Monday, June 8, 2015

OpenVPN for Android 5+

Click to Download OpenVPN for Android 5 Lollipop and later
ca306d4b0a2d952674525f0acdcf8a11b2853a39e58a389f0f31f748ca1b57a9  openvpn.xz

  • You must have a rooted Android phone
  • You must be comfortable with (Android) command line
  • Some people really want this

About This OpenVPN

Special about this OpenVPN is that it runs on Android 5 Lollipop and later, which no previous OpenVPNs do.

This OpenVPN executable runs on any Android with an arm7 or later processor: virtually any phone, tablet or device made in 2011 or later. I set out to enable the OpenVPN service to run on Android 5 using only perpetually free software. Dramatic changes have occurred in how native software is built for Android, the way open build systems operate and cross compile, and finally, software components that OpenVPN depends on have received significant updates. I then wrote a build script for Linux, in particular 64-bit Ubuntu server, that allows for building OpenVPN Android from only the script itself without a single keystroke. As a benefit, this script can build on a Linux computer, a rented cloud server or in a virtual machine under a proprietary operating system. I intend to publish this build script on the Internet.

Why VPN?

This software is essential to former employees of Zynga, Inc.

  • When a former ceo have your location tracked via ip addresses on personally identifiable apps such as LinkedIn, run by a Zynga board member, a random ip address makes the information meaningless.

  • When a former ceo pays to rent the apartment next door within the 400 mW mobile device range attacking devices and subnets, Wi-Fi man-in-the-middle attacks are defeated by the mutual certificate authentication of OpenVPN.
  • When a former ceo pays to eaves drop on your Internet connection to snoop on name server traffic, tear down tcp connections, hijack domain names and uncover gmail passwords, the connections are protected and encrypted, preventing even tunneled server addresses from being revealed.

There is still foot pursuits by private investigators and break and entry. Twice.

About OpenVPN

OpenVPN was initially written in 2001 by James Yonan, who is now Co-Founder and CTO of OpenVPN Technologies, Inc. a corporation in Pleasenton, California nearby San Francisco. The software is licensed under GPL2 and was originally intended for wired computers, but is today deployed along Linux on laptops, embedded systems, routers and mobile phones. OpenVPN supports virtually any target system, but does not provide build support for Android, the Linux derivative that has become the world's most common mobile device operating system.

In 2010, Friedrich Schäuffelhut, a German software engineer, completed the work of porting OpenVPN 2.1 to Android. This is the five year old build hat most people have been using. Cyanogen Inc., a maker of after-market Android software in Palo Alto, California, forked the project and updated it to version 2.3.4.

When Android 5 Lollipop was introduced in 2014, it brought a new file format for security reasons that prevented all previous OpenVPN executables from functioning. Many have asked for, but no one actually built OpenVPN for Android 5. Effectively, the only VPN available has been Android's VPN api.

Because Cyanogen built OpenVPN using proprietary software, the free build system of their OpenVPN was in decay and the fork no longer compatible with the original project. Without an easy build process available to everyone as open source software, a community build is unlikely to materialize.

Since Android 4 there is also a VPN service, however, this service only supports one connection at a time, offers much less configuration and provides poor control over what traffic is tunneled. The main benefit of the api is that the phone does not need to be rooted, providing VPN to a wider audience.


Everything works, including script execution. On Android, you must use the directive script-security 2, the script file must have execute permissions, and its first line must be #!/system/bin/sh

I have seen uptimes of over 1 month, so it is as stable as Android itself.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Microsoft’s 603 g Budget

Last month, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business, securing the survival of Windows Phone for the remaining duration of Steve Ballmers tenure. Here’s a brief look at what is happening with Microsoft:

Microsoft is in a bit of a bind with parts of their software business. Competing free offerings, much slicker than Linux or LibreOffice, are making every future choice a bad one, a bit like Apple’s situation with the iPhone:

  • With Android, Google dialed the price of a mobile operating system to zero for an area where Microsoft had hopes and dreams.
  • Google recently repeated this trick by offering QuickOffice Android free, dialing the price of mobile office software to zero. Even if the Microsoft talk here is loud, we have yet to see a product.
Microsoft could still make a market of being more efficient to use or more capable, but it does look like a 90% revenue drop for every migrating user on the software side.

Turning themselves into a hardware company, the challenge is to be Samsung or Apple, since the rest of the market is barely turning a profit:
  1. Microsoft should absolutely aim to be #1 as in beating Samsung.
  2. Microsoft must get its mobile market share up immediately and can’t afford to wait for a shift where hardware, os or app availability could again be a game changer. They can’t buy themselves to #1 so they need to find new, Apple or Samsung customers.
  3. An alternative is to go crazy like T-Mobile since #1 means different: commercial terms of the kind Samsung or Apple don’t do yet or will not willingly respond to.
We thought we would see partnerships providing next-to-free phones, niche finding via Skype, Facebook and the Windows customer base and use of the enterprise angle that Samsung and Apple supposedly dont have. We still think that.


On the tablet side, Microsoft is presently trying to make a computer purported to be a tablet, which is somewhat at odds with the value proposition of tablets. You can see the group think and the underlying innovators dilemma caused by the looming software revenue drop, only slightly better than losing the full 100%.

The Surface was a pretty good offer had it launched when it was first announced. However, before it got to market, everybody elses tablets lost weight and halved their prices, and then there was everything the RT didnt do.

Microsoft perhaps should ask themselves: how much computer can we get for 603 g?” (the weight of the Nexus 10.)

That approach might compete more favorably along the lines of core tablet strengths:
  • Better Portability - half the weight of a light notebook
  • Easy of use (updates itself, tap to install, LTE Internet)
  • Half price or less of a notebook

If Microsoft wants to continue being a player in the consumer space hardware is key. The question is if the competency of the next leader succeeding Ballmer and tasked with making Microsoft a winner in three years, can be found within the company?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The KitKat Roar

The KitKat Roar

In 2013, Google has successfully secured the future of its Android business. Android is now an undisputed world winner in mobile computing and services, unthreatened for the foreseeable future.

Android Mobile Computing

In mobile computing, the value is all-in-one hardware, essentially an Internet-connected display. The winning criteria is:
Radial time picker of
Android Jelly Bean
  1. Value for money
  2. Ease of use
  3. Device design
The winning formula for Google was the ease of use provided by Android 4 launched in October, 2011, to establish a value price point with its own Nexus brand, and to finally partner with the world’s top device makers that have now firmly committed to the Android value proposition:
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • HTC, ASUS and newcomers

Google has sold Nexus branded devices at near cost and unparalleled market-leading value:
  • Nexus 7 and 10 tablets
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus LTE
  • Kat video leak
  • A future 2013 Nexus device leaked on September 3, 2013

Android Mobile Services

In mobile services, a comprehensive free offering is required together with choice and premium services satisfying emotional consumer needs. Here is what you need to offer:
  1. Third-party app selection
    1. Social networking
    2. Games
    3. Banking and Shopping
  2. Video, audio, and visual content
  3. Online identity, messaging and storage
The winning strategy here is to identify the consumer, obtain payment information, track usage data and then forever monetize in any way possible.

The basic premise of Android is being open source software fostering rapid open innovation. A service business, however, requires a closed-source component or service to be sustainable. In November 2011 Amazon forked Android, taking advantage of this fact, and four months later, in March 2012, Google firmly secured its service business by introducing the Google Play software suite.

Can’t touch this
Google Play is the core of a closed-source software suite for mobile services. If you want to compete by forking Android, you will have to write replacement software for this entire suite yourself which is an enormous challenge. Only a handful of companies world wide have even a remote possibility to successfully compete with the Google Play suite. Here are the apps provided:
  • Google Play App store with a million third-party apps
  • Chrome browser
  • Maps Navigation
  • Gmail, People and Calendar productivity
  • Play Music audio and video
A large number of efforts competing with Android have been announced, but this is why they fail. If they even make it to launch, the overall offering is not competitive and ends up in obscurity.

Winning in Business

Mobile computing and services is an extremely attractive and lucrative business that not only brings plentiful tough competition but also the challenge of managing high-revenue partners and suppliers that could easily become competitors. Google took a stumble here at the end of 2012, but has now returned to its former graces. However, as late as Google I/O in May 2013, things did not look officially rosy:
  • Shipping problems
    • A delayed Nexus phone
    • A delayed Nexus 7 tablet
    • A delayed Android 4.3
  • Strategic problems
    • A Nexus 4 being a peculiar fit for the US market
    • A device debacle by the Motorola subsidiary
    • Google shamefully providing Android developer builds for Samsung and HTC in lieu of Nexus hardware
  • Vision problems
    • No Android 5
    • Various forks and competing mobile operating systems in the offings

The 180

Sundar Pichai
Between March and September of 2013, Google fixed the business strategy of Android in a record six months. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Microsoft’s new Handset Business

Microsoft’s new Handset Business

Microsoft recently acquired the handset making business of Nokia. This is a confirmation that Microsoft’s mobile strategy for the last six years has been off. Microsoft had a mobile operating systems business exceeding $100M in 2007 that was instantly killed off by the introduction of Apple’s iPhone. Since then, the market is selling displays connected to the Internet, ie. mobile devices where software is an integral part. Unfortunately, this is not what Microsoft has been doing. As a matter of fact, Microsoft’s biggest competitor in this space isn’t Google or Apple:
  • Microsoft’s #1 competitor is Samsung at 15x “Nokia”
  • Microsoft’s #2 competitor is Apple at 10x “Nokia”
Microsoft needs to be an unchallenged #3 in this market. If Microsoft can't handily beat LG, Microsoft should create a niche market or invest in Samsung. At the present time, Microsoft is 35% behind LG, who just put out a great-looking G2 phone, and Microsoft further has a lame duck CEO in the departing Ballmer. A required first step for Microsoft is to immediately triple revenues for “Nokia.” It seems Redmond should entertain offers from McKinsey or BCG for what to do.


  • Nokia’s handset business ran low on cash.
  • Microsoft acquired it on September 3, 2013.
  • Microsoft still does not have a successful strategy in mobile computing and services.

4 13 17 Are the Magic Numbers

4 13 17 Are the Magic Numbers

A mobile device for all of Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA needs to support the LTE frequency bands 4, 13 and 17; those are the magic numbers.

Suddenly in 2013, technology evolution has made it so that these three networks are highly inter-operable, and it is no longer much of a technical challenge to make a device inter-operable for all three. However, device makers have not yet adapted to this new reality:
  • Samsung didn't do it with the Galaxy S4 nor its follow-up LTE advanced version
  • LG didn't do it with the G2 super-phone
  • HTC didn't do it with the One
And of course, as of yet, US service providers do not willingly sell devices inter-operable with another provider. This will lead to devices being sold elsewhere, as was pioneered by the Apple Store in 2007. However, Apple is of course a significant part of the non-inter-operable conspiracy.

Change is Good

The greatest news in this regard is that Google announced the Nexus 7 LTE on July 24th, 2013 although the promised launch date was later retracted. The promise is a first ever for the US:

one device, any service provider

The Nexus 7 is of course a tablet and not a phone. Google makes the hands-down greatest tablets in the world. However, on the phone side, their Nexus designs as of late have been peculiar. While Google finds its ways, the first inter-operable phone will likely emerge from a traditional device maker that caves in and makes a world-series phone similar to the “world phones” sold for gsm at the end of the 90's. This will be a great thing, expect it to happen in early 2014.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Google's got Balls

Google's got Balls

Google is set to launch the Nexus 7 LTE this September, and it looks to be the first device that a US consumer can buy without first deciding which provider to use.

A portable device enables consumers to immediately react to offers in the marketplace, which is a significant milestone for the US. It must have taken quite some cojones for Google to turn down provider subsidies and politics and make this move. It's what's next in US mobility.

Does it Matter?

The US wireless providers has over $300b yearly revenue, about $1,000 per citizen, so any little change is serious money. In the last few years, the DOJ has taken legal action, billions have been paid and jetset CEOs have been fired. Now, with the smoke cleared, everyone is on the LTE technology Verizon launched in 2010 and it's clear this is what the market will be for the rest of the decade.

Earlier in 2013, T-Mobile USA took the initiative to no longer tie in customer into 2-year agreements. It's the sign of the times: if there was a cross-provider device, a consumer could be switching providers every month instead of every 2 years. In numbers, that's 24 times different.

A cross-provider device will make the market evolve faster and determine if we will pay $30 or $190 per month for our service in the future. It's money, freedom and the American way.

State of the Nation

The US has been different from most of the world in that incompatible technologies, unique air-wave frequencies and a stale and political environment has prevented consumers from freely bring their device with them when switching providers.

A recent politically correct phone model exists in no less than seven different versions for the US, each largely useless when taken to another provider, if not electronically locked to its original provider altogether.

For comparison, provider-portable devices was introduced in Europe in the mid 1990s, and number portability, where you can keep your number when moving to a new provider, at the end of the last century. In the US, the FCC introduced wireless number portability about 10 years later.

Open Access

Google spent some time at the FCC frequency auctions back in 2007. Instead of spending billions, cojones did in fact accomplish something important for the US consumer: the FCC adopted Open Access rules for the frequency band where most of the LTE resides today. You want to host your Amazon site, BitTorrent the Bible or just hook up the neighborhood? Google lobbied to remove it from being a concern of your provider. Blocked ports, unavailable apps, and mysterious disconnects is history. This paves the way for easy voice calling over the LTE data channel.

This is do no evil version 2013. Google does us good, and the rest is ad revenue.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nexus 7 LTE: Future of Mobility

Nexus 7 LTE: Future of Mobility

The Nexus 7 LTE is the world’s greatest 7" tablet with a revolutionary cellular capability. This LTE radio can connect to most networks and allows for Internet use anywhere, at the same fast responsiveness you would expect from your home Internet connection.

What is revolutionary with the Nexus 7 LTE design is its seven-band radio that can connect to all top three providers in the US. This flexibility has never before existed on a mobile device. This allows a US consumer to on a monthly basis reconsider which provider is the best, and this at roughly half that of today’s price points. The provider can no longer dictate when the consumer can get a new device, and what that device is going to be. This change of power dynamic is going to make Google and Larry Page famous, and bolster a more appropriate brand image for Nexus: providing the seemingly impossible.
  • Never before has the US’ top four service providers been on the same technology.
  • Never before did a manufacturer not intentionally design incompatible variants for each provider.
  • Never before could a consumer independently buy a device without first considering what service to use.
Never before has there been anything like the Nexus 7 LTE. It will revolutionize mobility in the US, as well as other difficult markets in Europe and Asia.

The Nexus Benefit

Nexus has historically produced sophisticated devices at attractive price points. Nexus allows for device owners to take full control of their devices, which is unusual in mobility, and allowing that without affecting device warranty.

Nexus does not guarantee software updates, though has consistently provided timely over-the-air updates for devices even two years old.

The LTE Benefit

Youtube cat-videos killed the 3G cellular network. Only LTE can serve the demands of today's consumers in terms of speed and number of connected devices. The only reason to support anything else is that LTE may not be available. The Nexus 7 LTE supports HSPA on frequencies used world wide.

Additionally, in the US, frequency bands used for LTE forces the provider to allow the consumer freedom of how the service is used. This prevents the provider from blocking various services or preventing the use of certain software.

The Price Benefit

A forward consumer today would buy something like the Samsung 
Galaxy S4 for about $650 in a version that would only work on Verizon. He could also choose to pay $200 for it and commit to a two-year agreement at a monthly cost of around $90 or so.
  • This phone, as-delivered, would have a number of far-reaching limitations imposed by Verizon.
  • The phone features an incredibly complex facilitation of Verizon's practically useless legacy 3G network.
  • The phone is about twice the price of the Nexus 7 LTE and is of little use with any other provider.
The Nexus 7 LTE not only offers a device at practically half the price and a freedom to pick a provider plan of our choice, it also frees us from the crazy situation analogous to the FCC deciding what TV we should buy, what price we should pay, and for how long we must keep it.

The Drawbacks

  • The usability of an on-screen keyboard is limited as its width is reduced: a perfect keyboard is 10" wide, on the Nexus 7 it’s about 5.5".
  • The Nexus 10 and the HTC One has front-facing speakers, the Nexus 7 does not.
  • Does a 7" tablet fit your pocket? I can somehow fit it into mine.

Why You Haven't Heard

The Nexus 7 LTE is not yet available for purchase. As of August 21, 2013, Google stopped promising it would be available within weeks, which they started saying on July 24th.

Nexus 7 LTE supports LTE:1/2/3/4/5/13/17, HSPA:1/2/4/5/8
Verizon: 13 and now 4
AT&T: 4, 17, 29 (with 2 or 4), now 30. 5/850 and 2/1900 MHz hspa
T-Mobile USA: 4, 2/1900 MHz HSPA
Sprint: 25 (ie 2+), 26 (ie 5-6-18-19), 41 (TD-LTE)