Open Moko - GPL?

Michael 'Mickey' Lauer mickey at
Mon Nov 27 23:16:37 CET 2006

Steve Salazar wrote:
> 1. It is mentioned that the gui was designed using gtk.  Will the sources
> for all the interface be released?


> For that matter, will the sources for
> everything, including the os itself, drivers, etc be released?


> Will
> openmoko follow an open development model similar to debian or fedora?


> 2. If all these things are going to be opened, when?  I saw in related posts
> that this might be delayed until after the release because you guys are
> focusing on getting things out the door.  I understand that but I think that
> is a mistake.

I disagree. OSS history has shown us that going open is more or less
useless unless there is a certain critical amount of code written.
This critical amount of code is what me are writing at the moment.
Believe, we will release early and often, but the point of time where
we can justify any release at all is just not there yet. I know that
this is not what you want to hear, but I beg you to rest this case.
From Harald's and my track record you should see that we are 100% open
source guys, but trust me on that... if there would be something
releasable yet, we would have release it by now. It's just not there

> Read the cathedral and the bazaar for a good
> explanation of the OSS development model and why it works: 

Thanks, but we are very familiar with that model :D

> 3. Why did you not use opie or gpe?

Because it is our belief that both Opie and GPE are not suitable for a
phone. Both are inherently based on desktop paradigms ported to a PDA.
This just doesn't work on a phone.

> If all the drivers and code for
> openmoko are released, will it be possible for me to run qtopia or gpe on my
> own if i want to?

Sure. It's an open phone, you can run whatever you want on it. Plain
debian? Be our guest.

> Are you prepared for the possibility that, if people like
> gpe or opie more, nice installers will become available very quickly and
> everyone might just run those environments instead?  If it turns out that
> the public prefers another environment, would the environment for openmoko
> continue to be developed or would you consider getting behind the 
> environment chosen by the community?

That remains to be seen.

> Are you prepared to support the voracious appetite the OSS community has for
> the latest and greatest?  Will you always have the latest version of the
> kernel?  Of mplayer?  Minimo?  Etc?  If not forks will quickly form like
> they did for qtopia.
> Why not just start an open development project like
> qtopia from the start so instead of creating division between your project
> and the community project, you can leverage that enthusiasm, like Ubuntu,
> Fedora, Debian, etc?  I know this may in fact be your plan so I am just
> asking.

We are doing exactly that -- once the time is right. Prematurely
releasing anything that hardly works would support on one.

> Please use standards and
> open+existing libraries for everything as much as possible.

We do.

> 5. X11 - Does the openmoko interface run on X11 or does it display directly
> on the fb?  Using real X11 keeps the door open for a huge number of 
> compatible applications to be run with the openmoko environment.  Without
> X11, openmoko is an island.

We know. You should really have read our announcement more closely and
take a look at the framework picture...

> If openmoko fully embraces the OSS way of doing things, is totally open,
> builds and encourages community, and allows for any usage, then the leverage
> you hope to gain from the OSS community will be fully realized.

I agree. Rest assured, it will work exactly that way.

Michael 'Mickey' Lauer | IT-Freelancer |

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