit (TangoGPS), and an ebook reader (Evince). The screen is fantastic for ebooks. I also have many other ideas to try out, that would be impossible on a locked phone."

OM 2008.8


"It is the most useful I have tried. Since it lacks echo cancellation I do not use it as my primary phone and I lack a headset. I use it as a toy and for personal education."

FDOM - Fat and Dirty OpenMoko


"I currently use FDOM, but I jump widely between the different distributions. I use it because it has worked the best for me, but I have not tried all distributions. I wish to have a computer in my pocket, mainly to do maps in OpenStreetmaps. http://www.openstreetmap.org"


"Im using my freerunner now as my primary phone, sms and regular calls. I try the following system when they release updates:
openmoko http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Om_2008.9_Update
qtopia http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Qtopia
android http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Android

But im currently using qtopia and I have used it the most, becouse of its reability.

I will be using openmoko software probably, becouse of the great collection of software! But not before get rid och bug that causes GSM to work propably after X hours.

And im a ordinary end user, with no real programming skills so Im super greatful to all the hardworking programmers out there for making the best phone the best phone!"

"OM - The original distribution has a strange idea of an animated GUI which is both unpolished and slow. I tried to use both the OM and Qtopia as MP3 players, but after an hour or so the sound cracks up. If I get the time during the spring I'll build a focused distribution towards GPS, music and PDA functionality"
"The reason for using it is mostly since it is the only distribution I found that packages Elementary, the new widget library developed by Rasterman. Since I wanted to try Elementary out by developing a simple dictionary application I tested this image. And that looks like a nice choice for now, it looks and feels rather nice.

I don't use the Freerunner very much yet (I got it quite recently), and mostly use it to develop some small applications. I've always wanted a phone that is open so that I can tweak it to my liking. Since I've been studying Japanese for a while now, I've always dreamt of a phone that comes with a dictionary that is pleasant to use and Japanese handwriting recognition that I can  bring with me all the time. That would hopefully motivate me to actually learn something. =) I'll try to bring that to my Freerunner one small step at a time."

FSO - Free Smartphone Org

"My Freerunner collects dust, I'm waiting for a stable distribution or Android"