[openmoko-announce] Freerunner's Future

Sean Moss-Pultz sean at openmoko.com
Tue Jun 2 17:59:50 CEST 2009

Dear Community,

As some of you have heard, we had a layoff at Openmoko on Monday, May
25th. First of all let me second the comments made here congratulating
the Openmoko team on all that was accomplished. And let me add that
everything accomplished was only possible because of the amazing
efforts of the community.

Bringing the Neo products to market, first the 1973 and then the
Freerunner, has been the most exceptional experience of our lives. I
can undeniably say that the most important thing we have learned over
these years is that the power of people bound by ideals, rather than
contracts, cannot be underestimated. These phones are your success.
 From simple things like group sales to complex undertakings like
developing and maintaining entire distributions, you made this happen.
You always came through for us. As CEO, I have to determine the best
path forward for our phone business. And after long discussions with
my key people and Board, we've decided that the best path foreword is
to turn the future of the Freerunner over to the community.

We've always said that the talent and creativity of those outside the
company is superior to that inside the company. We have stuck to these
principles. We've have opened up more than any other phone, from any
other company, in the history of this industry. Every time we chose
openness over internal control, we have been rewarded.

Former Openmoko employees have already started redesigning the
Freerunner hardware (gta02-core) using only Free Software tools.
Werner Almesberger, working with many others, has made great progress.
Recently, we have released more information to accelerate their
efforts. In the coming weeks, all the design information will be
handed over to the community along with all of openmoko.org (Wiki,
GIT, Trac, Planet, ...). Openmoko Inc. then will act as the sponsor of
this effort. We will continue to fund all necessary server
infrastructure and support, in areas where corporate help is needed,
future open phone development. (Parts of this process will require
legal work - so I request your patience.)

I am extremely excited about the idea of an entirely community-built
open phone. Especially since, when the next design is complete, it
will have the benefits of everything uncovered since the Freerunner
shipped last July. It will be buzz free, glamo free, and free of the
recamping bug (#1024) - which I am happy to announce has been solved
this past week. We promise to support these efforts with additional
resources such as components to build prototypes of the new design. We
will help to empower you to build the open phone of our future.

After all this, there is one last thing that Openmoko the company can
do: we can enable the community to use the Openmoko brand and
trademark for these efforts. For us, the Openmoko brand is synonymous
with the people who built the products: Harald, Mickey, Werner,
Raster, all of my coworkers in our Taiwan office, Sureda, Tuxbrain,
Bearstech, and countless others. I personally want to give an extra
special thanks to Steve Mosher who has taught me so much about
marketing, writing, and well...life. Without his guidance, this all
would have only been an idea in my notebook.

I have asked Steve to lead an effort, over the next few weeks, to
gather input from the community on how best to implement this
transition. (He will follow up shortly on the community mailing list.)
As always we can expect some negative comments, that comes with the
territory. But we believe a community that owns everything of
importance, with regard to the Freerunner, will focus efforts and
energies on the future - not the past.

Sales of the current FreeRunner (A7), will continue as before. We have
plenty more in stock. Now that the phone is freed, and its future
entrusted to the hands of the community, Openmoko Inc. will start
another effort on an altogether different type of device. We've sized
our company to go do that task. Please wish us the very best of luck!
More details will follow in the coming months...


Sean Moss-Pultz

More information about the announce mailing list